The Perceval Press Anthology of Verse 2010

November 2010

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Mira a la derecha y a la izquierda del tiempo y que tu corazón aprenda a estar tranquilo.
-Federico García Lorca


Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir.
-Federico García Lorca


Quedan los huesos iridiscentes de tu lucha contenida, añicos de paisajes que redujiste para que entraran en tu frágil mano izquierda, flor de sencillez, ceniza de implosión. El alba te pintó vagando lentamente bajo tu propio diluvio, parándote a cada tres o cuatro pasos para que no se asfixiaran las ideas, para clavar en tu mente el ritmo de su retumbar. Algunos de los que paseaban, seguros de su paraguas y simples propósitos, te tomaron por arrogante, impiadoso, malagradecido. Te habrá fastidiado el desprecio de sus miradas, pero obviamente no tanto como para hacerles caso, sacrificar tu aventura o dejar profanar la aspereza de tu orgullo. Lavaste tu cabeza y saliste temprano a matar, borrando los movimientos que deseaban nombrarte e impedirte soñar. Renunciaste a senderos, métodos, a todo consuelo establecido y celebrado. ¿Terminaste mareado por tanta imperfección, austera herramienta, fuga, por tu completa libertad?

¿Qué diferencia hay entre el pertenecer en todas partes y el no pertenecer en ninguna, o en pocas, en una sola cara, casa, patria, mano, grieta, sílaba, refrán, temporada, enfermedad? Nos separa la herencia de piel, topografía, clima, tradiciones culturales, momentos históricos, crianza, y tal vez el no querer o poder elegir por nosotros mismos. ¿Podemos atribuirles el mismo valor a todos los puntos de vista, las maneras de ver y no ver? Lo que no
se pierde perdura, y lo que se pierde también. ¿No he incorporado algo tuyo en mi propio soñar -- la calidad de tus silencios, el verde que nos une, el azul que me abre los ojos, el rojo que aplasta la tregua del acorde final?

A la vez que admiro y me identifico parcialmente con tu mal genio me pregunto si valió la pena armar tanto lío, desperdiciar tanta energía. ¿Te privaste de música que solamente vos podrías haber encontrado? ¿Tanto
daño hubo que hacerles a los que te amaban incondicionalmente? ¿Hay remordimiento, nostalgia, alejaste una abundancia de hermosas melodías guachas con el viento de tu enojo? Parece que seguiste insistiendo que ese era efectivamente tu lío exacto, esa la música más fácil, la melodía más tuya, el preciso y hermético eco de tu desencadenada intuición.

En la noche venís a cantar, despertándome con tu voz inocente, acostándote a mi lado como si fuera por primera vez, creyendo a lo mejor que soy otro, otra. Ya no sopla el viento, y distinguimos el susurro de olas pereciendo en la ribera. Me decís que la gente te impide cruzar los caminos, que sus voces te distraen. Repito sin adorno tu cadencia inconfundible para ver si te suena. Me corregís sin rencor, atento como el niño delicado que seguís siendo, perdonando este torpe manoseo de tu pura invención. La desidia no tiene precio, decís, siendo semilla de nuestra soledad.

No sé cuándo se acaba la canción. Al rato me voy dando cuenta de que no hago nada, de que estoy sentado solo en la cocina, con dedos fríos, enfundado en la sombra que a ratos cortan en la ventana y en el piano rubio los reflejos de taxis que cumplen sus promesas allá abajo. Saboreo la brisa fresca que me ha despertado, disfruto la ausencia de añoranza y desazón. Poco a poco van apareciendo la iglesia y sus árboles, las bicicletas y los enamorados al otro lado de la plaza. Creo haberte oído bien, y me ha encantado de nuevo imaginar tus aleteos y planeos. Como siempre, me sorprende la osadía de tu composición, las pausas impecables que subrayan
la efímera cualidad de la tonada, la resonancia de cada gota de inspiración.
-Viggo Mortensen

The iridescent bones of your contained struggle remain, shards of landscapes you reduced to fit in your fragile left hand, flower of simplicity, ash of implosion. Dawn painted you slowly wandering under your private deluge, stopping every three or four steps to keep ideas from asphyxiating, to fix in your mind their resounding rhythm. Some of those who strolled sure of their umbrellas and plain purposes saw you as arrogant, impious, ungrateful. Their disdainful glances must have annoyed you, but obviously not enough to heed them, sacrifice your adventure, or taint the surliness of your pride. You washed your head and went out early to kill, erasing the movements that sought to name you and keep you from dreaming. You renounced paths, methods, all established and celebrated consolations. Did you end up dizzied by so much imperfection, austere tool, flight, by your complete freedom?

What difference is there between belonging in every place and belonging in none, or in just a few, in one lone face, house, homeland, hand, crevice, syllable, refrain, season, illness? We are separated by our inheritance of skin, topography, climate, cultural traditions, historical moments, upbringing, and perhaps by not wanting or being able to choose for ourselves. Can we attribute equal value to all points of view, to the ways of seeing and not seeing? What is not lost persists, and so does what is lost. Have I not incorporated something of yours in my own dreaming--the quality of your silences, the green that unites, the blue that opens my eyes, the red that crushes the truce of the final chord?

