Read the Winning Poems from OPA’s Spanish Language Category

Fall 2021 OPA Adult Contest Winners in the Spanish Language Category

Judge:  Nicolás Alonso Mendoza Mahncke

Judge’s Biography:  Nicolás was born and raised in Santiago de Chile.  His relationship with literature, with books, in general terms, is that of a reader.  He does not consider himself a poet,  but the Universal poetry of such writers as Neruda, Parra, Mistral, Teillier, Bolanos have been among his studies, and he has had the opportunity to comment and criticize poetry books, novels and essays by writer friends from Chile.  Nicolás has a diploma in Classical Greek Studies and particularly enjoys Haiku.  He is a self-taught photographer, amateur musician, film lover, and in general terms a lover of all human endeavors that express beauty.

First Place in Spanish Language:  “Adicción, Viejo Amigo” by Grace Beeler

Te conozco
Desde el primer agarre huesudo
De tu mano en mía
Tu mirada vidriosa
El resplandor de neón verde
Reflejado en tus dientes
Mientras traes tus labios
En una especie de sonrisa
La pálida pendiente de tu mejilla sin afeitar
El crujido de tu voz oxidada
Tu reto
Colgando en el aire humeante:
“Este aquí, es mío.”

Conozco el balanceo y baja de este baile
El beso de un amanecer rosado
El abrazo aplastante del crepúsculo

Te paras en la puerta
Viejo amigo, viejo amante
traqueteando las llaves
Y riendo

English Translation:  “Addiction, Old Friend”

I recognize you
From the first bony grip
Of your hand on mine
Your glassy stare
The green neon glow
Reflected on your teeth
As you pull your lips
Into a sort of smile
The pallid slope of your stubbled cheek
The creak of your rusted voice
Your dare
Hanging in the smoky air:
“This one is mine.”

I know the sway and dip of this dance
The kiss of a rosy dawn
The crushing embrace of dusk

You stand in the doorway
Old friend, old lover
Rattling the keys
And laughing

Poet’s Bio:  Poet and Filmmaker Grace Beeler is the author of the chapbook  A Lineage of Light,   and co editor of the anthology Before we Have Nowhere to Stand – Palestine/Israel: Poet Respond to the Struggle. Her poetry has appeared in Mothering Magazine, New Verse News, Poetica and Blueline among others. Her documentary films include “What Comes Out Goes to the Government,” and “The Chance to Live” as well as a forthcoming film about two Congolese war widows in Durham NC. She also makes claymations with her son Tiago Furtado, including “The Bite,” which screened at several international film festivals in 2020. Grace is the director of After the Rain, an NGO which houses both the Appropriate Sanitation Institute and the Triangle Refugee Film Project.

Second Place in Spanish Language:  “La Geografía de la Nostalgia” by Efrain Diaz-Horna

Déjame hablarte sobre la geografía de la nostalgia
                        sobre ese esquema
            de inefables sentimientos, emociones y recuerdos
que bosquejan con sutil trazo aires de Chiclayo, Cajamarca,
            las Cascadas, los Andes, Coos Bay, Salem…

Déjame hablarte sobre esa acumulación de valles
                        ríos, praderas, océanos.
                                                montañas y desiertos;
sobre esa gramática con sus magníficos cañones
al igual que comas
            con sus colosales rocas
como puntos
            con sus seductores paisajes
al igual que lienzos
            con el susurro de las olas
como poemas.

Déjame revelarte los secretos
de nuestra topografía humana
            la geografía de la nostalgia
que tanto nos hechiza.

Toma nota,
solo sucede que
la quietud del tiempo ha tallado su esencia en nuestras almas
recordándonos de la tenacidad de la memoria
que moldea y demarca nuestros sueños y caminos circadianos. 

Esa geografía de la nostalgia,
que camina de la mano con el sagaz subjuntivo,
limando con abandono, pero con ternura,
los caprichos de la remembranza con su sosegada sabiduría
y los transforma en vivificantes senderos, narraciones, convivios;
en mitos por los que vivimos …

Oh amada
            y a veces,
impertinente nostalgia,
que persistes en hablarnos sobre el verde paisaje
al otro lado del muro
que nos tienta a cruzarlo
                        bajo nuestro propio riesgo.

