Some Poems [EN]

STEPS WITHOUT MEMORY

I look out the window and cannot find the sea. Gulls
are flying about and the lawn is drying on the line. Early morning,
the sea has not yet come. The bread has come, the flame, too,
and the newspaper. The saliva of my morning greeting.
Words were the first to arrive. What remains of them
turns the paper soft. Warm bread with yesterday’s dream
and the dreams of today. The day is being readied, footsteps
coming and going. I am getting closer. You gaze at me
as if you know what I will later know.
In this city it is never noon. There is always that sweetness
of other hours. And scattered memories. Let them leave
my dress, let the waves of the sea go free.
The window is empty. My son walks along the beach
and you, you spell out the seagulls. You walk in front of me
leaving no footprints. I lose myself, like all mothers,
like all lovers. I think up steps and words
so I can fall asleep. At this very time grandmother used to wrap her rosary
around her hands. I was inside the beads, inside the sleep
that surrounded the prayer. For a long time I remained outside.
Now we walk together. Without memory.

 

 

ONLY THE CATS

The cats ate nothing today.
They gathered slowly on the roof,
not even the rain made them open their tongues.
Nor did the water drain their voice. The cats did not meow.
That gliding stride that belongs to cats alone
led them away from the words chiselled in marble
or recumbent granite. From flowered plastic.
From the flowers that absence perpetuates.
Today the graves are silent
and the cats with their claws flattened against the tiles,
with that gaze that only cats can gaze,
still don’t know if they have lost their faith in life
or even more in death. They feel an unnamed
knot in the throat like all of us.
From the rooftops they say no to the heavens.
They want to make it clear close up.

 

 

UNIVERSAL GRAVITATION

Once again the sea I wait for
seated at the window that opens on to roses.
That opens on to all the streets I walked
beside your steps. On to the street
where we turned our heads in order not to see
the man drained of blood on the ground.
Later we ate at a friend’s house,
drinking and talking as if life were eternal.
When we returned, the street was clean, no sign
Of blood. Lights above the margins of the sea
And your hand on my leg. There in heaven
A man, disemboweled, is searching for his wings.
I know nothing about angels. I who await the sea every day
Believe in the rotation of the earth and in the law of gravity.
But when you arrive, my body weighs nothing
And the words fly around us
Drenched in sweat. And now the sea.

 

 

BEHIND THE DAYS

for Hugo

You cross the street and my gaze hovers
round your body and when you go to school
I pass close by your feet, your naked legs.
In the afternoon, along the sidewalk swarming with people,
I don’t know where I am, but I bear milk in my hands
and honey drops down upon the hunger you might feel,
so you may laugh, so your mouth may turn to wheat
and your eyes to light. You play with a friend,
I pull nails from the wood, smooth the floor
on which you stumble. You do your homework, I teach
numbers to obey you and you to love
letters, one beside the other, together
like a small comma allowing silence
to receive your voice. I fly close to your wings,
lubricating them, and watch the soothing
of the features of your face. Now you are about to leave.
I will follow just behind, taking on the color of the afternoon
so I won’t be seen. As often as you go,
I will be there gentle behind your wings. To be a mother
is to be like that. And like that I go to my source.

 

 

SILK ROUTE OF THE BLOOD

The route of the birds. Those mornings when I’d
lift my head and they’d be going by
grazing my childhood. Strolling
the sky as I would stroll below. Without a street
packed sidewalks jamming their breath for a secret
inside the ear. A trembling, almost a consciousness
of having a body. Flocked together, more people than secrets.
Maybe that is why they land upon the empty roofs.
It is the path that chooses them.
There is more to be said between the what and the who.
For example, birds have routes the war knows nothing of.
Collisions with planes in the forecast
this year (she says to herself),
this country bloody
in the beaks of birds.
They’d be going by. But not the trains, the wayside stations,
the bubbling footsteps further and further from the birds.
It was the body that demanded other maps, sinuous
lines or kisses. But mornings now are asking questions,
for example, who chooses the death of one to follow the route
of another. And always the question of profits.
One concludes that there are fewer causes than birds
upon the solitary roofs. Fewer causes, more blood.

