Poems by Juan Garrido-Salgado and Ariel Riveros Pavez

(edited by Ramon Loyola) 

Changing Places to Sleep Not for Political / Security Reasons After the Reading at Sappho Last Night 

By Juan Garrido-Salgado

To Beth Spencer and Claudia Taranto

It was a cold and wonderful night to catch up with poets.
A long conversation with Stuart Cooke on Pablo de Rokha & Nicanor Parra.
A conversation on Valparaiso & Chilli Picante. He missed it at meals, he said
in a Chilean accent.
To listen and laugh with Ouyang Yu, Claire Nashar and Beth Spencer,
their poems of life’s luggage
creating sounds and stresses on the English vowels
and Chinese/Spanish consonant accents.
Making Australia an open mic today
were ten readers, young and serious. It was a great birthday celebration
for Neruda on the 12th of July.

Sappho Bookshop was a ship anchored at the shore
of Isla Negra… voices, accents, simple gifts to the poet assassinated on September 1973.

Believe me, Toby Fitch, I saw you there as the Captain of our journey
into the sea of verses and conversations.
Believe me, David Ades, I saw you there as one of Neruda’s ancient figureheads.

Yesterday after the reading, I was a child standing still
at my mother’s front door
with no key; only an electronic card.

An empty room keeping a vigil for a dying ghost in the white bed.
Beth and Claudia offered for me to sleep in Claudia’s son’s room, Ramón,
who was travelling in Colombia.

My stillness disappeared.
I felt my mother smile on the other side of the moon.
Ramón’s room was as warm as when I was Ramón
in Chile in 1983 on my clandestine bed,
in places where I stayed with compañeros.

Yes. I was Ramón, Samuel o Bernardo —
Never introduced myself with ID for security reasons.
Ramón was my name last night; I slept underground snuggled up in my memory
but my dreams were real.
I woke up with the dogs barking & hunting the moon’s shadow at the door.
I, sleeping south of what used to be.
Durmiendo hacia el sur de lo que un día fui.

Whilst I Was Here With You and Living on the Other Side of the World…

By Ariel Riveros Pavez

I am unsure
how many languages I spoke
and what algorithmic cycle
under 5, 8 and 13
I revolved around

English to touch
the old fallows
of Chaucer and
the mappa mundi of sea monsters

speaking and stretching my arms
under water
talking in the seafarer’s currents
that drowned sailors only know
like the keys they carry

Spanish, with an embarrassed foil
enough to walk by promenade
port and Plaza de Armas,
less the concrete quality
of those who work
and transact a living with
the persistent white-collared
clerks and managers

close enough to read
newspapers as poetry
and poetry as prosaic newspapers
the crooked cinema of
as otherness
and the bruised dreams
left sleeping by English

Mathemata, an open
algebra where integral
consistencies internal
were decentered
where equations
muttered like Rimbaud’s
j’suis l’autre

and nominally it was a base 5
and the hub to the spheres as
sprawled spectrum
penta to pata

a genetic Patagonian
a phantom vault
without horses
ancient megafauna as
an inheritance of invisibility
where a matriarch’s thoughts
by magic, eventuate after
one moon’s passing

and the language that crossed
the world, linked cells
reproducing old worlds
capturing with leaped hands
the promise of constants
and the hypnosis of fault lines
as I looked into chasms
to say

the abyss itself is a world
but not one meant for humans
without wings

I made those wings and
there was a ground to the fathomless
there was no light
yet in the melee between
myself and the civilised world
a purple torch appeared
and I saw nothing but ground
and a long flight back to the earth’s
surface, back to the ravines and horizons
where all there is, is light
and where the abyss afforded
me rest

and I smiled
not fearing creature
nor monster in any moon’s passing.

* This poem previously appeared in Southerly 74.1 (2014)

juans-photo-1-1Juan Garrido-Salgado is a political refugee who immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. He has published five books of poetry and his poems have been widely published in a variety of literary journals. He has translated works into Spanish from John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Judith Beveridge, Dorothy Porter, MTC Cronin, Samuel Wagan Watson and Lionel Fogarty, including Cronin’s Talking to Neruda’s Questions (2004). He has translated five Aboriginal poets for Espejo de Tierra/Earth Mirror Poetry Anthology (2008). One of his stories has been published in the anthology Joyful Strains — Making Australia Home, edited by Kent MacCarter & Ali Lemur (2013). With Steve Brock and Sergio Holas, Garrido-Salgado also translated The Trilingual Mapuche Poetry Anthology (2014) into English.

arielAriel Riveros Pavez is a Sydney based writer and translator. His works have appeared in Southerly, Contrappasso Magazine, Mascara ReviewFourW  and Forgetting is so Long Love Poetry Anthology. He has published a chapbook of short stories, Self Imposed House Arrest, among many other publications. Find out more about Ariel on his blog.