Hamlet Paredes 25th Year Toro during a picnic in Dhour El Choueir

Have a Cigar: Hamlet Paredes 25th Year Toro

Name: Hamlet Paredes 25th Year Toro

Country: Nicaragua

Shape: Parejo

Size: Toro (6 1/2 inches x 52)

Strength: Medium

There’s you,
your wife,
and the dog.

The dog’s licking rocks,
chewing on branches,
and eating grass.

The wife is sitting on a picnic blanket,
sipping on vodka
while tanning her shoulders.

You’re looking at her,
asking yourself, “How
can I make her the happiest person
on earth?”

You’re an average man
coming from a working-class family.
Boy, just a few years ago,
you couldn’t afford a good steak.
Surprise, surprise, yo.
You didn’t see yourself
living the life,
did you?
The nice apartment,
the hot wife,
and everything else that you love so much right now.
You thought, “Nah,
it’s never going to happen ’cause I’m poor.”

But you forget
your father raised a hard-working man.
Your mother put fire in your soul.

What a ride!
Have a sip of beer.

You were a nobody,
and you’re still a nobody,
a nobody who
likes to read, write, drink,
and smoke cigars.
Yeah, nobody knows you,
but aren’t you exactly who you want to be
right now? Aren’t you
who you weren’t meant to be?

Wake up, son!
You had a lot to drink.
But that was a good nap.

There’s sun in your eyes,
sweat on your brow,
mustard on your shirt.

But it’s alright if you smile.
Smile, you son of a gun!
when you add it all up,
you’re happy.

How did you manage to be so happy?

Wake up, son!
It’s time to play with the dog.
It’s time to kiss your wife.

It’s time to know you’re happy.

“Little Lake” by Bedros Tourian

Bedros Tourian (1851-1872) was an Armenian poet and playwright. This is my translation of “Little Lake” from Armenian to English.

Little Lake

Why are you stunned, little lake?
Your wavelets are not in motion.
Is it that a beautiful woman
Wistfully looked in your mirror?

Or is it that your wavelets
Are admiring the blue of the sky
And those shining clouds
That look like your foam?

My melancholic little lake,
Let us be friends.
Like you, I, too, love
To be alone, silent, meditative.

How many waves you have…
My forehead holds that many thoughts.
How many foam flakes you have…
My heart has that many wounds.

Even if heaven’s constellations
Fall in your lap
You, you cannot match
my soul, whose fire is infinite.

There, the stars do not die.
The flowers, there, don’t decay.
The clouds don’t form rain
When you and the air are calm.

Little lake, you are my queen!
Let the wind gust through my wrinkles.
Again, in your exciting depths,
You hold me, trembling.

Many have rejected me,
“He only has a lyre,” they said.
Someone: “He trembles; he is pale.”
Another one: “He will die.”

No one said, “This boy’s
sorrowful heart, let’s tear it
To see what is written there…”
There, there is fire, not a book.

There is ashes… a memory…
Let your wavelets move, little lake,
Because a despairing man
Stared into you.

Toilet Paper

All the bars are closed,
and the happy hours
are gone.
The bartenders are quarantined.
And the DJs —
what are the DJs up to?

The coffee shops are sanitized
and vacant.
It seems
the espresso machines
are silently waiting
for the old status quo to return.
You know,
my nostrils miss the coffee aroma
of weekday mornings.

I walk around
wearing a disposable surgical mask
and disposable latex gloves.

I look around.
Nothing has changed,
but everything seems different.
And no one’s here
with me
to see what I see.

I find a supermarket open,
and I walk in.
I don’t need anything,
so I walk out.
Then I walk back in
and buy
toilet paper.