Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sonnet I

I’ve seen meteors flash and fall from heaven.

In the Bible, the best angel was the first to go

And leave the rest to pale in remembered glory.

The mighty falls affect us, not because we fear descent

But because the impact shudder shakes us to pieces.

Dear Matthew, Dear Ronald, Dear Kenneth,

Your names ring like those of apostles;

But who am I? A sorry Christ to avoid crucifixion.

If I could raise you from the dead

Pick up your fallen stars, dust them off

And toss them back up into an empty sky, I would.

But miracles aren’t in my repertoire;

Only poems. And no poem ever raised the dead.

As no statue ever stepped down, to walk, to breathe.

Piggyback on Death, American Flag Number Five

She will clutch you, stamped with her number

Ride upon her black shroud, slumped, hanger-on

Relax. Take a nap even.

Death is wide eyed and knows where she’s headed.

She waves a flag in one withered hand

Does it celebrate some glorious pursuit?

No, it is ragged with its own number

Old Death, cloaked and harried

The lines on her face spell out her name:

Deep ruts, the cracks of dry earth

Ennui imprinted in her gaze, blank as a blue sky

Aged, as a care can age, yet remain eternal

Tight-lipped, to yield no secrets about the

Hereafter, where she bears her load, bent double.

Black Hole

My mother is a black hole

Face darkness once removed

With studded stars ornaments

To lure the next piece of meat

An aching abyssal mouth

Matter flows around to feed

Swallows every pill cock and heart

Feeble men ever offer

My mother is a black hole

Her roar in stasis in my head

Pitched a low register grinding

Turning wheels of immolation

She spewed forth dark materials

Into the void of her passing

Some collapse to suns others fragment

Well beyond the grasp of her horizon

My mother is a black hole, engine of creation

Yet God the father never showed his face

Mother’s spirit, far from holy

No triumph in the son’s martyrdom

Only the pain of driven nails and

The hanging body that smothers itself

My mother is a black hole, and I know the answer

That science cannot give: What lies behind?

All the light she ever swallowed

The ruined phantasm of a normal family

A boy who doesn’t have to make up stories

To paper the walls of barren space

Forest Fire

I had this really strange dream

About a forest fire that danced like windblown hair

Across the mountain ridge

Leaping tongues sang an apocalyptic serenade

Screams gave subtle counterpoint

As did the melting songs of birds

Like violence done to flutes

Heated trunks exploded to spit tobacco juice

Unexpected affinities occurred in disaster

A chaotic rendering in perfect harmony

That most dynamic phrasing all worked out

At Eternity's Gate

A man should weep for himself

But not his fate

When he stands at eternity’s gate

Black lines chart a path

Back to every misdeed

And he should weep for these

But not for his current place

There at eternity’s gate

He can not stand the sight

Of his own face

His rotten gut

And his heart misplaced

He can hide behind tears

Regret every lost year

But it’ll all finally be effaced

Once closes behind him

Eternity’s gate

The Snow Novel

by Roberto Bolaño, trans. by D. Matus

My literary works, April 10, 1980. Obsessed

with legs in bedrooms where everything is feminine

even I, who killed an air conditioner and mummifies

hounds. No writing in the rhythm of my days

without money, or love, or looks; only dark

bedroom secrets where I'm surrounded by silk

stockings, canaries, and slices of the moon. However

when I write I can say entertaining things

that interest people. Abstract pianos

in silent ambush, my own silence that

surrounds the writing. Maybe only the indiscriminate,

arriving at the terminal where "my talent"

expresses itself through the combustible cracks

of my neck in the snow novel.

Monday, April 5, 2010


by Roberto Bolaño, trans. by D. Matus

Believe me, I'm in the middle of my room

hoping for rain. I'm alone. I do not care

to finish or not my poem. Hoping for rain,

drinking coffee and seeing out the window a beautiful landscape

of courtyards, hanging clothes and quiet,

the silent marble clothes of the city, where there is no

wind and one only hears the distant hum

of a color television, watched by a family

that is, at this moment, gathered around

a coffee table: believe me: yellow plastic tables

are divided up the line of the horizon and beyond:

to the suburbs where they build apartment

complexes, and a 16 year old boy sitting on

red bricks contemplates the movement of machines.

The sky in the boy’s hour is an enormous

hollow screw where the breeze plays. And the boy

plays with ideas. With ideas and arrested scenes.

Immobility is a hard and transparent mist

that comes from your eyes.

Believe me: love is not gonna come,

for beauty has been stolen from the dead dawns.


by Roberto Bolaño, trans. by D. Matus

Hoping the anxiety disappears

While it rains on the strange highway

Where you are

Rain: My only hope

To erase anxiety

I'm betting everything on my part

My Literary Career

by Roberto Bolaño, trans. by D. Matus

Rejections from Anagrama, Grijalbo, Planeta, certainly also from Alfaguara, Mondadori. A ‘no’ from Muchnik, Seix Barral, Destino... All the editors... All the readers...

All the sales managers...

Under the bridge, in the rain, a golden opportunity to see myself:

like a snake at the North Pole, but writing.

Writing poetry in the country of imbeciles.

Writing with my son on my knee

Writing until night falls

With a roar from a thousand demons.

The demons that must take me to hell, but writing.

October 1990.