I spent the night outside the Donner Pass town of Truckee. After 12 days on the California coast, it was surprising to see there was still plenty of snow in late June. I took the sharp right north on I-80 into Nevada—past Reno, Fernley, and landed in God-forsaken Winnemucca, where I stayed in one of the hemisphere’s ugliest RV parks. After dinner at possibly the greasiest Mexican restaurant ever, I walked through downtown, which had the saddest little strip of casinos in the (...)
House without shadow, a poem
Monday 17 July 2017, by
This is the house of zero and never, of the saddest excuses. Long is the trip as the wind hits the broken windows, as in an English movie. Long is the journey and our thoughts that grow from one room to another, as late flowers, swaying in the winter. In the first room he´s not.
In the second room she´s not.
The third room was always reserved for us.
My mother gave me a flower that melts.
(Do not throw water, throw dirt.)
It´s a dried flower that lives in the shadows, keeps the house clean, calls silence.
It´s a durable flower as an old photo, as an idea, as a pain.
Says it competes with cactus, with desert scrub, with things that are written on stones.
(When we are not with you, neither your father nor I…)
The house was clean, extremely clean.
But she turned away and continued with her things.
Tied to another heart I was going through a meadow of shadow.
On my way a world of ash and drill.
(My father had died and was still working.
I also had died, but not my hunger.
I looked at everyone sadly.
And I spread my arms to my meadow of shadow.
How short life´s belt, how vast my meadow of shadow.
I beat inside the black house, the white house, red house.
I beat inside the half-life, half-death.
And I saw my hunger in everything.
(I saw him walking down the deserted street towards the factory. I saw him with my head in the window, bowed and exemplary, move through the flying trash, moving towards the static of a distant radio, very distant, till he got lost in the open. He carried away his tenacity and a part of my body forever.
Where was my sister?
My mother would not let me out because it was cold outside.
There was some truth in that, I suspected …)
I stood still.
Everything went through my meadow of shadow.
They said themselves, the ones that were gone:
We walk but the sun stuns us.
Give us, give us some shade.
The cloud of a heart under which we go.
They pushed me into this house where everything is still.
I planted a tree and I saw it rot.
My tree and I were growing under a clear sky without purity, approaching the freshness of mold, intertwined, and awaiting the fruit of never, from wherever.
(Slow, we undo like ice floating in the lagoons of the South.)
With the wind compass I´ve seen rot.
As my feet sank into the mud, I was its food: I went down to go higher, from the root to the last rib, the unstable facing the sky.
(In this forgotten garden we did not believe in death, did not believe in life.
We dreamed down.
Stones were dying before us, looking to expand paradise.)
The chorus of witnesses said:
There was a time when you could descend into hell singing.
Now it´s time to sing to find the exit.
We have taken care of this house with the sky in.
(With the sky in.)
Storm passes through the broken wall, from the soil springs the stream.
Green are the remains of this house. He lies in its interior still like an old picture. Ideas fall in the dead leaves, he don´t listen to them, and they are like broken glass under the white cloud: flowers from the void.
(Above us the city launches its double-headed arrow, his dice in blank.
Above us the city wobbes up and down with his big flashlight, blocked by cloud and skull, dislocated, backward and forward and elsewhere.)
Blown our house, its frame of moss, with the sky inside.
The rat passes by, disoriented guest, as fast as life. And the spider waits in the corner for the wind to stop.
(But I ate what it is.)
The mist trembles at the evening.
We invited it to our room as inviting a memory.
(Now the fog descends from the terrace to the courtyard, the sky grows buried in my body.
Our tree rots but its root i salive.)
The TV voices said:
The city code lost in the fog, facing the river, or under cardboard flapping on the street covering the bodies, or beyond submerged fields where planting is not posible: other things grow.
He and she heard each other:
On the tablecloth, I saw on your heart another one growing stronger, I saw your skin hardened, enveloping it, as the centerpiece to the still life.
(Was trying to wrap you)
I saw white dishes.
(In your chest, I was distracted by the wind)
I saw your ´never´ and I saw your ´not´
(You did not see the sign of my question)
I saw the crockery apple set over the prepared table.
