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Four Poems

By Juan Andrés García Román.

per capita

the first king was deformed
he was born with a protuberance in his cranium so-called crown but such deformity gave him lots of power
that was the only bone crown the only authentic crown: only one real crown in the whole history of human beings
since then other kings feign the deformity with crowns made of clay steel gold

(From El fósforo astillado, Barcelona, DVD Ediciones, 2008, The splintered match)


Chapter 00. On melancoly’s birth

                                                                                                to Laura

                                                      She’s my Coney Island Baby
                                                                  Tom Waits


I bring my shoulder closer to your body so as “also over me” walk the ants.
– You said so. That was your beginning, you didn’t sprout
from the pink neon rib of Adam,
but you were born from me like an extreme solidarity.

Soon we were in the morning as a group playing tai chi in a park.
Our bodies were simple
and we were making repetitive movements for getting a soul.


Your childhood was celebrated
and I wanted to get to the bottom of “that”
attaching a poet badge to get in.
The poets were a group of academics
who haven’t finished their studies
that’s why instead of a bow tie we wore a larva under the Adam’s apple.
In those times being modern consisted merely in irony.
(For instance if something hurt or made us suffer
even then we always tried to smile.)
And you were the object
-Dear little you, I’m so sorrowful sorry,
guilty as a spring winter in a plastic flower-:

We put on some lipstick and started
to kiss your school notebook only with the upper lip,
sealing your innocence with something similar to a moustache.
I cruelly spoke
to the girl you were. I said -Snow White,
today you’ll hear a real tale:
When the princess kissed the frog, it became a prince,
when the princess kissed the prince, he became two princes
and when the princess, embarrassed, kissed the two princes,
all of them became a sole dead person.

I told you that earthquakes were God’s way
of rocking orphan’s cribs.

Because I was mothertheless in the world and offered you verses that made you
But neither your crying could make me abdicate from my new sports approach:
in our institution there was a pinball
and I asked you: -And when the tears
run down your face
and pass through your moles… do you get points?
tell me, Snow White…

But Snow White didn’t let me continue.
Snow White took my hand and taught me how to
write verses which width was irregular like worm’s bodies,
to paint the nails of the old knocker’s golden hand if it was summer
or dress it with a glove if it was cold.

Snow White took me
to the midday of a sea full of countless red Chinese drums.
And when one day of March the snow of the street melt,
Snow White showed me the snowman’s skull.
Snow White told me that the woman with two orthopaedic legs was a mermaid.
Because Snow White was a girl who used to say God save the queen of the honeycomb! before
eating a spoonful of honey.

And when the birds saw Snow White, they said prettythingsprettythings.

Snow White, Snow White, the little men have come to say littleiloveyou.


Chapter 0. On the snowplough of the universe

And I invented a silk factory. It was a building without exterior and with stairs in which banister a procession of worms was always climbing. And those worms fattened up on every floor they climbed and, even if the building didn’t have a roof, you couldn’t see the sky because the ceiling was made of butterflies’ hatching and flight. I was then called modernist and they said I had lost irony; they advised me to do not speak anymore of silk or animals in danger of extinction, since when they would finally wipe out, those words should have to be cut out from the pages with scissors or my work would be too aged. But this made me sad and I wrote more and more about polar bears, whales or hippopotamus and I said that the moon was a white spot on a male gorilla’s back. Because I wanted to wipe out together with big animals, those big animals that were your soul when it was looked at with a lantern.

