The Great Day of the Dead
at a hundred feet under the earth,
tombs without hope,
fear in the marrow and night in the eye
–the call of the star dies on the edge of a well–
and these hands, your white misery
in the icy fog at the heart of all life,
in the white misery of these hands that will one day
be mine, I will have loved them so.
Do not escape, says the light
–the one that bursts forth here, soft and
imperceptible light shining on the blind
thickness it encloses, the useless light that,
nevertheless, perforates my skin and tells me:
you will not escape,
just walk alone, flogged by my shadow whip,
it is the source of terror,
it is the doorless place,
tomb under tomb, it is the country without night.
The air is peopled with flat sounds
that cut through to the bone, it is the country
without silence, tomb under tomb, endless in the
unsleeping country that is not a country but is myself
sewn with fear inside my sack, with the hydra and
the dragon; and you, demon, I see your wart-covered
head that I tear out of my breast,
oh! monster, liar, devourer of the soul.
You made me believe your wretched name was mine,
the ineffable one,
that your face was my face, my prison.
that my odious skin lived on your life,
but I have seen you you are someone else,
you can torment me forever,
you can crush me under tombstones, under the bodies
of bygone races,
you can fry me in the fat of dead gods,
I know you are not me,
you can do nothing about the fire that rages hotter
the fire, the cry of my refusal to be nothing.
No, no, no! for I see signs that are still weak behind
a layer of lingering mist, but they are familiar,
for the sounds they paint are the brothers of the cries
for the roads they follow are the brothers of my leadened steps;
I see signs of my limitless strength, the murderers of
my life and of other sister lives.
From the lighted depths, from the endless tombs piled upon the other other, I see
–I remember, I had followed them to their origin–
these cruel signs digging under each molluscan thought
with their thousand arms.
They teach me dreadful patience,
they show me the open road
but even tighter than any wall
the burning law pronounced at swordpoint
regulating each beat of the fatal orchestra
all is counted.
Look at me! I have torn off the festering cloak of
bloody skin and I walk naked
–no, not yet! for I see myself in the distance
and to guide me and to replace my heart, I have these
hands, these blind hands, the blind lady of death who
sees more than you with your eyes, opaque, living, heavy
and hideous. Far away is the blind one with her eyes,
circles of all wisdom, enclosing the black and limpid water of subterranean lakes–
I would say: how beautiful they are, these hands, how
beautiful she is, no, how she speaks of beauty, this
blind lady of death who sees the totality of
I would speak I would invent tear-filled words
–it would be necessary to cry before her feet–
I would weep her beauty,
if I could weep,
if I were not dead from not knowing how to weep.