 

 

BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND YOUR MOUTH

I will spend the night with those days.
With the smile you left in the sheets.
I still burn with the remains of your name
and see with your eyes the things that you touched.
I am here between the bread and table, in the glass
you lift to your mouth. In the mouth that holds me.
And I don’t know what I am between yesterday and what will come.
Yesterday I was the river at evening, the gaze that caressed the light.
My son writes on pebbles on the beach and I invent
Steps for deciphering them. They all roll far away.
That’s how the sea is. I am learning with the waves
to melt away to foam .There is always a seagull
that cries out when I come near, there is always a wing
between the sky and my floor. But nothing belongs to me,
not even the words with which I cement the hours.
Perhaps love is just a small difference in time zones
Or a linguistic accord that only exists
Deep in the flesh. But here where I am not
what grounds me is the certainty that you exist.

 

 

HALFWAY TO A HOUSE

I take light from the closet drawers. The first day
of fall. And all those years at the bottom.
Before, it wasn’t me. It was a house under construction.
I before myself. Now I dismantle the summer,
dresses flying, naked feet beside a dress.
Time loses itself in the change of the seasons,
but in this loss someone exists in me.
A voice laughs deep within the closet.
The sun so low, in the bottom drawer.

 

 

MORE IS LESS

Everyday we have more dead.
Or is it they who have us,
who tie us to the ground by our hair.
If we are cold, they shiver
and their thirst is quenched when we drink.
We are the shadow around the glass
And almost the hands that round the words.
They grab us by the nape. And that is how they breathe
into our ears. And we wide opened by the drunken arm
never suspect that we are busy serving death.
Infested with fear: a letter, a murmur,
Festive days, those places of sadness where one laughs for before.
And what if all this were the summary of our history?
What’s still to come is a time when dying is the least of our worries.
When one holds back in all one does. Some small extravagance
Is still allowed, as if it were a final cigarette. And death
the sum of all the interest from the capital we’ve been denied.

 

 

TO EACH HIS OWN

Skin expects from things the caress of their use
like a dog eager for its owner.
The rim of the glass, the fork’s tines.
To usurp half-open lips
with a useful and disinterested soul.
A swallow of. It’s getting late.
Wine makes one forget the glass’s skin.
For touching (she says to herself)
is a night time confidence.
Out there flowers. Hedges.
The ooze of lovers in the chalice.
I touch you with another’s hands:
that is all the confidence I can manage.
A silk dress half-opening over my leg:
A bone to make you run:
a yipping of love in the doorway.

 

 

TASKS OF THE WORLD

How devout the cows
snuffling the ground with their white spots
while the black ones raise toward the sky
a bovine gaze above the house
in which the pasture long ago withered
in the hearts of men.
Only the switch still fits their hand.
Tasks of the world. To count the minutes, pound by pound.
Makers of meat, keepers of account books,
at the sacrificial altar
what will you tell the Lord
he doesn’t know or hasn’t been?
At night’s end they drink sacred wine
in a somber suit, faces hidden
by the moon. Out there the cows exchange their moos:
mantras of love beneath the stars.
Lord, how much compassion will it take for you
to be godfather at the Sunday barbeque?

 

 

ANIMALS OF THE EARTH

The snail advances with tenacity
so time may raise its kingdom with the slime
that spreads across the ground. And if a tree is born
it’s through its resin that death infiltrates
the guilelessness of animals, its shadow.
They cannot know that the snail’s antennas
foresee each shipwreck before the fog
overflies the islands and they die through their eyes,
bodies still writhing on the branches.
Animals see within.
They live to the last clot of blood and then the sap
of the tree lavishes itself upon the mantle of the earth,
animating the tiny particles which they have become.
Souls descend. That is why the world never ends.

 

 

BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND YOUR MOUTH

I will spend the night with those days.
With the smile you left in the sheets.
I still burn with the remains of your name
and see with your eyes the things that you touched.
I am here between the bread and table, in the glass
you lift to your mouth. In the mouth that holds me.
And I don’t know what I am between yesterday and what will come.
Yesterday I was the river at evening, the gaze that caressed the light.
My son writes on pebbles on the beach and I invent
Steps for deciphering them. They all roll far away.
That’s how the sea is. I am learning with the waves
to melt away to foam .There is always a seagull
that cries out when I come near, there is always a wing
between the sky and my floor. But nothing belongs to me,
not even the words with which I cement the hours.
Perhaps love is just a small difference in time zones
Or a linguistic accord that only exists
Deep in the flesh. But here where I am not
what grounds me is the certainty that you exist.

