Featured poet: Mauro Quesada

Mauro Quesada (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1979) is a poet and professor of literature. He has published three books of poetry: Bajo una extraña nevada [Under a strange snowfall], Fiebre [Fever] and Estamos para ayudarlo [We’re here to help]. He also directs the publishing project La carretilla roja.

From Estamos para ayudarlo (2015):


In 2001
there was no space odyssey
but there was
record unemployment in Argentina.
It was very hard for anyone
to get work
including a student
of Communication Sciences
with no knowledge
or experience
or training
in real life.

My expectations began to lower
as the number of résumés
I sent around
went up.
Until one day
they called me
from Jumbo supermarket.
The salary was low
and I had to work weekends
but it was
close to home
and let me keep studying.
Only one certainty
was left to me:
semiotics and structuralism
wouldn’t help with a thing.

Household appliances

I accepted the job
without knowing the section
of the supermarket
where I’d work.
I only found out
once I showed up
at the place.
Luckily it happened to be
Household Appliances.
It could have been anything,
or whatever else.
It wasn’t so bad:
I could take refuge in the warehouse
and be in contact
with a ton of electronic gadgets
I couldn’t afford.
I’d always asked myself
what a valet parking assistant feels
when he drives
Audis, Mercedes Benz, Porsches
just a few metres
to park them,
as if the spell
wore off
at midnight.

Audio equipment

From the first month
working at Jumbo
I saved
peso by peso
in a little Nesquik tin
until at last
there was enough to buy
the audio equipment
that I wanted so much.
I chose a Sony with a double cassette deck,
a three disc-CD player
and speakers with high and low frequencies.
From the warehouse I took a box,
carried it to the showroom
and opened it.
I checked the equipment,
sampled it
polished it gently
with a Blem cleaner and cloth
and packed it back up.
Then I paid at the register
and brought it home in a taxi.
That night I fell asleep
listening to an album by Sumo
that I’d just bought,
After Chabón,
while in the darkness
I watched how
the greens and reds of the display
reflected in the window.

From Los pájaros matan a la noche [The birds kill at night] (unpublished):


it seems like nothing happens
in the solitude of this plaza
the banks are empty
the hammocks are empty
almost nothing happens
almost no one passes

i convince myself that i’m not
in another scene
a long and contemplative take
of a trivial film

the trees
move in the hot wind
that seems to burn all things
and interrupts the vision of an absolute sky
it’s hard to believe that i don’t see a single cloud
for all i search and search
but sometimes perfection exists for a single moment
i just have to learn to live with that

a bit of dry earth flies
in the direction of that street I don’t know
but there will always be things that I don’t know
or that change or disappear
or that are foreign to me or fade
or that simply leave for good
i just have to learn to live with that

Furiously the water runs 

along the kerb of the sidewalk
just like a river flows down
the mountain
but here there are no rivers or mountains
just another rain
that soaks earth and pavement.
Through the window
everything can deceive.
The rain is going to pass
like the nights and days
like the words tied to a memory
like one’s own idea of death.

I’m very tired and yet

as if it were a punishment
I can’t sleep.
I look
through the window of the bus
as slowly night falls.
The moon is already shining
while the sun escapes
over the horizon
behind the trees
and some houses.
A strange peace
fills me
an uncertain action
a blank space
between time
and what I am thinking.
That light awakens
that we never see
and spills out
at last
for a moment
over all things.

— translated by Jessica Sequeira