Prosa del otoño en Gerona (I)

August 25, 2010

After his departure from Mexico in 1977, Bolaño spent most of the early 1980’s in Gerona, Spain working odd-jobs like being a dishwasher, campground attendant, bellhop, and garbage collector.  It was during these years that he wrote the poems later came to be collected under the title Prosa del otoño en Gerona (Autumn Prose in Gerona) which have never before been published in English.  Altogether there are 35 prose-poems which form a loosely autobiographical and poetic narrative.  I intend to translate the whole series. We’ll see how far I get.

These poems are untitled, but I have numbered them for ease of organization.



A person – a stranger I should say- that caress you, that jokes with you, who’s sweet to you and carries you to the edge of a precipice. There the character says “ay” or faints. As if he was within a kaleidoscope and saw the eye that watched him. Colors that arrange geometrically far beyond what you are willing to accept as good. Autumn begins like this, between the río Oñar and the colina de las Pedreras.


Una persona – debería decir una desconocida- que te acaricia, que te hace bromas, es dulce contigo y te lleva hasta la orilla de un precipicio. Allí, el personaje dice ay o empalidece. Como si estuviera dentro de un caleidoscopio y viera el ojo que lo mira. Colores que se ordenan en una geometría ajena a todo lo que tú estás dispuesto a aceptar como bueno. Así empieza el otoño, entre el río Oñar y la colina de las Pedreras.


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