All over Mallorca they're asphalting her skin
and with the dry crust they're cutting off her breath.
The flames are put out and fires are now lights.
Car horns are in procession through the streets.
Bonfire of books to light the tourists' dance.
Sor Tomasseta sings in Spanish and swallows dragons.
In Gomila Saint Alonso Rodríguez is guarding cars.
Our language is a street sweeper in the Born.
Don Joaquim Maria Bover is opening a snack bar in Can Pastilla.
Sor Francinaina sells her hair shirt and buys a fridge.
King Jaume is working as a taxi driver
and young Bernat of the stories is a tourist guide.
In Cort, father Garau still burns heretics at the stake.
The first Swede's bikini is in the city museum.
Heaps of ash remain from ancient fires.
Against the excavators pinewoods are in revolt.
Silences and silences are reflected in the mirrors.
Alomar and Tomeu do contortions on television sets.
The Taller Llunàtic Band has sequestered all the coves.
Filling the sewers with blood we shall find our lineage.
(From "Exercicis per a la desintegració (1972-1974)" (Exercises for Disintegration (1972-1974)) in Els mapes del desig (Maps of Desire), 2001 p. 50)
* * *
The images of the party are breaking down.
Mourning in company of swords returns to the house.
The rooster’s song is burning on the bonfire
and the bedding is marked with yellow stains.
The kitchen glasses are blurring over
and fruit is rotting in the pantry.
No word is fixed to the forehead of air
and wheat is drying in the corners of the room.
Rust is eating away the chairs
(where will desire sit after the game?)
and rats emigrate to brighter parts.
The boundary trees advance some steps
and long for a hurricane to pull them up.
A kiss is withering on the table
and a festive sound cracks open like a walnut.
This year there will be no harvest of paper streamers.
(From "Mapa del desg (1973-1974)" (Map of Desire (1973-1974)), in Els mapes del desig (Maps of Desire), 2001, p. 64)
* * *
1936: execution of horizons.
occupied by pistols already cocked:
one by one all the spectres are knocked down.
Rats take over palaces and squares
and ideas are mixed up with urine.
Inside some vagina, under dung, among the hairs
in an armpit, men seek a dark hiding place
when they hear the steps of avid hunters
who sniff out the rabbits’ trail.
Thoughts burn in domestic chimneys,
bleach is washing shirts and brains,
snippets of the past stolen in the memory of space.
All ears, enemies. The words of yesterday
pursued by pages and walls.
The present denounces its own past.
The sexes suppress their movements at night
fearing that the eye of the sheets will speak.
A stray shot kills this poem.
(From "Territoris d’incògnites (1977-1985)" (Territories of Unknowns (1977-1985)), in Els mapes del desig (Maps of Desire), 2001, p. 84)
* * *
AND NONETHELESS THE GODS
And nonetheless the gods never forget
to undress the trees in the autumn of the years.
And every day, by unappealable law, the sun
sinks in a far-off horizon, flaming with blood.
And that skin so fine will wrinkle some day.
And that sex so skilled at making the senses laugh
will go to sleep, the body’s every inch will be a drought-struck field
and its eyes two empty glasses longing for the wine
that used to set muscles a-dance in a pair of sheets.
(29 November 1992)
(From "Rastres (1990-2000)" (Traces (1990-2000)), in Els mapes del desig (Maps of Desire), 2001, p. 105)
Translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark ©