8 abr. 2017

A selection of poems from The island/ Mercedes Araujo







A selection of poems from The island (Poetry) Published by Ed. Bajo la luna, Buenos Aires, Argentina/ Mercedes Araujo



The shadows, the words, have changed


the tiger walks between bluffs


and crags, the prince of white fur,


the captain of tigers, I call him,


there are others that are spotted, but I am


so close to myself I don’t know whether to believe what I see,


if I am mistaken in making him out


from others with red stones on their backs,


stones like spots.


Around six in the afternoon


the cat sinks its body in the water


its blood trembles


and the glycine flower wraps itself around dry sticks.




***



Today, Sunday, I hope for a visitor,

like a cat to prick up my ears and with still eyes

follow the color blue, one of the consolations

for my body as heavy as that violet stone

that blends with the greenness in the silence.

On days like this the body burns

and I again seek out that hidden green,

I would like you to hear it:

I scratch myself with my teeth and claw a blanket



to convert the movement of nails into sound.





***





The danger does not appear at first,


it takes time to understand that waves crash


against rocks and more time to stop the body


from trying to find safe harbor.


When you’ve lost it, the water reminds you


that it is not possible to start over,


at least not with the same body.


Like a small animal, with weak fur,


pointy ears, the hands and feet of a monkey,


and hair as smooth as mine is these days,


thus, I believe, it will be possible to survive in the sea.





***





With sorrow I stroke the plum tree leaves


before the rain they looked like purple and white flowers.


That the four rivers that cross the island flow to the sea


makes me have a body nearer.


I also have finally come to see


that as a captive it is better to be here,


today it is almost snowing and I debut


a new cap that the fish like very much,


at first sight it looks like I have gills because two small


flaps stick out of its sides, with this cap on


it’s as if I can move neither forwards nor back.




***




I would tell you that the birds that had gone, have come back,


and that I now have a rosy beak, tail feathers, and devote myself


completely to the flowers and fruit of the orange tree.


There is something that has left me confused:


the despair has become greater,


a cowardice that I only now know.


I have not knownnor been able to understand


how light’s fading away is so different


each day, how it is that the sea sets off storms,


I hadn’t thought before of the white, crystalline salt


that in water dissolves and how the sun


sparkles more on salt that it does on green. Dog,


reptile, bird of prey, all this surprises me


the fragility, the wings that unfold


there are yellow flowers that vegetate in the head


and other parts of the body.





***




It is the dawning hour, the sky striated


by miniscule red-scarlet channels;


I have a new nest and devote myself


to scraping a stick with a blade, I leave it smooth,


when I finish scraping it I keep it.


At dusk I make necklaces


or anything else without meaning:


pick up a sweet pear,


somewhat rotten, but ever so sweet.


Nibbling at a pear you realize


that being alone in the afternoon’s red hour


is like letting a leaf bud from your body


and from that another and another.





***





With my long tail, my wide, red, forked tongue,


my marine appearance is more fearsome than the wound


I can inflict. I must tell you, there is nothing in me


which is as fatal as it looks,


I would like to know about your life, if your journeys


are kindly and generous, if you found peace,


I would tell you that I have taken to flying


and feeding on lizards.







***



At nightfall, when the air is cool


I may worry at the sound of children’s voices


heard resonating out in the distance,


I know that they too are predators


and vicious, I was so, small body drawn in,


belly shining, brandishing my desires


like a sewing needle. Around here you so often hear


the screeching of iron,


like the mole cricket’s sharp sting.




***



I desire to return and find that sleepy tortoise


once again


as if it had never left, I tell Oscar.


Oscar is a cat with a strange talent,


he predicts when someone on the island is about to leave


or die. He makes his rounds


as if he were a doctor


or an airport control tower operator.


When he comes and stays a long while


I tell him that I also knew when you were going to go


and that at that moment I would have liked to descend


to the center of the earth and find there


some simple truth.





***




This afternoon I spoke with some travelers,


they too had news of that tree


which bears leaves, flowers and fruit all together


for a time in winter.


But that is nothing, on the island there is a fig tree,


in summer it lets its leaves fall,


and they crawl on the ground like worms.


I think that inside they have some vital force


that like a short breath moves them along.






***




From here, where the four rivers


that cross the island meet, I can imagine


myself walking to a few blocks from your house,


I go with my long tail and my neck is wider,


a stout, short, fleshy muzzle and shining eyes,


as soon as I have some time I could return


to leave you a bouquet of pale flowers. Now I try


being the duck that rests engrossed with scraggy feathers


and rough beak, just as the gale left me.


Other times, as is my wont,


I try being the red lamb among wolves, a lamb with light-colored eyes


that follows its mother, a blank look on its face.





***





Or I could also tell you I am somewhat changed


if you saw me: I watch, I hope and await the return of the blue


I have the same terrors butI show my claws and fangs,


of all the fears, only one persists,


becoming a lizard for real.


In the water I found a strong ally


I have baptized it guruvilú, that is, fox-serpent


it has the strongest effect on me: curiosity.





***




There are days when I dip myself in the water and I don’t know


if by the moon’s influence or a simple movement of the sun


I can slide so sinuously on the ground


like a serpent with deep blue rings


from tail to mouth, but that serpent’s body,


pale and covered, is not me,


I would like to clarify for your ears


some of these things, but you have told me


it is not possible for now,


since your new pursuits occupy your entire day


and also that your life is better, more solid.


Pay me no mind, just tell me


if it is true that the scales on my hide


continue to gleam despite having been


torn off one by one, and that even so


the body is content with this small life.





***





I touch my body, far from voluptuous,


it is like that of a lobster but with scales,


the ever so hard skin convinces me that there is no need


to fear arrows. I know now that beetles


can walk without hurting their wings


that we all love the womb that nourishes us


and that the body thrown into the well prefers water.


After these months on the island, certain mutations


happened to the body: vision


dissipated, muscles became lethargic.


Stars, moon, winds, rivers,


the tide


washes all away.



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