I KNOW what your eyes saw
when with an absent gaze
you fled to no man’s land.
I know how hard it is to feel nothingness
when you are the edge of the abyss
and calm is a whisper in the distance.
I know what it is to ask god for life
and believe in nothing.
I know what it is like to feel alone
when everything around is silent
and you only hear the sound
of silence adrift.
I know what it is to feel love and hate
in the uncertainty of desire
if what you write is forgotten in an instant.
Like having everything and having nothing.
Writing a poem and nothing.
Your name below and you are no one.
SKY OF WOLVES
You must have seen that there are barely questions.
I write with a hand taken from the heart
and it hurts to feel that some birds
have been cut down with the same hand.
We used to be wild dogs
down tunnels where no one dares walk alone.
Nothing more than the flight of those birds of prey
and a pack of wolves at the front door.
The answers reside far from the questions.
They talk about truth with no emotion.
ASK THE men if it is right
to renounce everything in love as well.
Ask the children if they agree
with what they’re being taught.
Ask the mothers if they love
the life that they have.
Ask the women of course
if they carry flowers in dreams
and if they bleed in the midst of dreams
when they awake.
Ask the gods
if they have met.
Ask the poets
if the song is music
and if thinking is the end
or the beginning of thought.
Ask the lovers
if they’re conscious of their wealth.
Ask dreams if freedom
feels what the eyes can see.
And if it’s wise to be silent
or preferable to flee
from the word that is spoken
until its true echo resounds.
MY MINISCULE HEART
When my heart was outside of me
I could never write a poem.
I tried, but I couldn’t.
Neither could I write a letter
to my mother for example
telling her I loved her.
Nor could I write a note
to my closest friend
telling him that the keys to my house
were on the red flowerpot
next to the front door.
When my heart was lost
in the immensity of time
and eternal indifference
I couldn’t write a word.
To my love for example
telling her I missed her
and awaited her return
like rain that arrives daily.
Nothing. Not a poem, not a letter.
Not a note, not a forgotten memory.
I could do nothing but wait
for her to come home
to write this verse now
where I say that I truly love you
even if I’ve never told you before
feeling my miniscule heart
as I never felt it before
when it was on the inside.
AND YOUR EYES WILL COME
And your eyes will come
to show me the light
in the midst of the chaos.
And your words will come
to gather me up.
Your arms to circle back
to where I got lost.
Like mud in your hands
I will set my water-pitcher soul on one side
of the forest of truth
my warrior body on the other
with a sword incapable
of cutting the brush from the path.
I’m not surrendering
but I’m exhausted.
And your hands will come
to touch me in the distance
because I got lost
in the thicket that covers desire
until I thought I didn’t believe in love.
I toughened up and stopped laughing.
Perhaps it’s the way it should be, you tell me.
I know that certainties
end up ceding to the violence of the ocean.
That the ocean returns everything
with its waves and illusions
—a unique world—
so that light
because there’s nothing left to do,
fighting this battle is no longer necessary
when one always, yes, always,
ends up losing.
Freedom is choosing a path
it is misidentifying destiny
with those who cannot and know not how to join us.
Freedom that is so afraid
The loneliness that is so mistaken
when it is desire that is in control.
When obsessions with love
are what govern the beat of feelings
in the face of an old man
where once there was a child.
Where there was sea and now only desert.
Where one sees heaven
and no one knows it.
Where there was something and now it’s different.
And your hands will come
to show me the path.
Your arm to remove the bewildering vegetation
that grows across my eyes
while watching the world pass by
seated in an armchair in the room
that no longer has a window
because the few that existed
have been painted black.
Were you truly in love?
And if you weren’t
why did you not know what could happen
in the dark vegetation
that dominated your whole body
and placed its certainty at the feet
of the most unlikely blows?
We hurt what we love
while pain shelters its seed
in our hearts
and is born at the wrong time
and everything becomes a hard shell.
But your words will come
making me doubt everything.
What I was and did.
What I am and do.
To tell me, no, don’t,
don’t think about it anymore now.
And give me your hand, OK?
And in my answer
—that could only be a stammering—
you’ll come tell me:
yes, I’d like you to do it
while holding me tight.
I cannot write at this distance
the words that I said,
only the ones that came to see me:
I’m kissing you too
not hard, but slowly.
Perhaps then we would have to wait
for the wall lizards to illuminate
the path of that night
where there were so many mosquitos
and the butterflies accompanied the light
to its destiny, even dying.
I too fall asleep with my eyes open.
Will you let my hands close them for you?
And your eyes will come to mine
so I can sleep easy.
And your hand will come to mine
so that sleep
can draw the path
that is now uncovered.
And your nocturnal silence will come
to be a word that only I
—for now—can hear.
Relax now, my love, relax.
Because even though you’re still fragile
the tiny light
will be able to break your shell.
Relax now, my love, relax.
THE AIR YOU BREATHE
The air you breathe
when you go outside.
That you breathe in when you’re sleeping.
The same air you breathe
if you stay awake.
That you breathe out when you walk
beyond the street corners
the importance of staying alive.
The particles of your heart
in the muscles of life.
The tranquility of time
in the monotony that envelops you.
What remains and advises you.
What touches and overcomes you.
What you can and cannot see
but you understand.
The air accompanies you
while an invisible hand
envelops you at a short distance
from that which shines in the morning
and remains adrift
and languishes later in the day.
When you sleep
without contemplating death
attended by complete darkness
that opens the windows to the day
so it can air out the room
and remove flavor
from the consciousness of the scent of the night.
The scent that inhabits you
receiving nothing in return
and envelops you on the inside
with the passing of the days
like a nonexistent water lamp
or a jug of enveloping light
that left an innocent hand
in the path
to resuscitate life
without the power of thought
at every instant
or the invocation to the passing
of present time.
Translated by Sandra Kingery