Ode to The Onion

Nude With Onions, Robert Lavigne, 1954.

Peter Orlovsky met Allen Ginsberg while working as a model for the painter Robert Lavigne in San Francisco in December 1954. The two fell together almost instantly, and remained a couple for three decades.

 
 

ODE TO THE ONION

Onion,
luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
happened
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
make you,
onion
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
upon
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.

Pablo Neruda

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Ode To a Dress

Kelle Inman wearing a silk and leather dress by Azzedine Alaïa, which Jean-Michel Basquiat commissioned for her. (While in Paris he reportedly traded a drawing to Alaïa for the dress)

 
 

ODE TO CLOTHES

Every morning you wait,
clothes, over a chair,
to fill yourself with
my vanity, my love,
my hope, my body.
Barely
risen from sleep,
I relinquish the water,
enter your sleeves,
my legs look for
the hollows of your legs,
and so embraced
by your indefatigable faithfulness
I rise, to tread the grass,
enter poetry,
consider through the windows,
the things,
the men, the women,
the deeds and the fights
go on forming me,
go on making me face things
working my hands,
opening my eyes,
using my mouth,
and so,
clothes,
I too go forming you,
extending your elbows,
snapping your threads,
and so your life expands
in the image of my life.
In the wind
you billow and snap
as if you were my soul,
at bad times
you cling
to my bones,
vacant, for the night,
darkness, sleep
populate with their phantoms
your wings and mine.
I wonder
if one day
a bullet
from the enemy
will leave you stained with my blood
and then
you will die with me
or one day
not quite
so dramatic
but simple,
you will fall ill,
clothes,
with me,
grow old
with me, with my body
and joined
we will enter
the earth.
Because of this
each day
I greet you
with reverence and then
you embrace me and I forget you,
because we are one
and we will go on
facing the wind, in the night,
the streets or the fight,
a single body,
one day, one day, some day, still.

Pablo Neruda

Don’t Go Far Off

François Truffaut

 
 

NO TE ALEJES

No estés lejos de mí un sólo día, porque cómo,
porque, no sé decírtelo, es largo el día,
y te estaré esperando como en las estaciones
cuando en alguna parte se durmieron los trenes.

No te vayas por una hora porque entonces
en esa hora se juntan las gotas del desvelo
y tal vez todo el humo que anda buscando casa
venga a matar aún mi corazón perdido.

Ay que no se quebrante tu silueta en la arena,
ay que no vuelen tus párpados en la ausencia:
no te vayas por un minuto, bienamada,

Porque en ese minuto te habrás ido tan lejos
que yo cruzaré toda la tierra preguntando
si volverás o si me dejarás muriendo.

Pablo Neruda

 
 

_____________________________

 
 

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

Walking Around

François Truffaut (right) and Jean-Pierre Léaud, on the set of his film Baisers Volés, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris (France), February 1968

 
 

Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.
Sucede que entro en las sastrerías y en los cines
marchito, impenetrable, como un cisne de fieltro
navegando en un agua de origen y ceniza.

El olor de las peluquerías me hace llorar a gritos.
Sólo quiero un descanso de piedras o de lana,
sólo quiero no ver establecimientos ni jardines,
ni mercaderías, ni anteojos, ni ascensores.

Sucede que me canso de mis pies y mis uñas
y mi pelo y mi sombra.
Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.

Sin embargo sería delicioso
asustar a un notario con un lirio cortado
o dar muerte a una monja con un golpe de oreja.
Sería bello
ir por las calles con un cuchillo verde
y dando gritos hasta morir de frío.

No quiero seguir siendo raíz en las tinieblas,
vacilante, extendido, tiritando de sueño,
hacia abajo, en las tripas moradas de la tierra,
absorbiendo y pensando, comiendo cada día.

No quiero para mí tantas desgracias.
no quiero continuar de raíz y de tumba,
de subterráneo solo, de bodega con muertos,
aterido, muriéndome de pena.

Por eso el día lunes arde como el petróleo
cuando me ve llegar con mi cara de cárcel,
y aúlla en su transcurso como una rueda herida,
y da pasos de sangre caliente hacia la noche.

Y me empuja a ciertos rincones, a ciertas casas húmedas,
a hospitales donde los huesos salen por la ventana,
a ciertas zapaterías con olor a vinagre,
a calles espantosas como grietas.

