Adam Ash

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Poem of the week: Antonia Palacios

Displacement Texts -- by Antonia Palacios (Caracas, 1904-2001)

To my children Fernán and Elizabeth

Where is the road where light dwelleth,
And wherof is the place of darkness? --JOB: 38:19

They will take all my belongings, all the offerings. The ones that arrived lifted in garlands and branches, the ones that fell lavishing themselves, the ones that remained in suspense, the ones left behind for long fatigues, the ones of learned form, stable touch. They will arrive battling on top of things, on top of the old approximations, forgotten approximations, rolling ruins over land, the tangle barely begun, the pearl barely mounted. They will arrive fiercely, they will arrive with hatred, they will arrive with scorn proclaiming the void. They will strip me of everything: point, gesture, voice. They will suddenly appear amid circles, angles and rectangles, hard geometries of agonizing lines, infinite parallels without possible encounters, volumes of blood. They will strip me of everything, of the air, of the reflection, of the form. The hour will be concave, the sky will be concave, the earth will open its concave crater in the final offering.

It pushes itself, it debates itself, it coils itself, it tears itself, it twists itself, it overturns itself, already penetrates my space, my impenetrable space, touches the alveolas, the dilated pores, the roughest materials, touches the erosions, the erosions that revolve unceasingly in the depths, touches the wounds, the inert wounds, those of the violet humus, the wounded purples, it acosts me, it crumbles me, it fills me with cracks, stuffed with ashes, it throbs me, it shadows me, penetrates in my caverns, my profound caverns open to the void, it hangs from the abyss, rides horseback in the abyss, it shakes me, it suffers me, it cuts me off, it splits me in two halves, it afflicts me, it frightens me, it unhinges me, it drags me, it reflects itself, it advances itself, it plows me, it transits me, it makes me impotent, it blames me, it makes me escape, it agonizes me, oh frozen leap!

One would hope to penetrate the instant without dimensions, without a defined trajectory, the unexpected instant, the exhausted calm, the tenebrous assault. One would hope to penetrate the night, night-island, night-universe descending. One would hope to penetrate the light, surmount illuminated, ascend atop the tumultuous terrain, the rocky solidity, touch white spheres, weightless worlds detached from all density. One would hope to leave behind things, objects. One would hope to abandon the horizon not chosen, leave the places. One would hope to not be in any place, penetrate time in its new, vertiginous rotation, penetrate the signs, the signals. One would hope to not be anywhere. One would hope to not be anywhere and not be in the knotted being, spasmodic being that does not emerge. One would hope to half-open permanence, touch substances, sap, primary delights. One would hope to be a prolongation of the self in the infinite copulation.

A section escapes, trembles, curves. A section detaches herself, negates herself, breathes herself. A section predicts herself, stops to predict herself pensive and in the dark, stops without knowing, detaches herself without knowing, separated from another section, entwined with herself, with the section that thinks herself differently and is the same. A section surrenders, debates herself, a section that seems to free herself scaling the heights, the impalpable heights, who seems to save the horizon on top, high above, who seems protected from the darkest, fastest and coldest winds where the air freezes, a lighter section who seems to float in space, different at times and who is the same. A section is reflected in the other section, the other similar section. A section lodges herself above time in wilderness, above the alone time, a solitary section that looks for herself, trails herself, that looks for herself and doesn't find herself, who cries out for herself, who implores herself, who enters the void, who calls and doesn't answer, an unfortunate section detaches herself... detaches herself... detaches herself... Oh the section that curves me, that trembles me! Oh the section of my own self that denies me, abandons me, that dies!

Like mourning apparel, like the last shred, the last dispossession, trimmings in mourning, fringes that unfringe themselves, immense deep folds, like chopped forests, like sad cities, like naked tables, like deserted beaches, like dogs go by panting, like the air goes by, like the day goes by, like the hours remain lit, threaded, like mourning apparel extended, empty, dusty, withered, where is the radiance, where is the shine, where is the living flame, the distant incandescence, where the transit, where the wandering wait, where the dawning, where the where, where the over there, where? the night here, the absence here, the nothingness here.

This zigzag of the wind, this air spear, this shadow. This voluptuous agony of the instant, this livened memory, this tear drop that sprouts, this tear drop that falls, this smoke that lifts, hoisted mast, this dark coin, this origin, this chance, this foreign horizon, this shadow, this shadow. This greed of the instant, diminished memory, this petrified tear drop, this shadow, this enclosure, this shadow. This fragility of the air, the stuttering of the wind, wind that stutters, sleeping volcano, evening volcano, this curved sorrow, this destroyed point, this infinite summer, this shadow, this enclosure, this shadow. This bleeding animal, this dispersed blood, these feet, these hands, these eyes, this enclosure, these distances. This receiving of the wind, this negation of the air, this accelerated pulse, this immobile pulsation, this sky so tall, this earth without sky, the air that swings itself, the wind that tears itself up, this rigid report, this enclosure, this shadow, this shadow.

Who lifts the predictions? Who opens the mysteries? Impotent challenge this non-existent announcement, there inside, there in the depths, endlessly there, miserable precision. Who unfolds the solemn doubt? Treading from one ruin to another ruin, touching its weight, weighing even the void, arriving, arriving barely, barely sustained in the repeated forms. Who investigates the walking, the falling, the dying? Oh seized time. Oh abandonment. Who stretches over the sharp edge, in the body, over the sharp edge, over fear, consumed by fear? Its silence of a space, the spaces of silence, and waiting, listening, breathing, divided until breath, pursued, faster, faster, the tides and the quakes, the crumblings, dust whirlwinds, and the days without substance fainting. Who folds herself, unravels herself, silences herself, in doubt's fever?

In the center, in the exact center, concentric circles, formless matter, from the center, sharpened matter, there in the center, the contour palpable in vertigo, in the vertiginous instant that leaves the center behind, occult center, protected, in the late suspense of the instant that arrives in a scattering without contour, without a center, in the highest level where shadow nests, remote center. Far from the center the fluting, the fissures, scattered in convergent contours gathered in the center, and dispersed, faded flashes explode in the center, ephemeral flight, fatigued flight battling in the center's limits, in the center, surrounding the center, oh it's so heavy, oh how I moan, how I abyss myself in this center that folds over, this center that consumes itself, spiral of the center, oh how it oppresses me, dilated center! In the center, already centered, in the center fixed, fixed in the center, pierced by the center, already outside the center.

(Antonia Palacios, "Textos del desalojo," Ficciones y aflicciones, Luis Alberto Crespo y Antonio López Ortega, editores.)


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