“But if I could converse with you, I would do nothing more than fill your head with castles in the sky, because fortune has made it so that I cannot speak of the silk trade, or the wool trade, or of profits and losses in business, but only of political questions. And so I must either take a vow of silence, or deal with matters of state.”
~ Machiavelli, Letter to Francesco Vettori, April 9, 1513
Such a long time not knowing what to do
with this wretched dream
stained with sudden terrors.
To have seen a sky collapse
amid flowers and birds
and a forest in flames
at the foot of a mountain.
So much have I lamented
being here, sitting,
considering this man
who reads by night
and by day writes
with the air of one well-read.
To what end have I come to a place I do not recall
where I am but an absence who remembers nothing,
not even his voice,
nor his own face in the stone where
we used to see ourselves.
I think they have changed me in making me more a man.
What will become of me, without a soul to comfort me,
without a country where I could forget my suffering?
Now I want to think and watch the river.
Now I only want to say goodbye and recall
the friendship of palm trees
Now, please, let me drink in peace
my dear old coca tea.
~ Pedro Shimose, trans. from Spanish by Michael Sisson
Pedro Shimose was born in Riberalta and is half-Japanese. A composer of popular music, he has also written ‘quiero escribir pero me sale espuma’, ‘el coco se llama drilo’ and ‘reflexiones maquiavélicas’.
Michael Sisson has translated Quechua poetry and is currently working on a collection of stories by the young Nicaraguan Eunice Shade.