ANDREA COTE (Colombia, 1981)
I speak about the mountains where life grows slowly
those that do not exist in my port of light,
where everything is desert and ashes
and your smile is a tarnished gesture.
There January is the month of the unburied dead
and the land of the first corpse.
don’t you remember?
don’t you see anything?
There our voices are scorched
as our skin
and our heels get burned
for not wanting to know
about the burned up houses.
I speak María
about this land which is the thirst I live with
and the bed in which life is buried.
that this is not living
and that life is any other thing that exists,
damp in the ports where water does flower,
and where there is not a bonfire in each stone.
that we are
food for dogs and birds,
we are parched up men,
of what we used to be.
What are you made of, my child?
Why do you think you can sew the crack in the landscape
with the thread of your voice?
if this land is a wound that bleeds
in you and in me
and in all the things
made of ashes.
In our land
the raven looks at us with your eyes
and the flowers wilt
out of hatred of us
and the earth opens up holes
to force us to die.
Translation by Nicolás Suescún
Andrea Cote was born in Barrancabermeja, Santander, in 1981. She is a poet and college professor and she has been collaborator of The Internacional Poetry Festival of Medellín. She has published the books: Puerto Calcinado (Poemas, 2003); Blanca Varela y la escritura de la soledad (Ensayo, 2004); Una fotógrafa al desnudo (Biography of Tina Modotti, 2005). In 2002, she received the national young poetry prize of The University Externado de Colombia and in 2005 she received the World Poetry prize of Young Poetry “Bridges of Struga”, awarded by UNESCO and The Poetry festival of Macedonia. Her book Puerto Calcinado has been partially translated into English, French, Italian, Macedonian, Arabic and Catalanian. As Piedad Bonnett says: “Andrea Cote is nowadays one of the most important young voices of our poetry. Her work recreates, in an ambiguous language, full of meaning, a very personal world, of an intimate tendency, full of recurrent feelings that point out the urgency of its phantoms, the need to transform the experience in the word”. Moreover, in the words of Juan Manuel Roca “Her poems, attentive to the passing by of a rough time, reveal an impulse for not concealing neither tragedy nor oblivion in which it wraps our individual and collective drama. It is hers a reflective poetry that seeks the expresión of a calcinated landscape in fair images, in diverse rythms”.