Translated by: Kimrey Anna Batts
Artwork by John Graham Coughtry
To Carlos Garzón, painter of Negritude.
Mestizo man seeks black woman to procreate sand gods.
Perhaps they would conceive giant trees
or conches that reign high and low.
But he wants her to birth soulless gods,
all-powerful cherubim with their enormous sex,
creature of the fire that burns at the centre of the earth.
He wants to open the tract that makes possible the crucifixion of the races.
Mestizo man seeks the eroticism of red wine
in the skin of old slavery.
Mestizo man seeks black woman to paint the abyss,
the blank abyss of her feet in the light over the mantle of the coast.
He knows that something strangely beautiful like death,
will surely result from copulation.
He knows that colour is a convention to name the nothingness.
Above the easel is the stain of his own longing.
Mestizo man, obsessive,
now going a bit grey from sleeping on the sand,
he wants to embrace the ebony of his wasted shadow.
He also wants to penetrate the ringlets of light,
but he lacks the model,
the contemplation of the night’s womb.
If someone wishes to help him,
he will be asleep,
under a palm tree,
Santiago Vizcaíno (1982) is an accomplished young writer and poet from Quito, Ecuador. His works have received numerous recognitions, including the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture's National Literary Projects Prize and the Second Annual Pichincha Poetry Award. In translation, his poems have appeared in The Bitter Oleander Review, Chattahoochee Review, Connotation Press, Eleven/Eleven, eXchanges and Ezra, among others, and there are bilingual editions of his poetry collection Destruction in the Afternoon and his book of short stories, Matar a mamá/Matricide. His latest collection of poems, Hábitat del camaléon (from which "just a man" is taken) was published by Ruido Blanco in 2015.
Kimrey Anna Batts (1983) grew up in rural East Tennessee and went to the University of Michigan, where she studied Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She moved to Ecuador in 2006, and her lifelong love of literature and language gradually blossomed into a career as a translator. In 2011 she went to Barcelona to pursue an M.A. in Literary Translation at University Pompeu Fabra, before returning to Quito in 2013. Her literary translations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail (one of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize) and will be seen in future editions of Ezra, The Bitter Oleander Review and Lunch Ticket. She also translated Santiago Vizcaíno's short story collection Matricide/Matar a mamá (La Caída 2015).