Hay pájaros de color de azufre y horribles intestinos
colgando de las puertas de las casas que odio,
hay dentaduras olvidadas en una cafetera,
hay espejos
que debieran haber llorado de vergüenza y espanto,
hay paraguas en todas partes, y venenos, y ombligos.

Yo paseo con calma, con ojos, con zapatos,
con furia, con olvido,
paso, cruzo oficinas y tiendas de ortopedia,
y patios donde hay ropas colgadas de un alambre:
calzoncillos, toallas y camisas que lloran
lentas lágrimas sucias.

Pablo Neruda

1935

 
 

_______________________________________

 
 

It so happens I am sick of being a man.
And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie houses
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.

The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse sobs.
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores,no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.

It so happens that I am sick of my feet
and my nails and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens I am sick of being a man.

Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,
or kill a nun with a blow on the ear.
It would be great to go through the streets
with a green knife letting out yells
until I died of the cold.

I don’t want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out,
shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking,
eating every day. I don’t want so much misery.

I don’t want to go on as a root and a tomb,
alone under the ground, a warehouse with corpses,
half frozen, dying of grief.

That’s why Monday, when it sees me coming with my convict face,
blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood
leading toward the night.
And it pushes me into certain corners,
into some moist houses,
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin.

There are sulphur-colored birds,
and hideous intestines hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms,
and umbilical cords.

I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and orthopedic shops,
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line: underwear,
towels and shirts from which slow dirty tears are falling.

English Translation by Robert Bly

Farewell

1

DESDE el fondo de ti, y arrodillado,
un niño triste, como yo, nos mira.

Por esa vida que arderá en sus venas
tendrían que amarrarse nuestras vidas.

Por esas manos, hijas de tus manos,
tendrían que matar las manos mías.

Por sus ojos abiertos en la tierra
veré en los tuyos lágrimas un día.

2

YO NO lo quiero, Amada.

Para que nada nos amarre
que no nos una nada.

Ni la palabra que aromó tu boca,
ni lo que no dijeron las palabras.

Ni la fiesta de amor que no tuvimos,
ni tus sollozos junto a la ventana.

3

(AMO el amor de los marineros
que besan y se van.

Dejan una promesa.
No vuelven nunca más.

En cada puerto una mujer espera:
los marineros besan y se van.

Una noche se acuestan con la muerte
en el lecho del mar.

4

AMO el amor que se reparte
en besos, lecho y pan.

Amor que puede ser eterno
y puede ser fugaz.

Amor que quiere libertarse
para volver a amar.

Amor divinizado que se acerca
Amor divinizado que se va.)

5

YA NO se encantarán mis ojos en tus ojos,
ya no se endulzará junto a ti mi dolor.

Pero hacia donde vaya llevaré tu mirada
y hacia donde camines llevarás mi dolor.

Fui tuyo, fuiste mía. Qué más? Juntos hicimos
un recodo en la ruta donde el amor pasó.

Fui tuyo, fuiste mía. Tu serás del que te ame,
del que corte en tu huerto lo que he sembrado yo.

Yo me voy. Estoy triste: pero siempre estoy triste.
Vengo desde tus brazos. No sé hacia dónde voy.

…Desde tu corazón me dice adiós un niño.
Y yo le digo adiós.

Pablo Neruda

 
 

 
 

1

“FROM the bottom of you, and kneeled,
a sad boy, like me, it watches.
For this life that burns in your veins,
it would have to tie out lives together.
By those hands, daughters of your hands,
they would have to kill my hands.
By your open eyes in the earth,
I will see in them, your tears one day.

2

I DO not want, my Love.
So that nothing can tie us
Nothing can unite us.
Not even words that sweeten your mouth,
not even what the words did not say.
Nor the love party that we never had.
nor your cries next to the window.

 
 

 
 

3

I LOVE the love of the sailors
they kiss and go
They leave a promise.
They never return again.
In every door, a women waits:
the sailors kiss and go.
One night they lie down with the death
in the bed of the sea.

4

I LOVE the love that distributes
in kisses, bed and bread.
Love the can be eternal
and love that can be fleeting.
Love that wants to liberate you
to return to love again.
Divine love that gets close
Divine love that goes away.

