POETRY - Yolanda Castaño


VIDEO: Yolanda Castaño performs her poetry, with translations from Amaia Gabantxo



A slow razor the identity project.
Re-cognition, an indigo celebration.

How did I let myself be overcome by all this?
My own dreams ran away from me with myself
Can’t allow being misunderstood once again
Why can you get to me? Why can you still get to me?
An insurmountable absurd dispossession.

But that I would be fine, that care is not needed you know that I would be fine
anyway, always fine, although not understood though
losing my health in my youth.
I also thought I would be able to control it.
Why can you make me despair? Why can you still make me despair?

A pond of sustained notes,
a mechanic nightingale is the evening
How did I dare to assume your strategy?


When I’m no longer a flower,
I’m annoying.

But the hard thing was to be, 
                                  inexhaustibly upsetting.

Getting seriously ill
would hugely benefit my literary renown.

If I don’t get a job, I’ll leave for Las Vegas.
In the States I’m more gorgeous than anywhere else.

But I have been rude and pretentious,
I’ve smiled only for my self-interest,
the hectic sexy capitalist;
I made it compensate for my days of powerlessness.
To be
is the hard thing.
When I spoke, only my lips were contemplated.

If I take a break, would that
make me irresponsible?
If I’m vulnerable,
will I be trod on?
If things didn’t look so good for me,
would I be loved better?

A profuse razor the identity project,
a mechanic nightingale the evening.
So many souvenirs will be the end of Notre Dame’s
Where were you when I needed you?


Hanayo understands me. I don’t know
if, maybe, I would be better understood in Japan.

The weak fish         will be swirled to a safe place.
The strong fish        will be alone in a growing effort.

The easy thing

            Isn’t to be.

I wouldn’t have compromised so much
In fear of making you despise me,
I wouldn’t have been so self-destructive,
I wouldn’t have done without needs
I wouldn’t have denied my determination.
If I’m beautiful, will I
Be less likely to be alone?


I just wanted to draw a lucky charm
But when I spoke only my lips were contemplated.

Asking lilies, screens, thermal papers,
asking everyone else who the hell I was.
I ran the risk of losing – myself, all that I’ve ever had -
Pale withdrawn little girl in the blue uniform.

Would success make our home a failure?

Misery’s privilege is to have its own place
If I don’t get a job, I’ll leave for Las Vegas.
The volume of all my figures influences the spurs I bow down to.
I swear I wouldn’t have yielded so much
for fear of not meeting those standards.
If I don’t want to,             does it mean I don’t want to?

The weak fish         will be swirled to a safe place.
The strong fish        will be alone in a growing effort.

Merciful is the reward I want to be ill
Where were you when I needed you?

Translated by Terry Calviño

                                            *                 *                 *


First it was a disorder
a girl’s harmful abstinence we were poor I had nothing
except rickets poverty before I bitterness lacking a
parabola of complexes a syndrome a ghost
(Equally ill-fated to miss or lament it)
Shadowy reef which breaks my necklaces.
First of all it was an evasive gill which
wouldn’t make me happy touching me with its breath
I’m the plainest face in the school playground
insipid expression which sows nothing anywhere
have it or not give up get used to swallow it
crows covering clouds sentenced to eternal cold
a patient gale a private deprivation
(I was a convent girl they all end up
anorexic lesbian spare
the rod spoil the elbows heads
cunts and consciences).
I closed my eyes and violently wished
once and for all to become what I was.

But beauty corrupts. Beauty corrupts.
Shadowy reef which wears out my necklaces.
Morning conquers and the throat contains a portent.
Silly little thing! you were obsessed with covering with crosses
instead of content.
It was a slow dizzy blossoming of flowers in winter
The rivers jumped back turned into waterfalls roses
butterflies and snails appeared in my hair
The smile of my breasts added fuel to airplanes
Beauty corrupts
Beauty corrupts
The tightness of my stomach escorted spring
conch shells overflowed in my miniature hands
my highest compliment pinched my ventricle
I no longer knew what to do with so much light in so much shade.

They said your weapon will be your own punishment
they threw my virtues in my face this
club does not admit girls with red painted lips
a dirty seaquake perverted usury which
can have nothing to do with my mask of lashes
mice went up to my room fouled the drawers of underwear
litres of scrap tar secret spying litres
of control litres of slanderers kilos of suspicions raised
with only the tense arch of my eyebrows you should be tied up
given a grey appearance your features erased with acid
to stop being me in order to become a writer?
they demonized my long thin neck the way
I have hair at the base of my nape this
club does not admit such well turned out girls
We distrust the summer
Beauty corrupts.
Think hard if this is all worth it.

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