Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Skopje— Michele Porsia

Aug 31, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN BY BRENDA PORSTER

Skopje

Image Used for Representation

 

– This is my body
made of roads and words, of houses and periods
this is the body of the text, the gangrenous metonymy of language.

I want to melt the metal point of the key
a mint candy, cold
and then dissemble
and dissolve, divide existence
into minute fragments invisible to sight
so that I become city, neighborhood, your home –

My hands end up searching for the candle.
It was a black-out that made me understand everything, in the low light
I saw cleaner lines,
the map has sharper features, a mouth,
under the eyes’ altimetric lines, nostrils. Ears in the diagonal,
folds in the map, remembering.

I have heard the breath wavering. I hear
I open the seventh door and touch the lost wax
perception becomes synapses still warm
on the grey metal of a ring that leads.
The glasses on the table by the bed
the wax plugs. Near. Will the game be worth the candle?
Who can say. Not even the giant Skopje
has an eye large enough
to take in the pattern at a glance.
Even in the dead body there is no answer,
but it looks recomposed
in the paper urn in scale one to twenty-seven thousand.

Eat the page, this is my body
take it make of it your daily newspaper, a manifesto to hang on the wall,
packaging for your carriage,
transcribe the words in other languages, translate these on your walls

***
If I am in the bedroom I can enter your inmost thoughts. Attracted, interweave glances, come too close so as not to see the face, disassembled image now, cubist. Here is the third eye advancing, the blue lamp wavering on your stone forehead.
So few letters, to wreath sighs like craftsmen in a sheet, white veil and shroud. Polished vowels. Nostrils, to smell the same scent of wet wood. Roots and dark knots. Hands, to reassemble pleasure in tesseras of clouded glass, an abstract mosaic of touch. Patient. To incarnate the wait.
Arms, among the graftings of a blackand white mulberry tree, branches of a single life. Divided. Eyes, to look at us then with mouths dirtied by our own fruit, red. Sexes. Body to be body. Only body alone. Water of the Vardar. Wet splinters gathered in the middle of my icy stomach, the smell of rain in my navel, shelter of a wasted life. Sign, scar and knot conceived in my empty womb, envelope of my self.
The mirror shattered then, the mirror shattered to a thousand tiny seeds, live fragments. And a thousand times I saw your thousand reflected faces.
***
I go back to my lowest stature. Skopje has disappeared,
and the photos will be useless, the wax statues
erected like seven wonders
no one will recognize him
among the paper colossi made to his memory. I see
works in course and to the east and words
to the west the two doors,
the sign curves over the – ands – of conjunction
my ears, to the north the circular nostrils
— the surveyor says it can’t be done – but to smell the cold scent of logic
you must choose: always or everywhere, there can be no compromise.

– Before leaving I ask you
to direct my trabeated stone
eyes towards a warm, suave light: two points
to explore more deeply the matter of a gaze.

I was forgetting. Leave the last door turned upwards
so that my words can trace
the slow parabola of thought. Far away, towards zero degree
a point of sense will remain on the tongue. Wet,
it will wait for the day when I can put out
the light of reason
with two spit–dampened fingers —


Also, read In Praise Of Métissage by Cheikh Tidiane Gaye, translated from the Italian by Marie Orton, and published in The Antonym:

In Praise of Métissage— Cheikh Tidiane Gaye


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Michele Porsia

Michele Porsia

Michele Porsia (1982) is a poet, visual artist and architect. He holds a Master’s Degree in Cultural Landscape Promotion and Planning and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning. After uprooting himself more than once to live and study in Florence and in Prague, he has returned to live in Termoli, Molise, where he was born. He first appeared on the Italian poetry scene in 2007, when he was selected as one of the promising young Italian poets for the anthology Nodo sottile 5 (2008, Le Lettere). Since then, he has a large number of awards and honourable mentions. His first published collection was Sintomi di Alofilia (Giulio Perrone Lab, 2009). In 2011 his collection Bianchi Girari (Giulio Perrone Editrice) was shortlisted for the 2014 Lorenzo Montano Prize, followed by the long poem “Kos” in the anthology Poets of Distantness (Marco Saya), and other poems that appeared in Quadernario – Almanac of Contemporary Poetry (LietoColle, 2015) and in La Parola Informe (Marco Saya, 2018). Michele has participated in multiple readings and performances in international art and poetry projects and festivals, including Parma Poetry, Young Renewable Energy at Mart in Rovereto, the Biennale Verona Poetry, Voci lontane, voci sorelle in Florence, the prestigious Biennale des jeunes créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (BJCEM) in Skopje, North Macedonia, the TRE Landscape Forum 2022 in Rimini and the Premio PescaraArt2022. His poems have been translated into English, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish. Today he continues his artistic research linking poetry to visual arts and performance in his native town of Termoli.

Brenda Porster

Brenda Porster

Brenda Porster grew up in Phildelphia, U.S.A. and lived in New York City, where she attended Columbia University before moving to Florence (Italy) to complete her studies. She has lived most of her life in Italy, teaching English language and literature, and writing and translating poetry in both English and Italian.

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