Té de manzanilla / Miyó Vestrini

Chamomile Tea

My friend,
el chino,
wrote once about how women sit
and walk
after they’ve made love.
We never got to argue the point
because he died like a fool,
victim of a cardiac arrest cured with camomille tea.
Had we done so,
I would have told him that the only good thing about making love
are the men who ejaculate
without resentment,
without fear.
And that after doing it,
no one wants to sit down
or walk.
I named an old African palm tree planted
next to the pool at my apartment after him.
Each time I have a drink,
and I greet him,
he shakes his leaves terribly,
a sign that he’s furious.
He told me once:
one’s life is an immense happiness
or an immense anger.
I’m faithful to my childhood dreams.
I believe in what I do,
in what my friends do,
and in what everyone who’s like me does.

Sometimes we’re alone
until very late,
talking about the worms that harass him
and the terrible heat he feels every day
in that sand and dryness.
He hasn’t changed:
he can sit down and befriend Mallarmé.
Lautréamont accompanied us one night
and said el chino was right:
poetry should be made by everyone.
And the others arrived:
Rubén Darío leading in Nicaragua,
Omar Khayyam with his festivities,
Paul Éluard bring pairs of lovers together.
Between all of us,
we submerged el chino in the pool, under the full moon,
and he was happy
like when he had a river,
some birds,
a kite.

Now he’s pissed off again,
because people bring him flowers
while he’s trying to scare off the cockroaches.
He wanted to be buried in Helsinki,
under eternal snows.
He went around the world,
passing through London where a woman waited for him,
and on his way back,
he drank camomille tea.
who loved the shadows so much,
could no loner stay up all night.
Lucid and very hypocritical,
he had a horrible fear of dying in bed.
I know,
because he wrote me on a little piece of paper,
that the phrase he liked most was by David Cooper:
the bed is the laboratory of sleep and love.

Valiente ciudadano (1994)

{ Miyó Vestrini, Todos los poemas, Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores, 1994 }


richard lopez said...

who is this poet? awesome poem. are you going to be posting more? i hope so.

Guillermo Parra said...

Hi Richard. Glad you like it! Yes, for the next few days I'll be putting translations of her work here. She was born in Nimes, France in1938 but moved to Maracaibo, Venezuela as a child. Was a journalist and in Maracaibo belonged to the literary collective Apocalipsis, which was active in the early 60s. Then moved to Caracas where she worked as a journalist and wrote some of the best poetry in Venezuela. Died by her own hand in 1991.