English Translation:  “The Geography of Nostalgia”

Let me tell you about the geography of nostalgia
                        about that layout
            of ineffable feelings, emotions and memories
that sketch with subtle lines airs of Chiclayo, Cajamarca,
            the Cascades, the Andes, Coos Bay, Salem …

Let me tell you about that accumulation of valleys
                        rivers, grasslands, oceans.
                                                            mountains and deserts;
about that grammar with its magnificent canyons
as commas
            with its colossal rocks
as periods
            with its seductive landscapes
as canvases
            with the whisper of the waves
as poems.

Let me disclose to you the secrets
of our human topography
            the geography of nostalgia
that enthralls us so much.

Take note,
it merely happens that
the stillness of time has carved its essence in our souls
reminding us of the tenacity of memory
that shapes and demarcates our dreams and circadian paths.

This geography of nostalgia,
that walks hand in hand with the sagacious subjunctive,
filing with abandonment, but with tenderness,
the vagaries of remembrance with its calm wisdom
and transforms them into life-giving paths, stories, fellowships;
in myths we live by …

Oh beloved
            and sometimes,
impertinent nostalgia,
you persist in telling us about the verdant landscape
on the other side of the wall
that tempts us to cross it
                        at our own peril.

Poet’s Bio:  Efraín has been drawing, painting, and writing since he was a child. He has exhibited his art in Oregon, Mexico, Russia, and Peru.   He has resided in Oregon for 25 years.  He is the author of the following poetry books:  The Many Faces of Love (1983), Aire, agua y cenizas (2011), Cuatro poemas (2011), The Anvil of God (2011), The Life of Oceans (2014), 1ra Antología de la poesía oregoniana (2018), Relative Poetry (2018). and Cuando llegues al fondo, cava más abajo (2019)– a translation of Kim Stafford’s poetry. Efraín has been a member of the Oregon Council for the Humanities, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon United Nations Association, the Silverton Poetry Association, the Oregon Poetry Association, the Instituto de Cultura Oregoniana, and has chaired the Oregon Hispanic Commission, etc.

Third Place Spanish Language:  “grillos cuando quiero dormir” by Broderick Eaton

pienso en el meningitis
que sobreviví     recuerdo
la canción contando libélulas
sobre la cara de la luna
que cantó una enfermera     su voz
bálsamo para calmarme mientras
mamá por fin dormía

sueño con la mañana
que nació mi propio hijo
viscoso y pateando en crepúsculo
meloso por una madrugada veranal
la ruptura de mi corazón
para dejarlo entrar
con nuestro primer aliento

cuando no duermo reconozco
mas suerte que merezco     rememoro
el día que mi padre como un árbol
del invierno soltando su hoja final
me dio el regalo de sus
últimas palabras
susurró en mi dirección    
hasta pronto amorcita    y murió

me quedo despierta
con los grillos de las sombras
sin descanso me cantan
cállate     quédate     no te olvides
del sabor de este día
quiero dormir pero ceder es acabar
y no quiero perder

ni una gota de esta vida

English translation:  “crickets when I want to sleep”

I think about the meningitis
that I survived     I remember
the song counting dragonflies
across the face of the moon
that a nurse sang     her voice
balsam to ease me while
mother finally slept

I dream about the morning
that my own son was born
slick and kicking in twilight
honeyed by a summer dawn
the rupture of my heart
to allow him in
with our first breath

when I don’t sleep I recognize
more luck than I deserve     I recall
the day that my father like a tree
in winter letting go its final leaf
gave me the gift of his last words
he whispered in my direction
see you soon love        and died

I stay awake
with the crickets of the shadows
without rest they sing to me
still     stay     don’t forget
the flavor of this day
I want to sleep but to give in is to finish
and I don’t want to lose

even a drop of this life

Poet’s Bio:  As a student at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, Broderick Eaton studied with poet Mary Oliver and author John Gregory Brown. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Smartish Pace, Writer’s Digest, Slippery Elm, and The Source Weekly. She been recognized in Oregon Poetry Association contests in both Spanish and English, and she won the Sixfold Poetry Prize. Her poems have also been named runner-up for the Erskine J. Poetry Prize, and finalist for both the 49th Parallel Award and the poetry award in the Tucson Festival of Books. Her short stories have been finalists for the New Millennium Prize, Stories That Need to be Told, and the Wild Women story contest. She holds an MFA from Lindenwood University and lives with her family in the high desert of Oregon.

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