GIOCONDA BELLI (Nicaragua, 1948)
"Hell of Heaven"
Will-o-the-wisps on the bedside table.
Not the paschal long wax candle
but the pagan fire of Druid rituals.
Let us adore the body
unequivocal sanctuary of the verb and of being.
Golden eyes blink
in the polished brilliance of the mirror
where you are my ivory tower.
In the flask I pour the aromatic oil.
An odor of jasmine musk cathedral incense
soaks the wind the nostrils.
Your head far away. Your arm outlined
The texture of wide nervations. The wide obverse of the foot.
Centaur feet. Ugly your feet, exciting. Like the hoofs
of the unicorn removing bushes with its horn of infinite spirals.
There is no equilibrium more exact than that
of a man and a woman returned to primeval clay.
The shoulder blades jump; the thigh-bones are smashed to smithereens
The rigidity of the skeleton abandons itself to the tremulous flesh.
The light of the candles dashes on the mirror mystical visions.
Medusas. Cyclops. Satiated Saturns.
I dont know where your hands
in this labyrinth of magnificent monsters devouring each other.
Who are you contorted creature that thus strip me
of my priestess decency?
Your skin is fluid and burning.
The wax melts in the crystal vessels.
Your mouth chatters on mine.
Or is it the flame spluttering?
The fire finds its own conflagration.
Only the oil of the night
burning sails lap the still lake
of the incandescent mirror.
There my foot.
The red nails. The impossible extension of a lone leg.
The white landscape. The skins submerged in igneous lava
panting bubbling vaporizing. The fire
comes and goes with the sound of the sea on the reefs.
On the consumed, charred bodies
the candles go out one by one.
I shake my hair. I get up, phoenix from the ashes.
I am a hell of heaven.
Translation by Nicolás Suescún
Gioconda Belli was born in Managua, Nicaragua on December 9,
1948. She participated since 1970 in the fight against the dictatorship of Anastasio
Somoza, as a member of the Sandinista Front. She lived in exile in Mexico and
Costa Rica. She worked as member of the government in The Sandinista Revolution
in the eighties. Her first book, Sobre
La Grama, 1972, won the poetry prize of The National University of Nicaragua.
In 1978 she obtained the Casa de Las Americas Award, Cuba for her book Línea
de Fuego. Between 1982 and 1987, she published three poetry books: Truenos
y Arco Iris; Amor Insurrecto and De la Costilla de Eva.
In 1988, she published her first novel La
Mujer Habitada that obtained the Award of The Foundation of Book Sellers,
Librarians and Publishers of Germany and The Anna Seghers Award from The Academy
of Arts of Germany in 1989. In 1990 she published her second novel, Sofía
de Los Presagios and later the short story for children:El
Taller de Las Mariposas, with which she was granted the Award Luchas from
the weekly publication Die ZEIT. In 1996, she published the novel Waslala and
in 1998 another poetry book: Apogeo. In 2001, the book El país bajo mi piel was
published, a memory of her years in The Sandinismo and in 2002 she obtained The
International Poetry Prize Generación del 27 for her poetry book, Mi íntima multitud.
El Pergamino de la Seducción, 2005 is her fourth novel. After being published
in Spain by the publishing house Seix Barral in April 2005, it was published
in Germany, The Netherlands and The United States. In August 2003 in the speech
of acceptance before The Royal Academy of Language she said, remembering her
beginning in writing: Young woman I was, subject of love and the lunar magnetism
that the seas fluxes and refluxes produce, I found in the words the perfect
accomplices for expressing the euphoria and the disconcert of living. The Word
turned into flesh to me. My flesh. And from my feminine being I talked about
fumaroles that lightened my epidermis, about the crevices, the caves and the
cliffs of my geography. Recently initiated in the knowledge of ancient powers,
I celebrated my womans sex, my constitution of earth capable of opening in craters
or giving birth to mountains. What is eroticism, into which Im been classified
and characterized, but the fleshliness of the word that pokes into life its origin
and transmutes the privacy of the lovers into a space of encounter with the others
and into a mirror where creation looks at itself?.