Luis Armenta Malpica

Translated to English by Lawrence Schimel.

This morning I don’t recognize the previous nights.
I await my sins.
I learn to suspend a scream from a rope
and to die in prison for my words.
Half my life I’ve been in dungeons;
the other half, inside my mother.
I don’t know which half was more pleasurable
nor in which I suffered from childbirth.
My mother cursed me so many times
that I shrank so that her desires didn’t fit
in my mouth.
Two hours sealing my bones in quicklime…
Nine months I served in penitence…
Forty years of life
condemned to fasting.

I fit in a droplet of inviolable semen.
From my fragile memory I rescue the abandonment
that marked my height;
the shroud that my mother restores
and my two hundred bones.
I also know that tomorrow there will be a new wrinkle
in the mirror
that doesn’t belong to me.
God also watches me while I dream:
in case I confess a crime against myself,
in case I spew forth the hate in my urine,
in case I denounce dwarves who wished to fly.
Those who know, speak
grow their shout in time or they commit suicide.

Where do you aim the ogives of your face, stranger?
I blandish the horizon as far as I knew
of my childhood.
I swore by my swarms in every bee-sting
and never found the queen.
I yearned for the same clay and pollen between the eyes
to silence death…
my old age at least foreseen,
your youth carried in droplets.
I offer you my age as another opponent.
Anoint me with your rags, let us exchange smiles,
dress in my wrinkles, show me your wounds.

Asking for mercy doesn’t include repentance
and we don’t forgive ourselves having been born together
from the same mother.
Look at you, free from the ties to the verb.
Smother the word by itself.
Mending a smile doesn’t repair our faces.
It rains upon my fatherland of lightning.
I am myself: laying down arms onto the earth.
I am you: putting fear ahead of suspicion.
They never promised me a miracle.
I am my own prophet.
I carry blood pollen between my teeth.
The devil’s earrings in each ear.
God’s smile that the world ends.
My age as relentless power.
And a heart so vast
that I haven’t explored all its corners.

I love the assassins who look like me.
I steal paper to write the verses
that my daughters will say in secret to each other.
I smoke clouds while I drain a bird of blood:
an angel thrown from the sky to lose itself
in the promised hell. I am the fool who sold guffaws
for dinars.

A gigantic Christ that didn’t want to grow
at the expense of the crowd.

I love the thief who doesn’t abandon the cross
to satisfy his sphincter.
I accuse him through his mouth:
I don’t wash my hands for anyone.
The times I’ve called him “Father”
I refused to multiply the bread my mouth needed.
I filled myself with lies by force
and thought that it was sweet
from so much chewing myself under the earth.

Now that I’ve lost my tongue, I ask them
from my seat of remorses:
will we continue playing hide-and-seek
if I still possess a shotgun between my legs
and still don’t shout?

I wouldn’t give my cross to be a virgin again.
That toy cross that you gave to me.
I would surrender my fear, which is everything and is enough.
And still I am the inferno of infernos.
My eyes stop mid-cry.
Deadlocked. In death…
and that’s it.

Only to you, who created my face and its ashes,
do I return with a girl’s voice
to tell that I have fattened nothing but worms.

Only to you, because among those who love and detest
(the darkest expression, the interminable slander) [me
I will take in their stories the role of executioner.

May your justice be done to me, father dwarf.
Let me sit on your throne for those accused of pride.
There is too much flustering in our lives.
We become deserts.
Here lie the agonic birds of my soul.
Here you keep watch, my resuscitated vulture.

Ora pro nobis, mother:
don’t iron my always-eternal wrinkles.
Stand on your tiptoes
and kiss my forehead.
Burn your paper eyes with my remains
and go rest from your mistakes.
Instill in me the family rage.
I pay in blood, month after month, the rent of your womb.
Open your legs so that you can lead me.
Let me come to the cloister a novitiate.

I will never say forgive me: it has an obscene accent
that word…
perhaps the ordinariness of knowing well how to die.

The poet is a cock that doesn’t crow three times.
I have crowed too much the spurs,
the knife day uses to mark the crucifix over me,
the night, the breaking
and its splinters.

If in the hour of death I should beg for “help”
don’t return, unless it’s with my word
Give me yours, as if
in payment for making you laugh.
Ora pro nobis wine: because death calls.

Ora pro nobis wings: for the incomplete story
of my blessed mouth.
Ora pro nobis flame: language that we dwarves carve.
I dress the cassock with a new rosary:
of moons and suns. I invent it,
I remember my parents and I un-say it
back to the great lie.

This is the biography that I have not told anyone
but which ties itself to others told against me,
against the days in which I lost my name,
dissolved in so many beatings
in which my age didn’t foresee extreme unction.
I buried with my womb the umbilical cord
of what I am now,
this exposed history of prophet;
my crypts traversed on the unborn

My dream of being mother in a greater bed
has not come true.
There is no dampness more acid than the name
of a poet.
There is a single age that never forgives.
Please, sir judge:
repeat your question…
and forgive.

Neither cross nor childhood are enough to break the fear
Because I was born, I try and wish to refute myself,
they say that I am suicidal.
And they see my immolation in words.
Now name God for me.
Tomorrow you’ll tear out your heart in repentance
and your fist will fit in the hole.
The only difference between you, me, and my mother
lies in the words.
I shouldn’t say: God forgive you.
I know how to forgive….
I don’t want to.

If you were waiting for me, in accordance with my
you can now rack your memory:     [writing
because I died I alone
I won’t be born
of you.

*Cover image: Raymond Douillet, DELIRIUM TREMENS 39 1/3” x 19 1/2 ”, oil on canvas

luis-armenta-23i3aLuis Armenta Malpica  is the author of more than 12 books. His work has been translated into Arabic, Catalan, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Braille.

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