Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

Notes On Poetry

 

By Dostena Lavergne
Written to Prometeo


1

May poetry walk as if she knew nothing
of walking and even less of “as if”
then she couldn’t complain
of the wounded soles
of the patent leather shoes
she wouldn’t be able to fly
to fall
gathering speed and clenching the iron in her teeth
the math of childhood, they say
they’d seen her on the street humming to herself
and wearing dark glasses
and then it occurs to you that the metaphor is a dress
of tulle, hang it this way,
that way, snap
wrap a red thread around your finger
but she doesn’t feel like talking to strangers
she looks through you and in her eyes
a sad city hatches
with bridges stretching ellipses.

 

2

Mother,
I saw the poets walking through walls
they pay at the exit and don’t ask the price
I don’t want to be like them
to live torn in shreds
a body among walls
not even a tongue to pawn
I saw them, they live in a village
so real it makes your hair stand on end
but I am a child and I dream of becoming a poet
when I grow up
in a verse among the walls
there is something godless their itch
something vulgar their white skin
bloodied by graphite the tracks
of their pens stalk the dead
secretly at night and weigh
word by word
as if the flour is about to run out
if they hold their breath will they break through
the wall at last I don’t want
to become a poet, I am a child
and I dream of becoming a poet
when I grow up with writing
it’s the same as when you say “I love you”
to relieve the surplus
emotion, in vain, to steady the ball.

 

3

… poetry is like that Slovakian song
about the cruel Katerinka
who drowns her ninth child in the Danube
about the lovely Suzanka who was eaten by her brothers
a white deer in the forest
a face lost in the prairie
the enchantment of so many nations
a sea opening its leaves
upon the face of the mother…

 

4

At first writing broke out like sap in the channels along the scar of the bark, then I wrote
as I was making the bed in a lonely room, but at thirty, I can’t breathe anymore
like I used to, smiling or crying in front of the mirror, and I feel like hitting the highway,
like taking the pen by the horns to write…
about the nations and their roots blossoming, all in blood, to take down words
that are about to go extinct: cerulean, sorcerer…
to write about the exodus of the soul from Auschwitz, from Belgrade and Kana, relearning
how to eat, dance, make love… and because I’m not good enough yet,
and because I’m still a bad archer, I don’t dare believe, lest I betray Him.

 

5

They used to tell me poetry is not (an easy job) (isn’t child’s play)
but they didn’t tell me the whole story
and so I enlisted
in the army without suspecting
they had drafted me for the third world war.

Up dated on March 8th, 2012.

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