Unlike nostos, algo is unspecified.

nunca sé por dónde empezar, así que decido hacerlo al comerme una fresa
incontable la cantidad de semillas
can you say I’m of two minds?
yo diría que tengo ideas encontradas
lo cual abre dos posibilidades: que se encuentren como amigas
cada una con su punto de vista
hace tanto que no se ven
o que estén a punto de agarrarse
getting at each other’s throats
pensé que era un mexicanismo, pero no
you’re getting territorial
lo cual a ti nunca te preocupa
what are you talking about?
si lo que dices o no es un regionalismo
te tiene sin cuidado, no te define
since I’m just passing through, you mean
pero te fuiste quedando
I went on staying
who’s I anyway
quién habla

ay, interjección para expresar muchos y muy diversos moviemientos del ánimo,
y más ordinariamente aflicción o dolor

ay, prounounced I, interjection used to express a range of mood shifts,
and more commonly affliction and pain

*

I never know where to begin so I pick up a strawberry
with its countless seeds
¿cómo dices tengo ideas encontradas?
I am of two minds
como si en tu cerebro se alojaran dos mentes
or your skull had a siamese twin
lo cual te haría excepcionalbut it’s a set phrase, the language figurative
or formulaic
its referent, a common affliction
me hiciste pensar en réferis
who plays arbiter is up for grabs
volvemos a los agarrones
don’t get ahead of yourself
volvemos a las cabezas
ahead not a head
¿por qué no dices la verdad?
te pierdes en tus juegos de palabras
you interrupted me
up for grabs, to be for the taking,
o sea disponible, you misinterpret
to get your point across

I, pronunciado ay, primera persona singular en inglés

I, pronounced ay, first person singular

so it follows that algo, an indeterminate something, from the Latin,
is unrelated to algos, pain in Greek,

de ahí se desprende que algos, del griego,
poco tiene que ver con algo, del latín

The rest there’s no need to spell out.

 

&

Mónica de la Torre works with and between languages. Her most recent poetry book is The Happy End/All Welcome, a riff on the art installation The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s America, itself a riff on Kafka’s unfinished Amerika. It was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, which also put out her translation of Defense of the Idol by Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres. She was born and raised in Mexico City and lives in New York City. A contributing editor to BOMB Magazine, she writes about art and frequently collaborates with artists. New work appears in Big Big Wednesday and A Public Space.

“Unlike nostos, algo is unspecified.” was originally published in TLR: Feverish