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from the October 2006 issue


I never had a beard. Not even in the photo that you contemplate now amused, the young man with eyes full of impertinence and contrary, with the turtleneck sweater, and the long hair and a dubious cigarette, perhaps marijuana.

Newly registered at the university, we were all smoke. The smoke of clandestine classrooms, the smoke of prestigious books, the smoke of the nighttime and the bonfires where we were burning the prayer book, the fears, continuing postwar customs, winters and politicians who through the years had fermented their lack of color on the television sets.

Everything was smoke and beards grew along with optimism. When the garden rots and a poison dirtier than November injects its yellow into the silence of reality, cities sleep thinking about the future. In this way strange paradises emerge.

As if it were today as if we were all still debating on the other side of the door, I remember those turns of phrase, the imperative voice and the revolution, a horizon of palm trees in a poster of Juan displayed in the street.

Naïve, without a doubt, the smoke of the impatient beings, but also the memories of skin, life on the march, dissolute kisses on the Street of Angeles in a time of great decisions. We refused to cut off our youth to put it like a flower in a decent vase. Sometimes it is possible to agree with the sea and the forest.

I never had a beard. Neither have I received the light of paradise, but I came from there, as you come, more in disdain than in faith, tired of the power that humiliates us and of the powerful who smile, of the sympathetic knife and of love in the attics, of the sordid lessons in fear, of hair spray on heads, of the cold stare and of the solitude in the cities that sleep in grey and ash in search of a strange paradise.

That same history that kissed the flags in order to make off with them, brought me your body.

More in disdain than in faith, I stand in the door to the street without being affected now by the vacuum the flags have left, living in complete uncertainty. Throughout the history of people, from the bar at the pub or from the television screens, I go down with you to the world. Neither of us insists on disagreeing, but the realism of the dreamers condemns us to doubt the orderly people, the hungry hearts of the sentimentalists, the exploiters in color and the intelligence of the cynics.

Sometimes it is possible to agree with the forest clearings, especially in the eyes of a young man alive with impertinence, with the turtleneck sweater, the long hair and the dubious future in his photographs.

For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

Read more from the October 2006 issue
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