Lullaby for a Siesta
Reveries by Tomás Cisternas and Katy Bentall
There ought to be a word for a lullaby you listen to in the daytime. A lullaby of the sunlit hours. A lullaby for when you’re in the hammock of afternoon gazing up through the canopy and you squint your eyes so that the leaves darken and the triangles of sky betwixt pop out as stars. (Do you do that, too?)
A lullaby for a siesta.
Today, Chilean autobiographical comix artist Tomás Cisternas, subtle-knifing the interstice between sun and shade, reads, in the original Spanish, the text for his comic “The Unforgettable Color of the Sun,” a summertime reverie that is equal parts blistering and breezy, buzzy and Zen. It will be included in Puddles, our forthcoming collection of Tomás’ work in English translation (Bored Wolves, Autumn).
Two weeks ago, Tomás read another summer strip, “Magical Beings,” also in the original Spanish. As I wrote then, I recommend first listening to these recordings even if you don’t understand Spanish, then having a look at the Bored Wolves English. Tomás’ voice communicates so many sensations beyond philology.
Here’s the English version of “The Unforgettable Color of the Sun”:
The Unforgettable Color of the Sun by Tomás Cisternas
The warm drops that trickle down your arm as your skin fries like an egg, an exquisite stinging sensation; the damp and humid tang of the plants along the shore in your nose; and the sound of voices in the distance /
And the wasps, mosquitoes, and dragonflies whizzing around you /
And you close your eyes toward the sun and see this color /
And you let yourself be carried off by the calm, silent current /
And from time to time, you feel a cool breeze that numbs your skin /
And you empty your mind, of yourself and the world /
And you go on frying /
And you sink into summer
(trans. Stefan Lorenzutti and Michelle Alperin)
The next noontide lullaby is by Katy Bentall. She wrote this poem, “Hammock,” from the vantage of a patio hammock in the midst of a great deal of bebopping botany and entomology. It is included within Greenwriting, Katy’s forthcoming collection of poems, prose, drawings, and paintings, which is entering the home stre-e-etch of its pre-order campaign at www.greenwriting.ink (just 72 hours to go!).
Hammock by Katy Bentall I’m swinging And I’m watching You can’t just do nothing Can you The scabious are swinging Too They are swinging because Butterflies are landing And bees And the wind sends A breeze I’m swinging You can’t just do nothing Can you
I’ll end with a ladybug poem:
Shaving for Trip to Town Sunlight ricochets off mirror balanced atop circular log pile snapshutting my eyes I nick chin with razor to the amusement of Ladybug-on-the-frame.
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