28 mar. 2011

Silands

These are places where people live.
There are spaces where people can't breathe.
Swift scenes on screens of crowds give us the idea
That we've seen more of the world
Than it has of us
With some sort of spectral silence,
Like the moon about to bounce on our round horizon lines.

But what's in a silence?
Your face, somewhat blurred
Full of questions for asked answers
To letters you never replied to.
Your silence fills my head with echoes
Imagined, unforgotten.
Lapses, like all the angles you'll never see of me:
In the mirror, changing my hair, laughing heartily,
Discovering the world.
It is a fantasy.

There are islands and mainland always just ahead,
For we are navigating our way like magicians from this place.
Who knows where or what we are or were
And who knows the symbolism of rabbits.
Silence.

22 mar. 2011

Web skin

You belong to a simple time
your skin of spider web
with all its soft spots and
your bones
all jumbled, crypting on
some secret message
have no thirst for adventure and
what is more
would be comfortable dreaming always,
even strange dark dreams,
on a soft water bed by the ocean
and nothing more.

12 mar. 2011

Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it"

Yes it must be something
Like Mark Twain said,
A sort of smell from
Fish to Fine; to Flower.
An urge inside our heads
Of hearts that are never
Satisfied and still see bumps,
Think them their own
(Own others' faults)
And burn up a river like salmon
To try and find some Voice of Apology,
So that sometimes
Even when no one says sorry
They want to forgive.

Forgive is to give and
Forget is to get.
We forgive never for get
And are in this pathetic,
Gazing admiringly at
Our empty soft hands.

3 mar. 2011

Fanmail to Lemony Snicket

Dear Mr Snicket,

You probably remember me as the little girl of about twelve years old who tried to hide the lo mein noodle stains on her shirt and was accompanied by the flamboyant -a word which here means "not very shy at all"- peer who exclaimed that your pseudonym -a word which here means "pen name"- sounded like dishwashing detergent at your book signing in Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC, many years ago. Or, most likely, you don't remember me at all. Back then, your books were something I had in common with my friends an my siter as we all marelled over the mysteries of VFD. Your unauthorized autobiography gave me the creeps and made me jump at sounds that of course were "only the wind".

I grew up and came back to my native land, Mexico, but your books stayed on the shelf of my bookcase next to Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman and the like. The book you had autographed, however, was lost by my siter, a loss which I bitterly mourned. I couldn't stay angry at her forever, of course, and eventually she bought me a replacement to The Bad Beginning and the series was complete. I went on to study English Literature and moved on to more exciting and elevated poems and essays.

I never imagined the series would come in handy at a psyhiatric clinic a month before my 20th birthday, but that was, as some would say, my destiny.

I had been going down the road frequently travelled by which I thought was the road never before travelled by of Messianic -a word which here means "thoughts of being the Antichrist, the Third Eve of mankind come to tempt the serpent an redeem a doomed world beginning with a collective meditation in Tepoztlan the day after Christmas with certain soul mates which would each play a role, such as oracles, pearls of wisdom, and devil's advocates"- thoughts induced by too much pot and LSD.

So I ended up at the psychiatric clinic. It took me two weeks to react to the medication they were injecting me with and even longer to really land and wake up to reality. In my psychosis, I adopted a phrase that had stuck in my mind from early days: "The world is quiet here". Oh, how I wished the world were quiet! I wished it so hard it made me mad. Maybe this memory detonated a desire to read the series again: I knew it would not bore me in the anxiety and dullness of the clinic routine, of the separation from all my loved ones, of the constant uncertainty of when I would leave and what I had done and what my life would be like when I got out.

All the nurses an nuns marvelled at how many books in English I had in my room: your series was accompanied by Joyce's Dubliners, Chejov's stories, the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and the Oxford Anthology of English Literature vol II. But your books I could read effortlessly, and find amusement as they brought me back down to Earth. I had dreams at night that I was Violet Baudelaire (although I'm much more like Klaus in many ways). Your books reminded me that more tragic things can occur than my predicament, and that we can't carry the weight of all the trechery and decadence, as well as the shared opinion that tea should be as bitter as wormwood. Nothing beats Count Olaf quoting Philip Larkin at his death-sand. The books also helped me remember that I truly was not an orphan; thanks to my very real parents who supported me I was surviving this great mental fire.

I tend to view it all in a humoristic light now. Your life is certainly not unfortunate as far as I can gather and as for me, this tragedy, instead of creating more schisms, has created a harmony between my separated parents that I had never seen before. I believe in miracles now and consider myself The Little Engine that Could, but Couldn't. Certainly what I couldn't do was save the world, and what I can't do ever again is drink or do drugs because I already sat on a wall and had a great fall and thank God that all the king's horses and all the king's men COULD,so that I didn't end up like Gollum or like a fellow (but permanent) patient at the clinic; an old lady who exclaimed whenever you approached her "¿No me van a cortar la cabeza, verdad?"