(Towards the periphery, as the allegorical arrow, your look, without ever coming. I went out to get it. I put it there, in the middle)
He and she said:
In the morning
(In the afternoon)
In the lonely house
(Your lonely cup)
The dry rose
(The stem high)
Cup at the sun
(I did not held it)
Above the tower of things.
(Love was not that tower)
We fell we kept going up.
The spirits chorused:
Raise the stone of life, we want to go out.
From side to side, towards a distant sound, our hearts of dust, repeating, repeating, our worn tongue wishing to catch him.
He and she said:
Kneeled down, you have eaten from my guts expecting to find in them the viscera of others.
(The presence, its broken ladder entangled in your body)
Dead music from my wounds you ate.
Earth without sky you ate, fatigue, stone and shadow.
(And eating, I listened to you.)
I only heard the sound of your mouth in the house without anyone.
I wanted to feed you and held you in silence.
(My mouth passed through your words, my hands entered through your words.)
While I found myself your error found me.
The TV voices said:
Our feet fall apart, our hands fall apart scrambling for a little shadow.
We drink the sky in the bottom of the well.
He and she said:
We have become accustomed to pain.
(Our pain is the only habit.)
She opens the door, but I’m already in.
She, the one who does not see me.
(I open the door for him to see me.)
From side to side I advance and fall awkwardly: I stumbled on her. From side to side I do nothingness with an order.
(We are in our house, our sky without shadow. It keeps us together, a remote and very sad smell.)
She prepares food for anyone.
Sometimes we believe that fungi of the walls are green butterflies. We cover with the edges of life.
(We cover with the edges of death.)
The witnesses chorused:
The city was inside the house.
We went through the house as you go through an error.
In the enclosed garden of this house we have built love.
We have drawn, stroke by stroke over the white wall, under an opened cold sky we have sat to contemplate.
It grew in the spring as an arrow towards winter, as it grows an arm over the empty table of thought.
It grew up as a gift of death.
(We left the house looking for a place to die.
And along the way, a very long route to nowhere, we came across our first teacher, who had already died.)
Against our plate of litter, against our still body, his glass with air.
Against the waiting shade, against the last glass and against the last sun.
We gave death a gift.
(We saw him at the distance, his back, walking slowly, his suit gnawed by a map of rains, from dusty errors.
Wanted to get closer, it looked easy, but he always was ahead.
We wanted to call him, but did not stop.)
We have drawn without rest and then we deleted without rest.
(He continued teaching us, silently, old aporiae, perseverance, and to walk in the dark.)
And we followed her, master of white.
The chorus of spirits said:
A tree of cement vibrated with cement roots in the mind of the builder, escaping death, to a larger cavern, brighter, scatching with antennas from the highest branches, into nothingness and its windows.
We vibrated with him, we ascended with him, to the lonely star.
We dreamed of Phoenix: he was dead.
He was dead and still flying.
I said let´s go back to the house.
At home the chairs move alone when we look down.
Our hands move alone when we close our eyes.
But our bodies approach without being able to touch.
(We´re creating the past).
The house sunk in full sun.
I say we lower the blinds.
I say we closet he doors, so that something remains; lets close and lock all doors.
(The broken sheet, in the string to the wind, our last flag).
Mar del Plata (19719). Doctor in Physics. He works at the Institute of Astronomy and Space Physics and teaches at the University of Buenos Aires. He collaborates with literary magazines in the country and abroad. He has participated in several international poetry festivals. Honorable unique mention in the poetry contest from the Publisher Ruinas Circulares (2012) and general mentions in stories and poetry (2014). He published “The shape of wáter” (ed. Universidad de la Plata, 2010), “Seven ways to say sadness” (Lima, 2011), “Sisyphus in the North” (ed. Ruinas Circulares, Buenos Aires, 2012), “The house without shadow” (Buenos Aires, 2014), “The empty city” (ed. Trópico Sur, Uruguay, 2015), “The Machine of allegories” (ed. Buenos Aires Poetry, Buenos Aires, 2016) and “From caos to intensity” (ed. Hijos de la lluvia, Juliaca-Buenos Aires, 2017). The book “The house without shadow” was translated and published in the anthology “Experimental writing: Africa Vs Latin America” (ed Langaa Research and Publishing, Cameroon, 2017).