31.10.09

Com-passion is the contagion


This earth is anything but a sharing of humanity. It is a world that does not even manage to constitute a world; it is a world lacking in world, and lacking in the meaning of world. It is an enumeration that brings to light the sheer number and proliferation of these various poles of attraction and repulsion. It is an endless list and everything happens in such a way that one is reduced to keeping account but never taking the final toll. It is a litany, a prayer of pure sorrow and pure loss, the plea that falls from the lips of the millions of refugees every day; whether they be deportees, people besieged, those who are mutilated, people who starve, who are raped, ostracized, excluded, exiled, expelled.

What I am talking about here is compassion, but not compassion as a pity that feels for itself and feeds on itself. Com-passion is the contagion, the contact of being with one another in this turmoil. Compassion is not altruism, nor is it identification; it is the disturbance of violent relatedness.

-Jean-Luc Nancy,
"Being Singular Plural"

poems can't buy plane tickets no more or animals are overrated

telephone booth number 13401

keep the money
i owe you
and buy yourself
something nice
should there be
any change
get something
nice for me too

-pedro pietri

28.10.09

Street Fighters

28-OCTUBRE-2009 | GUILLERMO REBOLLO GIL
BUSCAPIÉ

Gente común


Edición especial doble de Men’s Health: “Fifteen things you’ve yet to find out about yourself in the bedroom: $5.26”. Urban jelly de agarre máximo para el cabello con Yankee en la etiqueta, bien rankeao: $3.33. Chicharrones del Rancho bajos en grasa. ¡Ahora con 30% menos sal!: $1.89.

Agente de orden público debidamente armado con lista de compras de Romero y cambio exacto: no tiene precio.

Hay ciertas vidas que merecen especial protección. Los residentes de Villas del Sol podrían ser un ejemplo, pero en Villas del Sol la gente tras que pretende vivir de gratis, apenas se baña. “Y pa’ colmo, dominicanos”, diría mi tía de aquí como el coquí, que votó por Romero, y sabe que al “Caballo” todavía lo odian en ciertos círculos izquierdosos. “Células”, diría mi tía diestra en el lingo, que sabe identificar retórica terrorista del saque: “Atrévete, te, te, te, salte del closet…Préndete, sácale chispas al starter, préndete en fuego como un lighter”.

Hay ciertas vidas que merecen especial protección. Los miles de empleados públicos cesanteados podrían ser otro ejemplo, pero tras que pretenden que la gente falte al trabajo para protestar, no acatan las normas pautadas por el Gobierno para manifestaciones inocuas, simpáticas. “Socialistas de discoteca”, sentenciaría mi tía republicana hasta el ñu, que votó por Fortuño, y sabe que el “gobe” estuvo a ley de na’ de coger un huevazo. “Proyectil orgánico”, diría mi tía paranóica al fin, que vio los ataques del 9-11 en el mismo televisor, y sabe que el terrorismo hace lo que puede con lo que tiene.

Hay ciertas vidas que merecen especial protección. Otras no. Pero Romero tiene hambre. Y Fortuño le ha cogido cosita a la gente común.

“Desarropaos”, diría mi tía con un gusto impecable, que votó por ambos, y colecciona sus botones y calcomanías de campaña, y sueña con vestir a Residente de traje para que le cante: “Atrévete, te, te, te, salte del closet…”

http://www.elnuevodia.com/columna/631165/

20.10.09

Executiones know that the hands have ten fingers

Imagine the Angels of Bread

This is the year that squatters evict landlords,
gazing like admirals from the rail
of the roofdeck
or levitating hands in praise
of steam in the shower;
this is the year
that shawled refugees deport judges
who stare at the floor
and their swollen feet
as files are stamped
with their destination;
this is the year that police revolvers,
stove-hot, blister the fingers
of raging cops,
and nightsticks splinter
in their palms;
this is the year
that darkskinned men
lynched a century ago
return to sip coffee quietly
with the apologizing descendants
of their executioners.

This is the year that those
who swim the border's undertow
and shiver in boxcars
are greeted with trumpets and drums
at the first railroad crossing
on the other side;
this is the year that the hands
pulling tomatoes from the vine
uproot the deed to the earth that sprouts the vine,
the hands canning tomatoes
are named in the will
that owns the bedlam of the cannery;
this is the year that the eyes
stinging from the poison that purifies toilets
awaken at last to the sight
of a rooster-loud hillside,
pilgrimage of immigrant birth;
this is the year that cockroaches
become extinct, that no doctor
finds a roach embedded
in the ear of an infant;
this is the year that the food stamps
of adolescent mothers
are auctioned like gold doubloons,
and no coin is given to buy machetes
for the next bouquet of severed heads
in coffee plantation country.