 
 

 
 

5

NO longer are my eyes enchanted by yours
and no longer will my pain be sweetened next to you.
But towards where it goes I will take your glance
and towards where you walk you will take my pain.
I was yours, you were mine. What more? Together we made
a bend in the route where love happened.
I was yours, you were mine. You will be of that it loves to you,
of that it cuts in your orchard which I have seeded.
I go. I am sad: but I am always sad.
I come from your arms. I do not know towards where I go.
From your heart, a boy says good bye to me.
And I tell him good bye.”

Ode to Wine

Photograph by Chema Madoz

 
 

Day-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
wine,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
soft
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
amorous,
marine;
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
memories;
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
your
glorious
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
Wine
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
translucency,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

Pablo Neruda

Come to What Crowns You

“…Come to what crowns you, youth of health,
gay butterfly, youth pure
as a black lightning perpetually free;
and talking between ourselves.
Now, when no one is left among the rocks,
let us speak simply, as you are, as I am:
what are the verses for, if not for the dew?
What are the verses for, if not for this night
in which a bitter dagger finds us out, for this day,
for this twilight, for this broken corner
where the beaten heart of man prepares to die?…”

Pablo Neruda
Ode to Federico García Lorca

 
 

Allégorie de soie (Allegory of the Sun), Salvador Dalí, 1950

Constant Reborn

Blossoming Almond Tree, Vincent van Gogh, 1890

 
 

“Yet incessant grows the tree

and the tree dies and another seed

comes to life and everything continues.

And it is not adversity that separates beings

but growth,

never has a flower died: it is constantly reborn.”

Pablo Neruda
Black Island Memorial

Ode To Walt Whitman

In a speech entitled “We Live in a Whitmanesque Age”, Pablo Neruda said: “For my part, I, who am now nearing seventy, discovered Walt Whitman when I was just fifteen, and I hold him to be my greatest creditor. I stand before you feeling that I bear with me always this great and wonderful debt which has helped me to exist”.

 
 

 
 

Ode to Walt Whitman

I do not remember
at what age
nor where:
in the great damp South
or on the fearsome
coast, beneath the brief
cry of the seagulls,
I touched a hand and it was
the hand of Walt Whitman.
I trod the ground
with bare feet,
I walked on the grass,
on the firm dew
of Walt Whitman.
During
my entire
youth
I had the company of that
hand,
that dew,
its firmness of patriarchal
pine, its
prairie-like expanse,
and its mission of
circulatory peace.
Not
disdaining
the gifts
of the earth,
nor the copious
curving of the column’s
capital,
nor the purple
initial
of wisdom,
you taught me
to be an American,
you raised
my eyes
to books,
towards
the treasure
of the grains:
broad,
in the clarity
of the plans,
you made me see
the high
tutelary
mountain. From
subterranean
echoes,
you gathered
for me
everything;
everything that came forth
was harvested by you,
galloping in the alfalfa,
picking poppies for me,
visiting
the rivers,
coming into the kitchens
in the afternoon
But not only
soil
was brought to light
by your spade:
you unearthed
man,
and the
slave
who was humiliated
with you, balancing
the black dignity of his
stature,
walked on, conquering
happiness.
To the fireman
below,
in the stoke-hole,
you sent
a little basket
of strawberries.
To every corner of your
town
a verse
of yours arrived for a visit,
and it was like a piece
of clean body,
the verse that arrived,
like
your own fisherman beard
or the solemn tread of your
acacia
legs.
Pablo Neruda

Entropic Universes

Hugh Syme is a Canadian Juno Award-winning graphic artist (5 wins and 18 nominations) who is best known for his artwork and cover concepts for rock and metal bands.

The most remarkable quality of his art designs are the themes he links into the album concepts: oneiric or surreal landscapes; typefaces integrated into the background of the cover art; Kafkaesque events in which absurdity is accepted with resignation or even celebrated. His artwork can be seen as a collection of entropic universes that seems to keep leading to a bigger disarray or randomness of a closed system. The standstill movement of the scenes is what causes that impression of systematic chaos. In fact, the duality of that phrase is a fitting description of the word Entropy  (from Greek ἐντροπία, evolution, transformation). So, it is precisely a measure of the number of specific ways in which a system may be arranged, often taken to be a measure of disorder. In the domain of sociology, entropy is used as a metaphor for chaos, disorder or dissipation of energy.

