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Consummation Cover

Cover design by Kerrie Kemperman from a drawing of Vicente Aleixandre, Madrid, 1976, by Hollis deLancey.

Vicente Aleixandre (1898-1984), one of Spain’s leading twentieth-century poets and the 1977 Nobel laureate in literature, published Poemas de la consumación in 1968, at the age of seventy.  The book, translated into English for the first time in its entirety by Stephen Kessler and published by Black Widow Press, is a lyrical and metaphysical investigation into the mysteries of youth, sex, memory, old age, death, and oblivion.

If Someone Had Told Me

If only you could have
told me what you didn’t say.
On this near-perfect night, under the dome,
on this cool summer night.
When the moon has blazed;
the chariot burned; the star sank.
And in the night sky, curdled with livid hollows,
there’s nothing but grief,
since there’s memory, and solitude, and forgetting.
And even the reflected leaves are falling.  They fall, and they last.  They live.

If someone had told me.
I’m not young, yet I exist.  And this hand moves.
It slips snakelike through this darkness, explaining its venom,
its mysterious doubts before your living body.
The cold’s birthday
was long ago.  The moon fell into the water.
The ocean closed with green flashes.
It’s been asleep
who knows how long.  The waves keep hushing.
The spray sounds the same, only silent.
It’s like a sad fist
and it grabs the dead and tries to explain them,
and shakes them, and smashes them against the rocks.

And splashes them.  Because the dead, smashed,
pounded against the crafty granite,
splash.  They’re matter.
And they don’t stink.  They’re even more dead,
and they’re scattered and spread and they don’t make a sound.

They’re dead and gone.
Maybe not even begun.
Some of them loved.  Others talked a lot.
And they explain themselves.  Pointlessly.  Nobody listens to the living.
But the dead keep quiet with truer silences.
If only you’d told me.
I knew you and I died.
All that’s missing is a fist,
a miserable fist to pound me,
to lift me up and smash me,
and scatter my voice.

Scratch Pegasus || Poems of Consummation || Street Signs || Confessions of a Heteroformalist || The Redwood Coast Review || The Mental Traveler || More About SK || Readings

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