Three Poems

Blanca Varela

Material Exercises

to turn inside into outside without using the
to fly over time memory above
and return to the starting point
to the unbreathable paradise
to the ardent frozen immobility
of the head buried in sand
over an only and flustered fringe

the exterior will never be interior
the reptile sheds its silk panties
and knows the happiness of penetrating thus
like the night
like the stone
like the ocean
amour-propre unwitnessed

to know thyself to forget thyself
to leave thyself behind
a cheap inquiry
staggering at the end of the path
a knot of jittery meat
a rancid snack
fallen from the holey pouch of god
to confront the butcher

to deliver two ears
a neck
four or five centimeters of skin
moderately used
a coil of nerves
some ounces of fat
a bit of blood
and a cup of gore
with no greater seasoning than a pain
almost human

the divine in executioner’s parsimony
cleans his back on the loin of the angel most
like every interior voice
the final beauty is grisly and onerous
unexpected like death
bullet through the smoke of the bramble

it ain’t easy to answer thyself
and listen to thyself at the same time
the quicksilvered one does not resist
it swallows and breaks the image
constellating it in stigmas

the absence of multitude
the solitude and the silence
shock that which obverts the gaze
the blind of the soul

that which trembles
that which scores with petty heel
the heroic and slippery rump of love

thus fallen for ever
we slowly open our legs
to contemplate squinting
the great eye of life
the only really moist and mysterious thing of
our existence
the great well
the ascendance to sanctity
the place of facts

not before nor after
<<one begins to speak with the tongue of the angel>>
and the work becomes digestible
and it is kind the whistle of them airs
that tacitly bloom and circulate
through our pores earthly holes
protected and intact
under the unblemished fleece of the divine lamb

holy gizzard
redeemed latrine

only transparence inhabits the accomplished anima
finally odorless colorless and insipid
gravity of the cloud encysted in fat
gravity of the grace that is perceivable fat
and return and increase of the same and retire in the ark

thus we go and remain
thus we are
in the hand of god

No Date

                                                                                                 for Kafka

Enough reasons, enough reasons to place first
     a foot and then another.
Under them, no greater than them nor smaller, the
     inevitable shadow that heads and turns around the corner,

Enough reasons, enough reasons to unwalk,
      unfall, unfly.
Enough reasons to look through the window. To observe
      the hand that counts in the dark the fingers of the other hand.

Powerful reasons for before and after. Powerful reasons
The moldy razor blade is the limit.
Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate.
One does not come back from anywhere. And the ruler askew confirms it
      in an air that is completely straight, like a cadaver.
And there are others.
Paleness, shock, some nausea.
Mysterious, obscene snap from the belly that sings what it
      doesn’t know.
The light high noon body, like a door slam. Inside and outside.
      It doesn’t know where.

And the rest. Do they exist?

Infinite for the doubt, evident for suspicion.
To let oneself be dragged against the current, like a dog.
To learn how to walk on the rotten beam.
On tiptoe. On one’s own shadow.
No greater than them nor smaller.

One, two, one, two, one, two, one.
One back, one front.
Against the wall, facing down, in a nook.                                                          
Shaking, with a livid radiance under the feet, no
      greater than them nor smaller.
Maybe, maybe the stagnant eternity that some innocent
      soul confuses with its own feces.

Fetid reasons in the tunnel’s mouth.
And at the exit.
Ultimately so many reasons like necks exist.

To defend oneself from the fire with an ax. From the devil with
      an ax, from god with an ax.
From the spirit and the flesh with an ax.

There will be no witnesses.
We have been warned that heaven is mute.

At most it will be written, will be erased. Will be forgotten.
And there will be not enough reasons to place again
      a foot and then another.
Nonetheless, under them, no greater than them nor
      smaller, the inevitable shadow will head.
And will turn the same corner. Groping.


Mask of Some God

Facing me that lunar face.
Nose of silver, birds on brow.

Birds on brow?

And then there’s red
and everything the earth deserts.
Moisture with powers of fire
blooming past black eyelids.
A face on the wall.
Behind the wall, beyond all will,
further even than seeing and hushing:

Always something to break, abolish or fear?
And on the other side? Upside down?

Flight of the hand, the line is born,
vibrant destiny, black destiny.
For a moment the melody is clear,
seems eternal, the afternoon
so pure, the sky’s shadow.

I return again. I ask.
Maybe that silence says something,
it is an immense letter that names and contains us
in its deep air.

Maybe the death behind that smile
is love, a gigantic love
in whose center we are ablaze.

Maybe such an other side exists
and it is also the gaze
and all of this is the other
and that is this
and we are a form that changes with light
until being only light, only shadow.

translated from the Spanish by Vered Engelhard