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My Translation

May 27, 2009

AW posted a poem translated into English from Spanish.  Only this past weekend I was purging my stationery (part of my decluttering effort). I have tons of it. Not that I’ve kept every letter and card ever given to me, but, still, I do have a lot. I am hoping I will get a new scanner for Christmas.  Right now, I have a horrible scanner that requires the document to be top fed. It is horrible I tell you.  Because, depending on the size of the item being scanned, it will go off track. Only a picture or whatever the size of a piece of paper does well.  Anything else, forget it. Also, for some reason, and yes, I have cleaned it more than once; a vertical line runs down the final copy of the item scanned. The bottom line is, I need (okay want) a scanner that allows the documents (or photos or what have you) to be positioned on the glass.  When I was in school I was allowed to used the publicity department’s scanner once. Oh, it was Heaven I tell you. I was able to lay out all of the things I wanted scanned, then crop and size, and then load it on my portable drive (I cannot think of the real name for that thing right now).

Anyway, when I get my new scanner, I shall scan every single piece of correspondence I have ever gotten, yes this includes love letters and all other personal baggage that for some reason I’ve held on to.  

While I was sorting through I started looking for a final letter that a boyfriend from high school sent me in 1995.  I don’t recall getting rid of it, but I think I did.  From 1979 to 1995 we had an on again off again relationship (if you can call it that). And to my horror, I discovered that his mother, HIS MOTHER was rattling all over town that I would not leave her son alone, that his marriage was in shambles because of me! When I heard the news I was just like, “Ain’t this something.” At first, I was going to let it die down but then I started getting calls from people I had not heard from since 1981 talking about how I needed to leave that man alone. Okay to be fair, I was not exactly innocent regarding messing with her son.  If I was inclined to fool with him, I did.  However, (and this is a big gigantic however) I never went out and found him. Regardless of where I was in the world, he would find me. So I was quite insulted by the accusation that I would not stop chasing him down, or I would not leave him alone. Germany, Turkey, The Swiss Alps, California, North Carolina, South Dakota, supposedly I always searched and found him! As if (If I were in any those places already, I already had an agenda that did not include him.  Him being there too was sheer coincidence or his design). For me, he was simply a gap that filled periods of ennui. Nothing more.  Nevertheless, the scuttlebutt was out there and I was not pleased, this period being a time when I actually worried about what others said and/or thought about me.  Of course those days are gone now. So to shut the mother up once and for all, to reveal to her how it had been her son chasing me all over the globe instead of the other way around, I copied all of his letters, telegrams (yes, can you believe it, telegrams! LOL), cards, etc, and even paid a notary to certify that they were true copies, and I sent them to her, —signature receipt. That was the last I heard from her big mouth. Needless to say, it was he who was telling his mommy that I was doing the chasing, not him. I am sure he knew mommy would understand how hard it is for a big boy to refuse a woman’s magic.

Are you still with me? If not, I completely understand, I often take issue when others ramble as well. So in the decluttering process I came across a few pages of Spanish poems with English translations that was sent to me by my then lover (not that momma’s boy from above in case my writing has confused you), but a man many years my senior. It is postmarked 13 May 1988. I was in military basic training at the time (boot camp).  He wrote often enough, but I suppose he sent these poems out of laziness (it is easier to rip a few pages from a book than to write a letter) or he was actually feeling melancholy from missing me. LMAO! Yes, the thought of that is now hilarious. Although I am sure I found it sweet at the time. Oh, and what kind of brute just rips pages from a book? I guess that was his savage gesture denoting the intensity of his love for me.  When I do get that scanner, I shall scan everything I have and start a new blog.  No explanation following a letter or card, just the evidence right there, my life an open book for all to point and gawk, thus, I shall achieve pure Maturity. Because it will be there for all the world to see and judge, and I will not coil one bit.  Anyway, here is one of those poems. (Thanks AW for making me remember it. I have no shame, but am truly delighted right now with diversion).

 Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

by  Pablo Neruda

 All these fellows were there inside

when she entered, utterly naked.

They had been drinking, and began to spit at her.

Recently come from the river, she understood nothing.

She was a mermaid who had lost her way.

The taunts flowed over her glistening flesh.

Obscenities drenched her golden breasts.

A stanger to tears, she did not weep.

A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.

They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks,

and rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter.

She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her.

Her eyes were the colour of faraway love,

her arms were matching topazes.

Her lips moved soundlessly in coral light,

and ultimately, she left by that door.

Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed,

gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain;

and without a backward look, she swam once more,

swam towards nothingness, swam to her dying.

12 Comments
  1. May 27, 2009 10:28 pm

    Oh my god, that is a horrifying poem, Kitty. I mean, it’s moving, yes, but absolutely horrifying. Why the hell would that man send you that poem?

    • May 27, 2009 10:41 pm

      I don’t know. It is one of those puzzles in life. Perhaps that is why I have held on to it, because I have yet to figure it out. He may even be dead by now, so it has nothing to do with him specifically, just an answer/explanation to whatever it is. In addition to that one, there was another, one that I sort of understand except the protagonist of the poem is a he. If I recall at the time I did not understand if the poem was to be for me or about him. I think when I asked he said they were all for me. So, I am assuming I am the he in the poem. Which I can understand, because when I was a child and read a story and the protagonist was a he, I would identify with him if he was doing or thinking something that I identified with. The sex of the protagonist was never off limits in my imagination. It was not until I was older, much older that I realized that I was not supposed to identify with anyone but a female protagonist. Well, that was a difficult task, seeing that most books had male protagonists, or at least the books that had protagonists doing things that I could imagine and/or desired doing.

