José Antonio Mazzotti

About the poet:

José Antonio Mazzotti (Lima, 1961) received the First Prize in the 1980 “Túpac Amaru” Poetry Contest at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, with Poemas no recogidos en libro (Poems Not Collected in a Book, Lima, 1981). In 1985 he published his second collection, Fierro curvo (órbita poética) (Curved Iron (poetic orbit)), and in 1988 his third book, Castillo de popa (Poop Deck), which reflects the state of mind of a wide sector of Peruvian youth at that time in the face of the difficult years of the civil war and the galloping economic deterioration of the country. The book was a finalist in the Casa de las Américas Award in Havana that same year. He has also published the poetry collections El libro de las auroras boreales (The Book of the Northern Lights, Amherst, 1995), Señora de la noche (Lady of the Night, Mexico, 1998), El Zorro y la Luna. Antología Poética (The Fox and the Moon. Poetry Anthology 1981-1999, Lima, 1999), Sakra Boccata (Mexico, 2006, and Lima, 2007, with a foreword by Raúl Zurita), Las flores del Mall (The Flowers of the Mall, Lima, 2009), Declinaciones latinas (Latin Declensions, Houston and Mexico City, 2015 ), Apu Kalypso / Palabras de la bruma (Lima, 2015) and a compilation of his complete work with the same title of El Zorro y la Luna (New York, 2016), a book that won the International Poetry Prize “José Lezama Lima” from Casa de las Américas, Cuba, in 2018. A bilingual version of Sakra Boccata with translations by Clayton Eshleman appeared in 2013 in Ugly Ducling Press, New York. He has been included in numerous Peruvian and foreign anthologies, such as the General Anthology of Peruvian Poetry: From Vallejo to Today (Lima), La mitad del cuerpo sonríe (Mexico), La letra en que nació la pena (Lima), Caudal de piedra (Mexico), Fuego abierto (Chile), Cuerpo plural (Spain), etc.

He currently is King Felipe VI of Spain Professor of Spanish Culture and Civilization and Professor of Latin American literature at Tufts University. He has published numerous essays on El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, creole cultures, viceregal epic poetry, contemporary poetry and documentation of Amazonian languages. Among others, Coros mestizos del Inca Garcilaso: resonancias andinas (1996), Incan Insights: El Inca Garcilaso’s Hints to Andean Readers (2008), The Creole Invention  of Peru: Ethnic Nation and Epic Poetry in Colonial Lima (2019), etc. He is president of the International Association of Peruvianists and director of the Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana.

1

La Luna, de puro nueva, se arroja sobre el Sol. Miren su cabellera
incendiando el firmamento. Su piel curtida y blanca como la
noche.

Una espalda cubre una barba. Un chorro de alga se mezcla con la
lengua.
Han descendido al fondo de los mares sobre un primer piso.

En la ciudad los guardianes pasean centinelas de su sueño. Un
secreto de a dos es un milagro
De los libres, esos astros que se cruzan en las autopistas y por un
instante apenas
Se miran lo que duran los cometas.

Te soñé todas las noches por más de 300 años, contaba las sortijas del
rosario hasta quedar dormido
Y ensartaba su Círculo Perfecto con la aguja de tu órbita.

Aries se deja arrastrar por la fuerza del Sol
A los mayores arrecifes de la costa:

Y las olas martillean Tu Nombre, chorreando por la espuma el néctar
duraznero de tu Sakra Herida,
La alegría de las catacumbas, la resurrección de los muertos
Y la Vida Eterna.

1

!e Moon, completely new, rushes over the Sun. Look at her head of
hair setting the “rmament on “re. Her skin hardened and white
like the night.

A back covers a beard. A gush of seaweed mixes with the tongue.
They have descended to the bottom of the seas on the first floor.

In the city guardians stroll by, sentries of their dream. !e secret of
two is a miracle
Of the free, those heavenly bodies who pass each other on the
highways and for barely an instant
Look at each other as lastingly as comets.

I dreamed about you every night for more than 300 years, I counted
rosary beads until falling asleep
And threaded their Perfect Circle with the needle of your orbit.

Aries allows himself to be dragged by the Sun’s power
To the greatest reefs of the coast:

And the waves hammer Your Name, gushing through the foam the
peach tree nectar of your Sakra Wound,
!e happiness of the catacombs, the resurrection of the dead
And Life Eternal

2

Llueve sobre los montes de Cibelia
Alucina la Luna su respaldo de nubes
Pero las que se acercan son de humo
Nubes de fusinas y de bombardeos
Allí donde Luna decidió acampar por unos días
Largos como dos embarcaderos
Y pasea la marea dócilmente fisgoneando las ventanas
De las muchachas febles
Y a cada una le irradia la pequeñez del cuerpo
Y el esplendor de su olor de tamarindo
Cada árbol de carne es un marisco estirado
Arrastra su pelambre por las veredas lavadas
Sus labios in”nitos besando la tierra
Su caracol levantado como una gota de miel
Bifronte y consistente
Allí Luna desciende de los aires
Para posar su planta
Quema su huella en la punta de los lapiceros
La ciudad se enrojece ante su nombre
Ha llegado la diosa ambarina
El mar explosiona sobre el risco nocturno:

Llueve sobre los montes de Cibelia

2

It rains on the mountains of Cibelia
!e Moon hallucinates her backing of clouds
But those that draw near are made of smoke
Clouds of factories and of bombardments
!ere where Moon decides to encamp for a few days
As long as two piers
And docilely the tide strolls by snooping on the windows
Of feeble girls
And irradiates for each one the smallness of her body
And the splendor of her tamarind odor
Each tree of flesh is a stretched shellfish
She drags her mop of hair across the washed sidewalks
Her infinite lips kissing the ground
Her snail raised like a drop of honey
Bifrontal and consistent
!ere Moon descends through the air
In order to plant her sole
She burns her footprint onto the tip of the pens
!e city blushes in the presence of her name
!e amber goddess has arrived *
!e sea explodes over the nocturnal cliff
It rains on the mountains of Cibelia

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