Poetry Competition 2020 - Best Poem in the Spanish Language

27-Nov-2020


Best Poem in the Spanish Language Winner

¡Que no muera el repicar!

by Mark Montovio

Sueño despierto con él, con ese tambor de mi tierra,

engalarnado con realeza, y fogoso repicar.

Digna cuna de mis raíces, y lecho de lo que anhelo,

con la magia protectora, de Pablo, Juan y San Pedro.

En Caracas, Maracaibo y Falcón.

En Aragua, Carabobo y Cumaná.

Gran mestizaje de goce y de alegría.

Parrandero bullanguero, bien de noche y en el día.

Tambor tambor desde tan lejos.

Sincretismo cultural del sufrimiento centenario,

vinculado al nacimiento de esta gran humanidad.

El tamunango, las tamboras, los chimbagueles también.

El mina, el curbata, el furroco ídem.

Tambor macho arriero, el respuesta o respondón.

El cantante y el segundo, tambor tambor con su son.

Suenan sabroso a canela, guarapa, y cacao de Chuao.

Taumatúrgico su rezumbar, a flor de piel y pipiripao.

Curucuteo en los macundales, que del chinchorro he de parar.

Pues se prende ya el bochinche, y Papi, se oye al retumbar.

Taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ta.

Taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ta.

Pero allá, mas allá de su piel, de ese cuero bien templado,

se funde el hechizo del son, de un sonido bien guardado.

Mientras soñaba con brío, con solo contigo estar,

la brisa traía el mensaje, de su hermoso repicar.

“Sigue tu camino chamo, que tu momento esta al llegar”.

De mi tierra triste partí, y me salvas del olvido.

Que no se pierda en mi memoria, el sonido más querido.

Que me lleve hasta la gloria, todo el tiempo que esté fuera.

Que el camino engrandezca y el espíritu no muera.

Así que repiquen los tambores,

y que bailen los señores.

Que no muera el repicar,

en cuero y en piel sin resguardar.

Taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ta.

Taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ti, taqui ta.

Taqui ti, taqui ti...

Taqui ti, ti ...


Judge Charlie Durante’s Comments:

“Mark’s poem is a celebration of the syncretistic culture of many parts of South America.  To understand and appreciate the full range of Mark’s references one would need to append a glossary, explaining the many obscure words, especially those dealing with musical instruments and dances peculiar to different regions of Latin American. However, the poem works wonderfully well if you allow yourself to be carried by the insistent rhythm of the ‘tambor de mi tierra.’  The music combines indigenous, Spanish and African elements which inspire the body to sway rhythmically and sensuously.  The real inspiration behind the poem (aside from a deep engagement with South American culture) is a nostalgic yearning for a lost way of life. The speaker is an exile, a person displaced and uprooted.  The poem is a plea for a return to one’s birthplace, the ‘digna cuna de mis raices. A reader will recall another great hymn to the ‘mestizaje’ of South America: Pablo Neruda’s Canto General.  Again, the vocabulary tries to capture the flora and fauna which characterize the continent; there is the same concern for roots and beginnings.  A similar yearning prompted by music is the theme of Rosalía de Castro’s Campanas de Bastabales –‘cando vos oio tocar/mórrome de soidades’-the ringing of the bells is enough to engulf the poet in nostalgic yearnings. One cannot help being mesmerized by this ambitious poem.  We fall under its spell (hechizo) and for many days later the refrain ‘Taqui ti, taqui ti…’ echoes in our ears.  A very impressive achievement indeed.”


Best Poem in the Spanish Language Runner Up

Tu

by Jonathan Teuma

Tu en la bafiera,

un lugar poetico

para comenzar.

Tan poetico como

la playa donde

comenzamos

tu y yo.

Pero hoy

Tu, en la bafiera

tus pechos desafiantes

tus ojos cerrados

tu espalda estirada

tus brazos alzados

y el agua corriendo

hacia abajo

encontrando se bajo

tu ombligo

a mas aguay

tu

en la bafiera

en tregua sincera

ahi a mi vera

llenando mi cueva.

Tu.


Judge Charlie Durante’s Comments:

“The erotic element has been a staple topic in the poet’s repertoire since the time of Sappho, Catullus, and John Donne.  In this genre it is easy to get the balance wrong, to overdo the lyrical description of the beloved’s body, to indulge in crude sexual fantasy.  The result can be nauseating and sometimes just pornographic.  However, Tú has the ingredients of a controlled, measured, but palpitating reality.  The bath is a place for nudity, relaxation and foreplay.  Here it is ‘un lugar poético.’  The poetic, amorous journey started ‘en la playa’, another place for gawping at semi-clad bodies.  The core of our poem describes the physical attributes of the beloved: her breasts are ‘desafiantes’-provocative in their pertness; the eyes closed in ecstasy, the bare back smooth with the water dribbling down the outstretched arms, until it gathers beneath the navel, in a gesture of reconciliation and surrender.  The truly erogenous zones are left unmentioned but are all the more suggestive for being submerged in the water.  The simple personal pronoun ‘tú’ echoes throughout this wonderfully wrought lyric.  Without ‘tú’ there would be no poem or sexual excitement. Whoever inspired the poem should consider herself privileged: she has an accomplished poet for a lover! Well done.”


