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The Road to Babel

Blanca Varela

Translated by Michael L. Smith

A soul yes a soul that wandered through cities
dressed like a dog and like a man
a soul of a dodo (wandering bird
in the habit of nesting in rough weather
at the very moment of catastrophes
and great migrations)

bird of the metropolis
bird of the kitchen
blue dregs of the morning that interrupt our nocturnal meditations
a sudden an unexpected an imperative crowing
of a scrawny solar bird perched in the morning tree
that distills instant coffee
and anxiety (golden bile bitter conscience
automatic absence of god
eminence of the alien delimiting look
and loving orphanhood)
"if I could find a soul like mine"

That does not exist
but the sweet and apocalyptic sing-song does
announced of the atavistic swaying
over the hold and the quagmire
and the startled sleeping flesh
pursued sea imprisoned sea sea wearing
7-league boots
7 colors 7 colors 7
rainbow body
body of 7 days and 7 nights
that are one
white chameleon consumed in the fire of 7 capital tongues

Mare settimana
body shore of all the bodies
staff of 7 exact notes
repeated constant invariable
until the consummation of time itself
1 stop the flowered ship
2 dip your hand in the current
3 ask yourself
4 answer for the others
5 bear your chest
6 give from your sea to the thirsty
7 forget


But it so happens that spring came and we decided to pull
down roofs and walls. Place, place for heaven, for its designs.
We slept with the animals, in the open field. Together
one over the other, one in the other.
Infinite solitude of love under full light.

An I woke up the next morning with his head between my shoulders,
blind through his eyes. Bianca, alucinatta tutta.
To Caesar what is his and to heaven the back shaken
by love and fear and tedium and hope, etc.

Spring flashed by at full steam. Whistling.

The house was intact tidied by its habitual ghosts.

Father in the place of the father, mother in the place
of the mother and chaos boiling in the cracked white family
soup pot until further request.

It also happened that
exhausted the comedians
withdrew as far as death.
And the circus tents were knocked down before
the relentless wind
of daily reality.
And if they ask me I'll say that I've forgotten everything
that I was never there
that I have weighter country or memories
nor time available for time
that sometimes
I am awakened by a gaze
that avidly swallows the darkness
and that those blue eyes are the remains of some light
remains of some shipwreck
signs of desire
and the agony of desire
and that we
the poets the forgetful the sad
the survivors of life
don't fall into the trap so easily
and that
past present and future
are our body
across without the gratifying ecstasy of calvary
and there is no other way out
but the emergency exit that leads us
to the maddening wolfpack of our dreams
we or the
riddle joker coin lost in the air.
Lukewarm, trembling, unborn
without ancestor or offspring
always ready.

(here a break in the workday, your choice: a military march, a sip of any drink (preferably beer), any physical necessity done out in the open, cigarettes, abandon, chewing gum)

And when now on vertigo's floor
like a turtledove with sweet red eyes you brood
rocking on the creaking scaffold
what could matter to you?
Nothing touches you

Neither the cloud charged with the electric spring
that you envied not long ago
nor the satinized obsessive memory
of the breast that bewitched you from a distance
nor the street hawking
of whoring fortune that invited you to dance
a few nights of prowling

Fed up with swindles and miracles
with rehearsing the trapeze act until the paralysis
of the beginning of each day
with having swallowed the frog with the soup
the fog of pure nausea, practical nausea
et alors?

Now you have nothing left
of your fairy gifts
But your melancholic hiccup
and your small black navel
that still can't be erased
center of the world center of chaos and eternity
like th lines of your hands
through which immemorial rivers flow
like the only warp of reality
gold of tears and disgust of gold
and your tongue of a thousand betrayals
toll for the paradise of the alien mouth
closed and extremely sweet
like a date or an olive

As in the coplets of the blind
there is a stubborn mist of eternity and misery

Help me purest mantra
adicity of the esophagus and the pylorus
If you strike your head countless times against the impossible
you become the impossible
the other side
he who arrives
he who leaves
he who understands the unspeakable
the saint in the desert that swallows his tongue
he who is born again forcing his mother's mother
the swimmer against the current
he who ascends from sea to river
from river to sky
from sky to light
from light to nothingness