“The Blood Shed”

translation by Ana Arriaga (2015)


¡Que no quiero verla!

Dile a la luna que venga,

que no quiero ver la sangre

de Ignacio sobre la arena.

¡Que no quiero verla!

La luna de par en par.

Caballo de nubes quietas,

y la plaza gris del sueño

con sauces en las barreras.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Que mi recuerdo se quema.

¡Avisad a los jazmines

con su blancura pequeña!

¡Que no quiero verla!

La vaca del viejo mundo

pasaba su triste lengua

sobre un hocico de sangres

derramadas en la arena,

y los toros de Guisando,

casi muerte y casi piedra,

mugieron como dos siglos

hartos de pisar la tierra.


¡Que no quiero verla!

Por las gradas sube Ignacio

con toda su muerte a cuestas.

Buscaba el amanecer,

y el amanecer no era.

Busca su perfil seguro,

y el sueño lo desorienta.

Buscaba su hermoso cuerpo

y encontró su sangre abierta.

¡No me digáis que la vea!

No quiero sentir el chorro

cada vez con menos fuerza;

ese chorro que ilumina

los tendidos y se vuelca

sobre la pana y el cuero

de muchedumbre sedienta.

¡Quién me grita que me asome!

¡No me digáis que la vea!

No se cerraron sus ojos

cuando vio los cuernos cerca,

pero las madres terribles

levantaron la cabeza.

Y a través de las ganaderías,

hubo un aire de voces secretas

que gritaban a toros celestes

mayorales de pálida niebla.

No hubo príncipe en Sevilla

que comparársele pueda,

ni espada como su espada

ni corazón tan de veras.

Como un río de leones

su maravillosa fuerza,

y como un torso de mármol

su dibujada prudencia.

Aire de Roma andaluza

le doraba la cabeza

donde su risa era un nardo

de sal y de inteligencia.

¡Qué gran torero en la plaza!

¡Qué buen serrano en la sierra!

¡Qué blando con las espigas!

¡Qué duro con las espuelas!

¡Qué tierno con el rocío!

¡Qué deslumbrante en la feria!

¡Qué tremendo con las últimas

banderillas de tiniebla!

Pero ya duerme sin fin.

Ya los musgos y la hierba

abren con dedos seguros

la flor de su calavera.

Y su sangre ya viene cantando:

cantando por marismas y praderas,

resbalando por cuernos ateridos,

vacilando sin alma por la niebla,

tropezando con miles de pezuñas

como una larga, oscura, triste lengua,

para formar un charco de agonía

junto al Guadalquivir de las estrellas.

¡Oh blanco muro de España!

¡Oh negro toro de pena!

¡Oh sangre dura de Ignacio!

¡Oh ruiseñor de sus venas!


¡Que no quiero verla!

Que no hay cáliz que la contenga,

que no hay golondrinas que se la beban,

no hay escarcha de luz que la enfríe,

no hay canto ni diluvio de azucenas,

no hay cristal que la cubra de plata.


¡¡Yo no quiero verla!!


I don’t want to see it!

Tell the moon to come,

that I don’t want to see the blood

of Ignacio on the sand.

I said I don’t want to see it!

The wide moon.

Horse of quiet clouds,

and the grey plaza of sleep

with willow along the barriers.

I don’t want to see it!

I hope that my memory burns.

Alert the jasmine flowers, so small and white.

I said I don’t want to see it!

The cow from the old world

passes his sad tongue over a muzzle covered in the spilled blood pooled on the sand.

And Guisando’s bulls, almost dead and almost stone, mooed as if they were fed up

spending two centuries walking the earth.


I said I don’t want to see it.

Ignacio climbs the stairs with Death on his back.

He sought the sunrise, but sunrise it was not.

He finds his stable silhouette

and the dream disoriented him.

He sought his beautiful body and

found his spilt blood.

Don’t tell me to look at it!

I don’t want to feel that blow,

every passing time with less force;

this flash that illuminates those laying on the ground

and falls over the corduroy and leather of the thirsty crowd.

Who yells for me to show my face?

Don’t tell me to look at the blood

His eyes didn’t close when he saw the horns getting closer,

while the terrible mothers lift their heads.

And through the livestock there was

an air of secret voices that yelled at celestial animals, the overseers of the pale fog.

