Poems and Texts

Excerpt from K’isa Alango by Cecilia Vicuña

Excerpt from K’isa Alango

In the Andes people say an image hears, a sound sees.

(You don’t put a mask to be seen, but to see with different eyes)

But there is no word for “beauty” (a song must never strike a right note)

______________you say K’isa instead,
____________________________________the slow power to

El suave endulzar de una fruta secándose al sol.

A slow drying fruit.

Hate and anger becoming peace and love.

The spectrum at work.

A color gradation is an effort of light to unite shadow and light.

“The rainbow has a motor” they say.

To weave gradations is to weave an illusion, a destello that hits the eye.

“Not to mystify with illusion, but to clarify the role of illusion in our perception of reality.”

Alangó in Java, beauty, is not a noun, but a god, a divine manifestation.

Simultáneamente arrobado y arrobante, being in ecstasy creates the state.

K’isa, alangó.

From: Cecilia Vicuña, New & Selected Poems, Kelsey Street Press, 2018

Photo: Daniela Aravena

Cecilia Vicuña

Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, artist, filmmaker, and activist who lives and works in Chile and New York. Born and raised in Santiago de Chile, she has been in exile since the military coup in the early 1970s. Combining ritual and assemblage, she creates multidimensional, ephemeral, participatory, and site-specific works and performance installations which she calls “lo precario” (the precarious), a bridge between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde. In Chile she founded the legendary Tribu No in 1967, a group that created anonymous poetic actions. In 1974, exiled in London, she co-founded Artists for Democracy to oppose dictatorships in the Third World. Cecilia Vicuña is the author of twenty-two poetry books, including: About to Happen (Siglio, 2017); Read Thread, The Story of the Red Thread (Sternberg Press, 2017); New & Selected Poetry (Kelsey Press, 2018); and AMAzone Palabrarmas (Neubauer Collegium, University of Chicago, 2018).

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