Even as I partially admire and identify with your contentiousness, I wonder if it was worth making such a fuss, wasting so much energy. Did you deprive yourself of music only you could have found? Did so much harm have to be done to those who loved you unconditionally? Is there remorse, nostalgia, did you push away an abundance of beautiful orphan melodies with your angry wind? It seems that you continued insisting that this was in fact your exact mess, the easiest music, the melody most yours, the precise and hermetic echo of your unchained intuition.

You come to sing in the night, waking me with your innocent voice, lying beside me as if for the first time, perhaps believing me to be another man, woman. The wind is no longer blowing, and we distinguish the whisper of waves perishing on the shore. You tell me that people prevent you from crossing the roads, that their voices distract you. I repeat without flourish your unmistakable cadence to see if you find it familiar. You correct me without anger, attentive as the delicate boy you still are, forgiving this clumsy tampering with your pure invention. Idleness is priceless, you say, being the seed of our solitude.

I don't know when the song ends. By and by I begin to realise that I am doing nothing, that I am seated alone in the kitchen, with cold fingers, cloaked in the shadow that occasionally is cut by the window's and the blonde piano's reflections of taxis keeping their promises down below. I taste the chill breeze that awakened me, savour the absence of longing and anxiety. Little by little the church and its trees appear, the bicycles and the lovers on the far side of the square. I believe I've heard you well, and have delighted once more in imagining your wingbeats and glides. As always I've been surprised by the daring of your composition, the impeccable pauses that underline the ephemeral quality of the tune, the resonance of each drop of inspiration.
-Viggo Mortensen


The Waking
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
-Theodore Roethke


A list of some observation...
A list of some observation. In a corner, it's warm.
A glance leaves an imprint on anything it's dwelt on.
Water is glass's most public form.
Man is more frightening than its skeleton.
A nowhere winter evening with wine. A black
porch resists an osier's stiff assaults.
Fixed on an elbow, the body bulks
like a glacier's debris, a moraine of sorts.
A millennium hence, they'll no doubt expose
a fossil bivalve propped behind this gauze
cloth, with the print of lips under the print of fringe, mumbling "Good night" to a window hinge.
-Joseph Brodsky

Dear George, Jr.:

In your recently released, chart-topping autobiography you express a measure of regret over the belatedly acknowledged (by your administration) absence of primary motive for your preemptive military invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- specifically admitting that you and your vice-president were notified by well-informed experts within your own government that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction with which to menace the United States of America or any other nation. Additionally, you refer to personal doubts you had about the wisdom of invading that country in the first place. It might, consequently, be seen as a touching gesture on your part if all profits from your book were distributed evenly to Iraqi citizens as a token show of contrition over the hundreds of thousands of deaths you are responsible for, and the destruction of millions of other lives and livelihoods that your conscious, bloody-minded actions have caused in that country. However, since you are still unwilling to admit that your blitzkrieg and brutal occupation of Iraq were mistakes, it would seem that you are incapable of such a symbolic act of Christian charity.

Perhaps, at least, you might consider bequeathing President Obama some of the great wisdom you have lately acquired with regard to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world in order to save him and future U.S. presidents from continuing to pursue unjustified, costly, and inexcusably barbaric foreign policy dead-ends. Just a thought. Probably impractical, though, for you and for him. Never mind. Carry on. Here's wishing you continued satisfaction with your unrepentant retirement, and increased success with the Republican Party's campaign to rehabilitate your public image in the eyes of the blind and the blinding. If Reagan's myth-makers managed a total public relations reinvention in twenty years, yours can surely do it in two.

a fellow citizen.
-Viggo Mortensen


Thanks For Nothing
The obsessions with shopping and bargain-hunting, relentless hawking and covetousness, on the day after Thanksgiving (not to mention throughout much of the year, regardless of holiday excuses) have reached appalling levels. Occasionally attempting to save money by making financially-sound purchases of truly necessary goods is a sensible strategy for consumers. However, it seems that there is now a level of senseless buying for the sake of buying, actively and strategically encouraged by the media and the government in the U.S., that far outstrips that of previous years. Worse than the often mindless desperation and credit-breaking scavenging of shoppers is the constant trumpeting in the media of the early-bird, "black friday" or any day's overspending as a means of temporarily buoying the foundering U.S. economy. It is hard to believe that this is a sound approach to reviving national or personal economies in any meaningful, lasting way. At current levels, this mania is simply grotesquely superficial, reeking of insecurity and, at heart, belying a fear of life, death and the present we all share. It is as untenable and unhealthy, morally and financially, domestically and internationally, as the ever-burgeoning U.S. weapons manufacturing industry.

Happy Holidays.
-Viggo Mortensen


Last edited: 27 February 2012 13:21:14