There was no prince in Seville with who you could compare him,

nor a sword like his sword,

nor a truer heart,

his marvelous strength was like a river of lions,

and his decorated wisdom, like a torso of marble.

Air from Andalusian Rome adorned

his head in gold where his smile was a block of salt and of intelligence.

What a great bullfighter in the ring!

What a good ham from the mountains!

How dull the spikes are!

How hard the spurs are!

How tender the dew!

How dazzling the fair!

How enormous with the small flag of darkness!

But already he sleeps with no end.

Already the moss and the grass open up

the flower that is his skull with sure fingers.

And his blood already comes to me singing;

singing for salt marshes and prairies,

slipping on frozen horns,

flickering without a sould through the fog,

stumbling over thousands of hooves like

a long, black, sad tongue to form a puddle of

agony alongside the river Guadalquivir of the stars.

Oh white wall of Spain!

Oh black bull of pain!

Oh harsh blood of Ignacio!


I don’t want to see it!

There is no chalice that can contain the blood,

there are no swallows that will drink it,

there is no frosted light that’ll make it cold,

there is no song nor flood of white lilies,

there is no goblet that could cover it in silver.


I don’t want to see it.

Ana Arriaga is a sophomore who is majoring in Spanish with a minor in linguistics.​ She enjoys reading Spanish literature and poetry, especially the works of her favorite poet, Federico García Lorca. Ana hopes to one day work as a translator or interpreter.

She writes of the piece, “My father is from the Basque region of Spain. This region of Spain was one of Franco’s big targets during the Spanish Civil War. García Lorca draws inspiration from the war in many of his poems and was a strong voice against Franco.”

“Turner’s Comedy”

by Martin Bremer (2015)

The pistol lies across the desk from me—out of reach, but pointing straight at my chest.

Halogen lamps flood the interrogation room—I can almost feel my innards incinerate as the brightness forces its way through my retina—every crevice, every wrinkle of me, laid bare, out in the open—illuminated. I’m trying to sit straight and still, but someone turned up the AC and I can’t help curling up and shivering violently. The smell of red wine from the stain on my cocktail dress invades my nostrils—the wet spot where it spilled clings to my waist and crotch, revealing my figure underneath and intensifying the cold. Only the rasping sound of pages turning and the officer’s quasi-asphyxiating breathing while he leafs through the police report register over the humming of the AC.

“Mr. Turner,” the officer begins leisurely, “do you have any idea of what they’ll do to people like you in jail?”

I was sitting at the bar alone when Harry came up to me. He was the first one to man up and take a chance—he said hello, asked if he could sit with me, and offered me his hand. I must have gripped more firmly than he did—most of his strength had deserted him sometime between drinks seven and eight.

The bar was packed with men. Cocky seniors and juniors, most of them. A few in grad school—Harry included. You could tell none of them had ever been with a real woman. They’d either peacock around or just stare at my legs when they thought I wasn’t looking. I was about to leave when Harry walked over and introduced himself.

“Linda Turner,” I said.

“Pleased to meet you,” he smiled back and took a swig of his J&B.

His hands had something very delicate about them—the way they seemed to caress the air when they went for his glass. They were kind hands.

I finished my drink and let him order me another one.

“Are you trying to get me drunk, Harry?” I flirted.

“Oh good, you’ve done this before.”

I smiled at him.

He spun around on his stool and leaned back against the bar. For a moment, he observed the people there with a sincere, composed intensity.

“Do you ever get the impression—looking at people in places like this—that they’re just… well, children?”

I turned to look at them. Sexual innuendo, vulgarity, drunkenness—some invisible force transplanting their states of mind into a primitive, instinctual mode. There was an aura of innocent confusion surrounding those disillusioned by the night—as if, for a momentary lapse of belief, they recognized the alienness in their identity, the ritual became obscene, imposed by an ancestral nature. Tomorrow, they’d be back to denying. Tomorrow, they’d be back to their usual, faithful selves.

“Yes—yes, I do.”

His eyes were the palest shade of blue, barely short of emitting light of their own. That whiteness completely subsumed the tiny black dots in their middle. There was something relentless in those eyes—if you looked straight into them, you’d feel like you’d seen a crushing void, the whole cold and empty universe, staring back at you. But beyond that vastness hid a purity overwhelmed. That tinge of blue—bursting out of a profound core, travelling unfathomable distances, and revealing itself pleadingly in those oceans of nothing.

