Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aimless Reading: The L's, Part 17 (José Lezama Lima)

Lezama Lima, José
Noche Insular: Jardines Invisibles

This slim volume turns out to be a little treasure trove. I bought it at a poetry conference in Cuba in 2000. Inside I discovered several folded sheets of paper.

One is a folded yellow lined sheet with several bits of writing on it. On one side are what appear to be notes written back and forth between poets, possibly at one of the readings in the conference. One of the people is named Rito -- Rito Ramón Aroche, I'd guess.

I can't make out the other signature -- it sort of looks like "Pollo," or it could be "Rollo." Neither of those are names or nicknames of anyone I can think of. It could also something else altogether. I just can't tell from the writing. Rollo writes in black ball point. Rito in red felt tip.

On the back side of the page is a poem, signed as a translation by Jonathan Skinner, possibly a poem by one of the two poets in conversation on the other side. I checked in the José Lezama Lima book, but could find nothing to match it.

The other interesting bit appears to be a computer printout (it looks like dot-matrix!) of a short story called, "La Recompensa." It is unsigned, so I have no idea who wrote it or how it got there. Glancing at it briefly, I can see it has something to do with a Hindu ritual.

I wonder if I loaned this book to Jonathan at some point during or after the conference. That's the only way I can imagine these documents having ended up here.

from Noche Insular: Jardines Invisibles

Ah, Que Tú Escapes

Ah, que tú escapes en el instante
en el que ya habías alcanzado tu definición mejor.
Ah, mi amiga, que tú no quieras creer
las preguntas de esa estrella recién cortada,
que va mojando sus puntas en otra estrella enemiga.
Ah, si pudiera ser cierto que a la hora del baño,
cuando en un misma agua discursiva
se bañan el inmóvil paisaje y los animales más finos:
antílopes, serpientes de pasos breves, de pasos evaporados,
parecen entre sueños, sin ansias levantar
los más extensos caballos y el agua más recordada.
Ah, mi amiga, si en el puro mármol de los adioses
hubieras dejado la estatua que no podía acompañar,
pues el viento, el viento gracioso,
se extiende como un gato para dejarse definir.

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