Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Galo Ghigliotto

34

eh father        i didn’t know you were so inclined
to be devoured by spirits
in any case
i couldn't do anything i didn't know your skin was made of scales
so soluble on split tongues

eh father       which confessional hid the trap
my eyes were barely gonads
but i could see and i can still see
that your hands are too big for your trade
and your head too small
for the bottles you squeezed between your fingers

eh father      why did you abandon us
there is no antidote for the pustules of rage
and you let yourself be carried away by the current
you let yourself go father because our house was never enough for you
to quell your hunger
you had to become a debt
just because the book was written
didn’t mean you had to follow it

eh father      you didn't need to be a slave
if your arms were strong
we could have changed the river’s course
and these trees you saw around you
got tired of waiting for your arrival
your axe sleeps the sleep of the thousand evocations
in the long night in which you wrote my nightmares

eh father      how many houses do you live in
to how many corners do you carry the thirst hanging from your neck
how many times did you hit me
how many times did you kill my mother
it's so easy to let yourself be carried away by the current
the dead don’t get in the way
they’re the best travel companions 

eh father      the countryside made you from my own blood
but you weren’t big enough to irrigate yourself with mine
we died awhile ago
i'm still hanging from the fig tree and they assure me
your footsteps still rattle the floor planks
of this enormous house called Valdivia
of all the houses big and small named
the same as all the families of the world

look here this is what you put in my hand
a gold crucifix that's way too heavy and i don't want it
my Christ dances and sings somewhere in paradise
this cross belongs to you and to the spirit who helps you bear it

eh father   don’t you see
i don’t want to swell the ranks ever again
i hope
that when I die again it will be at war
that it will be for love   that it will for vengeance
but not hanging
from the fig tree you never cut
because you were too anesthetized
busy hunting down brothels in the village

eh father      we ghosts are very far away
and to wait for autumn to come each year
is too long to send the letters
i never dared write you
in the double task of writing yours and mine
while the demons licked your bones
making them reverberate with the sound of violins
we decomposed orchestrally
each in our own painful plot of land

eh father       you were so blind when you were alive
and even worse when you had just died
so deaf because i would scream and i would scream at your dogs
that it wasn’t me
that it was the moon that had wounded you
and the ghostly dogs roamed through my dreams
biting the air
and the air hurt me because I was dead
sublimated
my jaws hurt as they came out of me
i too am a wolf wounded by the moon’s blade
and the profusion of my blood are sliced-up faces
smiles opened with a knife
the profusion of my wound is a wolf transfigured by death
into a line perpendicular to time
and the cross it forms buries itself in my breast
dividing me in four
chopping me up to feed the flames

eh father       let's let the fables begin
let's leave them to their work
in the shadows of the fig tree we never cut
there will be buildings here some day
entire families hanging from the tree branches
and we will go on living seeing
how you left us father
left us with our eyes awake
submerged in a hole where everything has died

where everything has died  but our misery

34

34

hey padre      yo no sabía que estabas tan dispuesto
a ser devorado por los espíritus
de todos modos
yo nada podía hacer  no sabía que tu piel fuera de escamas
tan solubles en las lenguas partidas

hey padre      en cuál de los confesionarios estaba la trampa
mis ojos eran gónadas apenas
pero pude ver  y puedo ver todavía
que tienes las manos demasiado grandes para tu oficio
y la cabeza demasiado pequeña
para las botellas que apretaste entre tus dedos

hey padre      por qué te abandonaste
no hay antídoto contra las pústulas de la ira
y te dejaste ir en la corriente
te dejaste ir padre porque nuestra casa nunca te bastó
para quitarte el hambre
tenías que ser deuda
si bien el libro estaba escrito
no era necesario tener que seguirlo

hey padre      no tenías que ser un esclavo
si tus brazos eran fuertes
pudimos haber hecho otro cauce para el río
y estos árboles que viste a tu alrededor
se cansaron de esperar a que llegaras
tu hacha duerme el sueño de las mil evocaciones
en la larga noche en que escribiste mis pesadillas

hey padre      en cuántas casas vives
a cuántos rincones llevas la sed colgándote del cuello
cuántas veces me golpeaste
cuántas veces mataste a mi madre
es tan fácil dejarse ir con la corriente
los muertos no estorban
son los mejores compañeros de viaje

hey padre      el campo te hizo de mi misma sangre
pero no eras tan grande para regarte de la mía
hace tiempo que hemos muerto
todavía estoy colgado en la higuera y aseguran
que tus pasos aún mueven las tablas del piso
de esta casa gigante que se llama Valdivia
de todas las casas grandes y chicas que se llaman
igual que todas las familias del mundo

mira aquí      esto es lo que pusiste en mi mano
un crucifijo de oro demasiado pesado y no lo quiero
mi Cristo baila y canta en algún lugar del paraíso
esta cruz es tuya y del espíritu que te ayude a soportarla

hey padre      no ves
yo no quiero más nunca engrosar las listas
quiero
que cuando muera otra vez sea en la guerra
que sea por amor  que sea por venganza
pero no colgado
de la higuera que nunca cortaste
porque estabas demasiado anestesiado
ocupado cazando lupanares en el pueblo

hey padre      somos fantasmas bastante lejanos
y esperar la estación del otoño cada año
es mucho tiempo para mandarte las cartas
que nunca me atreví a escribirte
en el doble trabajo de escribir las tuyas y las mías
mientras los demonios te lamían los huesos
haciéndolos sonar con ruido de violines
y nos descomponíamos orquestadamente
cada uno en su terruño doloroso

hey padre      eras tan ciego cuando estabas vivo
y peor cuando recién hubiste muerto
tan sordo porque yo gritaba y les gritaba a tus perros
que no era yo
que era la luna quien te había herido
y los perros fantasmales recorrían mi sueño
mordiendo el aire
y el aire me dolía porque estaba muerto
sublimado
me dolían las mandíbulas atravesándome
yo también soy un lobo herido por el filo de la luna
y la profusión de mi sangre son muecas rasgadas
sonrisas abiertas con cuchillo
la profusión de mi herida es un lobo transfigurado de muerte
en una línea perpendicular al tiempo
y la cruz que se forma se entierra en mi pecho
dividiéndome en cuatro
trozándome para el consumo del fuego

hey padre      echemos a andar las leyendas
dejémoslas funcionar
a la sombra de la higuera que nunca cortamos
aquí habrán edificios algún día
familias enteras colgadas de las ramas de este árbol
y seguiremos vivos viendo
cómo nos hemos dejado padre
dejados de los ojos despiertos
hundidos en un hoyo donde todo ha muerto

donde todo ha muerto      pero nuestra miseria
Close

34

eh father        i didn’t know you were so inclined
to be devoured by spirits
in any case
i couldn't do anything i didn't know your skin was made of scales
so soluble on split tongues

eh father       which confessional hid the trap
my eyes were barely gonads
but i could see and i can still see
that your hands are too big for your trade
and your head too small
for the bottles you squeezed between your fingers

eh father      why did you abandon us
there is no antidote for the pustules of rage
and you let yourself be carried away by the current
you let yourself go father because our house was never enough for you
to quell your hunger
you had to become a debt
just because the book was written
didn’t mean you had to follow it

eh father      you didn't need to be a slave
if your arms were strong
we could have changed the river’s course
and these trees you saw around you
got tired of waiting for your arrival
your axe sleeps the sleep of the thousand evocations
in the long night in which you wrote my nightmares

eh father      how many houses do you live in
to how many corners do you carry the thirst hanging from your neck
how many times did you hit me
how many times did you kill my mother
it's so easy to let yourself be carried away by the current
the dead don’t get in the way
they’re the best travel companions 

eh father      the countryside made you from my own blood
but you weren’t big enough to irrigate yourself with mine
we died awhile ago
i'm still hanging from the fig tree and they assure me
your footsteps still rattle the floor planks
of this enormous house called Valdivia
of all the houses big and small named
the same as all the families of the world

look here this is what you put in my hand
a gold crucifix that's way too heavy and i don't want it
my Christ dances and sings somewhere in paradise
this cross belongs to you and to the spirit who helps you bear it

eh father   don’t you see
i don’t want to swell the ranks ever again
i hope
that when I die again it will be at war
that it will be for love   that it will for vengeance
but not hanging
from the fig tree you never cut
because you were too anesthetized
busy hunting down brothels in the village

eh father      we ghosts are very far away
and to wait for autumn to come each year
is too long to send the letters
i never dared write you
in the double task of writing yours and mine
while the demons licked your bones
making them reverberate with the sound of violins
we decomposed orchestrally
each in our own painful plot of land

eh father       you were so blind when you were alive
and even worse when you had just died
so deaf because i would scream and i would scream at your dogs
that it wasn’t me
that it was the moon that had wounded you
and the ghostly dogs roamed through my dreams
biting the air
and the air hurt me because I was dead
sublimated
my jaws hurt as they came out of me
i too am a wolf wounded by the moon’s blade
and the profusion of my blood are sliced-up faces
smiles opened with a knife
the profusion of my wound is a wolf transfigured by death
into a line perpendicular to time
and the cross it forms buries itself in my breast
dividing me in four
chopping me up to feed the flames

eh father       let's let the fables begin
let's leave them to their work
in the shadows of the fig tree we never cut
there will be buildings here some day
entire families hanging from the tree branches
and we will go on living seeing
how you left us father
left us with our eyes awake
submerged in a hole where everything has died

where everything has died  but our misery

34

eh father        i didn’t know you were so inclined
to be devoured by spirits
in any case
i couldn't do anything i didn't know your skin was made of scales
so soluble on split tongues

eh father       which confessional hid the trap
my eyes were barely gonads
but i could see and i can still see
that your hands are too big for your trade
and your head too small
for the bottles you squeezed between your fingers

eh father      why did you abandon us
there is no antidote for the pustules of rage
and you let yourself be carried away by the current
you let yourself go father because our house was never enough for you
to quell your hunger
you had to become a debt
just because the book was written
didn’t mean you had to follow it

eh father      you didn't need to be a slave
if your arms were strong
we could have changed the river’s course
and these trees you saw around you
got tired of waiting for your arrival
your axe sleeps the sleep of the thousand evocations
in the long night in which you wrote my nightmares

eh father      how many houses do you live in
to how many corners do you carry the thirst hanging from your neck
how many times did you hit me
how many times did you kill my mother
it's so easy to let yourself be carried away by the current
the dead don’t get in the way
they’re the best travel companions 

eh father      the countryside made you from my own blood
but you weren’t big enough to irrigate yourself with mine
we died awhile ago
i'm still hanging from the fig tree and they assure me
your footsteps still rattle the floor planks
of this enormous house called Valdivia
of all the houses big and small named
the same as all the families of the world

look here this is what you put in my hand
a gold crucifix that's way too heavy and i don't want it
my Christ dances and sings somewhere in paradise
this cross belongs to you and to the spirit who helps you bear it

eh father   don’t you see
i don’t want to swell the ranks ever again
i hope
that when I die again it will be at war
that it will be for love   that it will for vengeance
but not hanging
from the fig tree you never cut
because you were too anesthetized
busy hunting down brothels in the village

eh father      we ghosts are very far away
and to wait for autumn to come each year
is too long to send the letters
i never dared write you
in the double task of writing yours and mine
while the demons licked your bones
making them reverberate with the sound of violins
we decomposed orchestrally
each in our own painful plot of land

eh father       you were so blind when you were alive
and even worse when you had just died
so deaf because i would scream and i would scream at your dogs
that it wasn’t me
that it was the moon that had wounded you
and the ghostly dogs roamed through my dreams
biting the air
and the air hurt me because I was dead
sublimated
my jaws hurt as they came out of me
i too am a wolf wounded by the moon’s blade
and the profusion of my blood are sliced-up faces
smiles opened with a knife
the profusion of my wound is a wolf transfigured by death
into a line perpendicular to time
and the cross it forms buries itself in my breast
dividing me in four
chopping me up to feed the flames

eh father       let's let the fables begin
let's leave them to their work
in the shadows of the fig tree we never cut
there will be buildings here some day
entire families hanging from the tree branches
and we will go on living seeing
how you left us father
left us with our eyes awake
submerged in a hole where everything has died

where everything has died  but our misery
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