Entradas con "Translation" disponen de versión castellana.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Widow / La viuda

The Widow

            “I can’t make any promises,” he said, leaning in to kiss her tentatively, unexpectedly.
            “Because your wife?” she asked. Longing clouded her thoughts.
            “She doesn’t want me to leave,” he said. His mouth on her neck like a hickey made her gasp.
            “And your girlfriend?” The girlfriend was dust. His lips were hedonists pursuing her.
            “She’s making me wait now.” With hangdog eyes he supplicated, appealing to this one weakness. She knew it would not end well, but the heat of his fingers on her bare skin was irresistible.
            “Yet here you are,” she said. Or she thought.

La viuda

-No puedo prometerte nada -dijo, acercándose a tientas hasta besarla inesperadamente.
-¿Porque tu mujer? -preguntó. El deseo le nublaba los pensamientos.
-No quiere que la abandone -dijo. Su boca en el cuello como un chupetón le cortó la respiración.
-¿Y tu novia? -La novia se esfumó. Sus labios eran hedonistas que la perseguían.
-Ahora es ella quien me hace esperar. -Con ojos de perro abatido suplicaba, apelando a ésta, su mayor debilidad. Ella sabía que no podía acabar bien, pero el calor de sus dedos sobre la piel desnuda era irresistible.
-Sin embargo, aquí estás -dijo. O pensó.

Entry for 100-word story contest II Premio Museo de la Palabra (not even close!)
Link to the winning story:

Friday, November 11, 2011


I read, feeding the books to the armchair, page by page.

#11words on Twitter

Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Concurso Tweek

Vacilé a orillas de la Nada, ante ese devastador sabor a deseo. Al índigo del alba me rendí.

[Uno entre 100 tweets seleccionados en el concurso Tweek de @hipermedula 3/11/2011]
It started out as this, for #soatale:

She hovered on the brink of oblivion. That taste of desire was his undoing. She clasped him in the indigo aurora and surrendered

Twitter love!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


[NPR 3-Minute Fiction, round 7]

   Folding attic stairs had been pulled down from the ceiling so the heavy boxes could be pushed
up them one by one, then shoved across the floorboards to form a shelf against the western
slope of the roof. The boxes, uniform light-brown rectangles with the weight distributed evenly
among them, were full of books, but also of photo albums (the missing photos were in a bulging
envelope she had placed in the middle of the suitcase) and mementos to show her children
some day.
   The suitcase had no wheels or straps, just a handle. At first she put too few things in; her father
said it would rip. Then she added winter clothing until it pushed out too far and her mother said it
would rip. She pulled out a bulky sweater she would never wear anyplace but home and tucked
it back into the bottom drawer of the pine chest, on top of the blue and white scarf a senior boy
had wrapped around her freshman neck when he kissed her at a high-school basketball game
in the gym.
   She stood surrounded by her family as she watched the suitcase bounce and jerk its way along
the conveyor belt, then she stood surrounded by her family at the entrance to the security corral.
Finally she stood alone before the wall of departure panels, waiting in the lounge.

   Outside the arrivals exit stood her friend. Next to her stood an unfamiliar man, hugging her
friend familiarly. They all kissed each other’s cheeks, but did not hug. Her friend chattered,
eagerly waiting for her and the man to become friends. She smiled and rubbed her eyes,
apologizing for the jetlag. Lunch would be at a place the man knew out by the river. They would
drink sangria.
   In the one bedroom of her friend’s tiny apartment, she unloaded her things on the twin bed
nearest the wall. Because there was no desk in which to place her passport, her envelope of
photographs or her notebook and pen, she stowed them in the underwear drawer. The rest of
the clothes she hung in the section of closet she’d been allocated. There was a folding shelf for
shoes, and her empty suitcase, requisitioned as a repository for winter blankets, was hoisted
atop the closet.
   Her friend gave her a small tour of the medicine cabinet and the half-kitchen’s half refrigerator.
She was shown where the packaged food was stored, where the plates and glasses were
stacked, and where the purse with money for household expenses was kept. With a smile, her
friend led her to a small shelf beside the black and white television set and placed the airplane
novel between a treatise on contemporary political thought and a dictionary.
   She stood out on the wisp of a balcony hours before dawn and breathed in the foreign smell
of dry plateau, diesel and black tobacco. The empty street was bathed in an orange glow. She
listened to the grinding buses blocks away and then the steady drone of a Vespa, and thought
how impossibly far away it all was.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


