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from the December 2007 issue


There was a time when my only passions were poverty and rain. Now I feel the purity of limits and my passion would not exist were I to know its name.

* * *

I remember the chill of dawn, the circles of insects above motionless cups, the possibility of an abyss filled with light under windows opened for ventilation because of illness, the sad smell of caustic soda.

* * *

Birds. They traverse rain storms and countries wrongly because of magnets and winds, birds that flew between anger and light.

They return confusedly obedient to laws of vertigo and forgetfulness.

* * *

Someone has entered into blank memory, into the immobility of the heart.

I see a light under the mist and the sweetness of error makes me close my eyes.

It is the intoxication of melancholy; like pressing one's face into a sick rose, indecisive between perfume and death.

* * *

The light is announced with knives and beggars enter the market. Surrounded by fruit he chatters incessantly.

He is beautiful still and impoverished, speaks precise syllables, pierces forgetting.

* * *

The fountains chatter in the night, chatter magnetized by silence.

I feel the softness of forgotten words.

* * *

This hour does not exist, this city does not exist, I do not see these poplars, their geometry in the dew.

Doubtless, these are the extinct poplars, my childhood vertigo.

Oh gardens, oh numbers.

* * *

I have no fear or hope. From a hotel beyond destiny, I see a black beach, and further on, the big eyelids of a city whose sadness is not my concern.

I come from methylene and love; I felt the cold in the pipes of death.

Now I gaze upon the sea. I have no hope or fear.

* * *

There is an old man before an empty path. No one returns from the far city; only the wind upon the last footsteps.

I am the path and the old man, I am the city and the wind.

* * *

You are wise and cowardly, you are wounded by the moistness of women, your thought is only a memory of anger.

You see the frightening roses.

Oh walker, oh jumble of eyelids.

* * *

Place your lips on the reeds like the god does who cries in your armoires, he who talks between yellow nails, blow into the reeds of suffering, and in the purity of empty hours, remember the cotton dressing of your father, the solitude of doves lost in eternity.

* * *

There's an herb whose name I don't know; so my life has been.

I return home through winter: forgetting and light on my damp clothing. The mirrors are empty and solitude goes blind in the dishes.

Oh the purity of abandoned knives.

* * *

Obscenity penetrated my bones, and much later, that secret oil that the heart prepares.

Now the days of the great milongas will come.

* * *

Bed sheet black with compassion:

Your tongue in a blood-soaked language.

Bed sheet in the sick substance still,

that weeps in your mouth and in mine,

and, tenderly piercing ulcers,

binds my bones to your human bones.

Don't die any longer in me, go from my tongue.

Give me your hand to enter the snow.

* * *

I loved all the losses.

The nightingale still booms in the invisible garden.

From Libro del frío in Esta Luz (Barcelona: Galaxia, 2004). Copyright Antonio Gamoneda. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2007 by Donald Wellman. All rights reserved.

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