I started a new literary translation project! Driving across the state of Texas after learning of my abuelita’ s death, I had the time, 15 hours, to remember, visualize, and value a woman that taught me the significance of being a female and being a mother. There were two items belonging to my abuelita that I wished to have. First and after much deliberation, or rather listening to my uncle’s lecture about the invaluable worth that this item held, I became the honored caretaker of abuelita’s Singer antique treadle sewing machine, on which she taught me how to sew. The second item, a more significant piece, a collection of verses found by my mother as she woefully cleaned out her mother’s home. Indeed a difficult ritual that compels strength and care on the part of the child attempting to hold on to their lost parent. During this grieving rite, an old, wrinkled and stained notebook filled with exquisite penmanship and delicately written verses was unearthed. No name, no poet referenced, sections cut out… simply verses, occasionally dated, written with care. This is my current literary project, one that I will share with you as I transcribe, translate, and explore, whether these verses are her own or her favorites, and interpret the cultural and generational growth of two mestizas, among a multitude of talented women that make up mi familia. Here’s a glimpse into abuelita’s artistic soul.
~ Herencia ~
¡Inútil todo! ¡Sus gritos vanos eran su crimen, su infamia tanta que temblorosas mis pobres manos, enfurecidas cual los océanos se abalanzaron a su garganta!
La sangre roja, como su vida, de su boquita con ansia loca brotó silbando cual de una herida;
mi sed de bestia buscó bebida, y allí a su boca junté mi boca. ¡No se me olvida! – ¡Cuadro espantoso! El buitre cerca de los despojos del cuerpo muerto y aún hermoso. ¡Qué de maldiciones en su sollozo! ¡Cuántos reproches los de sus ojos! Mi negro acto ya está pagado; ya está pagado como es debido, ¡pues lo que tengo de despiadado y de canalla y de malvado, es por su sangre que yo he bebido!
~ Heredity ~
Useless, everything! The vain screams were his crime, his infamy, so much, my poor, trembling hands raging, that the oceans seized his throat!
The red blood, like his life, from his mouth gushed forth with mad desire, shrilling of an injury;
my beastly thirst scoured to drink, and there, at his mouth, I joined my own. I can’t forget it! – Ghastly image! The vulture circling the remains of the dead body and yet beautiful. Cursing in his wails! Accusations from his eyes! My dark act has been paid; has been paid as it is proper, as what I am; cruel, scum and evil, is because of the blood that I have taken!
Powerful, yet distressing. Picture this, a woman’s desperation caught in a violent relationship, or imagine a mother’s depression, so overwhelming that she is propelled to do an unimaginable brutal act.