This morning (a week ago) I am exchanging messages with poet/critic/translator Marco Giovenale in Rome regarding the neologism "tralappio," which appears in the opening lines of Amelia Rosselli's 1979 poemetto called Impromptu—famously written in a sitting, just like Bernadette Mayer's Midwinter Day. I thought that I might manage to pass over this challenge in silence until I told Bernadette about the book and she said "you have to translate it and send it to me!" and gave me her address. How could anyone say no to that? The poem begins:
Il borghese non sono io
che tralappio da un giorno all’
altro coprendomi d’un sudore
tutto concimato, deciso, coinciso...
"I am not the bourgeois / who"...tralappio...halt.
What could it mean? As Marco listens inside this invention,
tralascio [I discontinue, stop, interrupt; omit, fail, neglect; skip; miss]
acchiappo [I seize]
cappio [a taking]
and, from the context, a kind of skipping, jumping is implicit.
How to render a word that means to intercept/seize and skip over at the same time?
Various laughable possibilities present themselves in the interstices of more focused work and habit.
Suddenly, to make matters baroque, it occurs to me, a week later (today): Rosselli's is at the same time a homophonic, macaronic rendering of the word "trollop" (she loved relics of English, having studied Shakespeare and the Metaphysical poets from youth—"chancels"—etc.)—an untidy or "loose" person/woman. Changing the masculine o to a to get "tra" with the implication of betweenness, trans:
(trollops, trumps, wallops, trolls, traps)
A solution as satisfactorily provisional as you'll ever get in the realms of the impossible. Forthcoming in Locomotrix: Selected Poetry & Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012).