Two Poems by Alí Calderón, translated by Mario Licón Cabrera


Image by eleda 1. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


Over the Bosphorus Bridge a fisherman

has set up four fishing lines

sits down tunes the radio

stares at the pedestrians

It’s drizzling and it’s cold

Drops on the water

The universe

One of the fishhooks takes

The force that unites everything and unties it

Puffs of grief shock

slowness of asphyxia

Now the man has the fish

shakes the air with its body

Seagulls gather round

He throws the fish into the sky

its scales the metallic gleam

The little eyes look at the sea the relief

just before but gaining great altitude

suddenly a beak rips its fins

tears apart its body guzzles

in one second the remains

In secret someone was thinking of God

Cruel fisherman of men


another corpse found in a black bag

by a body the wind a bridge

two blocks away: a spiky head open eyes

in other news: on the weekend thirty executed coup

  de grâce some of them with torture marks the failed rescue

  of a kidnap a finger a ring a roll of newspaper

in other news: the political campaigns ended and started there’s

  good will in Washington this trimester the migratory reform focuses

  on poverty welfare happiness

far away a bus’s muffler

then silence

they open the black bag

the stench of rotten flesh:

a new born little girl

Correction: Mario Bojórquez was incorrectly listed as the translator instead of Mario Licón Cabrera when these poems were first published in both our print and digital editions. The Lifted Brow apologises for this error.

This piece appears in The Lifted Brow #32. Get your copy here.

Alí Calderón (Mexico, 1982) is a poet, publisher, literary critic and the director of the International Poetry Festival of Mexico City.

Mario Licón Cabrera (Chihuahua, México, 1949) is a poet and translator. He has published four collections of poetry including Yuxtas (Back & Forth), a bilingual edition with the support of Australian Council for the Arts in 2009. He has translated many Australian leading poets into Spanish, including Dorothy Porter, Judith Beveridge, Peter Boyle, Ali Cobby Eckerman, Robert Adamson, Michelle Cahill and many more. He is a regular contributor for two Mexican magazines (DosFilos and Círculo de Poesía) as well as for the Australian online magazine Mascara Literary Review. He won the Premio de Poesia Trilce (Australia, 2015) and his latest book of translations is Poems of Mijail Lamas, Mario Bojórquez, & Alí Calderón.