have to bear the humiliation of the vital vomit
that it is to love. It is coming to an end
the hour of open windows, the dusty teeth,
the stains of panting through lapels
and of sharks moving through muscles or taking short cuts.
All the fuses of my right hand are blown
only on touching you with two climbing fingers,
clinging to integrate you in me. Yet within them are lit
aurorae boreales that are contagions.
I love you, but I don't care. We are waiting
for the tenderising lightning bolt that makes of us amalgam,
that inlays you so deep in me that I can tell you,
"Now I love you so much that you can die when you like."
(From Poemes a Nai (Poems to Nai), 1965)
* * *
Ah, yes, things,
the same things, familiar
and everyday, that I told you about in days gone by,
whose edges we discreetly palpate,
like an acquaintance we already know by heart
we palpate the word,
and with them we place a wedge in existence
so there will be no wobble in the security
of having our necessary ration of suffering,
things, that come to peck at our tables
so as to get a good bite at life,
hanging around there before our eyes
without ever losing the pose
of insignificance for some fixed price,
things we used to
receive standing by the door and bade goodbye
without remembering to say,
"give our best regards to the family",
things, which are unexpectedly stowed away
so that the man
whose faith was short-sighted
through the whole extension of the word,
should feel he is sprouting
towards being happy.
I have said towards being happy and wouldn't want
that to mean I deserve to die of it
shot dead at the foot of every letter.
It is enough, who knows, that in some sunny spot,
from the lookout of the rush-bottomed chair,
it might be seen that the outward-looking mercury
indicates, open wide,
the temperature for living, exactly right
for making us grow all through Sunday
towards an unfeignable condition of protozoon.
Then do we understand
with the same clarity with which a word
that comes to us full of thirst is steeped,
that the shoe we are wearing
like an old maid from somewhere else,
while it keeps warm for us within its leather fist
the root of standing firm for life,
is too tight, having just invented
its first adjective,
in just the right measure so that its ways
could never be taken as a sign of complicity
even if they were. This is an example.
Anyone who puts out the fire
that is lit in him
by this unsuspectable
Loving, when it happens to me, when
I start to have a skin full of the scald of it,
is exactly like going
downhill on my bike at fifteen years
feet on the handlebars and hands
overhead like a tram
pressing at the high slope of low-flying swifts.
Loving, in this case, begins
by being the meticulously furious happiness
of a dense, unbridled sprint
that at every step dries out the grass and all around leaves
heated slabs of stone
with the date of its birth inscribed.
When things get like that
you know me and you know
that I shall put my hand on your cheek
like one who touches longevity’s link
and shall tell you that I love you,
uncontainably inventing the loving,
giving change back to life from each syllable,
withdrawing from everything towards you
definitively abandoning all the barricades,
because, then, saying "I love you"
has all the dimension of a last gaze
towards the entrance of our house
and the deep resonance
of the razor blade that seeks the vein
to show for once and for all
the whole befouled amplitude of truth.
Saying, just so, "I love you"
is inventing saying yes
and cutting the tongue with one's teeth,
it is going into water up to the neck of thirst
it is selling your birthright for a plate of pleasure
or bartering life
for an instantaneous orchid
and being totally right, always,
for my part.
The furious story of loving,
this open sore,
that loving is always loving you,
involves, more and more,
each day a short dry course
from where loving
gazing into your eyes until I see you no more,
hearing you saying "our love",
simply that, or saying, "I was thinking
that it's wonderful what’s happening to us",
passing my homely hand over your brow and feeling
the murmur of life rising in my arm,
has the unmistakable sense of the last draught
and it closes a circle
while deciphering and breaking up desire,
to my life in the form of a rounded cove
towards which I was growing
when moving in the world
was going barefoot
through the distracted human condition
of starting to wait for you.
(From Biografia (Biography), 1974)
* * *
Get away from me if you see that sadness
has installed itself in my heart, penis or guts
and my landscape has come under its sway,
and I fully obedient to its code of signs
that are become the root from where my aesthetics grows.
If you don't do it at once, I could infect you
because when sadness is killing me I feel very alive
and some strange thing moves me to bring it proselytes.
Remove yourselves from me if you see me steeped in it
but don't go far: I shall end up drowning it,
digging out its eyes, slaying it, clasping it with rage
trying to make it say why it loves me.
At times I do not know if it hurts or if I like it.
(From El pis de la badia (The Flat on the Bay), 1992)
Translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark ©