Story of My Death

We present this work in honor of Malvinas Day.

Leopoldo Lugones
Artgentine
1874 – 1938

 

I dreamed death and it was very simple;
a silk thread enveloped me,
and every kiss of yours,
with one loop less encircled me
and every kiss of yours
was a day.
and the time that passed between two kisses
a night. Death was very simple.
and little by little the fatal thread
unraveled. I no longer retained it
but for one end between my fingers…
When you suddenly went cold
and you no longer kissed me…
I let go of the end, and my life left me.

Paths of the Mirror

In honor of Dia de la Memoria, we present this work by one of Argentina’s most poignant poets.

Alejandra Pizarnik
Argentine
1936 – 1972

 

And above all else, to look with innocence. As if nothing was happening, which is true.

But you, I want to look at you until your face escapes from my fear like a bird from the sharp edge of the night.

Like a girl drawn with pink chalk on a very old wall that is suddenly washed away by the rain.

Like when a flower blooms and reveals its heart that isn’t there.

Every gesture of my body and my voice aimed to make myself into the offering, the bouquet that the wind abandons on the porch.

Cover the memory of your face with the mask of who you will be and scare off the girl you once were.

The night of us both scattered with the fog. It’s the season of cold foods.

And the thirst, my memory is of the thirst, me underneath, at the bottom, in the hole, I drank, I remember.

To fall like a wounded animal in a place that was meant to be for revelations.

As if it meant nothing. No thing. Mouth zipped. Eyelids sewn. I forgot. Inside, the wind. Everything closed and the wind inside.

Under the black sun of silence the words burned slowly.

But the silence is true. That’s why I write. I’m alone and I write. No, I’m not alone. There’s somebody here, shivering.

Even if I say sun and moon and star I’m talking about things that happen to me. And what did I wish for? I wished for a perfect silence. That’s why I speak.

The night is shaped like a wolf’s scream.

Delight of losing one-self in the presaged image. I rose from my corpse, I went looking for who I am. Migrant of myself, I’ve gone towards the one who sleeps in a country of wind.

My endless falling into my endless falling where nobody waited for me –because when I saw who was waiting for me I saw no one but myself.

Something was falling into the silence. My last word was “I” but I was talking about the luminescent dawn.

Yellow flowers constellate a circle of blue earth. The water trembles, full of wind.

The blinding of day, yellow birds in the morning. A hand untangles the darkness, a hand drags the hair of a drowned woman that never stops going through the mirror. To return to the memory of the body, I have to return to my mourning bones, I have to understand what my voice is saying.

from Santos Vega

We present this work in honor of the 100th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Rafael Obligado
Argentine
1851 – 1920

 

Runs the tale that on an evening
When itself the pampa abysses
In its own far-reaching acres,
Without its crown of stars atwinkle,
O’er the loftiest of the hillocks
Where there is most smiling clover
Shines the torch without an owner.
Amid the vague mist’s formless curtains,
To the end the breeze may temper
The soft wings of wooing slumber.

Yet if the faintness be altered
To a tempest from its bosom,
Wildly bursts the concave thunder—
Which is speech of the dread lightning—
Strikes the lone ombu obliquely
Flaming tongue of ruddy serpent,
Which, calcinating its branches,
Serpentines, runs and mounts upward,
And from the tall tip discharges
Its scales in a brilliant shower.

It Comes in Every Storm

In honor of Carnival Monday, we present the work of one of modern Argentina’s most celebrated poets.

Olga Orozco
Argentine
1920 – 1999

 

And don’t you feel also, perhaps, a stormy sorrow on the skin of time,
like a scar that opens again
there where the sky was uprooted?
And don’t you feel sometimes how that night gathers its tatters into an ominous bird,
that there’s a beating of wings against the roof
like a clash among immense spring leaves struggling
or of hands clapping to summon you to death?
And don’t you feel afterwards someone exiled is crying,
that there’s an ember of a fallen angel on the threshold,
brought suddenly like a beggar by an alien gust of wind?
And don’t you feel, like me, that a house rolling toward the abyss
runs over you with a crash of crockery shattered by lightning,
with two empty shells embracing each other for an endless journey,
with a screech of axles suddenly fractured like love’s broken promises?
And don’t you feel then your bed sinking like the nave of a cathedral crushed by the fall of heaven,
and that a thick, heavy water runs over your face till the final judgment?

Again it’s the slime.
Again your heart thrown into the depth of the pool,
prisoner once more among the waves closing a dream.

Lie down as I do in this miserable eternity of one day.
It’s useless to howl.
From these waters the beasts of oblivion don’t drink.

Holy City

Jacobo Fijman
Argentine
1898 – 1970

 

Three screams stabbed me with their knives.
Landscape of three screams
long with astonishment.
The shrouds of mystery have jested!
Flight of torpors;
sighs
in the paralyzed fog.
Cypresses.
Bronze of terrors,
formless, fragmented.
Roads die
and bridges are built.

A tree mutates
by closing its pupils.

Dream’s angelic pigeons
timorously fall into the
icy nails of dread.

An infinite horror was
flowing in my entrails
in a death anthem.