460-character post for Three Minute Fiction warmup

If Bridget’s life had been a work of fiction, she could have put someone with a lesser sense of irony in charge of plot, and she would have awarded the main character a more clever disposition. If only she had been given a minute before the staging was set, she might have formulated with greater clarity and precision those three fateful wishes. As it turns out, quality, size and safety can be decisive in matters of fame, fortune and a shiny red sports car.

fiction, minute, three

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strange Fruit

Nina Simone but also Billie Holiday sing a terrible song, Strange Fruit, as accompaniment to a grown man’s recollection of loquat trees rising up out of a church courtyard, their branches reaching out to him in his state of adolescent mothermourning and masturbation. The discussion is about loquats, and the image in my mind is of the honeysweet fruit I was eating from the potted trees on my terrace, at least one of which had seeded from the mother of all loquat trees, planted by my daughter’s paternal great-grandmother in the gloomy backyard of the newly upscale weekend getaway that her father and I couldn’t afford to keep in the family for her. I now think of that towering tree, with branches thick enough for the kids to climb up, waving its fruit in the spring winds for the birds to find and leave broken and rotting, glistening seeds clinging needlessly to the withering stems. I would drive past to look but could not bear to see them hanging there, untouched by even the neighborhood children, and me unwilling and unable to scale the upscale wall and steal what I used to gather. Or worse, to find a swimming pool where the pine and holm oaks offered a shadowed perch for the hammock I promised my daughter but have yet to deliver in the decidedly down-scale, yet ecologically sound land we now tend on weekends. It also has a loquat tree, and the autumn flowering is honeyscented and full of hope, even though we know that winter’s last frost will kill off all the fruit and leave the clustered buds black and dry at the ends of the branches, like a macabre taunt or accusation.

I think the shape of the various loquat trees I have pruned could well be as familiar to me as the shapes of my own daughters, but do not tell them that, as they will surely take offense, each in her own way.


Fruta extraña

Nina Simone pero también Billie Holiday cantan una canción terrible, Strange Fruit, como acompañamiento al recuerdo de un hombre hecho y derecho sobre los nísperos que sobresalían del patio de una iglesia, sus ramas tendidas hacia él en su estado de maternoduelo y masturbación adolescente. La conversación va sobre los nísperos, y la imagen que tengo yo en mente es de la fruta de melosodulzor que comía de los árboles en maceta de mi terraza, al menos uno de los cuales habría brotado de una semilla de la madre de todos los nísperos, plantado por la bisabuela paterna de mi hija en el sombrío jardín trasero de la casita de zona pijatrepa que su padre y yo no pudimos pagar y así mantener en la familia para ella. Pienso ahora en ese árbol gigantesco, en sus gruesas ramas capaces de sostener a los niños trepantes, su fruta bailando en los vientos primaverales, descubriéndose a los pájaros que la dejaban rota y pudriéndose, los huesos brillantes agarrándose innecesariamente a los pendúculos marchitados. Iría con el coche a visitarlo, pero no soportaría ver los nísperos allí colgados, sin que nadie los cogiera -ni los chicos del barrio- y yo sin ganas ni gracia para trepar por el muro pijotrepa y robar lo que antes recogía. O peor aún, encontrar una piscina en el lugar entre pinos y encinas que era perfecto para el hamaca que prometí a mi hija sin habérselo cumplido aún en nuestro terreno decididamente más ecológico que pijotrepa, que atendemos en los fines de semana actuales. También hay un níspero, y el florecer otoñal huele a miel y esperanza, aunque sabemos que la última helada del invierno matará a todos los frutos y dejará los racimos de capullos negros y secos en las puntas de las ramas, cual burla o acusación macabra.

Creo que las formas de los varios árboles de níspero que he podado a lo largo de los años bien podrían resultarme tan familiares como las formas de mis propias hijas, pero no se lo digas a ellas porque sin duda se ofenderían, cada una a su manera.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What the Baby Chose

II premi Picasso en LletrA

The inaugural Easter Week visit was at its more lighthearted end still when they made a pilgrimage to the Picasso Museum. Carol took the baby in the lightweight stroller that could more easily be hefted up stairs; she knew the visiting Mother would not approve of strangers grabbing one end of the larger all-terrain pram, would view it as weakness rather than resourcefulness.
The Mother was a painter, an art museum in Europe was a sure bet and Carol was casual but determined about exposing the baby to Art. The artistic gene, like diabetes, must surely skip a generation, Carol believed, and so the baby at that very moment would be absorbing her earliest influences.
Baby, mother and grandmother stood before Los Pichones for a very long time. No one said anything. At the end of the exhibit, Carol’s mother stepped into the gift shop.
Let’s get the baby something, she said.
Carol strolled through the shop, feeling suddenly defiant.
Let’s let the baby choose, she said.

