Bree Alexander: ‘Cruzando’ Translation and Notes

Contigo y sintigo I began
until I arrived at a point sin ti
(sintigo is grammatically incorrect but an error I used to make, sin ti is the correct way to say ‘without you’)

Eres guap@ became
¡Qué guap@ eres!
and in a particular moment
¡Qué guap@ estás!
(Following an English word order in the first instance ‘eres guap@’ and later learning the order more commonly used as well as the difference between the ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ forms)

I was not sure if el cielo era azul
o naranja until I realised that
era azul, y estuvo naranja
from time to time
(the difference between the ser and estar forms, ser as a more permanent state)

Me siento en otra dimensión became
como si estuivera en otra dimensión
(I feel in another dimension became as if I were in another dimension – learning everyday uses of the imperfect subjunctive) 

vino vino vino…what?
Yes…it’s missing the uve sound
(highlighting the ‘uve’ as distinct from the English ‘v’)

Panuelo panuelo (incorrect spelling/prounounciation of ‘tissue’)
Does anyone have a pañuelo?

Rosa rojo Roma reloj rama perro (words meaning pink, red, watch, branch, dog, all with the ‘rr’ sound)
(don’t confuse it with pero o porro) (words with similar sounds – pero = but, porro = joint)
repeat ‘til you have it
on the tip of your tongue

Ascensor, piscina (con θ) (lift, swimming pool with combinations of ‘s’ and ‘θ’ – more difficult to pronounce)
Yeah…I will practice that one
a little more

Estar ser estar ser (the two verbs for ‘to be’ in English)
el problema el sistema el poema el idioma (all irregular masculine words ending in ‘a’)

Conservativo…quiere decir conservador (conservativo sounds more like the English ‘conservative’, but when used to describe a person in Spanish, ‘conservador(a)’ is used)
don’t confuse estar caliente y tener calor (estar caliente may seem like a logical direct translation from English of ‘I am hot’ but actually means ‘to be turned on’. ‘Tener calor’ is the one to use)
Voy a por ella y tengo una de cosas esas (Combinations that are specific to Spanish and different word orders to English)

aunque sea un ridículo
aunque es encantador
(Uses of the indicative and subjunctive, showing possibility vs a sure thing)

I love the subjunctive
for those subtle distinctions
es una pasada
(It is great)

Menos mal que sigue el aprendizaje (It’s a good thing learning continues)
forever
I will never reach perfection
pero cruzando sigo (but I keep crossing)

Bree Alexander: ‘In गति’

Bree Alexander reading ‘In Gati’

The first sensation of गति, my आज़ादी
rolling out, humming away
the rush to get here is washed away
the दिल्ली buzz, the crowd, the smog
I am stripped of it all as I lay my sheets down
stretch my body out, legs bent
लंबे लोग weren’t made for this bed
as the gentle side to side motion begins
rocking in crescendo as we glide forward, onward

the gentle sway, mesmerising dance
that will go on for days
that drives me to meditate, into an altered state
brings me into a शांत place with my प्यार
for this compact space, this flow, this flux
that will see me embrace my dreamscape
release my clenched fists, my downward gaze
let it all go, a state of calm, 
I surrender, let the गति take me

this solace in stillness I cannot taste
only ज़िंदगी in गति will see me sleep so deeply
as time and space take on another meaning
hours later when I wake, opposite me
auntie and uncle are seated खाना ready
packed and wrapped, they release their चपाती
सब्ज़ी in one टिफिन with another for अचार
my stomach is jumping, I lift my body slowly
feeling in my bag for foil, undo the पराठा       

that मेरे दोस्त had prepared at 3 o’clock that morning
You can’t take a train trip without खाना!
their fine work still holds warmth, rolled with their care
I tear away small pieces, wanting to savour it all
as I ruminate on धनिया, हरी मिर्च, आलू and गोबी
the मसाला of the आम का अचार made by रितु की मम्मी
I close my eyes, see the flavours all the more intensely
before I wrap it up, curl up once more
finding my dreamscape once more, captured
in a state of surrender, only in गति


Word/phrase Transliteration Translation
गति gati  motion
आज़ादी āzādī freedom
दिल्ली dillī  Delhi
लंबे लोग lambe lōg tall  
शांत śānt peaceful
प्यार pyār love
परदेशी paradēśī   foreigner
ज़िंदगी zindagī life
खाना khānā food
चपाती chapātī  A flat bread from the subcontinent  
सब्ज़ी sabzī  vegetable
टिफिन  ṭiphin tiffin – a metal lunchbox
अचार achār pickle
पराठा parāṭhā  layered version of चपाती madewith oil
मेरे दोस्त mērē dōst my friends
धनिया dhaniyā coriander
हरी मिर्च harī mirch green chilli
आलू ālū potato
गोबी gōbī   cauliflower

Bree Alexander (also Lika Posamari) is a multi-form Australian writer whose work has appeared with Eureka Street and Westerly, among others. She studied for a semester in Delhi in 2015 and continues to learn Hindi as she spends significant time in northern India. She was shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize 2018 (NTEU category) and she is the author of a poetry chapbook The eye as it inhales onions (in case of emergency press, 2018). She tweets sporadically @LaBree_A and blogs (mostly about films) at Roundly in the Eye.

Bree Alexander: ‘Cruzando’

Bree Alexander reading ‘Cruzando’

Contigo y sintigo I began
until I arrived at a point sin ti

Eres guap@ became
¡Qué guap@ eres!
and in a particular moment
¡Qué guap@ estás!

I was not sure if el cielo era azul
o naranja until I realised that
era azul, y estuvo naranja
from time to time

Me siento en otra dimensión became
como si estuivera en otra dimensión

vino vino vino…Qué?
Yes…it’s missing la uve

Panuelo panuelo
¿Alguién tiene un pañuelo?

Rosa rojo Roma reloj rama perro
(don’t confuse it with pero o porro)
repeat ‘til you have it
on the tip of your tongue

Ascensor, piscina (con θ)
Yeah…I will practice that sound
a little more

Estar ser estar ser
el problema el sistema el poema el idioma

Conservativo…quiere decir conservador
don’t confuse estar caliente y tener calor
Voy a por ella y tengo una de cosas esas

aunque sea un ridículo
aunque es encantador

I love the subjunctive
for those subtle distinctions
es una pasada

Menos mal que sigue el aprendizaje
forever
I will never reach perfection
pero cruzando sigo


Translation and Notes



Bree Alexander (also Lika Posamari) is a multi-form Australian writer whose work has appeared with Eureka Street and Westerly, among others. She spent three semesters (2009-10) studying at the University of Granada, Spain before getting her C2 DELE from the Instituto Cervantes and her love of Spanish continues. She was shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize 2018 (NTEU category) and she has a poetry chapbook called The eye as it inhales onions (in case of emergency press, 2018).  She tweets sporadically @LaBree_A and blogs (mostly about fims) at Roundly in the Eye.