Luis Cernuda, Written on Water: The Prose Poems of Luis Cernuda, translated by Stephen Kessler, City Lights Books, 2004
This book is on my short list of books that deserve to be famous. It will never be famous. I will go on trumpeting it anyway.
This book combines both of Cernuda's books of prose poems. Like a drinking buddy, at first it seemed a little cranky and maudlin, but it has turned out to be inexhaustible. Somehow Cernuda knows exactly how emotion feels in the body, how grief sinks and sensuality caresses. It is a very humble and generous book--as if he has saved all that was good and vibrant in his life and now he's giving it all away. When life in Tokyo feels like bitter exile, this is the book to which I turn for company.
The warm and nimble translation is by Stephen Kessler, who certainly deserves a kiss from everyone.
from Wasting Time:
"The breeze of the tropical night rests on your skin, refreshing it. You feel yourself floating, light, insubstantial. Your senses alone are alert, and with them your body; but it's a relaxed alertness, without the usual intrusions desiring and demanding. And while you, who've known that body forever, may be a bit suspicious of its calm, it claims that one kiss tonight would be enough to make it happy."