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Mikel Peruarena Ansa > Extracts

Poetry

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OUR MUTUAL GRAMOPHONE

ours is a room full of things which cannot be said
they took away the gramophones last night
we have no radio either to provide us with news of checkpoints
it's impossible to live like this
without the growing doubt
that you might lose your balance and fall at any moment
it is impossible to live without doubt in our room
where our newspapers pile up in the corner
with their pages turning yellow
then it is the rats' turn
they emerge for lunch from beneath their damp retreat
rats respect nothing
and we worry now about what they will gnaw
when they get though the pages of the newspapers

loud notes of the military march can be heard
from the imperial gramophone in the street
and I have to switch off the light to hide my solitude


WOUNDS

As you undress in the bathroom
you put memories of caresses aside
and where do you usually look now?
Do you see the new wounds
that have just opened up in you?
They hide under your skin
and need no Mercurochrome
for they bleed
while their scabs are continuously picked
we can say
the world is an endless wound
in the menses between your legs
which will never close


PAPER FOR THE MILLSTONE I

Now tell us what's the point of writing
if people go on dying of hunger
if people go on dying of hunger
if people are shot on the street corner begging for bread
what's the point of writing
if machine guns are bought on the black market
more cheaply than books

tell us what's the point of writing
if it is not to conceal a person's leprosy
if it is not to immortalise the lie
if it is not to keep the fašade standing
what's the point of writing these wretched words
if they are too cheap to be published in books
if they are too weak to bring States down


WHAT you found difficult to build collapses on its own,
because hands start to trade punches with destiny;
Destiny always stalks on the table's edge.


HE still has something left to do.
He has not said what he had to say.
He hid the blunt knife in the milk,
he cleaned his hands on the scraps of bread,
he soaked his feet in chamomile.
But not the matches, those he cannot keep.


THE aim of fear is to sow fear
The frontier guards of pain have no fear
The frontier guards of fear have no frontiers of pain
Pain and fear are free of charge here

The child is alone in the grey room
with a dirty plastic bag on its head


THE best defence is to strip the walls
and destroy the skins
what comes out of us
cannot fit inside
it explodes in our hands and eyes
and is called love
Destroying the walls, stripping the skins
Amounts to the same thing


DON'T look back
Because behind there are people
like wolves with sharpened fangs
spying on your sleep beneath your bed
Because behind there is
a single child
with your eyes which are not yours
spying on your past


A burning smell wafts from the poet's words
The burning smell of a fire long burnt out
But what is poetry,
if it is not playing with smoke?


THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF ORDINARY PEOPLE

AN instance of laziness to shift
three or four comforts to lay down
seven outward appearances to sell
four hopes to lose
one love to give
and others to remain unsaid
an old metro ticket
a few euros
the bunch of house keys
the identity card
and a small hole
a small hole down which
all the rest fell
and was lost
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