If the abolition of slave-manacles
began as a vision of hands without manacles,
then this is the year;
if the shutdown of extermination camps
began as imagination of a land
without barbed wire or the crematorium,
then this is the year;
if every rebellion begins with the idea
that conquerors on horseback
are not many-legged gods, that they too drown
if plunged in the river,
then this is the year.

So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.

-Martín Espada,
de "Imagine the Angels of Bread"

17.10.09

el paisaje metido en esta mano



Una piedra la piedra que me apedrea, me lapida
me ciega, la piedra vuela y duele, la piedra
no deja de ser piedra y cae,
la gravedad la hace caer
sobre cualquiera,
cualquiera recibe el impacto de una piedra
que emerge de la mano más inesperada, de esa mano
que empuña el revolver con tanta gracia
como en las películas
de los que nacen naturalmente para matar
y naturalmente matan, pero
todos somos hijos de la naturaleza.
Por eso escuchamos los coquíes en medio de la noche.
Nos gusta su sonido que es como una música,
y el sonido de los automóviles es como una música
y el olor de los mofles y los tiros de los revólveres,
qué son sino como las piedras
cuando caen hieren
las fiestas del 4 de julio con petardos
cómo duelen en los oídos los petardos de Buchanan
el coro de hombres tras la servidumbre de la casa,
los cañones de las cinco, los múcaros,
los búhos, las cotorras, los pájaros, el ritmo de los joggers
el de los altoparlantes
todos aquí reunidos,
forajidos,
como esa piedra
que de momento sale de mi mano
y cae.

"Brathwaite piensa en el ruido" (fragmento)
de Aurea María Sotomayor

14.10.09

No-lugar

14-OCTUBRE-2009 | GUILLERMO REBOLLO GIL
BUSCAPIÉ
No-lugar
Para el CAED


Estos son los hechos: la UPR permanece cerrada por orden del presidente interino, y los estudiantes están en otras. Se las han arreglado para desatar una universidad afuera y aparte donde el pensamiento se puede ajustar mejor a los contornos de la urgencia. Y verdades ocurren frente a los portones de la Universidad donde los estudiantes se encuentran más próximos al prójimo, más envueltos en su bienestar, más dispuestos a reconocer la similitud salvaje de quienes pertenecemos a un presente que está por excederse.

Estos son los hechos que dan lugar a la invención: Fortuño no existe.

Cualquier conversación sobre el gobernador de turno entre estudiantes es una conversación en tiempo pasado. La universidad que ocurre frente a los portones de la UPR está fundada sobre la figura de un gobernador que ha sido excedido en el pensamiento del estudiantado en tanto sigue sin responder a un mandato de proximidad con el pueblo.

Estos son los hechos del lugar que ocupan los estudiantes bajo amenaza de desalojo para decir que el País es un estar en otras, aparte y afuera de cualquier propuesta gubernamental basada en el poder adquisitivo de individuos. Que el País es un verbo en tiempo presente, impronunciable para quien mire a estos estudiantes extrañado, sospechoso, fuera de los contornos de la solidaridad, y no logre reconocerse como “parte de”.

“Grabo” algunos de sus nombres aquí: Gamelyn, Mariana, Arturo, Xiomara. Y los sumo al resto de nosotros envueltos en hacer universidad en exceso.

Estos son los hechos: no hay universidad sin invención. Fortuño no existe.

Pregúntenle a cualquier estudiante dispuesto a estar con ustedes en otras, aparte y afuera, en una especie de detente a la borradura que hoy nos ocupa el lugar de un gobernador.

Estas son sólo algunas de las verdades que ocurren aqui: la Administración es incapaz de cerrar esta otra universidad porque simplemente no la ve. Se le ha ido de las manos. Está fuera de lugar.


http://www.elnuevodia.com/columna/626128/

Sustraerse de las cosas o del territorio es otra forma de poseerlo



13.10.09

Estoy mirando tu pregunta preferida

Tengo a mi haber,
lo digo sin tristeza,
unos agrios papeles
de márgenes abiertas
en donde inquietas sombras
aposentan su bulto
pretendiendo acotar,
a saber con qué objeto,
el silencio,
trabajado a cansancios,
que brota de los surcos
donde otras sombras
eligieron lugar
para el nombre del hambre
y su recuerdo,
para el hambre constante
de nombres y recuerdos.
Ahora sé que sabía
de este escozor, entonces.
Se escurría entre las tablas
una ilusión de estrellas
que esmeriló reveses,
la sed insatisfecha
y aquel sopor
que en más de una ocasión
se pronunciara eterno.
Porque hay labios y redes
pañuelos y distancias
que retardan la muerte.
Parece que le tienden un cerco
y desde el mismo centro,
un poco hacia la izquierda,
le amortiguan sus ritmos.
Hay como flechas tibias
que desde otras cavernas
conscientes de su oficio
buscan su otro extremo
donde encontrar el llanto
atado
a la ribera del goce
doblemente húmedo
desde donde
vuelven a alzarse
la carne y sus campanas
vestidas de locura.
Tengo a mi haber, decía,
un dibujo de tinta
donde ocurren verdades.

