3 August 2010
by Justice Putnam
Black Kos Tuesday's Chile, Poetry Editor
A literary conceit was used in Malcolm Lowry's "Under the Volcano", in which The Counsel carries an ever-increasing bundle of letters from his ex-wife. He tells others in the village of the letters' contents and his ex-wife's day to day itinerary of experiences; as each missive is delivered to the village post office. When asked when she will come to visit, his constant reply is, 'soon.' When his ex-wife does arrive unexpectedly, to reconcile their relationship, no less; it is revealed he has never opened any of the letters from her; years worth of letters unopened, yet each letter was enthusiastically awaited for.
"Hell," The Counsel would tell all within earshot, "Hell is my natural condition."
Pablo Neruda would walk the Promenade and watch from the window of his seaside villa as humanity strolled by on oppresively hot summer days and nights. His solitary observances evoked what some have described as a Hell, or at least a purgatory of human sin and degradation. It is all of that and more, but it is also a simple acknowledgement of the Beast that is in all of us; the Beast that conjures and transcends Angels. The Beast that is hidden until one finds themself as a...
The young maricones and the horny muchachas,
The big fat widows delirious from insomnia,
The young wives thirty hours' pregnant,
And the hoarse tomcats that cross my garden at night,
Like a collar of palpitating sexual oysters
Surround my solitary home,
Enemies of my soul,
Conspirators in pajamas
Who exchange deep kisses for passwords.
Radiant summer brings out the lovers
In melancholy regiments,
Fat and thin and happy and sad couples;
Under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and moon,
There is a continual life of pants and panties,
A hum from the fondling of silk stockings,
And women's breasts that glisten like eyes.
The salary man, after a while,
After the week's tedium, and the novels read in bed at night,
Has decisively fucked his neighbor,
And now takes her to the miserable movies,
Where the heroes are horses or passionate princes,
And he caresses her legs covered with sweet down
With his ardent and sweaty palms that smell like cigarettes.
The night of the hunter and the night of the husband
Come together like bed sheets and bury me,
And the hours after lunch, when the students and priests are masturbating,
And the animals mount each other openly,
And the bees smell of blood, and the flies buzz cholerically,
And cousins play strange games with cousins,
And doctors glower at the husband of the young patient,
And the early morning in which the professor, without a thought,
Pays his conjugal debt and eats breakfast,
And to top it all off, the adulterers, who love each other truly
On beds big and tall as ships:
This twisted and breathing forest crushes me
With gigantic flowers like mouth and teeth
And black roots like fingernails and shoes
-- Pablo Neruda