Catherine Jagoe

I’m Not Going to Talk


I’ll talk about something else

never that

I’m not going to tell you


I’m going to draw this subtle

paradise of paper

that doesn’t mention lice or dreams

glimpses of a brief childhood

I’m going to talk about hammocks

and rosaries

I assume you don’t pray

and you never slept in a hammock




I won’t keep a tally

bruises that go away turn inwards

to blow up again in children’s faces

your own kids’ and ad eternum

I’ll forget later when I’m talking

to no one

about Picasso

all that


not your hand hard as

a madman is rigid

you turned away and he came back another person

one beating made your boy a man

you can’t tell me that they’re kids

Goyeneche sings about a man who’s a thousand

years old

I’ll talk about something else

although I come back

to this alphabet to say without complaining

I celebrate what’s bitter in these pages

this alphabet

speaks only of you and of my childhood

it helps us to know death

nothing more

he doesn’t say stop, enough

he’s not the sort to say stop

I’m not going to talk about the fist and the mark

of the way your hand crushes the look

on your son’s face like a fly in summer

I’m going to speak of the way your hand

rises inside the poem

and undoes it




Translated by Catherine Jagoe

“I’m Not Going to Talk” first appeared in the collection En la boca de los tristes (Montevideo, LoQueVendrá, 2014). This English translation was published online in Words Without Borders (December 2014), and is forthcoming in América Invertida: A Bilingual Anthology of Younger Uruguayan Poets, edited Jesse Lee Kercheval (University of New Mexico Press, 2016).


You can read and listen to the poem in the original Spanish here.