  2. atheistwoman permalink
    May 28, 2009 12:00 am

    Since this post is inspired by me it is perfectly natural that you should ramble ;-).

    Re: identification with male protagonists. Yes, I do it all the time, though not as much as I did when I was a child. It is harder for me to do it now, though, because they are so often assholes who I would not want to identify with.

    And realizing that one is meant to only identify with the female side of things, yes, it was a mistake I made often enough, growing up, thinking I was human, only to be put in my place. This is not to do with books, but it is a similar concept. My brother would not let me play with “his” leggos. I was more creative anyway, so I wanted to build free-form stuff out of my imagination, but I also wanted to build some of the models as well (and I have a chip on my shoulder about this as I am certain this would have increased my logic and spatial skills at an early age) but he would not let me play or borrow. So I asked my parents to buy me a set for Christmas. Now, both my brother and I enjoyed Star-Trek, and the ships, and things like that. And those were the kind of sets my brother had, space-ship sets. I thought I would get one like that. I was thoroughly disabused of this notion xmas day, when my parents got me “pink” leggos, with girls and a pre-built house. Man was I pissed. I believe I was called an ungrateful brat by my father and subsequently shamed, though that might be a memory from a different time. I was equally pissed when I was eleven and both my brother and I got these walky-talky things which I now forget the name of, though there was a “boy” in the title. And yes I got the one with “girl” in the title, and though it was essentially the same product it was pink. However, I think that mistake was corrected. The previous mistake was not corrected, because I think we did not have the money. On the other hand, my brother could have shared.

    • May 28, 2009 3:05 am

      Although my parents did reinforce boy/girl roles, periodically, I did escaped pink being pushed on me, as well as girl specific toys or what girls should or should not do because they are girls. Like, I am still amazed that I never stopped when I read something and thought, “the girl in the story is doing (or being) this so that means I must do or be that.” I identified with who I liked most. Same with television.

      My mother wanted boys, my father never stated, so I think the general sentiment was that although we all knew my sister and I were girls we were sort of all boys. At least it was that way until we were old enough to get pregnant, then it all sluts, whores, and bitches. Which believe me, the shift creates confusion out of this world. And probably because of our family dynamics vs. examining the structure of society, for the longest it was not because I was a girl that I was called a slut, bitch, or whore, but because I was not liked as much as my brothers were liked. However, I was probably not liked as much as they were liked because I was a girl. LOL! Still, I feel lucky some how (lucky, not better). It feels as if I escaped something that now allows me more distance to examine it all vs. the lack of distance a woman who was raised by parents who demanded that she identified with pink and such has to deal with when examining it all.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      May 28, 2009 3:20 am

      “However, I was probably not liked as much as they were liked because I was a girl” Yes, I am the supremely unlikeable one, whereas everyone adores my brother.

      Oh I don’t have issues to work out about pink being forced upon me, lol. It was just the issue of me being uppity enough to think myself equal to brother, or to a male protagonist, and then bam! I get hit with the pink dollhouse.

    • May 28, 2009 3:27 am

      Well, I should have made it clearer. Not you specifically, but think about it. If a girl started from square one (let’s move linear) and was forced into pink and girl specific toys, etc, and accepted this and did not see any thing wrong with it, even thought it was “natural.” (I do want to beat my head in the wall when I try to tell my friends how their gender roles are not “natural.”) When (or if, but let’s hope it is when) she realizes she has been hoodwinked, she will then have to start the deprogramming process. The hole she will have to dig her way out of will be deeper than if she was never programmed or programmed less. Then again, using the same linear measure, if she was programmed to suck menz dick and think all men were great, she would have to dig her way out of that hole as well. Just to get to ground zero. We are not even talking empowering herself yet. LOL! It is mess.

  3. atheistwoman permalink
    May 28, 2009 3:37 am

    Oh I do understand. The more programming and brainwashing which occurs (and the more acceptance which goes with it) the longer it takes to become one with a clear mind. I doubt it is possible for anyone to completely deprogram oneself. Now that would be a nice day…

  4. May 28, 2009 4:31 am

    Horrifying poem, yes. And you *are* fabulous, Kitty. Great post.

  5. atheistwoman permalink
    May 28, 2009 5:36 am

    Bwhaha Kitty, I’m sorry this is massive derailment, but I find it amusing. I’m afraid your blog address has become like that friend’s phone number that you (not *you* but the general you) always call by accident before you call anyone else. I mean to go to my own site, and then come here instead.

  6. kamododragon permalink
    May 28, 2009 2:38 pm

    Very Nice poem and well translated. Do you have the original Spanish version

  7. May 28, 2009 6:52 pm

    Yes, I am the supremely unlikeable one, whereas everyone adores my brother.

    Ditto. Sigh.

  8. atheistwoman permalink
    May 28, 2009 7:10 pm

    (((Amy))).

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