-José María Lima
41, de "Poemas de la muerte"

11.10.09

Cerca del Corazón Salvaje

"Entre el ejercicio de la justicia y el acto poético habría un órgano compartido: el corazón. ¿Qué lugar ocupa el corazón en el derecho? En el fondo, si hay algo indecidido con respecto al derecho, es el lugar que pueda ocupar el corazón. Admitimos con facilidad que la poesía se aloje, provenga del corazón. Entonces el corazón sería un órgano de poesía pero no de derecho, puesto que a éste lo asociamos más con la capacidad de juzgar. La justicia parece proceder de la cabeza, lugar donde se suele ubicar el pensamiento racional. En la relación que trato de auscultar entre cuerpo y formas discursivas, entre derecho y poesía o literatura según se ha conformado en el canon, veo surgir la mano como punto de encuentro, como lugar por donde pasa el corazón. La mano se puede traducir en caricia o en violencia. Con la mano se escribe. Es la dominación de esa mano, antaño pezuña, la que marca el paso a la civilización y el progreso técnico. El derecho, discurso atropocéntrico, intenta borrar el fantasma de la mano violenta que lo anima, y las armas punzantes que otrara formaban parte de la escena de la venganza. El progreso de la democracia se da al pasar de la venganza al tribunal. En el libro bíblico, se nos sugiere que en ese antiguo teatro de la justicia el corazón mediaba. El ejercicio de la justicia singular, al cual convoca la deconstrucción, tendría que ver más con el corazón, con ese apprendre par coeur del poema que no convoca una memoria repetitiva sino un evento cada vez único. Entonces, el corazón haría la diferencia."

-Mara Negrón
"De la Animalidad no hay Salida"

Same for Law, same for poetry

"No son los hechos los que hablan, sino su organización y la interpretación que se haga de ellos"

-Áurea María Sotomayor

9.10.09

MY DUNGEON SHOOK LETTER TO MY NEPHEW ON THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EMMANICIPATION (de James Baldwin)

Dear James:

I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. I keep seeing your face, which is also the face of your father and my brother. Like him, you are tough, dark, vulnerable, mood—with a very definite tendency to sound truculent because you want no one to think you are soft. You may be like your grandfather in this, I don’t know, but certainly both you and your father resemble him very much physically. Well, he is dead, he never saw you, and he had a terrible life; he was defeated long before he died because, at the bottom of his heart, he really believed what white people said about him. This is one of the reasons that he became so holy. I am sure that your father has told you something about all that. Neither you nor your father exhibit any tendency towards holiness: you really are of another era, part of what happened when the late E. Franklin Frazier called “the cities of destruction.” You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger. I tell you this because I love you, and please don’t forget it.

I have known both of you all your lives, have carried your Daddy in my arms and on my shoulders, kissed and spanked him and watched him learn to walk. I don’t know if you’ve known anybody from that far back; if you’ve loved anybody that long, first as an infant, then as a child, then as a man, you gain a strange perspective on time and human pain and effort. Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father’s face as it is today are all those other faces which were his. Let him laugh and I see a cellar your father does not remember and a house he does not remember and I hear in his present laughter his laughter as a child. Let him curse and I remember him falling down the cellar steps, and howling, and I remember, with pain, his tears, which my hand or your grandmother’s so easily wiped away. But no one’s hand can wipe away those tears he sheds invisibly today, which one hears in his laughter and in his speech and in his songs. I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it. And I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it. One can be, indeed one must strive to become, tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of man. (But remember: most of mankind is not all of mankind.) But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.

Now, my dear namesake, these innocent and well-meaning people, your countrymen, have caused you to be born under conditions not very far removed from those described for us by Charles Dickens in the London of more than a hundred years ago. (I hear the chorus of the innocents screaming, “No! This is not true! How bitter you are!”—but I am writing this letter to you, to try to tell you something about how to handle them, for most of them do not yet really know that you exist. I know the conditions, under which you were born, for I was there. Your countrymen were not there, and haven’t made it yet. Your grandmother was also there, and no one has ever accused her of being bitter. I suggest that the innocents check with her. She isn’t hard to find. Your countrymen don’t know that she exists, either, though she has been working for them all their lives.)

Well, you were born, here you came, something like fourteen years ago: and though your father and mother and grandmother, looking about the streets through which they were carrying you, staring at the walls into which they brought you, had every reason to be heavyhearted, yet they were not. For here you were, Big James, named for me—you were a big baby, I was not—here you were: to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world. Remember that: I know how black it looks today, for you. It looked bad that day, too, yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other none of us would have survived. And now you must survive because we love you, and for the sake of your children and your children’s children.

