Julieta Valero

Song Of The Employee


We are dogs that abandon dogs.

We roam over trails reminiscent of the sound of swarms.
A better future does not await the gods.




I am going to die, and those are my lineages.


I have come to a place where beauty is measured in stones

          from men who tell me;


I have come and I will stay until I draw a contour with particles

          of the invisible;


a profile that declaims me: face, smell, vulva of thought.


I have come to give myself a name just before my eyes are

          opened forever.


Because I was not born the daughter of aristocrats, although I

          have a taste for the fruits of the sea and I sympathize with oats,


because I did not have the ability to deceive the merchants and

          there is no forgiveness, because I knew the epidemics

          they spread,


because I am going to die from an elementary illness and it will

          be in the absence of heroes.


Something simple and terrible is happening:


hunger condemns, the cold condemns


there is a death before death and it is this commerce


to be saved from hunger and cold condemns and over

          the hours a genocidal change transpires where life and

          imagination lose their life.


Not as a child and I do not know how but I finally believed in

          the necromancers shouting from the ridges of the city

that the heroic had died, and that passion is a tumor.



I’m going to speak for the girls who smell their hands and still

          remember me


for the fisher boys who taught me how to seduce

          the winds and to add their fury to my route


while they believed I spoke their language 


while they believed in God and God in their favor


I’m going to speak for those of the irreparable encounter 

and I’m going to speak for the lady with eyes from the 

          countryside and udders with eternal milk.


That is my mother.


They deserve this—that I pronounce my name before



My keepsake will be the vine where the blind woman who

          comes to seize me falls.


In image and likeness.


Girls, Mother, Kids, how do I warn you

          she has a brightness that becomes essential in the time

          it takes to make a mountain


she has a book where all flavors and a bird on the shoulder that

          swallows a moan and spits out a map find their grave.


In the archway I describe in order to live there, in that slow

          pirouette over stinking waters, that is my death.




Why me?


Or why not me exempt from this laceration by a bout of luck?


The only beautiful salvation is the one that is almost bereaved.


Only the seriously wounded understands salvation.


I would respond with a wormless joy of the new father

          and the captain who finds fish


the one who expels its fluid and ignores himself for a moment


the gagged captive’s and everything was a simulation


the miner’s, who once again recognizes the sun


the abysmal joy of the animal in its being.


This papal bull I ask for is not good enough for the gold-

          winning athlete—it is scorned by those who believe

          in the work of men, and it is a disgrace to the leaders of



All of them filled with ire and reason, have their kingdom in this world

          and their motives.


If something saves me, I promise the child’s gratitude for

          his punishment, the gambler for his limits, the lunatic for

          the heating.


But I know that nothing will absolve me; my parents are not

          aristocrats and my soul distrusting of feigned vice

          and of the stillness of yachts. Nobody will absolve me.


And I do not present myself as the Princess of Pleasures.


I know of no devices to use to fly higher, and there are days

          when I can barely move.


I am not here to segregate myself from my neighbor, nor

          so he embarrasses himself before the pearls of my blood.


My blood is only of a certain age and its color promises

          fatigue and flows in pursuit of tenderness.


Forgive me. My crime is having understood how they drew

          this misfortune.


The face is a disease, the consciousness a pandemic

          and I only ask to die from my ills.


I ask for space to die.


I ask that they take the toys from the room, that light enters

          and that no one distracts the panic from the walls.

I request a home for the transfiguration because only in it

          do I appreciate the word house, I satisfy the seed  

          of silence and I begin to like the impassivity of trees.


If someone saves me from this death by workday, I promise

          to identify him with my health.


If something liberates me from the evangelist of utility, I

          promise to call it


          cause of colors

          dominion of the imagination

          bread of the absent





Translated by Curtis Bauer
“Song of the Employee” is from Los Heridos Graves [The Seriously Wounded] (Barcelona, DVD, 2005).


You can read and listen to the poem in the original Spanish here.