POEMAS

¿Ves? Es el jardín tembloroso de aguas, suelos, tallos y capullos: significantes oxígenos que sirven al placer del amo. La magnífica temperatura y el murmullo de las voces humanas evidencian la asombrosa belleza de aquellas rosas, produciendo una especie de duermevela.  El jardín se deja añorar.  Una fuente con peces dorados y jacintos que rebosan de salud, y un laberinto mínimo hecho de adoquines de aquel lado se dejan percibir.

Proteccion y defensa. Residuo reciente de la era de los fuegos.  Para encontrar el regreso es aconsejable soltar el hilo de la madeja.

A este jardín que describo como uno rectangular y rodeado de paredes de ladrillo se le ha añadido un tesoro.  Unos pocos escogidos prodigan el secreto.  Es una curiosa apertura en el suelo, en donde confluyen grandes mares que acunan las criaturas maravillosas en la isla mítica. Lugar oportuno de sabores que tientan a peregrinos y turistas del norte venerando la gran fosforencia.


Red Door Brownstone

 

Entremos

Se me va la poca energía
recuperada en dar explicaciones:
a todos: porque no he estado,
no he llegado,  no he comparecido.

¿Qué decir?  –No me ha sido
posible–. Explico que no he podido.
Insisto yo que me ha sido difícil.

Y así el tiempo, me he convertido en cotorra
adiestrada en frases precisas.
Horno de temperatura controlada.

Sigo justificándome
ante quien no merece, a quien no
deduce, quién no entiende.
A mí misma me debo explicaciones.
Debo aclarar lo mucho que me ha
tomado moverme con gracia, entre piedras
y peñascos y en el medio del mar
bravío, mientras sostengo las vísceras
y peino estas greñas.

¿Debo aclarar?

 

Donde se extienden los rayos de la luna
y el aullido del viento,
allí te declaré mi amor.
Apenas hubo tiempo—
todo fue tan precipitado.
Entre el asombro y la felicidad,
parecíamos principiantes
negociando intimidades debajo
de un almendro y a escondidas
de los adultos: con todo el vocerío
del abrazo tímido, como de adolescents
con la cara cubierta de barros.

Me hubiese gustado
permanecer en el hueco
de tu pecho por una gran temporada,
tal vez todo el otoño y que las hojas
cubriesen nuestros labios,
y el frío protegiese tanta ternura,
para así poder recobrar la memoria
del que está enamorado y a gusto;
no como un hecho que se puede
anotar en alguna enciclopedia,
pero con la expectativa del que añora
un nuevo eclipse. Al compás de un corazón de mirada sangrante: entre el triunfo confuso del momento
y la esperanza de que no habría despedidas.

 

¿Dormías?
Acababa de conocerte,
me despojé de protocolos
y te invité a tenerte de cerca.

Aquella noche de invierno
yo quise preguntarte por el significado
de tus quejidos, por el fruncido de pena
que se formó en la piel de tu frente.
Porque a pesar de tenernos
como dos mazos de agua
que se juntan en la tormenta
tu alma fluía sin consignas
como si todos sus anhelos
y sus futuros anduviesen
pegados a los secretos del abismo.

Ciertamente dormías y el tiempo lento, lentísimo
se incrustó en aquella habitación.
Yo solo me senté en el borde de la cama
de frente a la ventana amplia
a que se me pasara la tristeza
de haberte conocido tan de cerca.

 

CON PASIÓN / COMPASIÓN: THE SALMOS OF LOURDES VÁZQUEZ AND CONSUELO GOTAY

Mireya Pérez Bustillo

Passion and compassion unite these artists in a stream that envisions the possibility of the release of suffering from the sheer enormity of loss of youth to violent crimes in their island home-land, Puerto Rico, where the homicide rate is three times higher than the average in the mainland USA. The deaths are related to drug trafficking where 260 miles of desolate coastline permits easy access for large shipments of cocaine and marijuana en route to distribution in Miami and New York. To move the drugs “mules” are needed, so drug lords recruit poor youth from the age of eleven on, kids who, thanks to the Minors Protection Law under which they generally do not go to jail if caught, can be set free in a matter of days when they are jailed.

Attracted by the bling-bling platinum chains, designer clothing, luxury cars, these young people come into the vortex of the violence of drug rings competing for the drug market and the counterbalance of the violence of law enforcement. Skyrocketing crime rates, murdered mules, political corruption, public apathy, deep social chasms between rich and poor, a generation of young people dead, it is this madness that Lourdes observed that led her to the writing of Salmos. At the same time, Consuelo’s personal loss, and the creative ties with Lourdes since their collaboration to rescue from oblivion the work of the trailblazing Marina Arzola, in turn led to this powerful artist’s book where the written line dialogues with the drawn line.

The intersection of the written and the visual appears from the first entry of Lourdes’ Salmos in the section “To the Reader.”  Salmos begins in the artist’s studio – a night of printmaking illustrating a poet’s visionary verses, the writer herself helping in the process. These prints in turn are the genesis for the collection, Salmos which is the progenitor of the illustrated Salmos we now face.

There is handwork here, writing and printmaking, the imprint of the hand, that extension of our human body that we all share. Through their mark-making in the service of something else, the poet and the printmaker focus on the body as the central subject with the notion of physical mortals by an underlying preoccupation here from the enduring strength of the mater-dolorosas to the fragility of the broken bodies of their sons. These bodies are sites of political and social meaning and at the same time their physicality emphasizes our own intimate and often fragile relationships with each other. The socio-historical markings attached to these bodies make clear that the personal is political. There is a process of reclamation her of the power of place in the complex layers that make up personal identity where identity is remembered in stories of the body. These works echo Roland Barthes’ claim that “the ultimate field of symbolism is the human body.” Emerging from the multihistoric and political experience in the geopolitical essence of the Caribbean the implications of bodily presence are called into being by the body’s real or threatened disappearance.

The written and the visual Salmos interact to make a representation where the visual images open entirely new contexts that make visible new ideas in the written text so that the invisible is visible. These multivalent embodiments announce a new textual self into being. There is the ex-centered perspective of the émigré, the voice from Park Slope that looks back to her homeland where the past sees beyond the ruptures, the broken sense of safety to the interconnectedness of grandmothers, granddaughters, brothers, sisters, sweethearts, wives, the resilience of women across generations. Then there is the visual artist living in the midst of the loss and extinction whose own family has been struck by these assaults. The two perspectives unite in these Salmos where the personal expands into a larger history which begins a process of healing. From the unspeakable loss of young people being erased, their bodies still burning with that inner fire of the drug, the Salmos reclaim these bodies from oblivion focusing the light to dispel the darkness.

These Salmos offer a possibility for transcendence of the spirit from the confinement of colonization and terror leaving us with a spiritual impact that is passed from them to an energy that emanates from them.

 

MIREYA PÉREZ BUSTILLO, Ph.D. is Professor of Spanish at the College of New Rochelle, and a University Associate at New York University. She is the author of Carreras: Casos en la Comunidad and La Pícara y la Dama. Together with  Prof. Raisa E. Amador is author of The Female Body: Perspectives of Latin American Artists (Greenwood, 2001) . The female body includes a foreword by Elena Poniatowska.