Buildings Without Paint
The unpainted buildings performed
cavernous arias, gray like concrete,
Behind, the avenue lined with eucalyptus.
I had come back for you.
One wall spoke of the death of everyone,
each individual and nonspecific.
And the wall was finite
and it was well written.
I tried to find you in the smoke from the war.
I was acquainted with your breasts.
If I don’t find you, I won’t exist tonight.
I had laundered money.
Atmosphere like a bazaar.
The building disemboweled.
Your father says Hello—why is he going to say
As always. There’s a piece of meat
on the saucer.
Do you still think I’m missing a mature consciousness
We will die in alphabetical order,
not by birth date.
I rescue a ladder from oblivion.
Is it you, or have I still not reached you?
I have some of your hair in my mouth. Your ticket is stamped 30.
I have a hip in my hands.
Is this you, or have I still not reached you?
I was acquainted with your breasts but I don’t remember them.
What do you think I’m doing, dressed for summer in this city,
with my skirt open, my eyelids oily
and my mouth twisted?
I go down the stairs, saturated with you
and I don’t know if you are coming with me.
I’m struck by the realization that I have been here,
the same filth,
the regrettable walls and the noisy colors,
the furniture termited.
I put a white lid on a black hole.
I do this with my feline tail.
The white circle fits into the black circle.
Your saturation is blond and wears mascara.
Your voice is hoarse and doesn’t situate me.
I go out to the street and count the corners.
There is no way back.
Corners don’t let you count them.
I drag the ladder down the street.
The ambulances sounded like senescence.
The bells sounded like a school notebook.
You lay down and I offered your thigh.
You lay down and I offered a fruit bowl
with two cases for glasses inside.
I couldn’t get rid of the taste of flounder,
and that smooth, flattened appearance.
You were still hung out in the city.
Entangled in the winding of a watch.
Your mouth full of lupines.
Translated by Curtis Bauer
“Buildings Without Paint” 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.