Three Poems by Blanca Varela

translated from the Spanish by Eileen O’Connor

Monsieur Monod Doesn’t Know How to Sing

my dear
I remember you like the best song
that apotheosis of roosters and stars you no longer are
that I no longer am that we no longer will be
and nevertheless we both know very well
that I speak with the painted mouth of silence
with the agony of a fly
at the end of summer
and through all the poorly closed doors
conjuring or calling that traitorous wind of memory
that record scratched before it is used
tinted to match the times
and their old sicknesses
or red
or black
like a disgraced king before the mirror
the day of the day before
and tomorrow and the day after and always

night rushing headlong
burdened with premonitions
(is what the song should say)
insatiable bitch (un peu fort)
splendid mother (plus doux)
fertile and always barefoot
so not to be heard by the idiot who believes in you
so to better crush the heart
of the insomniac
who dares listen to life’s footsteps
toward death
a mosquito’s fart a torrent of feathers
a storm in a glass of wine
a tango

order alters the product
the machinist’s error
rotting technology keeps you living your story
in reverse like the movies
a thick and mysterious dream
that runs thin
the end is the beginning
a tiny light flickering like hope
the color of egg whites
with the smell of fish and rotten milk
dark mouth of the wolf that takes you
from Cluny to Parque Salazar
a treadmill so swift and so black
that you no longer know
if you are or pretend to be alive
or dead
and yes an iron flower
like the last twisted and dirty and slow bite
the better to devour you

my dear
I adore all that is not mine
you for example
with your pig’s skin over your soul
and those wax wings I gave you
that you never dared use
you don’t know how I regret my virtues
I don’t know what to do with my collection of picklocks
and lies
with my indecency of a boy who should end this story
it’s already late
because memory like songs
the worst the one you want the only
does not resist another blank page
and there is no sense in me being here
what doesn’t exist

my dear
despite that
everything remains the same
the philosophic tickler after a shower
the cold coffee the bitter cigarette Swamp Thing
in the Montecarlo
everlasting life still suits everyone
the clouds’ stupidity intact
the geraniums’ obscenity intact
the garlic’s shame intact
the sparrows divinely shitting in the middle
of an April sky
Mandrake raising rabbits in one of hell’s circles
and the crab’s little foot always caught
in the trap of to be
or not to be
or I don’t want this one but another
you know
those things that happen to us
and that one should forget so that
for instance the hand with wings
and without a hand
can exist
the kangaroo’s story—to choose the pouch or your life—
or the story of the captain inside the bottle
forever empty
and the womb—empty but with wings
and without a womb
you know
passion obsession
poetry prose
sex success
or vice-versa
the congenital emptiness
the tiny speckled egg
among millions and millions of speckled eggs
tú y yo
you and me
toi et moi
tea for two in the immensity of silence
in the timeless sea
in history’s horizon
because ribonucleic acid is what we are
but ribonucleic acid in love forever

Conversation with Simone Weil

—children, the ocean, country life, Bach.
—man is a strange animal.

In most of the world
half the children go to bed hungry

Must the angel renounce his feathers, the iris,
gravity and grace?

Did our hope of being better just end?

Life belongs to others.
Illusions and errors.
The weary word.
Now you don’t even dare eat a peach.

For some reason I shut the door
turned my back
and between fury and dreams forgot many things

Half the children go to bed hungry.

—children, the ocean, country life, Bach.
—man is a strange animal.

The wise, in whom we placed our trust
betray us.

—children go to bed hungry.
—the elderly go to death hungry.

The word does not nourish. Numbers do not satiate.

I remember. Do I remember?

I remember wrong, I faintly realize. I am mistaken.
A little girl approaches from afar. I turn my back.
I forget reason and time.

And everything should be a lie
because I am not in the place of my soul.
I don’t complain about nice manners.
I am fed up with poetry.
I shut the door.
I urine sadly on grace’s dismal fire.

—children go to bed hungry.
—the elderly go to death hungry.

The word does not nourish.
Numbers do not satiate.

—man is a strange animal.



No one will open the door for you. Keep on knocking.
There’s music on the other side. No. It’s the ringing of the telephone.
You’re wrong.
It’s the sound of machines, an electric gasp, squeals, lashings.
No. It’s music.
No. Someone is crying very slowly.
No. It’s a high-pitched shriek, an enormous, towering tongue licking the pale and empty sky.
No. It’s a fire.

All the riches, all the miseries, every man, every thing disappears in that fervent melody.
You are alone, on the other side.
They won’t let you enter.
Search, rummage, clamber, shriek. It’s useless.
Be that little worm, transparent, coiled, insignificant.
Turn your pretty mortal eyes around the apple, measure with your turbid hot
belly its impregnable roundness.
You, little worm, worm-mouth, worm-ear, lord of life and of death.
You cannot enter.
They say.