We all have to know our limitations, and I write this to you as an associate, a volunteer who wishes to be quotable one day, and perhaps comfort other young minds as they realize that being well-read is not normal, and probably will never be.

Thank you for your Series of Unfortunate Events that made my recovery far more fortunate. You are still being read and re-read, and I can only imagine how good that must feel.

Sincerely,
Adriana Toledano Kolteniuk

Locura inminente

Empecé a comprobar que me estaba volviendo loca: que me estaba acercando cada vez más a lo intraducible. Pero seguía siendo una historia. Seguía siendo una historia del personaje trabado de la novela que estaba escribiendo, de la novela que a futuro iba a ser cosechada, asimilada, terminada y, finalmente, comunicada. De todas formas, seguía siendo una realidad alterna totalmente controlable.

mm… ¿sí? ¿verdad?

"Tenemos nuestro retrato de Dorian Gray pero lo estamos cuidando".

Igual ni sé a qué viene el nosotros, ni el preguntar. Estamos en este camino solos y sin más remedio que la gotita de agua y la risa para hacerle cosquillas al mundo, nada más, como tenue mago silencioso. Y eso si queremos, si nos alcanza la voluntad o la bondad o lo que quieran llamarle. Por eso sí, tener tu retrato real es bueno, es un salto hacia tu libertad, pero haces lo que puedes.

Ya me respondí a mí misma la pregunta. ¿Ves? Eso es el diálogo. Sí, sigue habiendo “yo” y “tú”. Sigue habiendo musas y silencio, musas como luciérnagas que corren a los dedos y silencio que absorbe el tiempo turbio, que lo bebe, y se consuela con las musas que musan incesantes, varias mujeres chillonas, las únicas que no mienten. Así hay pasión en la palabra, así y tal vez de alguna otra forma, por otro camino de amor hacia alguna otra voz de verdad externa, de eso y aquello y nosotros.

Pero solamente se trata de conectarte realmente con la poesía y con el poema para ser un poeta vivo, ese mago tenue, realmente, y no una copia barata amargada consigo misma, variante pleonásmica de la existencia de la consciencia como materia que se sabe materia que… ah… quién sabe de qué tanto sirva. Sirve, porque siempre logrará su mágico efecto; no sirve, porque es siempre insuficiente. No deja de haber erupciones de más poesía para poetizarla; no tiene fin el vómito existencial de la metáfora como epifanía sobre el mundo creado por el hombre, y siempre seguirá sucediendo porque ocurre el contagio de algo tan surreal, tan acercado a nuestro polo que apunta hacia el Nacimiento, que nos enteramos que por distraídos hemos limitado nuestra sabiduría natural y nunca nos entendemos cuando hablamos de esas cosas aunque parecen haber muchos tipos de acuerdos más bien tácitos con un sello de “institucionalizado”.

Y este discurso ya contiene un rasgo de crítica social, uno de psicológica, otro de evolución y progreso. Finalmente son puros monólogos atropellados de una persona atrapada entre sus posibilidades imaginables y sus aspiraciones perennes, entre sus jaulas fatalmente establecidas y que con fatalidad odia, y escribe de madera y de árboles como si sólo la tierra la entendiera y que se estremeció de niña cuando escuchó el bello título “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

Apenas estás descubriendo tu retrato, le estás levantando el velo, la tela, y empezando a reconocer que siempre te agarraste muy fuerte de tus realidades y también de tu inocencia, de tu esperanza y delirios de pureza. Pero está bien, se trata de no agarrarlos tan fuerte, de no apretarlos. Y así, agarrar las riendas del caballo y conducirlo por el camino dorado, sin miedo porque es el camino a casa.

El camino siempre implicará APRENDIZAJE, y eso se libra del hermetismo del conocimiento autodidacta: sí implica un auto-exilio de ti mismo. Quién sabe a quién o qué le diste la mano cuando te empeñaste en ser un Odiseo en tu masculinidad y una Antígona en tu feminidad, pero lo hiciste. Caminas por una tierra extraña y no alcanzas ver el fin.

¿La novela es el retrato entonces? ¿El retrato es la novela? ¿Ser esclava de un cuadernito es el camino hacia la “vida verdadera”, estar pensando todo el tiempo en esquemas narrativos, acomodos posibles, planos de recuerdos y más maquinaciones? Sí, eso pensé. Eso, por lo menos, le mostraba la historia.

Your dreams won’t let you live until you listen to them.