Subsoil, Outdoors, Or The Beggar
Or too sub-lunar, or too little.
Whoosh! I was a beggar…
A whoosh! is the sublime event.
Sitting on the sidewalk, leaning on one hand, boozing with the other. I have
more class than the two dandies in Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe.
(At my eye level, the world is Ptolemaic. It holds beauty in some forgotten
I looked at my hands and retorted: Aha!…
My inhuman preoccupation disappeared, and my melancholic humor.
(Sometimes, sprawled out on the street, I think: the air in this little salon is the color of an old fingernail.)
Before, when I was young, I’d lunch on a can of Champion’s cassoulet.
Now it’s Chinese take-out I season myself on the ground with two packets of sauce: sesame and sweet and sour.
(Live well and think about the origin of the world.)
This taxidermied bust you see, strategically, is me.
I’m by no means a philosopher. I don’t get cold. I talk with my colleagues.
The boulevards of Paris are the best ejaculation I’ve ever had, long, wide, foamy in the sun, clouds, gray sky.
My tawny mane—radiant with smog, pearly with small change.
At night, yes I’m poor. My dream has no toilet. For sleep, I must turn into a cockroach.
Hot showers, cold Mercurochrome on my sores: I’d like that.
I have not lost my diction.
I haven’t lost anything…
I only ask for a little bit of socialism.
A duck needs its corn. My liver is national heritage.
Help me with my lifestyle…
Translated by Curtis Bauer
“Subsoil, Outdoors, Or The Beggar” is from La tierra nos agobia [The Ground Oppresses Us] (Pre-Textos, 2011).
You can read and listen to the poem in the original Spanish here.