At a quarter past foursurrounded by Chinatown merchants I tell him:I outlasted the earthquake and water.I'm 1989 splitting in twoand what you're thinking right now,I'm that too.I'm a sweet girl—I'm china—like that woman you thinkwould look better if she kept quietand messed up her hairand was somewhere elsebut not here,who'd look great nakedand stretched outin a Modigliani painting.I'm her,and of coursesir,it's trueI'm Modigliani.I'm the star tipand the paper strip that falls through the air on holidays,the author of the theorythat the spiritis a bone that can't be gnawed away at.I'm the urge to fall apart and say something.I can't afford a ticket to the movies,but I'm in all of themand that's why I'm dirtyand worn outand a sadder man than god.By this time I'm cardboardand dough,the paper matand the purple street cornerand what you left behind at the station.I'm a foot in the stirrupand the last thing that Paul thoughtand I can say anything because I'm dirtyand I can't afford my own ticket to the movies.I'm the author of the theory of the spirit,I'm one side of the spirit,I'm the ideal girl.I'm Chinatown,sir,for real,24/7and overrun,I have a street on every corner in the worldand, naturally,I'mthe only thing we've got left.
Copyright © 2018 by Andrea Cote-Botero.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Andrea Cote-Botero (Barrancabermeja, Colombia, 1981) is the prize-winning author of the poetry collections Puerto Calcinado, Cosas Frágiles (2013), La ruina que nombro (2015), and Chinatown a toda hora (2017). Recognized as one of the most relevant new voices in contemporary Spanish American poetry, her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and she has been invited to read her work at a wide range of poetry events in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Her poems have been translated into many languages, including Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, and Macedonian. Cote-Botero is also a translator of poetry from English into Spanish and currently holds the position of assistant professor of creative writing in the bilingual MFA program at the University of Texas, El Paso.
Olivia Lott completed her BA in Literature in Spanish at Kenyon College in 2015 before receiving a 2015-2016 Fulbright Grant to Colombia. She is a third-year PhD student in Hispanic Studies and a Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellow. Her primary academic interests include modern and contemporary Spanish American poetry, the 1960s and 1970s in the Hispanic Caribbean, literary journals, postcolonial theory, and translation studies. Her most recent translations of Colombian poetry can be found in Brooklyn Rail in Translation, MAKE, Mantis, Río Grande Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Waxwing, and World Literature Today. Her book-length translation (with Barbara Jamison) of The Dirty Text by Cuban poet Soleida Ríos is forthcoming with Kenning Editions. She is currently the Editorial Assistant for the Revista de Estudios Hispánicos.
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