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from the January 2013 issue

In All Magnitude

I give thanks to the earth, not the same, not mine—my stormy, radiant illiterate—I give thanks to the earth, not my island, that terrible girl, who learned, with her silent “S,” to play Russian roulette morning and night.

Thanks, I give thanks to the foreign woman, to the virgin, the all indigo one who fainted and risked losing her heart in a leak of water, a sudden tear of compassion. I give thanks to the earth of men and of humanities. But I abhor…

I abhor humanitarianism. Humanitarianism, I abhor and untwine it. I declare it a crime against humanity!

My mouth is full of spit, of dull and viscous anger. My mouth is full of automatic kisses, and of artificial respiration to exorcize the world’s polluted lungs. I give you my word, this mouth is a silent weapon headed straight, ever straight to the goal. It is a mouth with serial thoughts and silences. Be silent, dead people. I ask you to silence the hollow in your bones. Silence the holes that whistle in your improvised heads of immeasurable deaths. The walls have fallen. Death is free.

From the earthquake, I did not draw great lessons, aside from the earth and a certain sense of quaking. I did not learn anything from my city, except that there are cities down here that disappear, without hesitation. Cities that disappear in just one breath like an orgasm.

From death, I did not draw great lessons. I am a man of flood and turbulent turbine. To progress and eventually reach the pliant skyline, must think of canalizing death.

I did not learn anything from life, except that there are other ways to die. The walls have fallen.

Girls and boys, it is in vain that you share a family resemblance with the wind.  Let my blood unfurl as a red carpet under your feet. Fill your heart from the moment you wake, drink the sun whole with its yolk inside. In vain, girls and boys from around here, do you and the wind share a similar air.

If you do not keep the day upon your navels, boys and girls, this air will never make you light.

I did not learn anything from death. Nothing from the earth. Nor from the sea. Nor from the wind. Nor from the waves. Nor from hats, whatever their origin. From Panama to other hat-making cities, my head remains hard like an obsession drawn from unbreakable hope.

My whole being longs to have a paraseismic soul. Thanks to the sun, the rain, and the divine blue of the clouds.

“En toute magnitude!” © James Noel. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Alexis Pernsteiner and Antoine Bargel. All rights reserved.

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