from The Circle's Spell
Marcelo Morales Cintero
I think flight and see it (the idea of straightness),
today I saw a bag oscillating in the air,
divided from emptiness by a thread.
Writing things is the way to release oppression from the idea of death, of anonymity.
I write because I'm going to die. Sometimes in life I'm inside scenes, I move through dirty hallways, make my way through puddles in streets. Eyes reviewing reality, I don't know how long I'll look at these surfaces. It's too strange for existence.
Photography tenses light. This is the poem too. The great moments are impressions, like Hume's flame. We recall intensity. That's it in the end: life. Moments of tension. The rest a great calm equal to a great nothingness. To a death you forget.
I came to a realization today when I walked into the kitchen. Things acquired the status of symbols, which happens in my life when things enter a poetic state. In those moments I'm a stranger.
For me poetry is only possible as fragment, as tension. Like the flash from a camera, like the photo resolving out of light printed on darkness.
I think about the unbelievable web of presences that precede my own. The infinite connectivity of events and lives making it possible for me to take forward steps. To see a building's dirty walls, an ugly park between two houses. Life has the aura of a miracle. I don't know, won't ever know if it's accidental or not. There's no way to find out. In these cases a yes is worth the same as a no.
The worst is when you become aware, one day, suddenly, when peeling an orange, or when you see the beauty in some clouds, or the scent of wildflowers in the countryside, of the insignificance of life, the insignificance of death, of the void, of the absurdity of writing.
A writer is lost when he becomes aware of his writing; it's like an addict becoming aware of the needle. Or a lover who suddenly observes the name of the thing he loves, which he finds, for a second, strange.
The God in my writing is not the God in my life.
Writing develops a universe absurd with sorrow. The relation to sadness has that link through which everything inside me is retrieved. Word as transformation, crossing of absence, detachment of horizontal language.
Sitting on a chair I think about my relation to the cosmos.
The membranes of my thought expand.
I think about love, a darkened theater.
In a café, downtown, at a table,
I feel invisible forces hanging like Damocles' sword.
Death does not exist. Only solitude.
I think about emptiness, Lezama's tokonoma.
I wish I'd written that poem, could steal it from that cretin.
It's summertime, I fall silent, I walk, I pause, people go by.
On columns I make the tokonoma.
Love the tokonoma: "I fit completely inside."
Being aware, a difficult business; knowing it is painful.
Pain. I breathe, fill my body with it. Life, everything, only happens there.
I find no way to fill it. Inside the church on Reina I fall silent.
A drunk says she loves my beauty. I'm dead.
The emptiness in the temple is wider than my body.
I scratch at matter, leaving absence in its place.
Everything that fits inside me, all that I am, will be, always turns out like that.
In my house I touch the faucet at the sink,
the energy held by matter.
It's all so short it seems like a dream.
The metal is cold, the water runs.
I've developed a soul, a thought.
Matter is my witness, the only one.
Love's face, some bridges, her smile revolving in your head and then life, the present, glassy reflection as you take steps along the pavement, your face passing by.
It's cold, or it's night, neon lights brighten with her name.
When you see the deaths of the others, you see your own. When you sense oblivion, you sense your own oblivion.
Every bridge draws a cross,
its flow lengthwise but not side to side.
Love your neighbor
but no more.
I walk around under the bright daytime sun but carry the darkness of some fate inside.
The world is complication, a will battling itself, an absence of plenitude.
The nature of being.
Regardless, love or her happiness consists of obliterating yourself while continuing to exist.
Pain produces the thing we love.
We want to enter God through the fissures.
Love. Goodness: in flashes of insight.
It gets late and there's no light,
dirt is on the patio, future time farther out.
That which is good: the instant when we feel.
I want to infiltrate it through "the fissures."
My eye, which grasps God's brilliance,
I want to copy the eternal things that happen,
smoke from a cigarette.
I remember you stretched out on the ground.
If a needle's eye attempts to comprehend the nature of nothingness you'll talk to him about inexplicable mysteries.
About a flower growing alone under winter (Branly).
I'll drag my love over to your body
and its passage will be
that of great cataclysms (B. Peret).
I stop at the center of my room waiting for this symbol to save me, hoping to gather everything inside, I met a guy who used to burn infinity in his pipe, you told me, it was a mass of kelp and cold in a sea glittering with death's emeralds, a guy who burned infinity. In my room, at the center, is the idea, close your eyes and believe in something. Like invisible threads, filaments of past and present, east and west, connected to my body, it was a guy who would gaze at infinity, Isle of Capri, Margarita of my dreams, he was a guy who drank infinity, his eyes were like precious stone, I loved that word. Je t'aime, you'd say to me.
Things that end belong to time, not infinity. I put love in the emerald sea. Gather present and past, east and west into myself. I leave out the thing that ends.
Morning in my empty house.
Your memory, my sandals.
You haven't lived until you haven't seen her name traced on the glass with your breath.
My handwriting inside the front covers of books.
Until you haven't loved you haven't lived.
I knew the universe was infinite. So were the combinations of my words.
I knew about extensions and ciphers, facts and existence.
The one thing I didn't know was how to tell her that I loved her.
translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra