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Mamadoc's poems in English original or translated

Silence has come in wings of birds departed,

Crestfallen moments among the naked trees

From whence took flight the quivering flock I see

Shimmer in the horizon like those silver-gilded


that rustled past my window

and stole my song from


St. Claire Beach, 1970

* * *

Rabbit footprints on the snow

Or pheasants´ gently patterned


Blue shadows of spruce and oak

Upon the steady brightness

Of winter’s field.

Detroit, Dec. ’74

* * *

From French original:

All things shrouded in their beatitude,

blue-hued equanimity,

naked to the perfectly limpid naked-

ness of the sky…

Light of November that bathes

the stripped bodies of the trees,

slashed through and through by their branches –

crystalline angularities where

amiably repose

the infinite transparencies of space.

(Detroit, Nov. 1974, published in Spectra, Louisiana State Un., Shreveport, 1981, student poetry collection for 1980-81) )

* * *

Ni mi casa es ya mi casa (Lorca)

And then our days were gone in the same fashion

that family albums grow unreal

to their last detail…

I move through rooms empty of the present,

in which each object speaks its absence and nostalgia

for a time when they somehow counted for some thing –

points of reference towards a future now discarded

beckoning the fate of so many bushels of berries


with abandoned industry

by idle children seeking to fill their


Possessions have a knack for staring at us blankly from the

past, carving mazes better filled with sand…

No wall-washing or incense burning will suffice, Ulysses,

once you see: the greatest change of all took place in

you… And a journey of twenty years is but a prelude

when constant exile from ourselves becomes our way.

Detroit, June, 1975 (In Spectra, 1981)

Winter Sun, Florida (translated from the Spanish)

Mother of pearl surfaces against

the clear sky violently blue

more deeply hued there where

the sharply pointed palm pierces


to my very center.

The sky never says a thing.

The sky here contemplates itself in my gaze

and spirits me away, very far away

right to where I´m sitting.

Gently they intertwine

As she moves:

Drinking the sky

Filtering the breeze

Setting birds free

Lusting herself complete

Against the morning

Clear and soft.

All things fall unto themselves suddenly.

South Florida, l975 (Spectra, LSU-Shreveport, Spring 1980)


Pain today edges its way more softly than

before, water closing in upon the knee on a

late summer day at ebb tide.

Pain today wears gypsy ribbons and a solar

ring and murmurs laughter round my toes with

the frenzied motion of the hummingbird.

Pain today is out of season and, because,

in this garden where we have come to still our

inhibitions, only color, scent, sound and touch

prevail –there is a redoubled effort not to

think of you, pain, closing in with your

oyster grip upon our infinite


Valle de Bravo, Mexico, May, 1977 (Spectra , Spring, 1980, LSU-Shreveport, Louisiana.)

* * *


On the photograph you appear

wincing in the bright Havana sun

wavy locks gold streaked and lips drooling,

as luscious then (some said: “too gross”) and avid as ever

--we now know: for the kisses our father withheld because of your

‘’unfinished’’ sex –or so the story goes-- though, perhaps,

the gaping expression was not so much that day for want of

kisses, or in admiration of the withered azalea in your hand,

but for the congested adenoids that plague

our breed…

It was just about then that we all succumbed to a wave of

Varicelli…Mother’s case so fiercely virulent it left marks

on her face for years to come, as in our souls…(Father was away;

She got her sixth abortion; you shared a room with grandmother

And cried alone, while I searched for a secret place to

bury an old pocket knife of mine the distraught woman had suddenly

remembered one mirror-shattered night and which,

In our abandoned yard, began to carve

the slow, deep trenches of all my future


A quarter of a century has passed!

And, although our skin’s scars long have cleared,

the subtle, nervous quiver round your mouth, the rippled

voice of deep resentment and mistrust

contaminates our sphere.

Peering at your infant face in black and white, I catch

a glimpse of that still pristine moment in your mind

when you pondered the configurations of a pink azalea—

that irretrievable time before all the turbulence of our later

years, the radical estrangement that’s our fate.

