Café de los Angelitos
The poet recalls old, happy times spent at the Café de los Angelitos together with dear friends who are not there anymore. His voice becomes saddened by the contrast between the fond memories he can evoke so vividly, and the heavy absence that fills the present.
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Yo te evoco, perdido en la vida,
y enredado en los hilos del humo,
frente a un grato recuerdo que fumo
y a esta negra porción de café.
¡Rivadavia y Rincón!... Vieja esquina
de la antigua amistad que regresa,
coqueteando su gris en la mesa que está
meditando en sus noches de ayer.
¡Café de los Angelitos!
¡Bar de Gabino y Cazón!
Yo te alegré con mis gritos
en los tiempos de Carlitos
por Rivadavia y Rincón.
¿Tras de qué sueños volaron?
¿En qué estrellas andarán?
Las voces que ayer llegaron
y pasaron y callaron,
¿Por qué calle volverán?
Cuando llueven las noches su frío
vuelvo al mismo lugar del pasado,
y de nuevo se sienta a mi lado
Betinoti, templando la voz.
Y en el dulce rincón que era mío
su cansancio la vida bosteza,
porque nadie me llama a la mesa de ayer,
porque todo es ausencia y adiós.
I recall you, lost in life
and tangled up in the strings of smoke,
before a pleasant memory that I smoke
and this black portion of coffee.
Rivadavia and Rincón!... Ancient corner
of the old friendship that returns
flirting its gray tones on the table
that's still meditating on its nights of old.
Café de los Angelitos!
Gabino and Cazón’s bar!
I cheered you up with my yelling
in the old times of Carlitos
around Rivadavia and Rincón.
Chasing which dreams did they fly away?
In which stars could they be?
The voices that yesterday
arrived and passed and ceased,
where are they?
Along which street will they return?
When the nights rain their cold,
I come back to the same place of the past,
and once more Betinoti sits beside me,
tempering his voice.
And in the sweet corner once mine,
life yawns its own fatigue,
because nobody calls me to join the table of yesterday,
because all is absence and farewell.
- The English language cannot duplicate the rhyming correspondence between the two Spanish terms humo (noun ’smoke’) and fumo (conjugated form of the verb ’to smoke’). As much as it may sound repetitive, we chose to leave the literal English translation, for the sake of safekeeping the meaning.
- Gabino, Cazón, Betinoti were famous payadores (popular singers, whose art was mostly based on improvisation and sung dialogue with other payadores), regular customers in the early days of the Café de los Angelitos.
- Reference to Carlos Gardel, also a frequent customer, once the Café had become an important meeting point for tango artists.
- A well known café in Buenos Aires, located on one of the corners of the intersection of the streets Rivadavia and Rincón, whose name literally means “Little Angels’ Café“, a clear irony to those familiar with the bad reputation of the café’s once regular customers.