1 abr. 2008

While at Aaron Belz's reading this evening, it occured to me that this was a great poem. It had nothing to do with Aaron, it was just a random triggering. The greatness of the poem struck me not when I was reading it, but at a totally irrelevant moment several weeks after I had read it. I had to rush home to translate it for you.

LUIS FERIA

TO BE GOD [TRANSLATION J.M.]

Why should we be just children? We wanted to be everything: man, flower, fire, God...

It was easy to be a man: we spoke while wagging a stiff finger, slicked our hair down, without a single strand escaping, sat with our legs crossed.

Flower was a little harder. We poured cologne over ourselves, then the perfume our mother used in her cleavage and behind her ear, then aftershave lotion. With disastrous results. What a stink! Straight to the bath.

Fire: almost impossible. We sat out in the sun for the longest time, suffering through dizziness, headache, itches, nausea. But just when we were about to catch fire they brought us in, rubbed us down with vinegar and water, cream for our bruises, took our temperatures. If we'd continued, I'm sure we would have thrown off flames.

And the easiest of all: God. Not a beard or crown or mantle or sky: nothing like that. Just grow with the trees, be water with the sea, move in the dog's tail. In other words, be all things, but be children also and at the same time. Children, and more.


Four attempts at sympathetic magic or magical thinking.

Mimesis: imitate the adult manner completely, you are an adult. Cross your legs.

Metonymy: select one aspect of the flower, its smell. If you smell like a flower, you are one.

Another attempt at mimesis/metonymy/absorption. To become fire, set yourself on fire by getting sunstroke. Brilliant.

Of course, we expect being God to be the hardest, but it ends up being the easiest. The literalism of magical thinking gives way to something completely different. Not the white beard and the man in the sky, but the tail of the dog.