Welcome to this house your home, here you breathe the bitter cold of that absent breath. Welcome to this house of anger and tears, indeed you can sit where your footsteps run out where your skin dries. The house has changed a bit —you’ll forgive me— but I’ve avoided painting it so that the cracks of time will give it a little bit of that familiar tinge.
It is the same house, don’t be afraid, that same one that we built some time ago, waiting to be alone enough to live in it.
At its corners, there’s no movement to recall the drawn-out breathing of other days. Not even air brings news of its dead. I walk along the secret shore of things and in them I see myself, in their coat of dust as if to shield them from their own fate. I think of the men who are now sinking tepidly into sleep. To what uncertain sea do they surrender? What wind propels their ships? To what port are they pushed? Dark the moment when my memory tries for a phantom dialogue reflected in stone, in the vigil of the dispossessed. Long, silent, like the death not uttered by these streets.
I am a bourgeois lady and have a swollen belly. I try to write my thoughts despite my sore throat.
I behave the way some others want. In common ground, the standard lie. But, for human beings it is despicable to bear labels which say: “Dry clean only.” “Handle with care.”
I have been a prodigious child, a little brat, a bad student, a beauty queen, a fashion model, and one of those that advertise soups or sundries.
I got myself into this inevitable mess, by falling in love, then sacrificing a handsome man, turning him into a husband, a sad situation.
(Not to mention what kind of person I have become!)
I have committed an inconvenient social crime: adding five children to the crowd.
I have failed as a mother, and a wife, as a lover, as a reader of philosophy.
All I can do, with sad mediocrity, is to be a bourgeois wife, unforgivably inconsequential, deaf and blind: a useless kind of human mind.
And that is why I always have a swollen belly, and sometimes I want to scream with such anger, that my own raging words do irritate my throat.
Then I write poetry which has the sound of a bass cord inside my core. Because I know the truth: that there’s a war, and violence, and crime each single day, while I am at the same time sitting here with no fear… For dumb, so doomed. For deaf So damned.
Not knowing what to do I choose inertia. I look the other way. But inside myself, I cry. Because I remember the hunger, the children in tears watching us with open eyes… far away or near, the children as real as I.
At exactly the same hour we the ladies, the socialites keep sitting here blinded, surrounded by disposable happiness.
I do nothing to see if we can move the world against poverty and drugs, against violence and war!
Instead there’s this insanity, staying still, contented with being just ass holes.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 75th birthday.
After writing on paper the word coyote You must watch out that the meat-craving word Does not take over the page, Does not manage to hide Behind the word jacaranda To wait for the word hare to pass by And then tear it apart. In order to prevent it, To sound the alarm When the coyote stealthily Prepares its ambush, Some old masters Who know the spells of language Recommend tracing the word match Rubbing it against the word stone And lighting up the word fire To scare it away. There is no coyote or jackal, no hyena or jaguar, No puma or wolf thar won’t flee When fire converses with air.
Oh God of mercy! Enlighten my mind a moment Of the vast universe, you are life, you are glory, you are sun; To each planet from your invisible Being descends an impalpable ray – goodness, greatness, love.
Eternal that ray is the focus of mysterious light, The fruitful fount of what always is said to emanate. Happy the one that walks lit by God in the world, not whipped by the terrible, searing storm.
This is what I want to sing. Between the applauses, the century’s genius curses your name. And another tower of Babel begins. Oh! Never in the heavens will it touch the proud head; It leaves not doubt, rather a sad, barren pain.
What haughty and ignorant pride with sage smoke that insults your glory and the nothing here below stand-offish? Denied, he toils; but only to know the reach always that the effort is in vain that attempts to sweep you up in his action.
The so fertile field to offered science returns without you in a desert. Only the man never progressed;
In vain he shouts and endeavors in his sterile pride Breaking your altars and erasing your name among farces.
Oh God of mercy! Enlighten my mind a moment Of the vast universe, you are life, you are glory, you are sun; Give to the world the prestigious sight of your ineffable Being, And achieve, under your protection, thrust your nascent splendor.
Your divine breath dissipates the ominous storm; Do not leave this century to its blindness and terrible ambition. Progress, hopes… everything! Ay! All of the new in the nothingness, If you do not avoid, it will return to bury us! What horror!
My lyre divulges that the triumphs that some receive; Their ancient greatness false and the lie of illusion; Here they vegetate. More what they reach for? Only shadows; Never managing to lift themselves up from the dust.
It is an inviolable law. Those that you, in your wisdom chose, If at the weight they succumb to your noble and excelling mission, They will be like the lost ship in the tempestuous sea, It is a birth that falles in the waves from the winging north. Happy he that is pious and obedient to your law as shown And the fool does not affir, That the gas and the phosphorus brighten more than your eternal blaze…
I will die mortal, that is to say having passed through this world without breaking or staining it. I didn’t invent a single vice, but I tasted all the virtues: I leased my soul to hypocrisy: I have trafficked with words, with signs, with silence; I surrendered to the lie: I have hoped for hope, I have loved love, and one day I even pronounced the words My Country; I accepted the hoax: I have been mother, citizen, daughter, friend, companion, lover; I believed in the truth: two and two are four, María Mercedes ought to be born, ought to grow, reproduce herself and die and that’s what I’m doing. I am the sampler of the 20th century. And when fear arrives I go to watch television to have a dialogue with my lies.