I grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia and currently live in Madrid, Spain. My passion for folklore, African roots, and the word lead me to create the show Afrolyrics, which unites poetry and world percussion. I have published the book of short stories Ciudad Sonámbula (Aldevara, 2010), and the poetry books Voces Mudas (Fundación Progreso y Cultura/ TwentyFourSeven, 2011) and Pájaro, vértigo (Huerga y Fierro, 2014). I am involved in collaborations with dancers and musicians in Holland in the Parpadeo Project and the Ida y Vuelta project with the artist and poet Charles Olsen with whom I also run Antena Blue creating audiovisual pieces. My website is www.lilianpallares.com.
The following poems and film poem are from my latest book Pájaro, vértigo (Huerga y Fierro, 2014). They are translated from the original Spanish by Charles Olsen.
In the yard, in the shade of the mango tree,
the grandmother lets fall rice between her black fingers.
A white waterfall pours into the pot.
The falling grain makes a sound of maracas,
an everyday Lumbalú that grows with the flame of the stove.
She slices mango.
Milk and lemon are mixed.
A dash of sugar and another of cinnamon.
She speaks to herself, moving slowly her lips.
Her face burns
and a tear simmers beneath her eyes.
In the house there is no sound of steps.
Lumbalú is a funeral ritual of the Palenquero culture of Colombia, formed of dances, songs, music and performances.
I go across the lines of light
in the palm of your hand.
I crown the universe of its skin
as when a child I climbed trees.
I take your hand as one who takes the heavens.
The Tree’s Dream
Beneath the tree lies the skeleton
of the inexpert fledgling,
and above the cicada murmurs what the night’s soul dictates.
In secret, a voice, though not mine, tells me,
“Don’t be afraid of flight, don’t be afraid.”
Even in dried leaves
lives the forest.