 
 

(1983)

Note: The album is named after Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

 
 

(1985)

 
 

(1988)

 
 

(1990)

 
 

(1993)

 
 

(1993)

 
 

Youthanasia (1994)

 
 

(1997)

 
 

(1997)

 
 

(1997)

 
 

Arena, The Visitor (1998)

 
 

(2005)

 
 

(2006)

 
 

(2007)

 
 

(2011)

Where The Things Have No Name

Portrait of Pablo Neruda by Luis Xeiroto

 
 

“Before I loved you, Love, nothing was my own:

I wavered through the streets, among objects:

nothing mattered or had a name:

the world was made of air, which waited.”
 
SONNET XXV
Pablo Neruda

 
 

Illustration by John Tenniel

 
 

“This must be the wood,’ she said thoughtfully to herself, ‘where
things have no names. I wonder what’ll become of MY name when I go in?
I shouldn’t like to lose it at all–because they’d have to give me
another, and it would be almost certain to be an ugly one. But then
the fun would be trying to find the creature that had got my old
name! That’s just like the advertisements, you know, when people lose
dogs…”
 
Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking-Glass
CHAPTER III
Looking-Glass Insects

 
 

Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

 
 

“-I don’t know what to call you.

-I don’t have a name.

– Do you want to know mine?

– No, no! I don’t. I don’t want to know your name. You don’t have a name and I don’t have a name either. No one name.

-You’re crazy!

-Maybe I am, but I don’t want to know anything about you. I don’t wanna know where you live or where you come from. I wanna know nothing.

– You scare me.

– Nothing. You and I are gonna meet here without knowing anything that goes on outside here. OK?

-But why?

-Because… Because we don’t need names here. Don’t you see? We’re gonna forget… everything that we knew. Every… All the people,… all that we do,… wherever we live.

-We’re going to forget that, everything, everything.”
 
Dialogue between Paul (Marlon Brando) and Jeanne (Maria Schneider)

 
 

One Hundred Years of Solitude book cover by Ben Rothery- Penguin Design Awards 2011

 
 

“When Jose Arcadio Buendia realized that the plague had invaded the town, he gathered together the heads of families to explain to them what he knew about the sickness of insomnia, and they agreed on methods to prevent the scourge from spreading to other towns in the swamp. That was why they took the bells off the goats, bells that the Arabs had swapped them for macaws, and put them at the entrance to town at the disposal of those who would not listen to the advice and entreaties of the sentinels and insisted on visiting the town. All strangers who passed, through the streets of Macondo at that time had to ring their bells so that the sick people would know that they were healthy. They were not allowed to eat or drink anything during their stay, for there was no doubt but that the illness was transmitted by mouth, and all food and drink had been contaminated by insomnia. In that way they kept the plague restricted to the perimeter of the town. So effective was the quarantine that the day came when the emergency situation was accepted as a natural thing and life was organized in such a way that work picked up its rhythm again and no one worried any more about the useless habit of sleeping.

 
 

Illustration by Rodrigo Avilés

 
 

It was Aureliano who conceived the formula that was to protect them against loss of memory for several months. He discovered it by chance. An expert insomniac, having been one of the first, he had learned the art of silver work to perfection. One day he was looking for the small anvil that he used for laminating metals and he could not remember its name. His father told him: “Stake.” Aureliano wrote the name on a piece of paper that he pasted to the base of the small anvil: stake. In that way he was sure of not forgetting it in the future. It did not occur to him that this was the first manifestation of a loss of memory, because the object had a difficult name to remember. But a few days later he discovered that he had trouble remembering almost every object in the laboratory. Then he marked them with their respective names so that all he had to do was read the inscription in order to identify them. When his father told him about his alarm at having forgotten even the most impressive happenings of his childhood, Aureliano explained his method to him, and Jose Arcadio Buendia put it into practice all through the house and later on imposed it on the whole village. With an inked brush he marked everything with its name: table, chair; clock, door; wall, bed, pan. He went to the corral and marked the animals and plants: cow, goat, pig, hen, cassava, caladium, banana. Little by little, studying the infinite possibilities of a loss of memory, he realized that the day might come when things would be recognized by their inscriptions but that no one would remember their use. Then he was more explicit. The sign that he hung on the neck of the cow was an exemplary proof of the way in which the inhabitants of Macondo were prepared to fight against loss of memory: This is the cow. She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk, and the milk must be boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk. Thus they went on living in a reality that was slipping away, momentarily captured by words, but which would escape irremediably when they forgot the values of the written letters.”
 