Highly Commended

Contagiame una sonrisa

by Elena Scialtiel

No se iba a su casa en dfas.

Dfas que no vefa la cama.

Dfas que dormiba sin pijama.

Ni siquiera lencerfas .. .

Dfas sin dormir a oscuras,

en el silencio y las frescuras,

gozando del perfume frutado

de ella, en la almohada de lado.

Dfas que vestiba y calzaba plastico:

bata verde y pantalon de elastico.

Dormitaba en camillas de consultorio,

enroscado en sabanas de papelon

- servilletas de cafeterfa de estacion -

un suefio pardo, rota y desultorio.

Dfas que no ve a la chica de ojos de violeta

y sonrisa de petalos de rosa mosqueta.

La Reina de Corazones, le apodan en Cardiologfa,

con su gracia de hada y su pinta de brujerfa.

Y entre todos, la Reina habfa escogido a el,

el chico del copete.

Desde entonces, sus electrocardiogramas - y su piel -

vibran en doblete.

Dfas que no se tocan ... No puede mas sin ella!

Si no se besan hoy, la pandemia 105 atropella!

La busca en pasillos que huelen a duelo y torpeza.

De la mane de latex la gufa en el cuarto de limpieza.

Urgente, ardiente, hasta dando un portazo!

Finalmente, la envuelve en su abrazo.

Cinco minutos. Bastante para reanudar la vida.

Un beso aseptico, un toque de mascarillas.

A pesar del EPI, las caricias dan cosquillas.

Ella se huye. Despacio. Con su sonrisa pulida.

Y el desea, sus ojos de onix centelleando:

"Hasta la siguiente. En el parque. Bailando."


Judge Charlie Durante’s Comments:

“Our emotional lives have been in suspended animation since the different lockdowns were implemented.  Medical staff especially, has been drawn into a demanding rhythm of life and work which has turned existence into one long nightmare.  Contágiame una sonrisa celebrates a love affair in the midst of the aseptic and sterilised atmosphere of a hospital dealing with Covid-19 cases.  The lovers have deserted their love nest, away from ‘el perfume frutado de ella.’  Instead, they move about wearing the obligatory protective equipment, stealing hugs and kisses as they trudge along the mournful hospital corridors, yearning for one another.  She is ‘la reina de corazones’, appropriately named as she probably works in the cardiology department.  He manages a quick kiss in the utility room where the rhyme of ‘portazo’ and abrazo’ conveys the eagerness of the encounter.  Five minutes are enough to renew their emotional life.  The next occasion will be more auspicious-‘en el parque’ and the furtive kisses will become a dance, a rhythmic moving of two bodies together.  The title plays on our fear of being infected, but in this humorous poem the only pathogen you will get is a smile!  Elena has managed to extract a measure of enjoyment from what is a very tragic situation.”


Highly Commended

No me canso de Mirarte

by Brian Gordon

Con esa sonrisa tan perfecta.

Belleza, elegancia yesbeltez.

Ojos grandes, preciosos y oceanicos,

Jamas ha existido mujer.

Porque no me canso de mirarte y

Quiero que seas mi estrella polar.

Mi norte, mi viento y mi brujula,

Mi rumbo de trazar y navegar.

Nuestros susurros en la madrugada,

Tu cintura y tus curvas en la oscuridad.

Nuestras almas juntas pegadas;

Amor, Ternura y suavidad.

Esa noche eras como las olas,

Una y otra vez en mi orilla a estrellar.

No hay Mujer que coma tu navegue

Mejor barco en mi solitaria Mar.

Estos Versos son para ti,

Por siempre quererte y amarte.

Porque es la pura verdad ...

Que no me canso de mirarte.


Judge Charlie Durante’s Comments:

“Brian’s poem is a perfect example of a traditional love lyric.  The description of the woman loved draws upon the perennial images: the beloved has ‘ojos grandes;’ her waist and curves are beguilingly  seductive and explored in the darkness of their love making.  The lover uses symbols drawn from the world of sailing and navigation.  He wants her to be his ‘estrella polar’, his ‘brújula,’ the destination of his journey.  Her uniqueness transforms her into a sumptuous vessel in the empty waters of the of the lover’s life.  The inter-penetration of bodies leads to a marriage of minds: ‘nuestras almas juntas pegadas.’ Courtly love was organised into different stages of increasing intimacy: looking, speaking, touching, kissing and coitus.  Our poem is loosely based on this approach to love.  Looking is there in the lover’s gaze: no me canso de mirarte.  Speaking is their love talk, their early morning whispers; touching is beautifully realised in the  waves breaking against the shore; kissing and coitus, the supreme expression of passionate love, are sublimated in the ‘almas juntas pegadas.’  This is a lovely poem which seems to emerge from a deep experience of romantic love.”