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Javier Campos, Chile

THE LAST LETTER OF THE ASTRONAUT

                          

I will always be your swallow who returns in flames
The one who lives locked up in this ship of oblivion
Who needs to fly in the forest of your house
And from there to emigrate dejected to the garden on the moon
To flutter, lost in the sun’s lakes
To sleep miserable in the frozen volcanoes of Venus

I know I'll never remain beside your nest
I was never born in a tree
Not in any forest on this planet
I lived hidden during the daytime
On the only lifeless branch in your garden
And swam drowsy in the night
Under the waters of a neon lake

That's why I fly faster than light
And why I vanish from your side without wishing to
I departed from your very love
A luminous, demented bird
But no chains tie me to your possessive kisses

Jails don't exist I don’t flee from
Or deserts where I never find cities
Or sealed-up houses where I never want to live

I'm burning up for love of you
Though I die in the bonfires among your vines
I rise up from those amorous ashes
To be again a mournful swallow
A white chunk of the tipsy moon
That whizzes past your eyes over and over again

I’m the smitten letter-carrier who doesn’t want to deliver anything to you
A pet bird who flies with a white cane
A wild animal no one claims
Who’s lost singing in a fairy-tale forest
Who migrates through dreams seeking harbors
And inquires after forgotten train stations

Don’t follow me, I’m the one who’s really looking for you
I’m the one who spies on you through the window as you undress
The one who wants to dance with you and hide with you
In the warm wheat in granaries of the full moon

At night when the drunken astronauts
Climb down from their space ships
And weep looking at the moon
In a desperate search for their home star
I only want to climb in your window and sleep with you
And let you dream that I’m the invalid swallow
Beating against your windowpane

You’ll gain nothing by making yourself a wolf
Going out into the forest to catch me when you wake up
You’ll never see the tree where I think about you
Nor will you find my trail by following my tracks
Never

But I so want for you to find me
Somewhere in this Universe
And follow me as if I were your outlaw lover
I want you to be nailing posters
On all the trees
And you’ll write on them that you want me dead or alive

I’m doomed to follow you unwillingly
I’ll always be the swallow that dreams of being far away from you
But who wants only to hide out in your house
As if I could then open a window to another planet
And fly enchanted through a movie in technicolor
Where I see mountains and trees to sing for
Or I’d wait for a train to another world
Board a space ship without luggage
And leave forever without ever saying goodbye to you

I also know I haven’t gone anywhere
The ship where I still live
Always travels backwards
Moving quick through country I lived in years ago
Where I don’t recognize anything of mine
It’s there where I see myself tied up
To the most beautiful tree of all my possessions
Besieged by an army of death condemned
to sing for you and forever
Like any lost bird
In the forests and the invisible meadows of nostalgia
Only the dreams of the future.

Javier Campos  was born in Chile in 1947. He is a Chilean writer and professor of Latin American Literature, Hispanic Film, Popular Culture, Politcs, Culture Studies related to Latin America at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, USA. He has published a novel, Los Saltimbanquis, 1999, and four books of poetry: The Last Photographs, 1981; The City in Flames, 1986; Forgotten Letters of the Astronaut, 1991; Forgotten Letters of the Astronaut won first Prize for Hispanic Poetry in EE.UU in 1991, Letras de Oro.
In 1990 Campos was finalist in Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba with The Astronaut in Flames. This book was later was translated into English by Nick Hill as Letter from a Lost Astronaut. In 2000 the American magazine of poetry , Mid America Review dedicated to Campos’s poetry a Chapbook in translation. In May 2003, a German journal dedicated a chapbook in translation into German of Campos’ poetry. In December 2002 Campos won the first prize of poetry, long poem category, in the International Award. Juan Rulfo, Radio France International, for his poem entitled "Los Gatos." In 2003 he published his first of short stories collection , about “latinos” in USA, The woman who look like Sharon Stone. This book got a Second Award in August 2004 for the best short story book published in Chile during 2003. Read here some shorstories: La mujer que se parecía a Sharon Stone.
Finally, Campos received a prize for his new book of poetry in the CHICANO/LATINO LITERARY PRIZE, University of California, Irvine in October 2005.

Última actualización: 04/07/2018