Fragment taken from One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez

 
 

 

Ode to Walt Whitman

Samuel Hollyer’s steel engraving of Walt Whitman based on a daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison (original lost). Published in 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass

 
 

I do not remember
at what age
nor where:
in the great damp South
or on the fearsome
coast, beneath the brief
cry of the seagulls,
I touched a hand and it was
the hand of Walt Whitman.
I trod the ground
with bare feet,
I walked on the grass,
on the firm dew
of Walt Whitman.
During
my entire
youth
I had the company of that
hand,
that dew,
its firmness of patriarchal
pine, its
prairie-like expanse,
and its mission of
circulatory peace.
Not
disdaining
the gifts
of the earth,
nor the copious
curving of the column’s
capital,
nor the purple
initial
of wisdom,
you taught me
to be an American,
you raised
my eyes
to books,
towards
the treasure
of the grains:
broad,
in the clarity
of the plans,
you made me see
the high
tutelary
mountain. From
subterranean
echoes,
you gathered
for me
everything;
everything that came forth
was harvested by you,
galloping in the alfalfa,
picking poppies for me,
visiting
the rivers,
coming into the kitchens
in the afternoon
But not only
soil
was brought to light
by your spade:
you unearthed
man,
and the
slave
who was humiliated
with you, balancing
the black dignity of his
stature,
walked on, conquering
happiness.
To the fireman
below,
in the stoke-hole,
you sent
a little basket
of strawberries.
To every corner of your
town
a verse
of yours arrived for a visit,
and it was like a piece
of clean body,
the verse that arrived,
like
your own fisherman beard
or the solemn tread of your
acacia
legs.

 
 

Pablo Neruda

Ode to Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca (left) and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda

 
 

If I could weep with fear in a lonely house,
if I could pluck out my eyes and eat them,
I’d do it for your mourning orangetree voice
and for your poetry that flies up shouting.

For they paint the hospitals blue for you,
and the schools and maritime districts grow,
and the wounded angels are covered with feathers,
and the nuptial fish are covered with scales,
and the hedgehogs go flying to heaven:
for you the tailorshops with their black membranes
fill with spoons and with blood,
swallow torn ribbons, kill themselves with kisses,
and dress in white.

When you fly dressed in peach,
when you laugh with a laugh of hurricane rice,
when you flap your arteries and teeth to sing,
your throat and your fingers,
I could die for the sweetness you are,
I could die for the crimsom lakes
where you live in the midst of Autumn
with a fallen charger and a bloodied god,
I could die for the graveyards that pass at night
like ashen rivers, with water and graves,
between muffled bells:
rivers dense as dormitories
of sick soldiers, that suddenly swell
towards death in rivers with marble numbers
and rotten garlands, and funeral oils:
I could die from seeing you at night
watching the drowned crosses pass,
afoot and weeping,
because you weep before the river of death,
abandoned and wounded,
you weep weeping, your eyes filled
with tears, with tears, with tears.

At night, desperately alone, if I could gather
forgetfullness, shadow and smoke
above railroads and steamships,
with a black funnel,
chewing the ashes,
I’d do it for the tree in which you grow,
for the nests of golden waters you unite,
and for the net that covers your bones
telling you the secret of the night.

 
 

Neruda, Lorca and other guests of a party in Buenos Aires (Argentina). 1934

 
 

Cities with damp onion fragrance
wait for you to pass singing hoarsely,
and silent boats of sperm pursue uyou,
and green swallows nest in your hair,
and snails and weeks too,
furled masts and cherrytrees
circle definitively when your pale head with fifty eyes
and your mouth of submerged blood appear.

