From India Ink On Tracing Paper
De Tinta china sobre papel cebolla
Translated by Lawrence Schimel
Life is consecrated in other things, other things that sing, that sing other things; chained things that enchain other things, like mouths; mouths bound to the vigorous bite of fresh teeth, with buttons like roses; roses like mouths that sing other teeth in the same roses.There is a certain otherness in everything [tree or petal, melted tooth or hungry spotlight: titillating immensity of no one] that is always responsible. .•. To Luis Armenta Malpica, for the illuminations. I was born where I should be, because life, coincidence of the clear eye, increases with the arrival of forcefulness. With the kiss of my first tiny cobblestone I knew that the sound of the gutter was my path: that the disfigurement of that face under the water was no eddy of current, but anticipation of a drought. I saw, suspicious attention, that the name of any poet is a small plot of land where the water is watched, that flight, apparently without return, that makes of desperation a crepe tree. .•. I also wanted to leave. The irises of my eyes barely poured out their terror in a birth of betrayals, I served desires in the bloody fangs of other beasts; my scanty ears slept in the legs of what (I didn’t know) they called love and surpassed beauty. My eyes sought dawns but light was not a singularity, but the uncertain parting of the shadows. Everything was penumbra: habituated conical reflections (limitation of the eye, all immensity, said an earthly god named Eduardo) mocked the truth through illfated shadows; they opened way to uncertainty. In them barbarism sharpened its claws and the midden ignited my passion for the ravine. I cleaned lip and tooth with gourds of shining mud: so much infinity in the pure vehemence of the filth [versus he who scorns, the amorous is a diamond disguised as a beggar]. I grew used to the darkness, grasping darkness; I began to live in concubinage with the shadows of the shadows, which elongates. However, nothing was ever so pristine, growing blind from so much:
Fragment from Eyes Already Ruined / Los ojos ya deshechos, a bilingual edition in press at Libros Medio Siglo, Harlingen, Texas.