Saturday, September 19, 2015

Jose Lezama Lima (1901-1976)

Old Surrealist Ballad

When the rivulet swells with lashing
snaketails and the piano with its backside turned
displays its shoes shining like the night
when it sinks, a sagging armchair whose old wicker
strands are still a plaything for the boy with a big head
Taking shelter from a slice of violin melon
the dancers bump their heads and perspire sawdust
and midnight is as bored
as a chessboard leaned against a blackboard
I had no plan to go, but my keychain was missing
the enormous lock the dog that always follows me
until it goes off licking the back of its leg
The violin like an arm covered with frogs
began releasing drops of evaporated honey
The chief’s canoe crossed the crystal lake
at the stroke of two in the morning
and those who woke up danced with those who were sleeping
The woman we waited for is here and I hid
like a hypocrite behind a child’s box of pencils
which lent me their yellow fingers
and scraps of the accordion like a grapefruit packed in syrup
I used to save tears like bread crumbs
to throw into the pool of sissified alligators
When the doughnut began to puff
the patent leather definitely squealed
and the chiefs canoe was filled with crystal shards.

20 September 1975 Cuba

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