We present this work in honor of the poet’s 140th birthday.
“Are you feeling cold?” you asked me. I couldn’t deny that I was: you’d detected it in my countenance and possibly even my voice.
You were also feeling cold. I could tell, though not by your face; it’s as if your soul were kept on display to mine in a crystal vase. “Close the door!” you commanded. I thought: what we ought to close instead is that book of yours… That book was the source of the cold.
In honor of Argentina’s National Flag Day, we present this work by one of the most cutting-edge Argentine poets.
I am left with only a few friends and those here are usually far and I am left an aftertaste I keep within close reach as if a firearm. I will use it for noble things: for defeating the enemy—God willing—, for speaking modestly about threatening possibilities.
I hope bitterness won’t intercept forgiveness, that distant wind of affections I am trying to describe: I hope the rigor of this will not convert into the thick glass of the dead, though I am curious to know the things they’ll have to say of me, after my death: to know which were your versions of love, of those tangential meetings, because my friends tend to be signals of my life, by tragic luck, giving me all that isn’t here. Prematurely, with one foot on each lip of the crevice that opens before me, at the feet of glory, I salute you all, hold my nose and let the abyss surround me.
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 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.
This morning I woke up saddened. This land can’t give any Wonder. Is it impossible for this Insanityland to grow a little bit (a little green corner) of Wonder? This land is sadder than a woman asking for sugar. This morning I woke up downright depressed. And I have 35 reasons. Someone has to be guilty of planting the bombs around this Wonderlessland. Without poetry readers these bombs are invisible, they don’t make noise, don’t cause panic. These are perfect bombs that kill soundlessly. These are the modern bombs that man invented, they kill like falling leaves. But leaves in the forest, they aren’t, falling are bombs. In the cities, every day, every hour, and people think that it’s winter arriving. Why would they plant so many bombs in this Wonderlessland and in so many countries like this one, Wonderless. Is it that they are filled with wonder seeing how their bombs explode over our houses, on the heads of our children, onto our beds and tables; our chairs become matches. And what will happen to the people of this Land who don’t react? The people of this land are living in the bombs’ ruins and don’t react and don’t even try to wake up sad, at the very least, like I do, this January morning. You go out onto the street and no one hears the bombs, they don’t see the mutilated children wrapped in the aura of their own pain, I don’t know if no one sees them or hears them or if they don’t want to see or listen. These are the modern bombs that humanity has invented, bombs against hearing, against listening. Bombs that destroy everything with the greatest possible sensibility and diplomacy. Peaceful bombs that burn, mutilate, uproot the tree trunks and turn the butterflies from Patagonia’s Eden of dreams into wild monsters. They invented their silent pacifist bombs that day after day they shoot at us with their missile launchers and no one hears, or sees, or feels anything. This is Insanityland, no Wonder no green, no red kiss, no flow of children across a field, this is the land of total destruction, of catastrophe approaching all that is possible. I go into the street and scream: Hey, you! Hey, you! Hey you, Dominicanne! But no one hears or sees or feels anything, I go through the streets and the bars and all the hang outs showing people a mutilated child and they don’t see him, they don’t see him. Don’t you see this child who I have by the hand? I say to some friendly beer drinkers at a downtown bar. Where? Where? they say, and keep drinking. The world is a beerzy lane. I prefer to think that nobody hears anything because the noise from bombings across the land doesn’t let them think.
A butterfly once bestowed her passion Upon a sailor – in her fashion Flitting about the hotel gate Waiting, ecstatic, to follow her mate Upon his white cap to alight Then onto his white ship, at dizzying height She flew to the vessel’s high-reaching stack At her first glimpse of ocean quite taken aback. On him she lavished all the rapture Her brief day’s span of life could capture Singing: O lovely Sailor! O Sailor, my love Our happiness lights the heavens above In the afternoon as the sun sank low From the sailor’s eyes sad tears did flow So to distract him from his sorrow She danced in the air without thought of the morrow. From the white masts she drifted away As a mighty gust interrupted her play. Into the gray sea she fell and drowned The stalwart sailor heard not a sound But all unaware a salty tear Rolled down his cheek, though he felt no fear, Marking the end of the love so true Of the butterfly and the lad in blue.