We present this work in honor of the South African holiday, Youth Day.
I am with those who abuse sex because the individual doesn’t count with those who get drunk against the abyss of the brain against the illusion that life once was good or had beauty or sense against the garden parties of falsehood against the silence that beats into the temples with those who poor and old race against death the atom-bomb of the days and in shacks count the last flies on the walls with those stupefied in institutions shocked with electric currents through the cataracts of the senses with those who have been depraived of their hearts like the light out of the robot of safety with those coloured, african dispossessed with those who murder because every death confirms anew the lie of life And please forget about justice it doesn’t exist about brotherhood it’s deceit about love it has no right
The banner of your body floats in the Brandenburg wind. An old woman wants to come in, I can see her through the door, her red felt hand pressing in vain on the latch, scraps of her cries come at me like the barbaric song of a violin mending the night; I’m going to slip a rose under the door a black-blooded rose, maybe she’ll go away? And I could wallow in the bramble hammock but her voice hiccups: Ophelia My name is Ophelia, open the door, O-phe-lia… —What do I care about her grotesque distortions What lie will she bring me? Why doesn’t she extend it to me through the sheets of sand the way she extends her name… Ophelia Ophelia, her shadow ricochets in the aura of my dusk. Ophelia, her voice grates like a leper’s rattle, philia, figlia…
We present this work in honor of the 35th anniversary of the poet’s death.
It simply happens I have become immortal. The city buses respect me, they bow before me, like lap dogs they lick my shoes.
It simply happens I am no longer dying. There’s no angina worth anything, no typhus, cornice, war, or cannon, cancer, knife, or flood, no Junín fever, no vigilantes. I’m on the other side, Simply, I’m on the other side, from this side, fully immortal.
I move among Olympus, gods, ambrosias, I laugh, or sneeze, or tell a joke And time expands, expands like a crazy foam. How marvelous existing like this, immortal celebrating birth every five minutes, being a million birds, an atrocious leavening. What a scandal, caramba! this swarm of life, this plague called by my name, excessive, increasing, fully immortal.
I used to suffer, sure, from flus, fears, budgets, Idiot bosses, indigestion, homesickness, solitude, bad luck… But that was a century ago, twenty centuries, when I was mortal. When I was so mortal, so stupid and so mortal, that I didn’t even love you, you have to understand.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 90th birthday.
There will be anger Followed by the deluge. We know we will be among the drowned. But we will take the devil with us down To the deepest of deeps: Our end will be his… But slowly… What will be said Of us when they look back on it all? What will be said Of us after the deluge, After the coming drowning, after the coming anger, What will be said of us poets and writers? Were we men in truth, Half-men Or mere shadows? Fear, Fear of the sword, Made of us something unspeakable — Except in the vulgar tongue.
What will be said? Will it be said we chose silence For fear of death? The letter has an edge like a sword, Can turn against its speaker.
What will be said? Will it be said that we chose to speak in symbols, Whispers, silent gestures, In all the arts of coded speech? We said it all — in vino veritas, But people Had other concerns: Their daily bread, A kilo of meat.
Maqrizi, You who always come after the deluge: A plague is a plague — It always comes on the tail of a famine. It snatched your daughter, and many other daughters As the wolf was standing guard.
I hereby solemnly swear, Maqrizi, Not to leave this world Without scandal. I ask no one for justice: True justice is not to be begged. Our judges are high priests, Our high priests are distant And all are traitors. Let someone else write poetry, I am writing the Chronicles of Maqrizi.
I drink, day And night I drink. Sinking… I sink into my depths. There I see him, In my heart a holy pearl, Unbreakable, Even if a giant mountain falls upon it. When I sober up, I float to the surface, lose my pearl. Was it lost? No. It was me who was lost— When I sobered up I floated to the surface. For sure the pearl is down there in the depths… No. It is between two thighs, trampled under feet Shod in military or civilian boots, Under the wheels of petro-dollar cars.
Usually I drink from two glasses… My comrade in the madhouse died. He used to share my drink And share my grief. We had no time for joy: He used to share my past anger, And present anger — and that to come. Usually I drink from two glasses, The second to toast him. But tonight I drink from one glass: It seems my friend, upon his death, Had given up drinking; Or maybe it was me who gave up. Then let me drink to giving up drinking Until the last of all the Noahs’ arks has left With all those who will be saved from the coming deluge.
I sink and sink And see in my glass Monkey fornicating with rat Or rat fornicating with wolf Or wolf with owl.
Maqrizi’s daughter is lost In the plague And the plague always comes on the tail of a famine, When prices are measured against a kilo of meat, Even the price of writers, novelists, poets, Artists and scientists, When the stuff of the dreams of the poor is meat; And fuul beans, Fruit for the masters.
I recall a poet’s saying: I shall sleep not to see My country being bought and sold.
Then drink from two glasses, Or, if you wish, drink from one. If my death cannot be driven away, Then let me engage with it With what I have at hand.
We present this work in honor of the 90th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Bandoneon of the slum, old deflated bellow I found you like a baby that a mother abandoned, at the door of a convent without plaster on the walls, under the light of a little lamp that at night it illuminated you.
Bandoneon, because you see that I am sad and I can no longer sing, you know that I carry in the soul branded a pain.
I took you to my room, I cuddled you against my cold chest, I was also left abandoned in my digs. You have wanted to console me with your rasping voice and your painful note increased my illusion.