Varicelli strike again…And, now, while my offspring

Parade through the house with their share of the ageless

Scourge, performing ancient rites: the boy, anxious

To get back to school, mindful of his routines, settled

In his ways –a kind-mean joyful spirit

Captivated by the excrescences of Middle-American vapidness;

The little girl, all blue-green eyes of adoration trailing after

Him, getting into his things,

The teasing, and pulling, and tearing that goes on a-

midst cries, and tears, and laughter –

Pampered children of an affluent divorce (these days such

Things are easier, we are confidently told)—

I watch their barely blemished faces and carefree limbs

Embrace the sun

Awed by the efficient inscrutability

Of their innocent


Detroit, Michigan, 1975

(In Spectra magazine, LSU-Shreveport, La., Spring, 1980.)

* * *

To a young flower merchant from Rochester, Michigan:

On Saturdays you arrive at dawn

Rainbow struck your eyes the truck

With transient wares to sparkle my

Garden days

And a warm hand that I


´round my midriff

all week long…

I like it

This way, you with your flowers

And I with my song

Freely, joyfully moving

Through the lively commerce of

The market place –

Two radiant capsules

briefly shooting through the solemn

Night of our separate yet


sometimes mutual,


Palmer Woods, Detroit, 1975

Cómo todo palpita, cómo todo está vivo

[How everything throbs, how everything is alive.]

How everything throbs with the thud, thud, thud, thud, thud, thud

of the Blood of the Lord –coming out into the Open after hiding for so long:

Life´s shining in my Eyes the better to see this Beauty now, humming to me,

from the Waterfall!

It rains and…

A symphonic silence all wrapped up in summer green

Descends from Heaven!

Friends arrive with their songs to quench the thirst that only Silence

shared in Harmony can still. This truth that they have learned in prayer

feeds on Itself: It leads them to the fresh stream of our eternal source. And,

As they enter unto the threshold of your Presence in this world, their

Bodies dash forward, propelled by the flight of the

Soul rushing after its own kind of nectar…

Magnetized by this silence, stilled

Within your precinct of Love, we stay,

Beyond memories, in the incarnate Memory of

The All…lost to time, lost to those who

Stay outside, not daring to go in --not daring yet,

Shyly seeking, one can feel,

timidly basking in the glow

of our mounting

ever growing


¡Cómo todo está triste, cómo todo está lejos

cuando el alma se encierra y no atiende a su


[How sad, how distant everything is

when the soul closes up and does not tend to its


* * *

I renew myself in the other’s eyes whose

Gaze races to uncover my yet unspoken secrets to

Myself, that other, spying on us from the side

With a lateral vision that mocks our self-

Complacency, the I-know-it-all pose and the

Humble-me-pose. I renew myself in an old friend-

ship which bestows on this ever expanding present

The wonder of the distance we have come: and some

Distance we have come since those days when we feared

We were getting old (though ´tis true we were, if only for the

First time, we now know). And the closer home we get,

How much shorter the distance separating

Every new birth from its inherent death,

Every death from all the rebirths of

our incessant becoming in the


…Transient and eternal,

“every rose is the same rose”

another poet said. And every lover´s

parted lips restores

the original enigma,


the tender, moist vibration of an ancient rapture

we welcome with awe and gratitude,

as we expertly restore our most alluring pose,

charming to death the charmer

of our ancestral


[English fragment of El seno infinito/The infinite womb. Date, place unrecorded.]

At the Tuileries

[From the French original, October, 1965; transcribed Nov. 2002.]

That toy cruiser with its serene white sail

Is my soul as it wanders to and fro—

The breeze that cradles it, your breath—

The waves, our sighs—

The winged reflection gliding through the waves—

Your own twin soul to mine held close.

It pursues and directs

My desires, my song:

The two go on to merge

In the confines of your gaze.

* * *

(To Mrs. Denine, the other America; from the Spanish original.)

Mr. Amerika on his Bicentennial:

´´We hate Fidel Castro and anybody who thinks he´s any


The eyes of repression are the children of wrath:

They do not see, not even look.

Today, they dressed themselves against me,

Pointing their aggressive banners

(red, white, and blue)

With legendary violence, and I felt…

Fear, pain, hunger, distress, cold – I mean to say,

Exile…and I had to give up ground and grant them

The opaque margin where their introverted blindness

unfolds unto itself.

How to speak to those who never felt

The tender hand of compassion quiver over their wounded

Sex. How to tell them of the deep born clamor that sustains

Us –the soft, restless, persistent rumor of

Our Hope.

Lawrence, Kansas, 1976

[In retrospect, Mr. Amerika was right; but, as always happens with the “right,” mostly for all of the wrong reasons…]


[From the 1979 French original.]

Meeting of the Night of Nights,

Our days beneath the hollyhock,

The greenness of tepid waters gliding a-

Long bodies happily slumbering…

We soak our fingertips in the moss of limpid


A day will come from the

Depths of the white sea

To cover our footsteps with flowers of black


At the wedding of Alps that forget themselves in

The distance.

Like your fever, victorious after the snowdrifts

Of a fall without return,

You have pulled through, beyond those porticos

Illumined by another sun,

By a heavenly body more durable than the one

Which the night betrayed a thousand times:

A star made to brighten that same night thrown as-

tride, chased back to the cradle of Love without

limit :

At the edge of that unnamable blaze,

Without beginning, without end…

The peaceful pleasure of lasting.*

[*counterpointing René Char´s dur désir de durer…]

* * *

[Bilingual English/Spanish]

Midnight rose (nocturno)…

(Or was it a sunflower, that time, in Kansas?)

‘midst the roses of the night

the midnight rose exhales

its misty sigh


the miraculous act, the sacramental

rite of the great union –more and more

the grand Re-union—


the petal of desire


the unlocked door

your simple life

the night begging and

forcing its song betwixt

our thighs


us back to our own self

beyond ourselves

tú ya no tú [you no longer you]

yo ya no yo I no longer I

Seremos. will be]

( the burning, misty splendor

of the night…)

( S I L E N C I O ; S I L E N C E)

Ahí donde rompe el día con la noche,

El sueño levanta su vuelo sereno,

El sueño se extiende


hasta cubrir el horizonte entero:

Relámpago, instante

Inexhausto y breve,

Y el mundo se embellece

Y llueve el cielo desde nuestra entraña


[There where the day breaks away from the night,

The dream picks up its serene flight,

The dream spreads out


Blotting out the entire horizon.

Lightning, an instant without

Ending and ever so brief.

And the world beautifully alights

As heaven pours down from our

Luminescent inner side.]

^ ^


El autor es sólo uno,

El mismo a través de todos.

Todas las voces forman una

Sola voz aquí en mi pecho forman

Un solo pecho un solo palpitar

Que late su canción de pan y viento.

Bendición del nocturno pasajero

Que contagia a los que alcanza su sonrisa

De piedad esperanzada: ¡Buenas noticias,

Caballero, hermanos, señora esclava, futuros

Escogidos de la noche dorada por una larga

Mirada enamorada! Bendición del conmovido,

Del que llora. Bendición del que no llora

Y sonríe su pesar y reclama su alegría

Entre las rosas

Entre rosas de azorada media-

Noche sonrosada...

El autor es sólo uno,

El mismo a través de todos.

[All the voices form one single

Voice here in my chest form

A single chest a single thud

That beats its song of bread and wind.

Blessings from the fleeting night song

with its contagious smile of hopeful piety: “¡Good

tidings,” gentle-man, brother, enslaved madame, future

chosen ones of the golden night captured in the web

of a single, long enamored gaze. Blessings from those

who are deeply touched, from those who cry. Blessings

from those who do not cry and who smile their woes

and reclaim their joy amidst the roses.

Amidst roses that glow

with their astounded midnight blush…

The Midnight rose

Exhales its mystic sigh:

Performs its lunar rites

Proclaims the sun…


(in the burning, misty splendor of the night)

…] the Silence of our hands […

) the midnight rose (

Or was it a Sunflower, that time in


In memory of Georgia O´Keefe, part of that wider circle which opens

Infinitely the rose…(June, 1979)

“Music Pink and Blue I” (1919)

(Transposition from music, to painting, to poem as music, as painting…)

Pelvic marble or shoulder blade

portico to the Azure

marvel of the light

ruffled petal of a Virgin Breast

or Mary´s Womb Opening

pure Heaven to de-

Light !

Lawrence, Kansas, 1979

Translated from the Spanish:

Gnostic Prayer

If it turns out that I do not die in Paris with the drizzle, some

Thursday, I will die in Huaútla on a Sunday of Resurrection.*

I will die with my face toward the open sky while the rain falls

Quick-silver on my breasts. Later I will listen to its rhythmic

language growing and softening while I sleep. Midst dreams,

I will salute Ché, Vallejo, and a few other members of my private

Epic, until at last I hear your same voice of old,

Calling me.

I´ll awaken without fear, feeling your sonorous quiet song

stir throughout my body no-longer-my-body.

I will plunge into your limitless gaze and the rain will fall,

warm as your living face of serene night over my sorrows.

You will bathe me in almond semen, sweet council of your

Womb, where all things graze tranquilly in silence,

Haven of delight without memories or complaints,

Most Loving Verb of the sweetest of all memories, at last,


(Shreveport, La., Jan., 1979)

November 7, 1977

What am I to do now with this love

Old vintage blood draining me from myself,

Unbearable longing for death

What to do if not seek to give it form in a few


To fix, preserve, stop what overflows with


as old as love as old as blood as old as death

as old as grief and, to which, at last:

No new blood, no new grief, no new love, now new

Death lends new life --used-up sutures from

Multiple transplants.

[Spanish original:]

qué hacerme ahora con este amor

sangre añeja derramándome

insoportable espera de la muerte

qué hacer sino buscar darle forma en unos


fijar preservar detener lo que se vierte en


viejas como el amor como la sangre como la

muerte como el dolor y que ya


nueva sangre ni nuevo dolor, ni nuevo amor, ni

nueva muerte renuevan : mechas gastadas por tan

repetidos trasplantes del corazón.


The cities left behind return to haunt our dreams.

At night their bells ring clearly still.

The old Habana buses ready to expire at every corner

Heave and sigh under the load, blessing you with

Farts while trolley cars cantankerously shriek

At every stop and umpteen whistles blow.

The sirens, so often the sirens wailing in the middle of the


It´s three p.m., Guantanamera time:

The passion crime during the siesta hour.

Siesta time.

Oh, wonder of rustling sheets cool against languid limbs,

Faint from midday loving. The fruit is pulpy, incarnadine,

Beneath the dazzling pearled light of tropical leaves

--succulent lobster of the trees.

Shreveport, La, 1978

A parody in praise of Wallace Stevens:

Did Erasmus sit or stand

While he pondered the entrap-

ments of our folly,

The original mind,

The cursus of human

(not divine) thought.

Such minor detail could entail drastic changes in

one´s tale. Alas!

How´s the poet to tell the tale con-

necting the position of a singular

Tail in Rhotterdam five hundred years

Ago, or so, with what the poor erudite

Bastard told his then contemporaries,

And our own, regarding the humaine


And the madness of such thoughts as led Mon-

taigne reasonably to reason that VIVRE is

(or ought to be)

an apprenticeship of MORT…

V de B, 4/22/81

* * *

Happiness is a dull affair

Which is probably the reason why

Thinking John and ardent Mary

(oops!…better: brainy Mary,

horny John) seem incapable of it

for very long:

Boredom´s worse than misery!

V de B, 4/25/81

* * *

´´The morality of the poet´s radiant and productive atmosphere is the morality of the right sensation.´´

(Wallace Stevens)

A pensive thought thinking itself betwixt

Other thoughts, other memories

--strands of sensations, circumlocutions:

a thought clamoring to communicate itself,

to understand itself --a warmth in the

periphery of the navel´s gorge: a sen-

sation (Zen-session) : the right sensation.

It is a test of the right sensation that it gives

Way to an acceptance of the silence that

Sustains everything, a glowing or a basking in

The continuous flow.

When the right zen-

sation is struck, the proper chord of

sentiment and the proper chord of intellect

intertwine to dance the Supreme Dance:

Into the meat of time, accepting the non

sequitur --a repetition of old soliloquies.

Valle de Bravo, Nov. 20, 1982

* * *

Study for a Poem

The Poet, overwhelmed by a sense of

Isolation at the Heights, contemplated

His creation and decried: “Oh! But who

Will ever risk financing such a Mammoth

Proustian work!”