 

 

LEAVES BORDERED IN STEVENS

Could it be the hoarse voice of leaves calling me afar,
leaves that call from far away, bordered with animals,
and I follow down the trails of afternoon as they pursue me
in the moment. Could it be like this that they spin
through days and nights,
I and the leaves that always return with their muffled voice
bordered in paper. Could it be because of the cold
that they burn gently in the fireplace,
so many letters in vain burning traced one by one
and the animals stretch out their arms toward the heart of the leaves
that draw me from home throughout my days.
And all that time
I am on the trail of afternoon with the sun dropping down
waiting for a voice to call me.
Could it be a leaf bordered in tiger, a voice of the wild
come from the ends of the earth, whirling towards me through the air
as when the sea comes from the wind.

 

 

DIVINE CARESS

My lamb of god, never wish for slaves.
The moon like a white host
lights up my body sliding over yours.
For god is love and we the faithful.
And since he made us with a touch
I touch you, too, with this caress as you cover me
with happiness throughout the night.
Blessed be he who loves like that.
Free us, Lord, of all the lambs and sheep
and give us this, our daily one another.

 

 

VIA SACRA

The seed spreads its arms beneath the earth
and you are born to the light, your gaze attentive
to the very branches. Sweetness of green
that warmth ripens: it is pregnant with thirst
that you conceive fruit.
May the mantle of your shadow
be immaculate. So be it
while the trunk thickens
year by year
against the heat
against the cold that divests you
of your clothes
and whips you naked.
You tremble not knowing
that your body is your and our cross
destined before ever
forever and ever.
When the ax strikes the first blow
you are gazing still at the house planted to its rooftop
to which you give shade.
You see the fire burning,
the table set,
the red of wine in every cup.
You, born of a seed without sin,
a stranger to sacrifice,
innocent of all evil,
reverent of sun and rain,
and of the wind’s caprices,
your sap trickles to the ground
and you murmur in the anguish of the flesh:
father, take this cup from me.
Oh, sacred, piteous tree,
blow by blow your body vanishes,
sap spreads across the ground
and you, in agony, cry out: Father,
why hast Thou forsaken me?
But no one answers,
no one resurrects you.
Nor do you know the soul to be a human luxury,
that it isn’t you seated to the right
of the Father-God and that your kingdom is already at an end.
As you see, faith in Him is fervent and immense:
the exact measure of our misery.

 

 

THE DEATH OF ANGELS

for Joni

It was the larvae (she tells herself).
They filled the car
and you drove among their wings,
your eyes filled with butterflies.
Later there was just the smell of moth balls.
It was an omen (she tells me again and again).
Now there are no wings beating
before your eyes.
The death of angels plays a part in this proceeding
against innocence.
Moth balls as well.
The same weight, when they evaporate,
drops upon our shoulders
laden down with tangerines.
We hold out a slice to a beggar
And he laughs in our face
as if eternity were in that belly laugh
with its moth-ball stink.
Our shoulders collapse like a tree
doubled over by a storm,
a tree that has withstood it all:
we used to whisper among its branches
and those secrets of our childhood,
before the larvae and the naphthalene.
Suddenly a cocoon, another date
linked by a dash to the date of birth.
Fuck it all. I won’t kick in a goddamn cent against innocence.
If you are god, raise up the angels. I, down here below,
expect zilch from you, just perhaps a drop of shame.
But you continue to parade the suffering of your larvae,
of your holy, holy mother, of your nails dripping
blood, blood that is purely a waste.
If at least you were a universal donor.
She and I: all we had were eyes filled with butterflies
and the thought that angels were guiding us,
but it was just medical degrees pinned
beneath glass, just ill-omened dirty gowns.

 

 

(all poems translated by Alexis Levitin)

 

 

21.07.12

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