defeat

I who never had a trade
who have felt weak in the face of all competition,
who lost the best claims to life
who scarcely arrive at a place before I want to leave (in the belief
that moving on is a solution)
who have been prematurely disowned and helped in a humiliating way
and ridiculed by abler people

I who cling to walls so that I do not fall completely
who am an object of laughter for myself
who believed that my father was eternal
who have been humiliated by teachers of literature
who was answered with a guffaw
when once I asked how I could help
I who shall never build a home, nor sparkle
nor be a winner in life
who have been abandoned by many people
because I hardly ever speak
who feel shame for acts I have not committed
who have been close to starting to run down the street
who have lost a center I never had
who have become the general laughing-stock
because I live in limbo
who shall find no one to put up with me

who was ignored so that attention should be paid to those
more abject than myself
who shall carry on my whole life like this and who next year
will be mocked many more times for my ridiculous ambitions
who am tired of taking advice from others more lethargic than myself
(,,you’re half asleep, get moving, wake up”)
who shall never be able to travel to India
who have accepted favors and given nothing in return
who wander from one side of the city to the other like a feather
who let myself be carried along by the others

who have no personality nor want one
who stifle my rebelliousness all day long
who have not joined the guerrillas
who have done nothing for my people
who do not belong to the *F A L N and who despair over all these things
and others that would make an endless list
who cannot get out of my prison
who have been turned down everywhere because I am of no use
who to tell the truth have not been able to get married
nor go to Paris nor spend a peaceful day
who refuse to recognize facts
who always dribble over my story

who since birth have been an imbecile and an imbecile twice over
who lost the thread of the speech that was being delivered within me
and have not found it
who do not cry when I want to cry,
who am late for everything

who have been ruined by so many advances and retreats
who yearn for perfect immobility and impeccable promptness
who am neither what I am nor what I am not
who in spite of everything have a satanic pride even though
at certain moments my humility has made me feel no taller than the stones
who have lived for fifteen years within the same circle
I who believed myself predestined for something unusual
and have achieved nothing
who shall never wear a tie
who cannot find my body

who have seen my duplicity in lightning flashes
and have not been able to throw myself to the ground, to sweep everything away
and to create a new freshness out of my indolence, my drifting, my eccentricity,
and obstinately [continue] to commit suicide with whatever my hand touches.
I shall get up from the ground more ridiculous than ever
and go on mocking myself and others until the day of the last
judgement.

Rafael Cadenas

*F A L N: (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional) Armed Forces of National Liberation,
military arm of the National Liberation Front of Venezuela.

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the verb in the infinite

To be created, to beget oneself, to transform
love into flesh and flesh into love; to be born,
to breathe, and cry, and doze.
To nourish oneself to be able to cry

To be able to nourish oneself. And, one day,
to wake up to see the light, the world and hear
and begin to love and then smile and
then smile to be able to cry.

And grow, and know, and be, and have,
and lose, and suffer, and dread
to be and love, and feel oneself cursed

And forget everything when seeing a new love
and live that love until one dies
and go to conjugate the verb in the infinite…

Marcus Vinicius da Cruz e Mello Moraes

7 II

autumn wind
through an open door—
a piercing cry…

Matsuo Bashō