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Two Poems by Armando Caicedo Translated from Spanish

These two poems by Colombian-American writer Armando Caicedo have been translated from Spanish by Kenneth D. Weiss. 

It Is Too Late Now

Look at the map, the clock and the calendar.
It is too late!
Here is the crux of the matter!

This is the hour to go our separate ways.

Let us make this last embrace a knot
– tight, warm, intense –
Let us make the most of this moment,
its pressing shape of parentheses

and its indolent eternal life.

No, do not break the silence,
there is nothing more to say.
We should let our quiet sighs speak for us

and the beating of our arteries set the pace.

In your final glance
I see a single tear escape
from the crevice in which women hide their souls.
That drop of dew descends without regret
in
slow
motion
down
the cheek,
betraying the anguish that we feel

as we part, trembling, to go our separate ways.

Today I immersed myself in the salty sea of that tear
like a shipwrecked man who throws himself, hallucinating

into the tempestuous waters of another last goodbye.

Last Testament

I leave to you my bad examples,
my cheap jokes,
three marked up books,
and a list of good friends
who will not attend my funeral.

I leave to you my dog
and my sworn fidelity,
written on a bar bill for rum.

I leave you a box of love letters,
six arrest orders that I ignored
and the loaded dice
I chanced to steal one day.

I leave you, unfinished,
a romantic poem,
a satirical essay,
an adventure novel,
six cooking recipes,
a book of grammar,
the history of the best lady in my wedding,
an informatics manual,
my office memoirs,
and other major works
that I really never wrote.

I leave you the “catty valor” medal
won by that water dog
that I never ever bathed.

Also, I bequeath to you
authentic counterfeits, made in China,
of Diogenes lantern
of Socrates’ hemlock
of Caligula’s hair
of Lazaro’s wounds
and of the columns of Hercules.

I leave you a suppressed sigh,
an abstract drawing,
three urgent telegrams,
a great opera that I plagiarized,
my collection of toothpicks,
my worthless opinion
and my two linden syrups
with no expiration dates.

I leave you an alarm clock,
an untraveled world,
and my American Dream
in its original packaging;
a lifetime guarantee of frustrated love,
a bit of currency that is false
and another that is less so,
and three obscene words
that, on a night of insomnia
I must have coined myself.

I leave you my debts;
care for them jealously
also my passport, with no stamps
and a visa to the Congo that I did not use.

I leave you three frustrated wishes:
to send my boss to a shithole,
and his saintly little mother
and a hundred bill collectors whom I managed to ignore.

I leave you a bad check
to calm the hunger of the four curious ones
who will go to my funeral,
and of the tax collector
who examines indiscreetly
the poor luxuries that go in my coffin.

I leave to you my milk teeth,
a book on “Macondo,”
my bilingual dog,
my maid and my poet,
the cat and the parrot,
and still more treasures
that I have always kept.

I leave you,
yes, I leave you
because I can hear the clarions,
the trumpets vibrating,
the people, excited, as in a carnival.
They are announcing, for the poets,
the first act of the final judgment.

About the author

Armando Caicedo is a Colombian-American journalist, cartoonist and writer. He has authored four novels, two books of history, a book of humor, a book of 120 political cartoons, selected from the many he has produced, and two books of poems. He was for 18 years a syndicated columnist in the genre of humor and satire. He was awarded an International Novel Prize, has won four José Martí awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications and was given the "Premio de Literatura 2018", by FILCOL. (Organization of international book fairs in Spanish). Mr. Caicedo lives in South Florida: www.ArmandoCaicedo.com.

About the author

Kenneth D. Weiss is a speaker and writer who does poetry and creative non-fiction, including memoirs, and translates literature from Spanish to English. His publications include print and on-line magazine articles and several books on international trade.  Ken is a member of the Maryland Writers Association, heads a Creative Writers Group in the city of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is an active supporter of the annual Gaithersburg Book Fair. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees, has lived in six countries and traveled to about 80, and speaks three languages.

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