“Let the Depths carry their weight over

facility! One can not betray one's origin

in the Dream. Let the Dream re-Realize your

self within the Self of selves, one´s own ever-

lasting glory!"

“So, to put it bluntly,” the practical/creative side

declared: “Abandon so many ‘stories’ and let the

Essence glow. Resort to the en/lightening (I mean

Brief) encounters of the Poem… Of poems which

Knit goblins, which form icons of a transcendent

Truth, uniting all opposites:

Time resounding with its echoes in such mirrors as

Memory can recover, passing and

Returning, distilling that dreamlike sense of

Eternity that is the poet´s task!

(Could also be titled “The Poet´s Craft.”)

January 1985, V de B

* * *

So what if another day has gone by

Not fully in Heaven yet

Not so far removed from it.

Another day equally as much not too far

From Hell yet, all and still,

Quite splendid. One day more to utter the

Enigmas, declare the year to be definitive,

Propose a halt to all hostilities, denounce

the Madness. A day from which to quietly

implore the Graces, follow the latest

omen with an impenitent determination--

lest the world die or, at least, your

world: not the world we´re coming from but

the one after --the one to save before it´s born,

the one to give birth to, even if you must

fold it away, once again, between two


A day easy to lull towards the incandescence of the

Lucid dream

And that foaming, green wave all wrapped up in

Azure, advancing --slowly but surely--

To meet your ever more placid


V. de B., Feb 24, 1986

* * *

Gnostic prayer (translated from the Spanish):

If it turns out I do not die in Paris with the rain,

some Thursday, I will die in Huaútla on a Sunday of

Resurrection. I will die with my face towards the open

Skies, and the rain will be quick silver on my breasts.

Later, I will hear its rhythmic language grow and soften

While I sleep. Midst dreams I will salute Ché, Vallejo, and

A few other member of my private epic, until at last I hear

Your voice of old calling to me.

I´ll awaken without fear,

Your sonorous quiet song stirring throughout my body


I will plunge into your limitless gaze

And the rain will fall warm as your living face of serene night

Over my sorrows. You will bathe me in almond semen,

sweet counsel of your womb where all things graze quietly and

in Silence --haven of Delight without regret or complaint,

Most loving verb of the sweetest of all memories now


Shreveport, La., (Spanish original, 1/20/79)

* * *

“A man still…” (from the Spanish “…un hombre todavía…”)

One night already in quest of day I found you

contemplating the fullness of the moon

caught in our window. Dawn upon your illumined body

reached out to me. “Oh, your name should have been

Encarnación!” Do I ever remember. That is how you became

the first and last man ever to know how to call me

by my name! That is how you christened me some very early

morn, in a City that once upon a time was called Tenochtitlan,

even if it could just as well have been called Jerusalem,

or Sancti--Spiritus. Also Sodom. Also Carthage. A city that

awakens me now alarmed with you in the distance and the sky

(once again!) tainted the hue of all hells broken loose. A hissing

that makes you feel you want to piss announces that, perhaps,

the tide is here once more that uproots everything.

And the Apocalypse,

Again, like in those days we spent stretched along the Appian

Way -or at Dachau, back in the forties (after the most famous of

all Crucifixions, where we were also present…). Only, now, we

are no longer thousands or millions but billions we are, will be --

though, perhaps, in this sort of thing numbers scarcely matter:

Seeing that each death is all the others, and vice-versa…

(The problem, most likely, is to be found in the pronouns…)

. . .But, in the afternoon, the sky

stretches gently across the Park: Muted filtering of light through

leafy surfaces with boys and girls and parents and cousins and

brothers, like a fast moving tape of all ages, of all time.

Like a resurgence of hope!

The great family of the world inhabits this park!

How to prevent your destruction.

Or that you should ever run dry? Park,

Where the same moon of ancient plays her siren ´s song.

Even when you are no longer the same park.

But, might you not bask in the same Moon of old, almost?

Almost quite the same Sun and, even to say,


But, when I say “you” --to whom of all is it that I speak?

The lover´s always been the same (that is, if he has known

To be a Lover:

And ´tis the reason why this “you” of Love

Turns out to be so slippery. Why it escapes

And reappears like a thread, always without

Losing track of its scheme…)

My entire package, I know, is knit through and through

With a single yarn. Which is why my Lover always says the same

Things, no matter what language he speak, and only the times

and places change.