Because with you it was like this: something could be clumsy or inane, but surrounding the things you saw there was always a good ivy growing and when someone approached to judge them, that ivy and its one-dimensional birds were already there, like a dignity. Then what they saw were not the things anymore, but what you loved. Although it wasn’t true that you imagined the objects, neither your brain, as the Polish philosopher’s one, metamorphosed into geometric shapes when thinking and gave light to the world, not like an octopus smoothly getting into the eye of a needle; no, not like this, you were your body, you loved something from it, from what lived in it, giving it a world to be, like water to germinate, because a garden do not exist if you can’t see it, but if with the strength of sensory love geraniums bore velvet peaches coming from the tick tack of your touch or in summer the rose levitated in the branch until ripening a heart, that wasn’t for you any kind of imagination, it was your flower, and things flowered, how could I say it, things flowered diving in their own excited colours. Or you managed by the fireside of Moses’ bush to get them see how creation boiled in its small bodies and then they didn’t go back to you, they innocently go back to themselves, they go back to themselves constantly (and they were the specific formula of all infancies).
Therefore, your kindness made Tangier run up the skyscraper’s stairs. And who cares if the centipede had ninety-nine feet or if you could point at a two-millimetre hippopotamus: you would call it by its name, because you called things by loving them, exactly as the figure that found its place in you, the exact gap for not being only something.
And that is what I learned now that you aren’t here, that is what I learned and I repeat it many times in order that all poor and clumsy and miserable people of the world wipe out in a sparkle and return to be you.


Chapter 7. The gap
(The speach of speaking peech)

I considered the history of language
and I knew it was the history of an adoration.

Nussnacker, he told me, the Nutcracker.
It talks about a philosopher, an old man.
An old man types, he writes this, seated at the table,
a really long banquet table which end disappears in the fog, a grand piano?
He is writing something he remembers. Something: what exactly.

The problem lies beyond deixis: it is not that the instant cannot be reached, because in fact it can be reached, but only once. Therefore, as bees loose their sting when they bite, the man does so with a finger pointing at a door. But this is not important. The important fact is that repetition is not possible.

I dream of having a hand -he says- full of fingers like a crab, a star or a wind rose with some index fingers and hearts fingers. A hand that goes round like a weathercock. A noumenic hand.
But I have a hand that nettles with what is real. For example a peach, a knob, a door knob.

He says his past doesn’t exist, he tried everything. He tried “methods”. But even then. La-Flor-de-la-Cadena-non-stop-show. He tried it there. He went even there. He remembers the sound of ice in the drink, but not that it could be repeated. Then the pubis triangle as the broken tip of a star or an arrow always pointing hell. He remembers getting off the subway. Mind the gap, please, mind

the gap.
The crack between language and its adoration.
He only remembers “the fundamental question”: what he whispered to her when she started to get dressed. He said If I die, “this” may have not occurred. And she answered You’re wrong: snow felts, but it is white. Only those who loose their origins can die. A knot can be undone but not its soul, which is like smoke. A knot can be undone, not its functioning. A door can be closed, but this does not mean that it cannot be re-opened: we can close the action of having opened a door in a precise moment a certain day, but not the door. If a door is opened, it will be opened forever. Rain can disappear but not the possibility of having someone looking as the desert with a silver mask.
That’s what she said and he got into the subway.

Please, please, keep clear, do not obstruct the doors.
Do not abstract the doors.

Please Please
The door is putting out a flower. In summer, the flower bears a knob. In autumn, the knob, too ripe, bruises in your hand. In winter doors do not have knobs and cannot be opened.
Do not abstract the doors.
He told me, Nussnacker, the Nutcracker (we called him like that because he could break the nuts with his tracheotomy cavity).
Nussnacker says the old man doesn’t go out anymore. He doesn’t go to La-Flor-de-la-Cadena-non-stop-show.
He says that when he needs something he drops from the balcony a bag with a string, a strange kite hanging because of gravity, the old age, a zeppelin tea bag.
He also says that he constantly writes:

I was a man like any other man walking in the street but my shadow was the shadow of a parachutist.
I was a man like any other man but my history was the history of an adoration.

(From The adoration, La adoración)

Translated by Leticia Sánchez Balsalobre


Juan Andrés García Román is an Andalusian poet, writer and translator. He studied Literary Theory and Comparative Literature at the University of Granada. His poetry collections include Perdida latitud (Lost Latitude, 2004), Las canciones de Lázaro (Songs of Lazarus, 2005) and El fósforo astillado (The splintered match, 2009). He has extensively researched, written and translated the likes of Ingeborg Bachmann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arne Rautenberg and Friedrich Hölderlin.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, September 5th, 2010.