Edgardo Cozarinsky


Translated by Victoria Lampard and Heather Cleary

From “Ultramarina,” a contemporary opera by Marcelo Lombardero, with music by Pablo Mainetti and a libretto by Edgardo Cozarinsky, based on his novel “El rufián moldavo” (Emecé 2004). “Ultramarina” premiered in “Hasta Trilce” in April 2014. The excerpt that follows is a play on tango kitsch sung by a prostitute named Perla.


If I could spit out all the kisses
That tainted my young lips…

If I could wash away the scratch of
of all those god-forsaken sheets…

If I could wipe away the caresses
that consumed my skin, then I could love you.

Oh how I wish you were my first,
the one who lied to me a thousand times.

(Does it matter? It is a man’s way to lie
to a woman, and love her all the same),

How I wish you could see me as I once was,
and I could give myself to you as though you were my first.

How I wish, for you, I once again had
A body that you could please,

I know: there is no hope
for a clean slate, a fresh start

A clean slate, a fresh start,
It is too late, I know.

Some nights I dream it could still happen…
I dream that not all is lost.

Something, I feel, still beats inside me,
Something in me lives on…

It scares me to say it, even to think it:
Could this something be my heart?

* *

Image: Pola Oloixarac

E.C. by Verónica ChenEdgardo Cozarinsky was born in Buenos Aires, lived for three decades in Paris and now commutes between both cities, with longer stays in his birthplace. He is a writer and filmmaker. Among his more than twenty books, the only ones translated into English are Urban Voodoo (prologue by Susan Sontag), The Bride from Odessa and The Moldavian Pimp. His films include fiction and essays (not to be seen as documentaries). When he turned 70, he embarked in a series of “chamber films” still in progress. He is a great tango enthusiast and can be seen almost every evening in one or another of the “milongas” of Buenos Aires. (Photo: Verónica Chen)
LampardVictoria Lampard has contributed travel writing and journalism to various student publications, and works as a freelance photographer. She is a Spanish and Philosophy student at the University of Oxford.
Cleary photo MAR14Heather Cleary has published translations and literary criticism with Two Lines, Words Without Borders, and Music & Literature, among other publications. She was awarded a PEN Translation Fund grant in 2005 for her work with the poetry of Oliverio Girondo, and her translation of Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award. More recently, her translations of Chejfec’s The Dark, nominated for ALTA’s National Translation Award, and Poems to Read on a Streetcar, a pamphlet of Girondo’s poetry (New Directions 2014) have made their way into bookstores. She holds a PhD in Latin American and Iberian Cultures from Columbia University.

Published on May 27th of 2014 in Poetry.

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