El reino combatiente / Ramón Palomares

The Combatant Kingdom

                                                  To Guillermo Sucre

That was a house that only had dead people
Everything there was dark Nothing flowered
The sky What about it
All light smelled like sperm
          —We're already tired, the day ones said, —Throw them out
          Let’s throw the dead out of that house
          Let’s live there
House accustomed to death
everything in it is collapsed
Only the air and cold smoke finishing the bare ghosts
But even then / Even then they came
          Grabbed their axes, their knives
          They came
It’s not easy fighting them No
No easy task No easy task to fight the dead
But they put on their daring suits They ran for them their harnesses
Everything was about to begin their
That everything begin That everything end —That’s what they were saying
So when the night begins we’ll make earth in its spirits
That’s what we hope: the moon, humid clouds
          They’ll sing Black humor will sing
          time will come
They crossed the patios late Very late
You couldn’t see anything
Silent knives What bravery!
Not easy Not easy: Cornered as they were Crouched as the dead were in the corners
          What silence
Who says “Courage” says again “Another assault”
Who was going to look at the flesh and bone ripped off?
Pull the bones from the roots, that’s what they used to do!
Hearts Those what
They lasted so long! And what dawn not even a morning! There was no time for the sun!
The night alone Defiance was there and that was a house of purity at night
—Time—not that—No there wasn’t any time
No combat with the dead has time
They fight on a different ground
          The same as screams?
          Not screams. And how?
That’s a field of silence That’s where they debate
The knives sounding like a darkness —shall we say— sounds
But that ending
A field of flowers appeared there
The fog was lifting
—Escape? No —A dignity like this —A dignity like theirs —
That couldn’t be resolved in the same way as an escape
Good Good Don’t you notice the sea now where we used to see the mansion?

—What do you glimpse on the sea?
—And on top of the flowers?
—And above what the flowers let us see?
Flowers It’s been a while now that all you can see are flowers Only
Flowers There’s nothing else.

{ Ramón Palomares, Vuelta a casa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 2006 }

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