Alejandro Crotto

Alejandro Crotto reads "En el Haras Vadarkablar", out of his book "Abejas" (Buenos Aires: Bajo La Luna, 2009). Read the English translation by Robin Myers and the Spanish original below, followed by "The pigeons / Las palomas".

"At the Vadarkablar Stud Farm"
Alejandro Crotto, translation by Robin Myers

They brought the teaser
to the corral of dust and planks,
a criollo with no genealogical halo,
no pure blood or English name or name of his own,
so he could find out if the sorrel mare was ready
as she presided like a god among gnats in the evening’s yellow light
with a storm in the distance; to see if she was deep and willing,
young veterinarians in white half-opened lab coats
led in the teaser by a rope around his neck; the horse tossed
his head amid his snorts and suddenly
he raised it high toward the splendid sorrel;
and the taut mare, her graceful nostrils keen, almost a deer,
stared from the corner of her eye while she presented
her ripened rump, trickling a little, opening herself; her sex quivered,
and she shifted her tail, and the criollo
was potency advancing toward the mare and growing till
he’d mounted her, and the gloved hands
diverted him, they pulled him off her, hauling at the rope, and one said
“She’s ready, go get Equalize, and just in case I’ll hobble her,”
and while the costly stallion approached her from the side, chest forward,
unfolding himself, haughty, lunging at
the air pierced by his supple gait,
they led the other to a pen and trough
where he would stay until tomorrow, and
the horse, now docile, his nose in the water,
trembled in dark rushes with
faint flashes of lightning; there was no wind,
and night was coming.

:

"En el Haras Vadarkablar"

Hasta el corral de tierra y tablas
trajeron al retajo,
un criollo sin halo genealógico,
sin nombreinglés o propio o sangre pura,
aque probara conocer si estaba lista la alazana
alzada como un dios entrejejenes en la luz amarilla de la tarde
con tormenta de fondo; a ver si estaba honda y dispuesta,
veterinarios jóvenes de blancos guardapolvos entreabiertos
entraron el retajo lazo al cuello, y el caballo
meneaba cabizbajo entreresoplos la cabeza y de repente
la levantaba señalando a la alazana espléndida; y la yegua
tirante, sus ollares finísimos alerta, casi ciervo,
miraba de reojo mientras daba su grupa florecida,
yse hizo agua un poquito, se iba abriendo, parpadeaba
su sexo, y apartaba la cola, y el criollo
era potencia aproximándose creciente
hasta montar la yegua, y lo desviaron
las manos enguantadas, lo sacaron tirándolo del lazo y uno dijo
«está lista, buscalo al Equalize que por las dudas la maneo»
ymientras se acercaba por momentos de costado
luego enseguida pecho al frente,
desplegándose altivo, cabeceando
el aireque rompía al paso fino,
el padrillo valioso, se llevaron al otro hasta un corral
con bebederohasta mañana, y el retajo
ya manso, hocico en agua,
temblaba en ráfagas oscuras
con mínimos relámpagos; no había viento,
se venía la noche.

§

"The Pigeons"
Alejandro Crotto, translation by Robin Myers

We have to pull our socks on quickly
because the stone floor freezes underfoot: in the kitchen,
we have milk, bread with butter and honey for breakfast,
then go out to hunt pigeons with our air rifle,
my brother and I, not even eleven
and with rubber boots, thick plaid shirts, our pockets full
of pellets – two or three,
the next ones to be used, go in the mouth.
We leave our footprints in the frost that starts to melt;
alert, we travel through the plane-tree branches,
the towering eucalyptuses, the walnut tree, the casuarinas,
the poplars of the stud farm, then the pool,
one shot each, walking, pointing out,
from time to time, the turning autumn leaves.

Later, behind the laundry room, among the fruit trees,
we pluck them and we gut them:
their tepid weight sustained in our left hands,
we pull the feathers with our right,
the longest and most brittle from the tail and wing,
the simplest from the chest, the short
and dark ones from the back, the softest from
the flank, beneath the hinges of their wings;
they gather tangled in the weeds, upwind,
stuck to our hands, suspended in the air
when it picks up abruptly;
and then we empty out the body,
now considerably smaller in relation to the head:
first, the crop, sometimes with whole sunflower seeds inside,
which, barely bitter, one can eat, and pushing upward with
our fingers, where the sternum ends, twisting
inside the still-warm body, grasping, tugging down,
we wrench out the intestines and the belly, tug the lungs
like a tiny pink sponge stuck to the ribs,
the kidney, liver, quiet heart,
seized by the dogs before they touch
the floor; we wash the pigeons in the sink
and we cut off their heads; lifted onto a stool,
we tie them to a wire by their feet until the night falls.

Our hands burn from the frigid water,
the bodies glimmer in the air, under the sun; life is
material, and matter
is difficult, sacred.

:

Las palomas

Hay que ponerse rápido las medias
porque el piso de piedra está frío; en la cocina
desayunamos leche, pan con manteca y miel,
después salimos a cazar palomas
con nuestrorifle de aire comprimido,
mi hermano y yocon menos de once años
ycon botas de goma, camisa gruesa a cuadros y balines
en el bolsillo —dos o tres,
los próximos a usar, van en la boca.
Vamos dejando huellas en la helada que empieza a deshacerse,
vamos alerta entre las ramas de los plátanos,
los altos eucaliptos, el nogal, las casuarinas,
los álamos del haras, la pileta,
un tiro cada uno, caminando,
señalando de a ratos las copas del otoño.

Después, detrás del lavadero, entre frutales,
las desplumamos y las destripamos:
sosteniendo en la izquierda el peso tibio
vamos sacando plumas con la otra,
las más largas y duras en la cola y el ala,
las fáciles del pecho, las cortitas
yoscuras de la espalda, las más suaves
en el flanco, debajo de las alas en la axila;
van quedando en los yuyos enredadas hacia el lado del viento,
pegadas en las manos, suspendidas del aire
cuando se arremolina de repente;
después vamos vaciando el cuerpo, mucho más chico
ahora en relación a la cabeza: primero el buche,
aveces con semillas de girasol intactas que se pueden comer,
apenas agrias, y metiendo con fuerza los dedos hacia arriba
donde termina el esternón, girándolos
dentrodel cuerpo todavía caliente, agarrando y tirando para abajo,
arrancamos los largos intestinos y la panza, sacamos los pulmones
como una esponja rosa pegada a las costillas,
los riñones, el hígado, el quieto corazón,
que los perros atrapan sin que toquen
el suelo; en la canilla lavamos las palomas
yles cortamos la cabeza, las atamos
subidos a un banquito de la pata a un alambre hasta la noche.

Las manos queman por el frío del agua,
brillan los cuerpos en el aire, al sol; la vida
es material, y la materia
es difícil, sagrada.

§

bio:
Alejandro Crotto is a contemporary Argentinian poet and translator, born in Buenos Aires in 1978. He has studied Law and Literature. The poems here published, and translated by Robin Myers, were taken from his collection of poems titled "Abejas" (Bees), published by Bajo La Luna in 2009. The poet lives and works in Buenos Aires.

link:
losporquesdelarosa.blogspot.de

Alejandro Crotto