Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Piedra del sol

[excerpt from Octavio Paz’s Piedra del sol, 1957]

. . .

oh, life to live & lived already,
time that repeats like an ocean swell
& retires without showing its face,
what was wasn’t but is
& silently spills
swiftly to disappear:

here on this afternoon of stone & saltpeter
armed with invisible steel
you ink my skin with indecipherable
red marks & those wounds
cover me like a suit of flames
I burn but endure, I search for water
& in your eyes there’s no water, they’re stone,
& your breasts, your belly, your hips
are stone, your mouth tastes of dust,
your mouth tastes like poisoned time,
your body tastes like a stopped-up well,
a mirrored passage repeating
your dried-out eyes, a passage
that always returns to its beginning,
& you lead me, blind, by my hand
through those neverending galleries
to the circle’s center & you levitate
coruscating, then jell to an axe,
like light that flays skin, compelling
as gallows for the doomed,
flexible as a whip & willowy
as a weapon that’s moon’s Gemini,
& your sharpened words gouge
my chest & unpeople & evacuate me,
one by one you strip my memories,
I’ve forgotten my name, my friends
grunt among pigs or rot away
in a ditch, devoured by sun,

I’m no more than a great wound,
a gap that no one crosses,
a present without windows, a thought
that returns, repeats, reflects
& loses way in its own transparency,
consciousness lanced by an eye
that watches itself watching until it drowns
in clarity

. . .

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