false translation

I thought it would be fun to practice doing false translations, so I took the writing prompt from NaPoWriMo as a jumping off point for Day 16. But, I’m posting it today because life.

Since I first learned about this exercise while studying with Diane di Prima, I’ve become more compelled by this idea of the vagaries of translation: from language to language, from perspective to perspective, from identity construct to identity construct. How all we are and see and do alters our perception so that really, everything becomes a translation filtered through our human, our animal skins.

I do not especially like this poem. In fact, it irritates me and I almost feel shamed by it. I’m posting it anyway because fuckit. (original poem follows)

Bimbo, nestled placenta

Bimbo, in cup of media

Morbid curtain of Pele

Enduring the putana

Rose red, flame of what disgrace

Red of your bloody body tongue

Appending the fat

Bimbo, ladled out there.

Bimba nella
placenta, bimba
sotto coperta,
nella corteccia
morbida di pelle,
indurita dal
bosco, rossa
come scottata,
rossa che nuoti nel
tuo sangue,
appena fatta, bimba
qui scodellata.

© Elisa Biagini
From: Cappuccio Rosso
Publisher: Einaudi

Published by

mellielib

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

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