La pluye nous a débuez et lavez,
Et le soleil desséchez et noirciz:
Pies, corbeaux nous ont les yeux cavez...
Villon-- Ballade des pendus

Eres más largo
que la cuaresma,
those forty days
passing lento with denial
and impoverishing
all whores,
and pleasure mongers,
and poets,
devoted to the ignorance of names,
who would break your fast,
disturb your fits
of self abnegation,
your joyless enthusiasm,
your ironic mourning
for the noumenal,
your delight in your
monastic multiplicity...
For you are many. You are simple.
You are alone. We are with you.
You are sane. You are mad.
You are a magus.
You are a fucking bore.
You are mud. You are gold.
Your poems can fly.
Your poems
are the zealous crimes of hashish.
Your poems can be as torpid
as the toads that serve
as your familiars
and adorn the sinister bar
that parts the eroded stone
of your blasted escutcheon

¡Tonto loco!
No tienes fin.
There is no end to you...
There is no end
to your invention
upon the monomaniacal theme
of a blank page
and its wormholes,
which permit
the desolation of nothingness,
from which emerge and spill
salted waters,
howling dogs,
the groaning wind,
solitary horsemen,
cowled and girdled fiends
with ripping sickles,
and Satan Himself,
King of Poetry,
object of your prayers.

You, whose only indulgence
is that of perfect,
bloodless murder,
have locked yourself away
in your canary's jail
the better
to wreak havoc among men.
You, a mumbling Fantômas
with dog-eared books
in a duffel bag,
you, a stumbling assassin
on a municipal bus,
have become
the pacing panther of Rilke,
the bars of your cage
fanned by the dancing orbits
of your eyes
and ringing with the bell music
of your fraudulent sanity,
your fraudulent madness,
that opens up
the roaring universe
of your limitless cell.

No tienes ni madre, cabrón.
You are without equal
en este mundo de igualados.
You are without par
en la locura
of your dyslexic verse,
in the ambiguous folly
of your shuddering,
broken grammatica.
You are without mother,
freakish unengendered singular...
doted upon
by the mother
affrighted by the haunted boy,
the mother
who loved you,
who tried to kill you
with her daggered,
livid hands.
She loved you.
She hated you.
She feared you,
leaving you without love,
loveless and forsaken,
even though legion were and are
the hierophantic women
who would swallow
your words,
who would take
your cock
in their mouth,
who would caress
your high-walled cranium,
who would sue you
for milk and for butter,
who would scare up
the burbling larks,
from the red bulrushes
of your head,
who would wring out
the spatters of calligraphy
from your Japanese paper skin.

Wizard, murderer,
you trouble
the borderless penumbra
sight and blindness.
You consign roses and dung
to the fatality
of the Manichaean darkness.
You seek out the beasts
that lay waste to the Gnostic angels.
You seek out the monstrous,
verbal snarks
that wolf The Thing Itself
down the boojum Nada
of the universal.

With François Villon,
you hang by a noose
as he sings of bread bitter,
and bitter fruit,
love that is pruned
at its bitter root.

With Villon you hang,
dirty neck stretched,
magpies and ravens
to bill and gouge
your annihilating eyes,
the clattering rooks
to leave you the carrion
of your ghastly memories.

The Baker was vanished
a long time ago,
and so too, in time,
will be the Bellman,
for all snarks are boojums,
you see...
and the garden's cascade
of nightstars
heaping into diadems
among the clove pink
and spikenard...
and the totality,
the entire sum
of the world's
dolorous beauties
is but a charm,
a device,
a talisman,
a shaken branch
wet with holy water,
clutched and fumbled
as you scrape down the abyss
that envelopes us.


Yo he sabido ver el misterio del verso
que es el misterio de lo que a sí mismo nombra
el anzuelo hecho de la nada
prometido al pez del tiempo
cuya boca sin dientes muestra el origen del poema
en la nada que flota antes de la palabra
y que es distinta a la nada que el poema canta
y también a esa nada en que expira el poema:
tres son pues las formas de la nada
parecidas a cerdos bailando en torno del poema
junto a la casa que el viento ha derrumbado
y ay del que dijo una es la nada
frente a la casa que el viento ha derrumbado:
porque los lobos persiguen el amanecer de las formas
ese amanecer que recuerda a la nada;
triple es la nada y triple es el poema
imaginación escrita y lectura
y páginas que caen alabando a la nada
la nada que no es vacío sino amplitud de palabras
peces shakespearianos que boquean en la playa
esperando allí entre las ruinas del mundo
al señor con yelmo y con espada
al señor sin fruto de la nada.
Testigo es su cadáver aquí donde boquea el poema
de que nada se ha escrito ni se escribió nunca
y ésta es la cuádruple forma de la nada.
Leopoldo María Panero


I have learned to see
the mystery of verse,
which is the mystery of that
which names itself,
the lure consisting
of Nothingness
held out in promise
to the Fish of Time,
whose toothless mouth
reveals the origin
of the poem
in the Nothingness
that floats
before the poem
and which is distinct
from the Nothingness
of which the poem sings
and distinct
from the Nothingness
in which the poem expires.
Three, then,
are the forms of Nothingness
like unto swine dancing
around the poem
next to the house
tumbled down by the wind°¶
and woe is he
who said
that Nothingness
is One,
before the house
that the wind
has demolished,
because the wolves pursue
the dawning
of the forms--
that dawn
which remembers Nothingness...
three-fold is Nothingness
and three-fold is the poem
written imagination
and reading
and the pages that fall down,
singing the praises of Nothingness,
the Nothingness
that is not a vacuum
but rather an amplitude
of words,
Shakespearian fish
that gasp and flounder
on the shore,
awaiting there,
amongst the earthly ruins,
the Lord of Helmet and Sword
the Lord bereft
of the Fruit of Nothingness.

A witness here
is his cadaver
where the poem gasps and dies,
that Nothing has been written,
nor has it ever been written,
and this
is the four-fold form
of Nothingness.

© Arturo Mantecón