A Soul's Cartography.
Spread throughout rivers, forests, towns, cities, zoos, and even desert cantinas, it's possible to find reptiles telling strange stories of odd fish that once were, and of birds that have yet to be ... * Those legible traces which our tails leave in the hot dust are soul maps. From them we discover joy, sadness, love and lovelessness, and our voyage across the earth. * My life has suffered several changes of skin. Each new change: a love-scar, an ache of absence enduring beneath the skin. * I can lose a lover, my footing, or a battle, even a body part ... for my antediluvian blood ensures my survival. * At times dreaming beneath the sun, I relive my previous state: gills, lidless eyes and fins; upon awakening, a taste of salt remains on this tongue so accustomed to ants, butterflies and grasshoppers. * From this ancestral rock I enter the landscape, full of movement. Am I perhaps the image some primeval reptile dreamt while perched upon this very rock? * Sometimes I hunker into the scenery in order to blend; other times, in order to grant it movement. * On sweltering summer nights, while my lizards sleep, I ponder the danger of stones, feathered death plummeting from the air, and the snake, that distant cousin who has no memory, and attacks with human cold-bloodedness. * Stillness is another lizard strategy. It's apparent only us reptiles perceive the perpetual movement of blood. * Each hardened scale on my skin, a sunflower-like medal won during my battles against abandonment, sadness, and the stalking claws of feathered death. * I always live on the border where ocean-waves fuse with land, (an intermediate step between fish and bird), between life and death, thus, one condition for surviving: be a reptile forever dozing. * I am the crust of a rock, a piece of the landscape, sometimes at rest. I am the crust of vegetation, a small piece of cactus which emerges in silence. * To my beloveds, I leave behind: blood always on alert, the electrifying experience when sighting the stalking enemy or the feathered threat, as well as the advantages of mimicry, the pleasure in keeping still, and the effectiveness in flitting off.
Translation from the Spanish
By Anthony Seidman
Editorial note: To read--and hear-an additional Castillo poem, visit our website,worldliteraturetoday.org.
Roberto Castillo Udiarte is one of Mexico's most important and controversial contemporarypoets; he was also the first to translate Charles Bukowski's workinto Spanish. His poetry unflinchingly reflects the landscape andlanguage of the border, specifically Tijuana. He is the author of half adozen collections of poetry, including his selected poems,Nuestras vidas son otras, published in Spain by Aullido Libros. He currently resides in PlayasTijuana.
Anthony Seidman's most recent book is The Motel Insomnia (AdeLeo Editions,Paris). His poetry, essays, and translations have been published in suchjournals as The Bitter Oleander, Nimrod, Borderlands: TexasPoetry Review, and the cultural supplement to Mexico's major newspaper,La jornada.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Udiarte, Robert Castillo|
|Publication:||World Literature Today|
|Date:||May 1, 2013|
|Previous Article:||Anne Frank Abroad: The Emergence of World Atrocity Literature.|
|Next Article:||Breaking out of the Prison House of Hierarchy.|