Three Poems

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By Jorge Gimeno
Translated from the Spanish by Curtis Bauer

 

UNION

He already knows
which beam he’ll hang from,
and the womb-like ravine
where his ashes will fall.

He says to her:
I hope you’ll keep the noose—
you could join me.

She says to him:
Our ashes joining together in a valley
will not see the sun rise.

 

#

 

THE MADONNA OF THE UNNECESSARY

Not even the smallest homage fits between us.

Timidly, sometimes violently
the heat wanted to constrict, but could do nothing more:
the roses wouldn’t bloom, the bougainvillea rotted.

A saucepan spark
caught her eye.
They touched their hands,
turned into dust.

—With sand, when water is scarce,
you will cleanse yourselves.

L’état de grossesse est pénible.[1]

Madonna with one foot outside of the painting,
in love with Hyssop’s Death.

You wiped up the eggshell:
“All the egg white had to come out.”

It must be, it must be,
the homunculus repeated.
Ananké, Ananké, the stars
chanted, accessible from time to time.

—It will come
from where no one comes.

The rib of Adam and the wing of Gabriel,
Jesus’s rhetoric and the Solomonic seal
do not forge DNA.
The immortal It-Must-Be
is too ferocious.

The naked foot
rocked the lacquered cradle.

They beat you in unison
to the bitterness of kefir
and a sucked-on coin.
You asked for a “later”
but it had to be “right now.”

—Enlighten and inter
and do not enlighten and do not inter.

You expected the zygote,
but the oils…

Death, weekly,
used you up
with cane, hat and cloak.

You said goodbye to the last irritable moustache.

—The beginning inside what ends
turns flesh to dust.

—To lose a country and never gain another
is to be part of what is not to come.

—The future is coming
and no one wanted it…

Her laughter seemed to be
at the end of things.

“Perle” was a word that resounded in her mouth
but is not heard now.

“Cóleo” as well.

“In the name of my mother,
God rest her soul,” she swore metamotherly.

Chicken legs wrapped
in wax paper.

A taste for rocks,
for swimming in the ocean risking your life.

Madonna with a 60s attitude,
she smoked bisontes
every now and then
her index and middle finger
pointing to the sky,
not with the naturalness
of the Pantocrator.

Slats were slashed
in her parquet soul.

Every day of the year, her vinegar showers
clawed the sky, seared
the skin of the anemone.

—To drag an eternal state
is to sleep on tombstones.

The world, undivided humanity,
asks us to get along.

Nothing in us
is in favor of division.

Systematically nervous.
Systematically asystematic.

I desired a dress—
light in the soft afternoon.

We are asked to give soup to the theorists.

The beloved bite
on the crunchy windpipe—
we knew about it.

Maleficent heat in the ear:
“No one of your stature,
no one like you,
how difficult it is to make friends.”

About our life they know everything
the theorists, the theorists demand it.

I promised myself to you, giving you
Campos de Castilla.

We were like the ocean:
high tide…low tide
beneath the kitchen ceiling light.

The blue and white
stripes on Tadzio’s chest
bleed redly.

The most prudent of all Madonnas.

I should have been Christ
so you could have been Mary.

My intention was to change you
with my heart, with my tongue.
And in the end I had to say nothing.
Could B do
what A could not?

When you were sensitive
you cried sleet.

You made a post-mortem investment with your life:
live little
hoping to live a lot some day.

We both wished
there had been a preference
—but there wasn’t.

The dry eye
needs space
to recognize
its own space.

(Medeas and Rimbauds are a dime a dozen.

Until it is triumphant, all religion
is mange, tatters, prolixity.)

A while back I read
in The Golden Ass
that he who gives up his loved ones will succeed.

What did you smell like, shellac.

I always imagined
the marmalade of your breath.

The only thing I can never do
is what I have already done:
sing without passion
the in memoriam matris.

—She will walk seeing
where you don’t walk seeing.

And now that decorum requires that we be
an imitation of life,
each a duck’s liver
in the mouth of another,
we will go hungry
(for duck liver).

With a light contraction
of the lazy nerve.

This is how you write
a picture of habits.

To illustrate the centuries.

 

[1] The state of pregnancy is painful.

 

#

MINIMUM FAITH

He adopted what wasn’t his, what wasn’t meant for him, and it was nothing
like him and he discovered that it was.

The house was a star on the land, vibrant as Venus approaches (Every sunrise calls for
genuflection

or to song.). Walls either white or stone, wood ceilings, ceramic floor tiles.

“The furniture, you know—he would say—Bauhaus invented. The modular chair in the
modular house.”

He didn’t want to strip down, but continue to add. Cottonwood, ballast. Residue of the
last ice age.

The landscape inside the house. As a last resort the house in the landscape.

Absence of baseboards. Linseed-fresh, like youth.

Impossible for a painting to hang there. The plaster wall overflows with lumps. A spring
of original phrases: “The bees are swimming in gold from our olive tree.”

Ceiling beams, rafters, shutters: adornment is not ornament. Coenobitism for two or
three.

What were once roof tile repairs, after the war, a goat looking out the window, waited for
hand wax, foot wax.

A house built without straight angles, a Vanguardist project, conceived by farm workers.

(They ate at a butcher’s block, from the pot. Table with knife gashes, cryptography of an
illiterate hand.)

He said as he showed the house: “There is a heaven for symmetry and a heaven for
asymmetry.”

Dotage and asymmetry as a reference point, message and project.

 


 

Jorge Gimeno, author of the poetry collections Espíritu a saltos (Pre-Textos, 2003) and La tierra nos agobia (Pre-Textos, 2011), is one of the most important poets in the emerging generation of Spanish poetry, highly respected for his ground-breaking use of fragmentation and how he melds the surreal with the personal. In addition to poetry, Gimeno also writes essays and translates from the German, French, Portuguese and English; he has been a professor at the University of Bagdad and Director of the Instituto Cervantes in Fez, Morocco and Lisbon, Portugal. He lives in Segovia, Spain.

Curtis Bauer is a poet and translator; his most recent collection of poetry is The Real Cause for Your Absence (C&R Press, 2013); his recent translations include Eros Is More, by Juan Antonio González Iglesias (Alice James Books, 2014), From Behind What Landscape, by Luis Muñoz (forthcoming from Vaso Roto Ediciones in 2015), and Baghdad and Other Poems, a bilingual chapbook of poems by Jorge Gimeno, forthcoming from Poets@Work Press in 2015. Bauer is the publisher and editor of Q Avenue Press Chapbooks and Broadsides, the Spanish Translations Editor for From the Fishouse, and “New Spanish Poets” Series Editor for Vaso Roto Ediciones; he teaches Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

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