Before long we were in my apartment sharing the last glassful of wine I had in my cupboard. He was moving over on the couch, undressing me already with his eyes when I put my hand on his cheek. That last moment, that last instant before everything changes, before you surrender all control over yourself and step out of reality hoping to see the true meaning of anything, however fleetingly—that moment… and all I could see were those two blank and endless pits promising me absolute silence. I pulled him closer and kissed him.

Clothes slid off in the haste of young lovers who fear the reawakening of their innocence from its temporary slumber. Bodies moved in the half-light and our kiss went almost unbroken until both of us were completely naked. I was over him, closing in. He was breathing very heavily now and letting his gaze run over me—slowly.

I braced myself.

He jolted and I restrained him. He let out an unintelligible string of sounds—the alcohol had affected him more than I realized. I tried to calm him and eventually got him to lean back. The bewilderment in his eyes gave way to orders from his body to either lie still or risk losing consciousness. His eyes filled with water.

I gradually released him and began stroking his hair as he sobbed with incandescent suns locked behind his eyelids. Softly I slid down his torso, leaving a trail of kisses on my way…

“Mr. Turner?”

I look up.

The name-pin on the officer’s tan sleeveless shirt reads ‘P.O. Perry’. He’s middle-aged, overweight, and apparently immune to the cold. His glistening bald head looks as if it’s melting under the room’s bright lights. His hands, also drenched in sweat, lie on his lap covering his groin region. The folder with the report in it lies on the desk now, visibly crumpled where he had grasped it. His face is red. A discrete but persistent twitch grabs a hold of his lips. His eyes, previously avoiding me and glued to the desk in front of him, now rest hungrily on my implants.

He turns away with a jerk of the neck when he sees he’s been caught peeking. After sliding his hands even closer to his groin and shifting his eyes around over the desk for a second, Officer Perry stands up abruptly. He grabs the folder to cover up the noticeable bulge below his belt. There’s not enough space in the room to pace, so the policeman just turns around and faces the exit in the corner.

“It’s too bad you’re only a witness. I’d love to send your sodomite ass to county,” he utters in a frenzy, grinding his teeth. “It’d be only fair, since you’re the one who caused all this horseshit.”

“Excuse me? How is any of this my—” before I can finish, he darts towards me and slams his open palms on the desk.

“Don’t talk back to me, you filthy freak!”

He slaps me across the face, knocking me out of my chair.

I hit the floor of the apartment. The blue in Harry’s eyes was gone—they were blazing, fueled by a rage I had never seen in them before. Fists clenched—the infinity in his stare, now filled with hate.

His flat mate had returned three days early without any notice, cutting short our secret rendezvous. Half-naked as I was, paralysis grabbed a hold of me—the flat mate’s stare alternating between the contradicting volumes in my briefs and bra. In this perplexed state, not much of a fight was put up against Harry pushing him out the front door again. Harry swung around—then came the blow.

The flat mate was banging on the door now, asking what the hell was going on. We could hear keys jingling outside and a fumbling noise from the lock. Harry pulled me up by the arm. “Get the fuck out. Now!” He was half-whispering between his teeth, but his voice lacked none of the menace of bellowing commands.

            “My stuff—

Fuck your stuff! Just fucking leave!” He dragged me to the backdoor in the laundry room, muttering, “Just look what you’ve done to me,” only stopping to pick up a random pair of jeans and a white t-shirt from the hamper. A second later I was outside in my underwear with a small heap of dirty clothes at my feet.

            The sunlight outside was ravaging. The contour of things was losing sharpness. Everything was blending together—fusing with the background wherever the light hit. Not a tree cast a shadow. Around the corner, a concrete saw screeched against the pavement. I noticed a couple of red spots on my t-shirt. My nose was bleeding. A metallic taste inundated the inside of my mouth. A chilling wind crashed on me from behind. It spun me around and I was blinded by a glare from a window pane. The shriek of the concrete saw raised in pitch and loudness. I clasped my ears and shut my eyes. The blood was pouring out in a thin stream, dripping from my upper lip. Its smell overwhelmed me.

