Notes for a Confession with Rutabagas

Notes for a Confession with Rutabagas

Eduardo Chirinos

Translated to English by G. J. Racz

The first of the undecoded messages read:
“Popeye sits in thunder, unthought of ”


i write better when there isn’t any light when it’s very late and there’s no noise the words show up free and clean then dangling from branches opening doors walking on the rooftop last night i saw one called rutabagas i don’t know what it means i read it in the marketplace in a poem somewhere i like the word it smacks of trails off the beaten path of clocks lost in orion i’ve never wandered off the beaten path never lost clocks in orion i see so that’s the way it is you liar just keep fooling yourself


i don’t like spinach it’s so green so cloyingly sweet it tastes like hospital food like filthy mystic flowers you have a fever you’re raving no i don’t i’m not raving memory is like fear it erects enormous cathedrals only to knock them down i’m tired i hear voices it’s the fever licking my body olive whispering in my ear i’m your fantasy your lovely ineff ectual weakness


it’s best not to continue the coded message read popeye sits in thunder unthought of he’s listening no one sits in thunder unthought of no one remembers that episode with the coin that sank the ship and the forty thieves chasing after olive her propensity for luxury will not be lost in the desert will not devour the darkness will not sink to the bottom of the sea


batman watches me write his strength comes from the fall of day from his own unhappiness never uttering a word he just shakes his head yes or no inexorable though his batmobile sure does roar denting garbage cans and frightening alley cats he stops on solitary street corners drinking water from the puddles masturbating in unlighted buildings but never uttering a word like the angel he never utters a word


i’m a little confused popeye said batman lifts one foot and buries the other into gotham city shooting a stream of black light into this empty room that’s not true it’s not empty there are books here paper dictionaries a national geographic poster a cup of steaming coff ee from high in the air he watches me write a sestina would you like to hear it not now popeye said i’m a little confused why are you talking about batman?


it’s a good-luck charm she gave me for my birthday you’ll always have it when i go away she said and away she went leaving me with this fog and bat-like image


hey there he asked are you a sailor ja think i’m a cowboy? that’s how it all began we set sail that very afternoon there was no crew so i swabbed the deck with a rag weighed anchor cleaned the hatches that was nineteen twenty-nine you weren’t born yet olive i was a hindrance we had to beg him to let me stay she asks me drawing is diff erent from writing right no it’s not she lives in another world speaks a demotic language the words burn on her tongue she leaves behind crumbs in the rain holes in books that’s olive she comes by at night and leaves at dawn do any of you know where she is?


look it up in the dictionary you can eat it its name is rutabagas napus naprobrassica good for the digestion i like the word digestion olive said showing off a diminutive breast batman she said in a state of rapture she repeats this but it means the same another coded message the opalescent sky the cold starless night everything invites contemplation everything except olive


the dictionary whispers its light it’s insistent and filled with gaps off ering me the word equinox the word allegory though i don’t listen in the southern hemisphere it’s springtime while in northern climes autumn is just beginning i know the leaves fall and turn yellow while the birds devour mice and worms mothers bundle up their children and undress themselves unseen then olive starts pleading with me i’m tired i tell her i don’t like autumn don’t want to finish my spinach don’t want to write this poem


if you throw away your good-luck charm and open the windows if you could just wake up for once and choose your words with care if you would only answer me

when i speak to you then maybe i’ll come back but don’t forget i’m your fantasy your lovely ineff ectual weakness

Posted: April 21, 2012 at 12:50 am

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