Poems for staying at home (Day 6)


Laura Wittner


Today we have one of my favourite lockdown poems, ‘Plastic Moon’ by the Argentine poet Laura Wittner. As a special bonus we have a guest reader, the American poet and translator Curtis Bauer, who performs from the garden of his home in Lubbock, Texas, undeterred by either the abundant birdsong or his own wild hair. Thank you, Curtis! The poem appears in The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America.

Click for the video poem: https://videopress.com/v/rzV1gNFW


Plastic moon

We are in a dark living room
where I want everything except what I have.
Without shoes, on the floor, drinking wine
from crystal glasses, they put on loud music
and I ask myself: why do we
never play this music?
The possibility of pleasure is lifting me off the ground
and the impossibility of pleasure is making me dizzy.
I lean out of the window to take in some air,
but there’s no more here, only the tight alignment
of back patios and fire escapes,
the absence of sound sarcastically shaken
by the magical music, a darkness of the city’s suburbs
barely known. That’s why I need to go out on the street.
I put on my shoes, leave,
under the muddy light that the chequered floor sucks in like a sponge,
and in the meantime I think, I think.
Why do we never play this music?
I stop on the frozen pavement. There are no smells.
I can’t make out the window
from which I have come. A group of men in the shadows
makes me afraid again. Oh, but thanks.

(Translated by Richard Gwyn)



Luna de plástico

Estamos en un living oscuro
donde quiero todo menos lo que tengo.
Sin zapatos, en el piso, tomando vino
en vasos de cristal, ponen música fuerte
y me pregunto: ¿por qué nosotros nunca
ponemos esta música?
La posibilidad del placer me está haciendo levitar
y la imposibilidad del placer me marea.
Voy a asomarme a la ventana a tomar aire,
pero no hay más, aquí, que la estrecha confluencia
de patios traseros y escaleras para incendio,
la ausencia de sonido mordazmente agitada
por la música mágica, una oscuridad de afueras de la ciudad
apenas conocida. Así que necesito ir a la calle.
Me pongo los zapatos, salgo,
bajo la luz marrón que el piso a cuadros se chupa como esponja,
y mientras tanto pienso, pienso.
¿Por qué nosotros nunca ponemos esta música?
Me paro en la vereda congelada. No hay olores.
No puedo distinguir la ventana
de donde vengo. Un grupo de hombres en la sombra
me vuelven al temor. Ay, pero, gracias.


Laura Wittner was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1967. She has published several poetry collections, most recently La Altura (Bajolaluna, 2016).  She is also a translator from English, and has published work by Leonard Cohen, David Markson, Anne Tyler and James Schuyler. She coordinates poetry and translation workshops and runs a poetry blog in Spanish at http://selodicononlofaccio.blogspot.com/ and she can also be found (in English) at https://intranslation.brooklynrail.org/spanish/inside-the-house/.

3 Comments on “Poems for staying at home (Day 6)

  1. Pingback: Poems for staying at home (Day 17) | Ricardo Blanco's Blog

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