If I could fill the mayors’ posts with soot
and throw down watches, sobbing,
it would be to watch: when at your house
summer arrives with broken lips,
a crowd arrives in death-watch clothes,
regions of sad splendor arrive,
dead plows and poppies arrive,
gravediggers and horsemen arrive,
planets and maps of blood arrive,
divers covered with ash arrive,
masqueraders dragging virgins
pierced with large knives arrive,
hospitals, ants, roots, springs and veins arrive,
the night arrives with the bed on which
a lonely Hussar dies among the spiders,
a rose of hatred and pins arrives,
a yellowed embarkation arrives,
a windy day with a child arrives,
I arrive with Oliverio and Norah,
Vicente Aleixandre, Delia,
Maruca, Malva Marina, María Luisa y Larco,
la Rubia, Rafael, Ugarte,
Cotapos, Rafael Alberti,
Carlos, Bebé, Manolo Altolaguirre, Molinari,
Rosales, Concha Méndez,
and others I’ve forgotten.
Come to what crowns you, youth of health,
gay butterfly, youth pure
as a black lightning perpetually free;
and talking between ourselves.
now, when no one is left among the rocks,
let us speak simply, as you are, as I am:
what are the verses for, if not for the dew?
What are the verses for, if not for this night
in which a bitter dagger finds us out, for this day,
for this twilight, for this broken corner
where the beaten heart of man prepares to die?

Over everything at night,
at night there are many stars,
all within a river
like a ribbon beside the windows
of houses filled with poor people.

Someone they know has died,
maybe they’ve lost their jobs in the offices,
in the hospitals, in the elevators, in the mines;
they endure their purpose stubbornly, wounded,
and there’s purpose and weeping everywhere:
while the stars flow on in an endless river
there is much weeping in the windows,
the thresholds are worn by the weeping,
the bedrooms are soaked by the weeping
that comes in the shape of a wave to corrode the carpets.

Federico,
you see the world, the streets,
the vinegar,
the farewells in the stations
where the smoke lifts its decisiive wheels
toward where there is nothing but some
separations, stones, iron tracks.

There are so many people asking questions everywhere.
There’s the bloodied blind man, and the angry man,
the discouraged man,
the miserable man, the tree of fingernails,
the thief with envy riding his back.

Life’s like this, Federico; here you have
the things my friendship can offer you,
from a melancholy manly man.
Already you’ve learned many things by yourself,
and slowly you will be learning more.

 

Pablo Neruda

(This poem was written in 1935, a year before Lorca was murdered by the Spanish Nationalistic forces)

Magical Realism Illustrated

 

 

“…If anyone wants to find us it’ll be very easy”, she said with her natural charm. “All they have to do is follow the trail of my blood in the snow”. Then she thought more about what she had said, and her face blossomed in the first light of dawn.

 

-“Imagine”,she said. “A trail of blood in the snow all the way from Madrid to Paris. Wouldn’t that make a good song?”

 
“The Trail of Blood in the Snow”
 

 

 

 

 

“…A group of English tourists wearing shorts and beach sandals were dozing in a long row of easy chairs. There were seventeen of them, seated symmetrically, as if they were one man repeated over and over again in a hall of mirrors. Mrs. Prudencia Linero took them in at a single glance without distinguishing one from the other, and all that struck her was the long row of pink knees that looked like slabs of pork hanging from hooks in a butcher’s shop…”

 

“17 Poisoned Englishmen”


 

 

 

 

 

“…They did not need to look at one another to realize that  they were no longer all present, that they would never be. But they also knew  that everything would be different from then on, that their houses would have  wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger floors so that Esteban’s memory could  go everywhere without bumping into beams and so that no one in the future would  dare whisper the big boob finally died, too bad, the handsome fool has finally  died, because they were going to paint their house fronts gay colors to  make Esteban’s memory eternal and they were going to break their backs digging  for springs among the stones and planting flowers on the cliffs so that in  future years at dawn the passengers on great liners would awaken, suffocated by  the smell of gardens on the high seas, and the captain would have to come  down from the bridge in his dress uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star,  and his row of war medals and, pointing to the promontory of roses on the  horizon, he would say in fourteen languages, look there, where the wind is so  peaceful now that it’s gone to sleep beneath the beds, over there, where the  sun’s so bright that the sunflowers don’t know which way to turn, yes, over  there, that’s Esteban’s village.”

 

“The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”

 

 

 

 

“…At three o’clock we left her to accompany Neruda to his sacred siesta, which he took in our house after solemn preparations that in some way recalled the Japanese tea ceremony. Some windows had to be opened and others closed to achieve the perfect degree of warmth, and there had to be a certain kind of light from a certain direction, and absolute silence…”

 
“I sell my dreams”

 

 

 

 

 

“He sat on a wooden bench under the yellow leaves in the deserted park, contemplating the dusty swans…”

 
“Bon Voyage, Mr. President”

 

 

Illustrations of Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s short stories by Josie Portillo