            I ran into the subway station. The platform was deserted. I was finally shielded there—under the dim, flickering lighting—from the obliterating sun outside. Suddenly, the ground started to shake, a mechanical growl rose from the bowels of the city, and a murderous flash emerged from around the corner. A torrent of people spewed onto the platform and knocked me over. Somehow, I managed to crawl my way into the train, where I sat on the floor and pressed my face against my knees.

I tried to hide my bleeding, unshaven face the best I could from the other subway commuters—a woman’s breasts and a man’s two-day beard on the same body proved to be too much of a paradox for them. The sight elicited a wide range of reactions from the subway audience—from indignation and disgust through to panic and confusion. Harry’s flat mate had reacted essentially the same way as he walked in on us. At least now I was fully dressed.

            I didn’t turn the lights on in my apartment. I just buried my face in the couch and finally let the overdue tears out. I clutched a nearby blanket and curled up as tightly as I could, trying to contain the pain that threatened to spread my limbs apart and pull at them until they were ripped off, leaving only that aberration of mixed parts and my sodomite ass.

The pain in my jaw and nose where Harry’s punch hit me made my head throb. Those kind hands had hurt my body, but the guilt and shame on his face had left a scar on my heart. I began wondering if his hands were that kind after all; if what I took to be a charming personality all those months ago wasn’t just a technique he perfected; if I had really seen or just imagined the drop of blue in the shade of his eyes.

But nothing had changed—no, the world has been this bleak place all along. We irradiate hope and see only how it bounces back at us—a mere projection of wishful living. The hope decayed for me that day and revealed a barren planet. Radioactive hope.

All we create is an illusion. Nothing means anything outside the ego. Life does not deal in matters of worth. In this, I find my liberation—I finally find darkness. Exhilaration floods all my senses—fuses them together. Ecstasy. A sexual, creative energy engulfs and elevates me to a transcendent state. No sound pierces my ears. No scent invades my nostrils. No taste fills my mouth. I have no boundaries. No light blinds me now.

“You piece of shit.”

My eyes are closed. The air in the interrogation room is warmer now. I’m not trembling anymore.

I feel a strange sense of peace wash over me—the bald, little man cannot hurt me anymore. He’s a victim—his very identity rests on phantasmal tenets. The order he fights for is shattered. I am the aggressor, not him.


I open my eyes to find the report folder open on the desk, covered with photos of the victim’s face—pure gore. Beyond the report, the pistol still lies where it was.

Curious thing, a pistol.

“I’m so glad you forgive me—darling. Such a relief. So much so that my bladder is trying to get a piece of the action, if you know what I mean—I’ll be right back.”

He left me at our table with his steak vanished from his plate and my cannoli untouched on mine. I had my hands on my lap and my gaze on the cannoli. If I had looked up and seen someone staring at me, I would’ve bawled.

“Are you alright, miss?” a voice asked, startling me.

“Yes—yes, I’m fine,” I said, straightening the cutlery beside my plate, flattening a crease on the tablecloth.

“Is that guy being disrespectful to you?” the man pointed at the restrooms. “Girl like you doesn’t have to take that, you know.” He sat down in Harry’s seat—smirk on his face.

“What’s the idea, pal? Get the hell out of my chair!” Harry said, marching back from the toilet.

“The lady and I—are having a conversation. Why don’t you go take a hike, huh? Go get yourself some apple juice or something, okay?”

“That’s it.”

Harry grabbed the intruder by the jacket and lifted him out of his chair. A little commotion ensued—people were looking. The maître d’ excused himself from a table across the restaurant and strutted our way. I got up to try to calm Harry. The other guy pouched his lip, nostrils flaring, brow curved—conflict was imminent. I put myself between the men and a split second before the maître d’ reached us, the man threw a punch at Harry.

He missed him, but thumped his shoulder against my face. My heels slipped. My left ankle twisted inwards. I lost my balance, tried to grab the table for support, but grasped only the tablecloth, taking a wine glass with it, and spilling it on my lap. I fell on the floor, flat on my back, and my hair came off.

For a moment, people had to adjust to the absurdity that had just invaded reality. The maître d’ was in shock. The intruder looked down at me, saw my face—makeup, earrings, and scruffy, short hair—and eventually recognized the meaning of the wet lump on my groin. Harry was eyeing the wig with an expression of sheer panic.