About Love of Barbarians

Luis Benitez
Argentine
b. 1956

 

The opposite seeks the opposite
and the drop of black
grows within white
until turning white into black
and conversely the drop becomes white

We all want the opposite
Which incarnates in front of you
Once in a while
And brings its exotic religion its idea of the subject
Its distractions its apparent cruelty
The little care with which it handles the most precious gifts
The offers and presents we devoted
Before
To our own fetich
Such was our donation
Barbarians have the candor of what we were
That which has never grown in them
Or has never been attempted

They are what was possible for us to be today and did not prosper
Therefore the tenderness the zeal the interest we feel
For its apparent clumsiness
A constant lack of consideration

Our consolation when their actions kill us
is contemplating them kindly
And caressing or at least trying to do so

The destroying brutality
that when rebuked
they sincerely do not understand
As they would not understand if in front of them we wept
The why of all those tears they feel innocent
They are indeed, ours is the tragedy of understanding
That we can do nothing
Either for love or for hatred to redeem the creature
From its rude condition

This is of all gifts perhaps the rarest
Our gods have given us
Our non-existing gods

There are also those barbarians who resemble us
But they are not us beware of them above all
They are the most dangerous they are those who really
Reach your heart
With their deceits of which they are of course
Utterly innocent

But nothing changes barbarians

And when their fierceness appears expressing their “meanness”
Their “violence” their “impiety” their fastidious extreme negligence
They are already within us and it is late
Very late for everything
And they will never leave that
Which their unskilfulness their unconscious malice conquered
And also their dexterity
Widely acquired
In combat against other barbarians

We will be their success the drop of childish joy
Which lasts for a day
The lonely boasting which soon disperses
Ours will be the ruins the venerated broken statues
We sold at market price for their sake
Nothing or almost nothing is worth anything from us among barbarians
And ours will be the night where something will burn
Eternally in flames forever
For the love of barbarians

A Glass of Forgetting

Alberto Vaccarezza
Argentine
1886 – 1959

 

Waiter! Bring another round,
and serve a drink to anyone who wants one.
I’ve felt quite alone
and I’ve been quite sad
since I discovered the cruel truth.
Waiter! Bring another round—
last night, I saw the two of them together…
I wanted revenge, I wanted to kill her,
but some impulse calmed me down.

I went out to the street, taken aback,
I was in a haze until I arrived here
to ask these wise men
to ask them what I should do…
“Forget it, my friend,” some will say,
but I could never just forget her…
and if I kill her, then I’d live without her—
live without her! I never could!

Waiter! Bring another round
and serve a drink to anyone who wants one.
I want to make myself happy with this wine—
we’ll see if wine makes me forget.

Against a Wind That Breaks…

We present this work in honor of Argentine Independence Day.

Carlos Barbarito
Argentine
b. 1955

 

Against a wind that breaks,
some are suspended by a thread over earth
that meets no boundary;
in some remote Orient
others will pierce a bone
and through the cavity they will look at what is born and dies;
here the eyelids lick each other,
the thighs bite each other, between one light
from above and another from below.
Tomorrow, perhaps, they will try out gas masks,
they will draw chalk lines
to separate desire from logic;
tomorrow, perhaps, they may weep
and do their clothes up tight
to plunge once more into darkness;
but now, they swing embraced
and naked, placed in such a way
that they look like birds made only of veins;
by their action, even though ephemeral,
the beasts slough their skin,
red tears fall into the sea
and burn it.

Limits

In honor of the Argentine holiday, National Flag Day, we present this work by Argentina’s most legendary author.

Jorge Luis Borges
Argentine
1899 – 1986

 

Among these streets that deepen the red west
There must be one I’ve gone along not knowing
That that time, in that street, will have been my last—
Both unconcerned and unaware, obeying

The great Whoever-It-Is that sets a term,
A secret and inviolable end,
To every shadow, every dream and form
That ravels life and knits it up again.

And if for all there is a norm and measure,
A last time, a nevermore, and a forgetting,
Who can tell which visitor, departing,
Is one to whom we’ve said goodbye forever?

Beyond the greying window night is fading
And in the stack of books whose lopped shadow
Makes it seem taller on the dim-lit table,
There’s one we’ll never get around to reading.

There are on the Southside more than one ruined dooryard
With prickly pear and rubble masonry planters
Where I shall no more be allowed to enter
Than if it were a picture on a postcard.

There is a door that you have closed for good,
A mirror that waits in vain to hold your face;
A four-faced Janus guards your next crossroad
Though it seems you might go any of its ways.

In the midst of all your memories there is one
Faded away beyond recovering;
Neither the yellow moon nor the white sun
Will ever see you drinking from that spring.

Your voice will not recapture what the Persian
Said in his tongue of rose and nightingale
When you may wish at dusk, as the light disperses,
To say things that are unforgettable.

And the everflowing Rhône, and certain lake,
All that is present to me from the past,
Will sink like Carthage that the Roman took,
Destroyed with fire and with salt erased.

I believe I hear in the dawn the strenuously
Long murmur of a multitude departing.
They are what has loved me and forgotten.
Space, time, and Borges are deserting me.