from The Equestrian Turtle

César Moro

Oh Fury the Dawn Emerges from Your Lips

You return on clouds and breath
Above the sleeping city
You knock at my window on the sea
At my window on the sun and moon
At my cloudy window
At my bosomy window on acidic fruits
Foamy and shadowy window
Window of swelling waves
On high tides the delirious crags and the precise hallucination of your forehead
On high tides your forehead and farther away your forehead and the moon is
               your forehead and a boat on the sea and the adorable turtles like suns
               populating the sea and the nomadic algae and the seaweed trees that
               hold up the waves and the gallop of pursuing clouds and the sounds
               of seashells the eternal tears of the crocodile the passing of the whales
               the flooding of the Nile the pharaonic dust the accumulation of data to
               calculate the speed of growth of young tigers’ nails the pregnancy of
               the female tiger the frolicking alligators’ dawn the poison in the silver
               cup the first human footprints on the world your face your face
               your face.
Returning like the divine shell of the deceased turtle shrouded in snowy light
The smoke returns and gathers itself to create tangible representations of your
               absent presence
The hair lashes the hair returns motionless the hair bangs on a fine, seaweed
               drum on a drum made from gusts of wind
Under the defenseless sky vanquishing its distance you bang soundlessly
Cataclysm grows and spews fire and lava and shadow and panoplies of smoke
               and swords to prevent your passage
I close my eyes and your image and semblance are the world
Night lies down at my side and the dialogue begins in which you take part
               like a votive lamp without a whisper flickering and embracing me
               with the saddest light of forgetfulness and empty houses beneath
               the nocturnal storm
Day gets up in vain
I belong to shadow and shrouded in shadow I lie on a bed of fire

The Scandalous Life of César Moro

Scatter me in the rain or the smoky cloud of the torrents that pass
At the edge of the night in which we see each other behind the running clouds
That reveal themselves before the eyes of lovers that venture out
From their powerful castle towers of blood and ice
To stain the ice to rip the waterfall of late returns

My friend the King brings me near the side of his real and royal tomb
Where Wagner guards the gate with the loyalty
Of the hound gnawing on the glorious bone
While sporadic and divinely disastrous rains
Corrode the air tram hairdo of recurring seahorses
And manslayers traveling the sublime terrace of apparitions
In the solemn carnivorous and bituminous forest
Where the weird passers-by get intoxicated with their eyes open
Under great catapults and elephantine rams’ heads
Suspended according to the pleasure of Babylonia and Trastevere
The river that crowns your terrestrial apparition changing its course
Rushing furiously like a lightning bolt upon traces of the day
Deceitful heaping of medallions of sponges of harquebuses
A bull winged with significant happiness bites the breast or cupola
Of a temple that emerges in the insulting light of day or amidst the rotten
               and delicate branches of the foresty hecatomb

Scatter me in the flight of migratory horses
In the flood of ashes crowning the longevous volcano of the day
In the terrifying vision that pursues the man as midday the most shocking
               of hours draws near
When the seething ballerinas are at the point of being beheaded
And the man grows pale in terrible suspicion of the definitive apparition
               carrying in his teeth the oracle discernible as follows:

“A razor on the cauldron crosses a bristle brush with an ultrasensitive dimension; as day draws near the bristles extend to touch the twilight; when night approaches the bristles transform into a dairy farm of a modest and rustic appearance. On the razor flies a falcon devouring an enigma in the form of wet steam; sometimes it is a basket filled with animals’ eyes and love letters filled with a sole letter; other times a laborious dog devours a cabin that is lit within. The shrouding darkness can be interpreted as the absence of thought provoked by the invisible proximity of a subterranean reservoir inhabited by turtles of the first magnitude.”

The wind comes up above the royal tomb
Louis II of Bavaria wakes up amongst the world’s rubble
And comes out to visit me bringing through the surrounding forest 
A dying tiger
The trees fly away to be seeds and the forest disappears
And covers itself with fog skimming over the ground
Myriads of insects now at liberty deafen the air
At the passage of the two most beautiful tigers in the world

Various Lions Lick the Rugose Surface of the Equestrian Turtle at Twilight

to Alice Rahon and Valentine Penrose

In the disappearance of the Madagascans
in the disappearance of the mandarins of fresh, metallic fabrics
in the construction of model farms for elephantine chickens
in the rebirth of the suspicion of a column obstructed to midday
in the telephonic water with wires from cannonball and crotch
in the unvoiced and choked-up alveolus with baskets of fruit and pregnant
               pyramids as thick as pins with black heads
in the swift shadow of an ancient balcony lost in the freezing folds under
               a pallid sun of salamanders of some funereal tapestry
in the most hermetic nook of a surface marred like the face of the moon
in the foam of rage of the sun falling into night on the black kiss of hysteria
in the language of dawn of the idiots or within the impeccable flight of
               an oyster moving itself from its winter palace to its summer palace
among nymphomaniacal seaweed mattresses and coral experiencing dementia
               praecox and independent fish like the stubborn wind knocking
               at my hemeralopic head
at twilight for families in retreat to the dung heap or into demon-possessed
an ostrich eye from a bloody rag crowned by smoke by heads of hair by royal
               mummies evaporating infanticides
in the insulting smile of a lizard disemboweled before the sun
at midday
beneath a tree
on a roof
in the dark
in bed
a thousand feet under the sea
on the damp pillow in the naked forest
like the specter of a dog from a dynastic, violent, and sulpetrous family
like the breath of an elephant on a wall of precious stone
in the progressive, brilliant impoverishment of a tiger that turns translucent
               on the body of a naked woman
a woman naked to the waist
a man and child naked various small round pebbles naked beneath the cold
               of the night
a sunlit rooftop
some offal of yard fowl a bathtub and its bather broken by lightning
a horse stretched out an onyx altar inlaid with human skin
a flaming, naked head of hair in the night at midday on the spot in which
               invariably I spit when the Angelus draws near

translated from the Spanish by Leslie Bary and Esteban Quispe