And that is why, once again,

We are here and still, since forever, or nearly

Forever: So that the magic will not stop!

So that the ship won´t sink!

. . .And, how convenient, finally,

that no more than anyone else you won´t read the newspapers:

That, for you, “everything is and will always be the same old

story (even though, truth be told, things had never been quite so


At least, you´ll be able to sleep in peace

Upon those wisely built foundations: Dream yourself hunting

Ama/zones in a jungle docile only to that iron you brandish

So well --quite ready to leap from bed feeling ever more like a

Lion, and, after a well aimed embrace,

to ruminate the kitchen, eat to your heart´s content,

go out and earn your day! Return like nothing´s happening,

even when your pocket´s come home empty,

alleging: “Don’t worry: Tomorrow we’ll have pheasant!”

That, so played, is like a man, still…

Parque de México, 21 November, 1985

* * *

ODE TO OCTOBER (English original)

October ready to be plucked,

brimming in its Flower –Retriever

of all the shadows… What theme shall

strike the hour; what stilled memory

Return to encompass the everlasting moment.

And what gentle breeze, shrouded in light

shall set the course—Tower to

tower, zenith through zenith, till

The highest peak is won that crowns

The silent homeward journey

Bound for Glory!

October, redeemer of all the senses…

The Glory of October, yes! For… In what latitude

Does it fail to marry heat to cold in such fair-minded

Fashion: whether in Michigan or in Michoacán –in Havana or

In Sewanee, Tennessee: October reigns Supreme!

And that ripe age of the Apple which in cider sizzles

Turns October’s timely blend of green and rust,

Into a heady, savory, heartfelt matter –Yea!

October is Rotund,

Full, like some nude by Maillot… (All OO OO OO’s:

La donna ben bragatta! The well-stacked, pantsy woman

--with powerful breasts, ma’, and loads of hip: Rounded off

and ready to die for her babes!)

October at last exudes the

Distillation of all of Summer’s slow burning ardour:

The last birth before winter´s dreams begin to gather in the

Soil, and all the heavy rains are most definitely gone!

It is… a second April that arrives on the scene,

Like some second Coming:

Sweeter. Tarter.

Juicer (and Bluer, and Greener, and redder and


Sometimes, even, barely cruel!

Valle de Bravo, Mexico, eighties…

* * *

In this house you're in a ship that is

sailing through mid-air:

A ship whose tall, long ocean-beak

draws the nectar of the skies and swells-up

one great-blue Heaven.

This house sails impudently through

astounding seas, takes flight as it spreads

its Holy Host wings.

(This house has


Ocean-soil and sun-bound

Sail: It chimes at times, you'd say,

like some kind of an Awakening.

A barge of fools, perhaps, but also

a harbored miracle resting in clear

space: By sight and sound alone


(Oh, to see the

Radiance filter!)

Who cares, then, if this lofty

Vessel gets you nowhere --anchored,

as it is, in no-time and left in

Memory as pure grace:

A serene voyage from oneself

back to oneself (and, please note, the

disagreement is not between "me" and

"I" but only between my “self” and words).

Valle de Bravo, eighties… original English; Spanish translation follows…

En esta casa viajas en un crucero

que se mueve por los cielos:

Una barca cuyo alargado pico

sorbe el néctar de los cielos y hace

henchirse el firmamento.

Esta casa surca atrevida por insó-

litos mares y despliega sus alas de

Espíritu Santo.

¡Esta casa tiene


Terruño de mar y vela que apunta

al Sol: Repica, de pronto, como un nuevo

Amanecer. Remolque de locos, quizá, pero

no menos, un milagro recibido y que reposa

en el nítido esplendor: Con sólo la vista y el

sonido por sostén.

(¡Ay, lo que es ver

a esa Radiante claridad caer!)

Qué más da, pues, si tan sublime

Barca no te lleva a ningún lado –anclada,

como está, fuera del tiempo y dada a la

Memoria cual gracia sin par:

Un sereno regreso de uno

Mismo hacia sí mismo (y, quisiera hacer notar:

el desacuerdo no está entre mi “yo” y

mi “ser” sino, más bien, entre mi ser y las


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