Malén Denis: i googled you to feel you close to me

I first came across Malén in a video of her reading a poem about being a lonely Argentinian in New York. I thought this was cool since I was a lonely New Yorker in Argentina. I thought, "I should meet this person some day." I still haven't met her in person. I read a lot of stuff on her blog a few months ago. I went to the release of her latest book, Looking Up Drugs On Wikipedia (Buscar drogas en wikipedia) and didn't talk to her because, since I stopped drinking, all I want to do in social situations is stand in the corner and act like I'm not having a panic attack. But I liked her reading enough to want to do my first column of translating non-male-identified authors with a work of hers. I tried to buy the book two times but it was "sold out", then I remembered this piece that appeared on Playground a few weeks ago and it felt perfect, since this is especially one of those nights where I would prefer a flattened computer existence to my real life. The strength of this poem is its unembellished honesty. Dramatic overtures about love and loss seem unnecessary, and would come across as trying too hard. Complicated emotions are best stated directly. Malén shows a restraint, a directness, a subtle control of flow that give her work a rare depth. With this piece I like to imagine that if I put the original through Google Translate, it would come out almost identical to the translation below. It's a miracle situation where the meaning would not get lost because the meaning is said so precisely. I like to imagine that it would come out perfect in any language, that even though the narrator is resigned to loneliness, there is a desire to communicate, and even if the brain is not the computer, it is still sending out a message that can be received by anyone.

(versión en castellano acá / spanish version here)

i googled you to feel you close to me

i open a file with the idea
of saying everything i know about love
i distract myself with other things
i put pictures of movies and pop icons
in folders on the desktop of my computer
i wish that my brain were the desktop
of this computer
that there were a possible order
to know my specific composition
the space that every thing occupies
where every thing is found

i fill up this file with letters
i want to talk about love
i talk about the disorder of the brain
and how i'd like mine
to be a computer

i fill up this document with words
i want to talk about him
i talk about pictures i'm collecting
in order to believe in beauty
as if it were a religion

its late and i'm tired but i'm not sleeping
i tell myself: it's not insomnia if i want it
i keep putting the flattened
pictures in the background of the screen

its late and i'm tired but i'm forcing myself
to understand: it's not love if he doesn't want you
my computer is not my brain
my brain is not a desktop
this is not insomnia
it is my existence that is getting flattened
against the screen
in the background

Malén Denis was born in 1989 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She's a graduate of the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires. She studied photography and audio-visual production. She is currently enrolled in a master's program in Creative Writing at the National University of Tres de Febrero.

She has published three books of poetry: With A Sonic Youth T-Shirt (Con una remera de Sonic Youth. 2009, Nulú Bonsai), Looking Up Drugs On Wikipedia (Buscar drogas en Wikipedia, 2014, Nulú Bonsai), and the chapbook, Natural Sciences (Ciencias Naturales, 2014, La fuerza suave).

Evan Leed is a writer and filmmaker currently based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In addition to being Assistant Editor and Translator for ¡OOMPH!, his writing has appeared in Shabby Doll House, Thought Catalog, Internet Poetry, and SEVENTY-FIVE, a collection of essays based on Marina Abramovic's "The Artist Is Present." His play "Calicut" was presented as part of the 2011 New Paltz New Plays festival.


(versión en castellano acá / spanish version here)