José Antonio Mazzotti from: Sakra Boccata Translation by Clayton Eshleman
Your Konch is that exquisite place most deeply inside the war * One must arrive there with the dexterity of the wounded pilot Navigating labyrinths like the palm of his hand Following each curve like a treasure map With its walls and its gates Shouting Red Rum Red Rum / Destruction Never * Only the rending of bodies exists that of the clearing of Your down trimmed before the happy mirror Immense eye of the delirious lock that observes you You regard the pink of its pleat Like the lip that covers the horizon As the fog lifts Your Konch is the space at the center of the Southern Cross It sanctifies the city with its ray All sins are transformed into garlands Surrounding the Virgin of Chapi in her black mantle * The aroma of incense brings a foaming breeze It levitates over the bones It kisses the Lord’s Staff and the gold slips from her forehead Eyes more verdant than the forest’s depths It purifies the urine on all the walls The finger ventilates the lower mouth The tongue snakes across the perfumed gutter Your Konch is that throbbing spongy muscle That never stops throbbing
I vie to revert Vallejo vibrates I too but leaving an ice labyrinth * I vie with your sullen and ruddy bun your invisible slippers a tree’s reflection in the lake In these is concentrated your Lemnian profile of a lunatic tide of Andronican * control the navigators of that lake do not recognize its stars so they say They tremble like the child approaching his first act of love Her name was Yola and he was fifteen the waves were scraping the cirruses the Black Circle made Its first turn and the boy threw himself at the Resurrection Of the Flesh because Blessed is the Name of the Lord Who dwells between your Cyanean Rocks you’ve returned from Nothing like a remembered dream After centuries of silence Blessed is the Name Of the Lord because he heals wounds comforts the sick blesses us With his flesh in two concentric rivers mouth Of the bright day that conjugates * Under the double arches of your blood, where * One can only pass on tiptoes I vie I vie I vie I vie Your sullen and ruddy bun your invisible slippers a tree’s reflection In the lake
Concerning the title of the poem, Mazzotti writes: “Sakra Boccata is a title coined after words for Sacred and Mouthful in Spanish/Italian. The Italian ‘boccata’ also refers to strongly exhaled or foul breath. In Spanish, the equivalent would be ‘bocanada,’ a word that can be divided into ‘boca’ (mouth) and ‘nada’ (nothing), a metaphor for the impotence of written poetry facing the splendor of poetic reality.
‘Sakra’ also evokes the Quechuan ‘saqra,’ a mischievous demon. Thus Sakra Boccata can also be read as “a mouthful from the Devil,’ which can refer to cunnilingus.
The divine breath that God breathed into matter as well as a sense of poetry as an art that creates life are also present in the title. These ideas are of medieval origin at a time when poetry was conceived as the Queen of Arts and Sciences, as it should be.”
Section 3: “Your Konch is that exquisite place:” The reader will notice that some words are written with a K instead of a C (e.g., Konch, LoKilla, Kolgar). Certain Peruvian writers in the 1980s employed this substitution as a way to challenge conventional orthographic rules and to stress the oral components of poems. A representative case: “Kloaka” (for “Cloaca,” or Sewer), an anarchist group of poets who denounced the excesses of the dirty war and complicity of most intellectuals in it during that decade.
“Red Rum Red Rum:” “Murder” written backwards, a playful allusion to a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining (1980).
“the Virgin of Chapi:” the patron saint of the Peruvian city of Arequipa worshipped on May 1 of every year.
Section 4: “I vie to revert:” a translation of the distorted phrase, “Vusco volver” from Trilce IX by César Vallejo.
“your Lemnian profile:”a reference to the island of Lemnos (Argonautics, Chant I), where women reigned and killed their lovers after mating.
“Andronican:” pertaining to Titus Andronicus, the cruel Roman general in Shakespeare’s early tragedy of the same name.
“Of the bright day that conjugates:” a translation of a phrase from Trilce II.
“Under the double arches… pass on tiptoes:” a translation of two lines from Trilce LXV.