Next came the laugh. Hysteric in pitch, maniacal in volume.

“Are you serious!? Alright, man. You can have… this,” the man said, gesturing at me. “What a fucking faggot.”

The man had taken a lot of blows before we could finally restrain Harry. After that, there was a broken nose and a pool of blood where that bastard fell.

“You fucking disgust me, you hear?”

Nothing new will ever be created again. Freedom doesn’t mean anything when all you’re free to do is to follow the rules. We are all slaves.

“Someone should rape you—that’s what you deserve.”

People are oblivious to their shackles—wristwatches, ties, jewelry. There is no more personal expression. The more we see ourselves as unique, the more we’re glorifying meaninglessness. Our narcissism keeps humanity tame.

“I pray to God that your kind never be accepted.”

The pistol glistens on the desk. I break a sweat. My mouth is watering. The barrel almost pulsates. A current of blissful energy races across my entire body. The trigger twitches. My breathing accelerates. The pressure rises. I gasp.


The pistol goes o—

Martin Bremer was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where he lived for 19 years before moving to Heidelberg, Germany, where he’s currently in his seventh semester as an English major. He’s been at UConn for over a semester now, as an exchange student.

“Morning on Cathedral Parkway”

by Lillie Gardner (2015)

Waking up after being awake all night from sweating under your blankets and out of your blankets and leaning against the wall to cry and cough, with your loose shirt slipping off my shoulders, with too much of the moonlight bouncing off the cold cars in the parking lot below and shining through the cloth of your cheap one-panel curtain to keep me awake. We came home late, after the others had left and I had too much to drink so we pretended you would take me home, but we both knew you were taking me home. As usual, we wanted each other without really wanting each other. On the subway we didn’t talk but I giggled and you stood next to me smiling with your hand in my back pocket because everybody on the subway is a stranger. And we came in and I collapsed onto your bed and you collapsed onto me and I let my mind slip away and let myself want it and not care about anything, not even about how you flirted with the nineteen-year-old girl at the bar all night. My friend, our friend—an innocent. Heart still intact, a small halo glowing over her smile. The chilly night and the heated little room and the sweaty sheets and the smell of naked bodies consume us both and then as suddenly as it starts it ends. You lie on your back, beckon me to sleep on your shoulder, but I roll over and away, prefer to be alone. You sleep.

And I think about him, of course I think about him. I sit up against the moonlit wall with my legs in the hot sheets and I think about him, and I think about the warm October night in the little apartment in Brooklyn, in another set of sweaty sheets, with the little black cat slinking between us, when he turned over to face me in the dark and he looked to me with fear in his eyes like a little kid looking to a mother and he asked me, “How do we know we’re making the right decision?” And my heart broke, and it breaks again when I think about it. How certain I was, and how badly I wanted it to be mutual, painless, easy, obvious. And it was mutual, sort of, but it wasn’t painless, easy, or obvious. It was me, blindly jumping into an abyss. And him, looking at me with confusion sweating out of the pores on his tensed forehead. “I guess so, yeah. I guess so.” And the next morning I sat at the kitchen table and the steam from the teakettle was rising frantically into the air, the pressure furiously pushing it out into the open, and I stared at it billowing in a mad rush to the ceiling while he stared at the floor and tears streamed down his face, endlessly. I didn’t cry.

But now I’m awake at four in the morning, cold and coughing against the wall of a strange bare apartment that has recently become familiar, and now I’m crying. And you’re lying in front of me—you, unavailable but there, just like me—and you’re asleep but you care. Your eyes squint open tiredly, a hand reaches out to my leg. You whisper: “Hey, what’s up. What’s up. Tell me what’s up.” I don’t say anything. I’m sick and cold and coughing and crying, silently and slowly, and you know what’s up. “Come here, get under the blankets, you’ll catch a cold,” you say, and close your eyes. Three nights ago when this happened, I’d apologized. You had sat up and said, “It’s okay, it’s normal. I still miss Her sometimes, too. It takes time.” You’d stared out the window at the cars in the parking lot, or maybe only at the moonlit haze lingering in the delicate spaces between. “A lot of time.”