Lo que escogió la niña

La inaugural visita de Semana Santa transcurría por su parte más desenfadada aún cuando fueron de peregrinación al Museu Picasso. Carol llevó al bebé en el cochecito de viaje que costaba menos levantar por las escaleras; sabía que la Madre visitante no aprobaría que unos extraños cogieran el otro extremo del robusto cochecito todoterreno, que lo vería como una debilidad y no como un problema resuelto.
La Madre era pintora, un museo de arte en Europa era cosa segura y Carol, de manera despreocupada, estaba empeñada en exponer a la niña al Arte. El gen artístico, como la diabetes, sin duda debía saltar una generación, según Carol, y por lo tanto la niña en ese preciso instante se estaría empapando de sus primeras influencias.
Bebé, madre y abuela permanecieron de pie ante Los Pichones durante mucho tiempo. Nadie dijo nada. Al terminar la exposición, la madre de Carol pasó a la tienda del museo.
Cojamos algo para la niña, dijo.
Carol paseó por la tienda, sintiéndose de pronto desafiante.
Dejemos que la niña escoja, dijo.

(¡Gracias, Museu Picasso!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Colateral (versión en castellano)

Había preparado el maletín empleando una lista mental que detallaba todo lo que pensaba no incluir. Desesperanza. El cepillo de dientes de él. La añoranza. Anticonceptivos. Impaciencia. Al sacar el pijama y dejarlo en la litera inferior, la que quedaba entre la mujer del mejor amigo y su favorita de las antiguas compañeras de clase, intentó recordar algún chiste que pudiera contar durante la cena del aniversario. Su hija se colgó de la litera superior y le dió un golpecito en el hombro.

¿Por qué tienes que contar un chiste?- preguntó.- No eres graciosa.

No tengo porqué contar un chiste- contestó,- y gracias por el cumplido. Sólo que me gustaría sentirme más parte del grupo, ¿sabes?

Pero si lo eres. Siempre venimos nosotras.

Son los colegas de Papa, no los míos, y eso lo sabes. La que quieren que venga eres tú en realidad. Ei, ¡podrías contar un chiste tú!

Clara resopló y se cayó de espaldas contra el colchón.- Sí, claro. Tú nunca te ríes cuando te cuento un chiste.

Tus chistes no tienen gracia.

¿Tenían gracia los chistes de Papa?


Tampoco cuentan chistes las demás madres.

Ya, pero no soy las demás madres, ¿verdad? Me gustaría poder contar un chiste, como lo hacen los padres.

Era consciente de que se hallaba muy metida en un agujero del que convendría salir (¿cuál es la primera regla de los agujeros? para poder salir, primero deja de cavar.). ¿Dónde había guardado la tolerancia? ¿La paciencia? ¿La indiferencia? Cogió el neceser y lo agitó. ¿Dónde estaban las pastillas que dan la sensación de pertenecer? ¿La barra de labios para sonreír ante las conversaciones empezadas hace 25 años? ¿El perfume para borrar la peste de la soledad?

¿Y porqué no estás jugando con Jessica y Patricia? Son de tu edad.-

¿Es una obligación?- Clara miraba hacia la pared.

Por supuesto que no es ninguna obligación, pero por eso estamos aquí. No es por mi, desde luego.-

¿Por qué no te gustan los amigos de Papa?-

Paciencia. Allá, justo debajo de la novela de la mesita de noche.

¿Quién ha dicho que no me gustan los amigos de Papa? Estoy aquí, ¿verdad? Pero en el fondo lo hago por ti, así que porqué no te vas a jugar?- Se puso de pie para darle un toque en el hombro a Clara y vió que en sus pestañas brillaban lágrimas.- Clara, cariño, ¿qué te pasa?

Nada. Déjame en paz.- Se escabulló de la mano de su madre.- No quieren que juegue con ellas. Ni siquiera me hablan.

