February 22, 2012

we get no second chance in this life

Joseph O. Holmes, NYC, 2012

Ernesto Cardenal and I
-- by Roberto Bolano

I was out walking, sweaty and with hair plastered
to my face
when I saw Ernesto Cardenal approaching
from the opposite direction
and by way of greeting I said:
Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven
that is communism,
is there a place for homosexuals?
Yes, he said.
And for impenitent masturbators?
For sex slaves?
For sex fools?
For sadomasochists, for whores, for those obsessed
with enemas,
for those who can't take it anymore, those who really truly
can't take it anymore?
And Cardenal said yes.
And I raised my eyes
and the clouds looked like
the pale pink smiles of cats
and the trees cross-stitched on the hill
(the hill we've got to climb)
shook their branches.
Savage trees, as if saying
some day, sooner rather than later, you'll have to come
into my rubbery arms, into my scraggly arms,
into my cold arms. A botanical frigidity
that'll stand your hair on end.

i take back everything i’ve said
-- by nicanor parra (trans. Mitchell Williams)

before i go
i’m supposed to get a last wish:
generous reader
burn this book
it’s not at all what i wanted to say
in spite of the fact that it was written with blood
it’s not what i wanted to say

no lot could be sadder than mine
i was defeated by my own shadow:
the words take vengeance against me

forgive me, reader, good reader
if i cannot leave you
with a faithful gesture. i leave you
with a forced & sad smile
maybe that’s all i am

but listen to my last word:
i take back everything i’ve said
with the greatest bitterness in the world
i take back everything i’ve said


Blogger Susannah said...

Excellent poems as usual, and thank you for starting my day with a shot of "Captain Badass".

PS Jason Molina isn't well, send him a card.

6:12 AM  

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