I think of fighting in the parking lot at the lodge at the Grand Canyon; yelling at each other, drunk, in a friend’s Midtown studio; screaming on the icy front steps after an expensive New Year’s Eve in Saint Paul; throwing my heavy wallet at the wall of our tiny Brooklyn apartment (“I’m afraid of you, you know? You’re scaring me.”); being called a bitch; watching his face transform into hate, meanness; feeling my face transform into hate, meanness. Screaming into a pillow and wanting to punch walls, just like during the divorce when I was nine years old, when I couldn’t understand things the way they were, couldn’t express something I needed to express—overcome by frustration, clutching a plastic rosary from Catholic school in my hand under the sheets, crushing it in my fist: “Why are You letting this happen?”

I think, too, of his warm skin and the way the curly black hair above his ears gets sweaty when he’s worked up about something. I think about our walks together, our talks of ambitions, joking about our future kids, naming them, holding hands, hugging him around the waist, around the neck—his neck always tense, me always needing to know. His soft voice, his corny sense of humor (“I was born in a corn field!”), his naïveté. My naïveté. Eating teriyaki stir-fry together on the cheap IKEA futon that the cat had scratched up and watching reruns of Seinfeld. Talking like we’d always have each other. Always having each other. Promising we’d always have each other, just to keep having something.

I wake up drenched, hot and cold at the same time. Your heavy arm is around me and I lift it off. I splash water on my tired face and comb through my newly short hair with my fingers but it still sticks out in every direction. Back in your bed you open your eyes to see me getting dressed, putting my coat on, my boots. “See you later,” I say. “Yep,” you say. You smile from your pillow, then you go back to sleep. Last night, and many recent nights, you had wanted me. And being wanted is a new feeling to me, something naturally without emotional complication, with no committing or sacrificing required—purity, an honest physicality: the usefulness of needing to be used. But don’t compare, don’t compare, quietly descend the stairs. But they creak loudly and a dog barks viciously in the neighboring apartment, confirming that I exist, that I can be heard.

That this is where I am.

The crisp air outside is a fresh burst of something. It’s Saturday morning and people are out. A woman pushes a baby in a stroller, and shortly after, two laughing kids and a nanny cross my path. Can the people see me? I wonder. Is it obvious? Can they tell that I am wandering, lost? I feel naked, exposed, emanating a strobe-lit cloud of disorientation from my being. Yesterday’s faded makeup. Sunken, tear-dried eyes. I still smell like you, a man whose buried essence of brokenness and need is pungent in the sheen of sex and sweat on my body—and yet, a man who is merely there, who is merely a crutch in need of a crutch himself; but is not an entire life. Can they see that I’ve put a stop to an entire life? A clear and comfortable path firmly closed, and for what reason? I walk forward with effort, like I’ve just lost a limb, and like everybody can see that I’m completely lopsided, that I’m not used to it yet, that I have not yet learned how to carry myself with this new emptiness. And it feels like everybody is staring, and everybody is whispering: How precious, how broken. But nobody looks, and nobody asks, and nobody offers a helping arm. And I want to scream, cry out, hit something: I’m here! But my silent scream falls unheard onto the hard pavement. The air stabs my lungs like cold shards of glass. A tear slips down my cheek. I walk to 110th Street and turn to begin the trek uphill to the subway station, alongside the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is huge, ominous in the mist. Something out of medieval times, taking up an entire block with its awesome power, formidably out of place in the middle of New York City, where everything is tiny and pressed together and explosive. It scares me. Spacious, reaching up to the endless gray sky above. Endless emptiness. It knows me. It feels the imprint of my crushed plastic rosary. I try not to look at it as I walk by the stone retaining walls that support the hill it sits upon. I try to bury the guilt deep in the pit of my stomach—guilt for everything—for him, for you, for myself, for the brokenness of it all, for the lost pieces. Years of guilt. Years of feeling responsible, still feeling responsible for never being good enough, for never knowing, for pretending to know, for hurting myself, for hating myself. I hide it, numb myself. Breathing the fresh air around me, the changing of this season for a colder one, the people carrying coffees and wearing earmuffs—going places—the strollers, the whole day ahead.

Lillie Gardner is a writer and classical pianist currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UConn. A lover of Lucy van Pelt and Bette Davis, her biggest inspirations in life are bulldogs, fire hydrants, and gin.