La Santa Muerte Smiles & I Don't ForgetFriday, August 22, 2008
Jorge Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena and his first cousin Jorge Alejandro Waterhouse-Hayward were 8. We were riding a bus to Quilmes in the outskirts of Buenos Aires and Wency's father, My uncle Tony, told us with a smile, as our bus rounded a cemetery, "Someday I will lie there and you will come to visit me and everything will be just like today. You will remember." I never forgot. My Uncle Tony died in North Carolina. I don't know where he is buried. Wency disappeared from my life. He never left an impression with Google. But I do remember that day as our bus circled the cementerio. Strange how the spanish word for cemetery is closer to the idea that cement might just protect the body from decay. What nonsense!
In the late 60s my grandmother Lolita died in Mexico City. Uncle Tony came to the city for the services. His sisters, my mother Filomena and my aunt Dolly, took care of the preparations because Uncle Tony took me in search of his Holy Grail. At a bank he had seen a large golden cage with a stuffed parrot. He wanted a cage just like that. We went all over the city lookin for that golden cage. People talked (in low voices) of the strange man who did not seem to grieve for his mother. I was confused yet Uncle Tony was no different from that other day those many years ago when our bus was rounding the cemetery in Quilmes and with a smile on his face he had told us that one day we would visit him. That day was the first day I met up with the idea of death. I will never forget. At the end of our life all that remains is that some might just remember us for a while and a few, just a few, might go out and celebrate life by looking for an impossible golden cage.
He visto olvidos de todos tamaños
al pie de las cosas,
más largos que sombras.
Olvidos junto al árbol que corre
y junto al río que crece,
olvidos en las manos que aprietan
los senos que huyen presentes;
olvidos que salen a nuestro encuentro
en forma de encuentros
y pequeños silencios.
He visto olvidos antes del sueño,
y olvidos sobre olvidos
en el movimiento amoroso.
Yo he hecho una vida de olvidos,
una obra de olvidos.
El día que me muera
no será el día de mi muerte,
será el día de mi olvido.
El olvido de mi principio
se juntará al olvido de mi final.
Y todo, adentro y afuera de mí,
Ojos de otro mirar Selected Poems, Homero Aridjis, A New Directions Book, 2001 edited by Betty Farber and George Mc Whirter
I have seen forgettings in all sizes
at the foot of things,
even longer than their shadows.
Forgettings next to a tree that runs
and next to a river that grows,
forgettings in hands that tighten
around breasts that flee being there,
forgettings that come out
in the shape of bodies
and small silences to meet us.
Before sleep, I have seen forgettings
and in the movement of love
forgettings on top of forgettings.
I have made a life of forgettings,
a way of forgettings.
The day I die
won't be the day of my death,
it will be the day of my forgetting.
The forgetting of my beginning
will be joined to my ending's.
And all, within me and without,
will be a forgetting.
Eyes to See Otherwise Selected Poems, Homero Aridjis, Edited by Betty Farber and George McWhirter
Going through my collection of poetry of Homero Aridjis I conclude that if I were to be in a depressed mood I would call Aridjis the poet of death. But I remember his smile in the many times I have met him and I cannot be depressed even though so much of his poetry is about death. Note that the poem above is from a book that was edited by Aridjis's wife and his friend George McWhirter. Those who know might then know that Belfast born George McWhirter is Vancouver's Poet Laureate.
And not forgetting Russell's father