José Antonio Mazzotti
from: Sakra Boccata

Translation by Clayton Eshleman

Your Konch is that exquisite place most deeply inside the war *
One must arrive there with the dexterity of the wounded pilot
Navigating labyrinths like the palm of his hand
Following each curve like a treasure map
With its walls and its gates
Shouting Red Rum Red Rum / Destruction Never *
Only the rending of bodies exists that of the clearing of
Your down trimmed before the happy mirror
Immense eye of the delirious lock that observes you
You regard the pink of its pleat
Like the lip that covers the horizon
As the fog lifts

Your Konch is the space at the center of the Southern Cross
It sanctifies the city with its ray
All sins are transformed into garlands
Surrounding the Virgin of Chapi in her black mantle *
The aroma of incense brings a foaming breeze
It levitates over the bones
It kisses the Lord’s Staff and the gold slips from her forehead
Eyes more verdant than the forest’s depths
It purifies the urine on all the walls
The finger ventilates the lower mouth
The tongue snakes across the perfumed gutter

Your Konch is that throbbing spongy muscle
That never stops throbbing
I vie to revert Vallejo vibrates I too but leaving an ice labyrinth *
I vie with your sullen and ruddy bun your invisible slippers
       a tree’s reflection in the lake
In these is concentrated your Lemnian profile of a lunatic tide of
     Andronican *
control the navigators of that lake do not recognize its stars so
     they say
They tremble like the child approaching his first act of love
Her name was Yola and he was fifteen the waves were scraping
     the cirruses the Black Circle made
Its first turn and the boy threw himself at the Resurrection
Of the Flesh because Blessed is the Name of the Lord
Who dwells between your Cyanean Rocks you’ve returned from
     Nothing like a remembered dream
After centuries of silence Blessed is the Name
Of the Lord because he heals wounds comforts the sick blesses us
With his flesh in two concentric rivers mouth
Of the bright day that conjugates *
Under the double arches of your blood, where *
One can only pass on tiptoes

I vie I vie I vie I vie
Your sullen and ruddy bun your invisible slippers a tree’s reflection
In the lake


Concerning the title of the poem, Mazzotti writes: “Sakra Boccata is a title coined after words for Sacred and Mouthful in Spanish/Italian. The Italian ‘boccata’ also refers to strongly exhaled or foul breath. In Spanish, the equivalent would be ‘bocanada,’ a word that can be divided into ‘boca’ (mouth) and ‘nada’ (nothing), a metaphor for the impotence of written poetry facing the splendor of poetic reality.

‘Sakra’ also evokes the Quechuan ‘saqra,’ a mischievous demon. Thus Sakra Boccata can also be read as “a mouthful from the Devil,’ which can refer to cunnilingus.

The divine breath that God breathed into matter as well as a sense of poetry as an art that creates life are also present in the title. These ideas are of medieval origin at a time when poetry was conceived as the Queen of Arts and Sciences, as it should be.”

Section 3: “Your Konch is that exquisite place:” The reader will notice that some words are written with a K instead of a C (e.g., Konch, LoKilla, Kolgar). Certain Peruvian writers in the 1980s employed this substitution as a way to challenge conventional orthographic rules and to stress the oral components of poems. A representative case: “Kloaka” (for “Cloaca,” or Sewer), an anarchist group of poets who denounced the excesses of the dirty war and complicity of most intellectuals in it during that decade.

“Red Rum Red Rum:” “Murder” written backwards, a playful allusion to a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining (1980).

“the Virgin of Chapi:” the patron saint of the Peruvian city of Arequipa worshipped on May 1 of every year.

Section 4: “I vie to revert:” a translation of the distorted phrase, “Vusco volver” from Trilce IX by César Vallejo.

“your Lemnian profile:”a reference to the island of Lemnos (Argonautics, Chant I), where women reigned and killed their lovers after mating.

“Andronican:” pertaining to Titus Andronicus, the cruel Roman general in Shakespeare’s early tragedy of the same name.

“Of the bright day that conjugates:” a translation of a phrase from Trilce II.

“Under the double arches… pass on tiptoes:” a translation of two lines from Trilce LXV.

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