Recuerdos de juventud
What's certain is that I kept going back and forth,
Sometimes I bumped into trees,
I bumped into beggars,
I would make my way through a forest of chairs and tables,
With my soul hanging by a thread I would watch the great leaves fall.
But all of it was useless,
I kept sinking deeper and deeper into a kind of jelly;
People would laugh at my fits of rage,
Individuals would shake in their armchairs like algae moved by the waves
And women gave me hate-filled looks
Making me cry and laugh against my will.
All of this produced a feeling of disgust,
It produced a storm of incoherent sentences,
Threats, insults, oaths that were beside the point,
It produced certain exhausting hip movements,
Those funereal dances
That left me breathless
And unable to lift my head for days
And nights on end.
I kept going back and forth, it's true,
My soul floated down the streets
Asking for help, asking for a little tenderness;
With a sheet of paper and a pencil I would go into cemeteries
Determined not to let them fool me.
I would go round and round the same subject,
I would observe things closely
Or in a fit of fury I would tear out my hair.
That's how I made my debut in the classrooms,
Like a man with a gunshot wound I dragged myself through the literary societies,
I crossed the thresholds of private houses,
With the sharp edge of my tongue I tried to communicate with the spectators:
They would read their newspapers
Or disappear behind a taxi.
Then where could I go!
By that time the store was closed;I would think about a slice of onion that I saw at supper
And about the abyss that separates us from the other abysses.
Preguntas a la hora del té
This pale gentleman seems like
A figure in the wax museum;
He looks through the torn curtains:
What is worth more, gold or beauty?
Is the moving stream worth more
Or the immobile grass on the bank?
In the distance a bell is heard
That opens one more wound, or closes it:
Is the water in the fountain more real
Or the girl who looks at herself in it?
No one knows, people pass him by
Building castles in the sand.
Is the transparent glass superior
To the hand of the man who creates it?
One breathes a tired air
Of ashes, of smoke, of sadness:
What was once seen is not seen again
The same way, say the dry leaves.
Time for tea, toast, margarine,
Everything enveloped in a kind of fog.
I a Sinner / Yo pecador
I a born delinquent
Stealing flowers by the light of the moon
I beg the whole world's pardon
But I do not admit that I am guilty
I don't know how I wound up here
I was running happy and content
With my hat in my right hand
After a phosphorescent butterfly
Who drove me wild with joy
When suddenly pow! I tripped
And I don't know what happened to the
The landscape changed completely!
My mouth and nose are bleeding.
Really I don't know what happened
Save me once and for all
Or shoot me in the back of the neck.
Attention, ladies and gentlemen, your attention please!
Turn your heads toward this side of the republic for a moment,
Forget your personal affairs for a night,
Pleasure and pain can wait at the door:
A voice is heard from this side of the republic.
Attention, ladies and gentlemen! Your attention please!
A soul that has been bottled up for years
In a kind of sexual and intellectual abyss,
Barely feeding himself through the nose
Wants you to listen to him.
I want to be told about some things,
I need a little light, the garden is covered with flies,
I'm in a disastrous mental state,
I reason in my own way;
While I say these things I see a bicycle leaning against a wall,
I see a bridge
And an automobile that disappears between the buildings.
All of you comb your hair, that's true, you walk through gardens,
Under your skin you have another skin,
You have a seventh sense
That lets you go in and out automatically,
But I am a child behind the rocks who calls to its mother,
I am a pilgrim who kicks stones up to his nose,
A tree that shouts to be covered with leaves.
In Santiago, Chile
The days are interminably long:
Several eternities in a day.
Like the vendors of seaweed
Travelling on the backs of mules:
You yawn - you yawn again.
Yet the weeks are short
The months go racing by
And the years have wings.
Sólo tenemos tres alternativas:
El ayer, el presente y el mañana.
Porque como dice el filósofo
El ayer es ayer
Nos pertenece sólo en el recuerdo:
A la rosa que ya se deshojó
No se le puede sacar otro pétalo.
Son solamente dos:
El presente y el día de mañana.
Porque es un hecho bien establecido
Que el presente no existe
Sino en la medida en que se hace pasado
Y ya pasó...,
como la juventud.
Sólo nos va quedando el mañana:
Yo levanto mi copa
Por ese día que no llega nunca
Pero que es lo único
De lo que realmente disponemos.
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.
Are only two:
The present and the future.
Because it's a known fact
The present doesn't exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed...,
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.
But that is all
we have at our disposal.
For many long years I was condemned to love a contemptible woman
To sacrifice myself for her, to suffer countless humiliations and deceptions,
To work day and night to feed and clothe her,
To carry out a few crimes, commit a few misdeameanors,
Perform petty burglaries by the light of the moon,
Forgeries of compromising documents,
For fear of being disgraced in the sight of her fascinating eyes.
When we got along we would meet in parks
And have our picture taken together steering a motorboat,
Or we would go to a nightclub
Where we would lose ourselves in shameless dancing
That went on until all hours of the morning.
For long years I lived a prisoner under the spell of that woman
Who would show up in my office completely naked
Performing unimaginable contortions
Intended to draw my poor soul into her orbit
And, above all, to get hold of my last cent.