This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish. Let me spell out precisely what I mean by that, for the heart of the matter is here, and the root of my dispute with my country. You were born where you were born, and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity. Wherever you have turned, James, in your short time on this earth , you have been told where you could go and what you could do (and how you could do it) and where you could do it and whom you could marry. I know that your countrymen do not agree with me about this, and I hear them saying “You exaggerate.” They do not know Harlem, and I do. So do you. Take no one’s word for anything, including mine—but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence your came, there is really no limit to where you can go. The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. Please try to remember that what that believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear. Please try to be clear, dear James, though the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words acceptance and integration. There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for so many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shinning and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is our of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations. You, don’t be afraid. I said that it was intended that you should perish in the ghetto, perish by never being allowed to go behind the white man’s definitions, by never being allowed to spell your proper name. You have, and many of us have, defeated this intention; and, by a terrible law, a terrible paradox, those innocents who believed that your imprisonment made them safe are losing their grasp of reality. But these men are your brothers—your lost, younger brothers. And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it. For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become. It will be hard, James, but you come from sturdy, peasant stock, men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads, and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved and unassailable and monumental dignity. You come from a long line of poets, some of the greatest poets since Homer. One of them said, The very time I thought I was lost, My dungeon shook and my chains fell off.

You know, and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon. We cannot be free until they are free. God bless you, James, and Godspeed.

Your uncle,
James

7.10.09

El Artesanado de la Mano

"Dije silencio para comenzar. Entre nosotras sólo hay aparentemente silencio. Sin embargo, yo me situaré entre el estruendoso colorido de tus imágenes -su pintura es ruidosa, sus colores gritan- y la palabra escrita silenciosa que dice, que emite, que pretende tener más sentido que el sin sentido de las imágenes. ¿Pero podríamos continuar sosteniendo una oposición tal? ¿O será más acertado pensar que estamos en traducción, al pasar de un medio al otro, de un soporte, la escritura, al de la pintura sin prescindir del artesenado de la mano."

-Mara Negrón en torno a María de Mater O'Neill
en "De la Animalidad no hay Salida"

Why I Am Not a Painter
by Frank O'Hara


I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

3.10.09

Dos Poemas de Sylvia Figueroa

Pequeño relato

A estas alturas sólo me interesan las fuentes primarias
(se sabe de las pausas, después del punto,
hay fuentes tan necesarias); lanzarme sobre los
archivos: tantear, revolver (después de todo,
soy mala lectora, le leo a mi antojo interrumpiendo
la linealidad de los relatos).
He encontrado algunas frases
que llevo siempre fuera de contexto.
Pero más que la trama,
me urge la materia, el cuerpo, otra frase;
pues a esta lectura anárquica le ha segudio
una interrupción abrupta.

Yo quisiera extenderlo todo, inventarme una continuidad,
tender una sábana, sin que coincidan las puntas, y decir:
"he aquí un gran relato."

***

(pAra mirar de cErca)


Esto es un cuadro. Apunto lo que deseo mirar en él.
Usualmente me dejo llevar por lo que más perturba.
El detalle asusta, pero no dejo de observarlo.
Estoy afuera. Mientras me mira, me dice que no estoy afuera:
me habla. Lo miro y me contradice, aún más:
no me correspondería si le hablara.
Como ese detalle obviado que no responde nunca.
Aquél que aseguraba que no sería más una espectadora,
acercándome de algún modo, dejándome ser.
Hay un ángulo que no es uno mismo. Otros no
se repiten nunca. Algunos otros no están de acuerdo.
Hay ángulos que se reúnen en un punto, pero sus
densidades no son las mismas, ni lo serán.
¿Cómo determinar la densidad?
¿cómo adivinar cuál pesa más?
Decir que recae sobre el que mira.
Mientras tú afirmabas lo contrario:
que le atañe a quien está adentro.
Y, ¿cómo saber quién se encuentra
a fin de cuentas adentro?
El que mira ya lo está, lo que le inquieta
-precisamente- es notarse a sí mismo afuera.
Esto -entonces- no se llama cuadro.

de "pAra mirar de cErca" (2007)

Chamaco's Corner

Violence is neither a just punishment we suffer nor a just revenge for what we suffer. It delineates a physical vulnerability from which we cannot slip away, which we cannot finally resolve in the name of the subject, but which can provide a way to understand that none of us is fully bounded, utterly separate, but, rather, we in our skins, given over, in each other's hands, at each other's mercy. This is a situation we do not choose. It forms the horizon of choice, and it grounds our responsibility. In this sense, we are not responsible for it, but it creates the conditions under which we assume responsibility. We did not create it, and therefore it is what we must heed.

-Judith Butler,
"Giving an Account of Oneself" (2005)