Showing posts from May, 2020

Telepathy and Other Impressions

A short story by Ecuadorian writer Abdón Ubidia, translated by Nathan D. Horowitz, published in Michigan Quarterly Review, Summer 2000 I had a girlfriend when I was a kid. Her name was Susi. She was skinny and had freckles. I won her over with the only skill I had: imitating animals. It was during summer vacation in a dry little town. Calling Susi my girlfriend is just a manner of speaking. Neither of us knew anything. She and I were just always together. Sometimes we were by ourselves. Sometimes we joined the gangs of kids that roamed the white sand paths, the streams with their banks of red clay, and the eucalyptus woods, or got together in the morning to go down to the swimming pool, or in the night to sing around a bonfire, catch fireflies and gaze at the starry sky. There was a boy who played the accordion. Another recited poetry. Another was famous for his traps to catch three different species of doves. Another boy swam like a fish. I couldn’t do any of these things. W

The Old Yage Drinker’s Visions

Miguel Angel Cabodevilla Miguel Angel Cabodevilla is a Capuchin priest, born in Spain, who spent thirteen years in the rainforest working in education and on the preservation of native cultures. Fernando Payaguaje, the drinker of this narrative’s title, was the last of the shaman-chiefs of the Ecuadorian branch of the Secoya tribe,  now known as Siekopai. T his story is from Cabodevilla’s 1998 nonfiction book Oro Creciente. The translation into English, by Nathan Horowitz, appeared  in  Shaman’s Drum Magazine in Autumn, 2003. I knew I would never see him again, alive or dead. He had yielded me his hammock, with the exquisite courtesy that always characterized him. With a silence so close to grief, I observed all his movements, trying to make of them a photo album in my mind, trying to win over death the illusory victory of memory. The cavernous cough that sounded in his chest was like termites hollowing him out inside. He shuffled across the dirt floor of his hut and let h