Faust: and now, here I am what I am, and I don’t think I am something else (Juan Garrido Salgado)

Verity La Poetry, Slot Machine

Faust: and now, here I am what I am, and I don’t think I am something else

I think I’m writing
a poem about nothing, for no one.
I do not know whether I should start making a hole in the blank page
and dig, so that the verses will appear,
or burn the sun in that line that someone wrote
on the wall riddled with bullets, blood, and a corpse;
riddled with abandon and loss of everything.

In that bombed city
which appears from time to time while I’m reading with a coffee
or in the yawn of the news,
at dusk I start flying wrapped in the blanket
of a nightmare, of the days spent walking 
in my broken shoes, worn from travelling but getting nowhere
without entering a doorway or looking through the window-frame of dawn.

Tonight, I found a place to sleep,
a piece of furniture dragged by the hurricane waters to this place.
The night is today, the night with nothing more to say, 
I write this poem in a language
you do not understand, not a fucking sound, nor a fucking pronunciation,

I write without any reader,
not even for the blindness of Borges when I read this line:
When I write something, I have the feeling it preexists

* from a sketch of ‘My Faust’, Act II, Scene 5, in Selected Writing of Paul Valéry

Fausto: y ahora, aquí soy lo que soy, y no creo que sea otra cosa 

pienso que estoy escribiendo
un poema sobre la nada, ni para nadie
no sé si empezar hacer un hoyo en la página en blanco
y cavar, para que los versos vayan apareciendo
o los queme el sol  en esa línea que alguien escribió
en la pared acribillada de balas, con sangre, y un cadáver;
sino acribillada de abandono y perderlo todo.

En aquella ciudad bombardeada
que aparece de vez en cuando en la lectura de un café
o en el bostezo del noticiero
al anochecer arranco vuelo con una frazada envuelta
en pesadillas de los días caminando
con mis zapatos rotos, gastado de ir y no llegar a ningún lado
sin tener donde entrar o abrir una puerta, ni mirar por el marco del amanecer.

Esta noche encontré un lugar para dormir
un mueble arrastrado por las aguas del huracán hasta este lugar.
La noche, es hoy, la noche sin nada más que decir 
que escribo en esta lengua
y que tú no entiendes, ni un puto sonido, ni un puto pronunciar,

escribo sin ningún lector,
ni siquiera para la ceguera de Borges cuando  le leí esta línea: 
cuando yo escribo algo, tengo la sensación que algo preexiste

* de un bosquejo de ‘Mi Fausto’, Acto II, Escena 5, en Escritura seleccionada de Paul Valéry


Juan Garrido Salgado immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. Juan has published five poetry collections and his poems have been widely translated. Juan has also translated works into Spanish from John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Judith Beveridge, Dorothy Porter and MTC Cronin, including Cronin’s Talking to Neruda’s Questions. He translated five Aboriginal poets for Espejo de Tierra / Earth Mirror, an anthology edited by Peter Minter (2008). Juan, Steve Brock and Sergio Holas translated the Latin American poetry included in Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology, published in December 2014 by IP (Interactive Publications). His chapbook, Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia (2016) is available from Blank Rune Press, and he has another chapbook, When I was Clandestine, forthcoming from Rochford Street Press in 2019. Juan has also been invited to attend the International Poetry Festival of Granada, Nicaragua, later in 2019.