She gave me strict orders not to have anything to do with my family.
My friends were alienated from me by means of defamatory libels
That the viper had published in a newspaper that she owned.
Deliriously passionate, she didn't give me a minute's peace,
Urgently demanding that I kiss her mouth
And immediately answer her foolish questions
Several of which had to do with eternity and the afterlife,
Subjects which made me feel terrible
And gave me buzzing in the ears, recurrent nausea, sudden fainting spells
That she knew how to take advantage of with that spirit of practicality that was characteristic of her-
She would put on her clothes without wasting any time
And leave my apartment and me in the lurch.
This situation lasted for more than five years.
Sometimes we would live together, sharing the rent,
In a round room in a high class neighbourhood near the cemetery.
(Some nights we had to interrupt our honeymoon
And fight off the rats that squeezed in through the window).
The viper kept a detailed account book
Where she wrote down every penny I borrowed from her;
She didn't even let me use her toothbrush although I had given it to her myself
And she accused me of having ruined her youth:
With flashing eyes she subpoenaed me to appear in court
And pay part of what I owed her with all due speed
Because she needed that money to continue her studies.
Then I had to take to the street and live on public charity,
Sleeping on the benches in the square
Where the police often found me half dead
Among the first autumn leaves.
Fortunately that situation did not go on much longer
Because once when I was in a square again
Posing to have my picture taken
A pair of delicious feminine hands suddenly covered my eyes
While a voice that I loved asked guess-who.
You're my love, I answered calmly
Darling! she said nervously.
Let me sit on your knees one more time!
Then I could see that she now came complete with a small loincloth.
It was a memorable meeting, though full of discordant notes:
I've bought some land, not far from the slaughterhouse, she exclaimed,
I plan to build a kind of pyramid there
Where we can spend the rest of our lives.
I've finished my studies, I've passed the bar exam,
I'm pretty well off;
Let's go into some profitable business, just the two of us, my love, she added,
Let's build our nest far from the world.
That's enough nonsense, I answered, your plans make me suspicious,
Remember that at any time my real wife
Could leave us all in the most frightful poverty.
My children are grown up now, time has gone by,
I'm absolutely exhausted, let me rest for a minute,
Woman, bring me a little water,
Get me something to eat somewhere,
I'm dying of hunger,
I can't work for you anymore,
Everything is finished between us.
Tengo derecho a un último deseo:
quema este libro
No representa lo que quise decir
A pesar de que fue escrito con sangre
No representa lo que quise decir.
Fui derrotado por mi propia sombra:
Las palabras se vengaron de mí.
Que no me pueda despedir de ti
Con un abrazo fiel:
Me despido de ti
con una triste sonrisa forzada.
pero oye mi última palabra:
Me retracto de todo lo dicho.
Con la mayor amargura del mundo
Me retracto de todo lo que he dicho.
I’m supposed to get a last wish:
burn this book
It’s not at all what I wanted to say
Though it was written in blood
It’s not what I wanted to say.
I was defeated by my own shadow:
My words took vengeance on me.
If I cannot leave you
With a warm embrace,
I leave you
With a forced and sad smile.
But listen to my last word:
I take back everything I’ve said.
With the greatest bitterness in the world
I take back everything I’ve said.
I spent a period of my youth in the house of
Because of the death of a gentleman who
had been an intimate friend of theirs
And whose ghost annoyed them mercilessly
Making their life impossible.
At first I was deaf to their telegrams
To their letters written in the language of
Full of mythological allusions
And the proper names of people I knew
Some of them belonged to ancient wise men
To second rate medieval philosophers
Or simply to people in the neighborhood
where they lived.
Leaving the university just like that
Breaking with the charms of the gallant life
Just to satisfy the whims of three hysterical
Full of all kinds of personal problems
Seemed, to a person like me, to be
A not very attractive future
A mad idea.
Nevertheless, I lived in The Tunnel for four
In close proximity to those fearful ladies
Four years of constant martyrdom
Martyrdom day and night.
The hours of happiness I spent under the
Soon turned into weeks of boredom
Into months of anguish which I did my best to
So as not to arouse curiosity about myself.
They turned into years of ruin and misery
Into centuries of imprisonment that my soul
Inside a bottle on the table!
My spiritualist conception of the world
Put me in a position of absolute inferiority
when confronted by real facts:
I saw everything through a prism
At the bottom of which the images of my
aunts wove in and out like living threads
Forming a kind of impenetrable armor
That wounded my vision and made it more and more
A young man of limited means doesn't know
He lives in a bell jar called Art
Called Lust, called Science
Trying to make contact with a world of
That only exist for him and a small group of
Under the effects of a kind of water vapor
That filtered in through the floor of my room
And filled the air and made everything
I spent my nights at my desk
Absorbed in the practice of automatic writing.
But why go any further into these unpleasant
Those matrons made a miserable fool of me
With their false promises, their strange
Their skillfully simulated sorrows
They managed to keep me in their nets for
Tacitly obliging me to work for them
Doing agricultural chores
And buying and selling animals
Until one night, looking through the keyhole
I realized that one of them
My paralyzed aunt!
Could walk perfectly well on tiptoe
And I came back to reality with a goddamn