Benevolencia. Magnanimidad. Aunque no lo podía justificar, sabía cómo se sentía su hija. ¿Autocompasión? Desde luego que no la había incluido cuando hizo la maleta. Transigencia. Píldora no tragada. Compañerismo. Aquí mismo en su bolsillo trasero.

Vale, escucha.- Apartaba el flequillo de la frente de su hija.- Vamos a lavarnos la cara y peinarnos un poco y luego iremos al comedor a esperar la cena, ¿de acuerdo?- Calló un momento.- Vamos a pensar en un chiste, ¿qué te parece?

Clara se giró hacia su madre que le abrazaba, se sorbió y dijo: -¿Qué dan más, tetas o carretas?

Clara sonrió y su madre esperó. Clara siguió:

¡Te dan más las tetas que las carretas!

¡Tiran! ¡Tiran más dos tetas que cien carretas!- corrigió mientras bajó de la litera a Clara, cuyos mofletes se teñían de rojo, y la depositó en el suelo.

Tiran más dos tetas que cien carretas- dijo de nuevo.

Clara lo repitió: -Tiran más dos tetas que cien carretas.- Negó con la cabeza.- No lo pillo.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Aportación a Twitteratura (Kosmopolis 2011)

Inspiró un lustro de rosas rojas, hinchándose trágicamente, y desapareció entre las nubes del desfiladero un domingo de junio.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Collateral (NPR Three-Minute Fiction, round 6)

She had packed the overnight bag using a mental checklist of all she meant to leave behind. Despair. His toothbrush. Longing. Birth control. Impatience. As she unpacked her pajamas and laid them on the bottom bunk, the one between his best friend’s wife and her favorite of his female classmates, she tried to think of a joke to tell at the anniversary supper. Her daughter leaned down from the top bunk and tapped her shoulder.
“Why do you have to tell a joke?” she asked. “You aren’t funny.”
“I don’t have to tell a joke,” she replied, “and thanks for the vote of confidence. It would just be nice to feel like I was more a part of the gang, you know?”
“But you are. We always come.”
“They’re Papa’s classmates, not mine, you know that. They want you here, really. Hey, you could tell a joke.”
Chiara snorted and flopped back on the bed. “Yeah, right. You never laugh at my jokes.”
“Your jokes aren’t funny.”
“Were Papa’s jokes funny?”
“The other mothers don’t tell jokes, either.”
“Well, I’m not the other mothers, am I? I would like to be able to tell a joke, like the fathers do.”
She knew she was digging too far into the hole she warned herself to climb out of (what’s the first rule of holes? When you’re in one, stop digging!). Where had she packed the Tolerance? Patience? Indifference? She took the cosmetic bag out and shook it. Where were the pills for a sense of belonging? The lipstick for smiling as conversations begun 25 years ago wafted over her? The perfume to wipe out the stench of lonesomeness?
“Why aren’t you playing with Jessica and Patricia, anyway? They’re your age.”
“Is it an obligation?” Chiara’s face was turned away towards the wall.
“Of course it’s not an obligation, but it is why we’re here, after all. It’s certainly not for my sake.”
“Why don’t you like Papa’s friends?”
Patience. Over there, under the bedside novel.
“Who said I didn’t like Papa’s friends? I’m here, aren’t I? But, really, I do this for you, so why don’t you go play?” She stood up to shake Chiara’s shoulder and saw that her eyelashes were glistening with tears. “Chiara, honey, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Leave me alone.” She shrugged her mother’s hand off. “They don’t want me to play with them. They won’t even talk to me.”
Benevolence. Magnanimousness. She did, however nonjustifiably, know how her daughter felt. Self-pity? She had most certainly not packed that one. Compromise. A grain of salt. Comradeliness. Right there in her back pocket.
“Okay, listen,” she stroked Chiara’s bangs back from her forehead. “We’ll wash our faces and comb our hair and then just go out and wait for dinner, okay?” She paused. “We’ll go think of a joke to tell, how’s that?”
Chiara turned towards her mother for a hug, sniffed and said: “What did the bra say to the hat?”
Chiara smiled and her mother waited. Chiara continued:
“You go on a head. I’ll give these boobs a ride.”
“A lift! I’ll give these two a lift!” She corrected as she pulled Chiara, her cheeks burning a bright red, off of the bunk and set her down on the floor.
“You go on ahead. I’ll give these two a lift,” she said again.
Chiara repeated it: “You go on a head, I’ll give these two a lift.” She shook her head. “I don’t get it.”
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