Poetry Wednesday – Roberto Bolaño

Posted by in Poetry

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roberto

(© cccb/kosmopolis)

After finishing 2666, there was a void in my life.  I miss the delightful confusion, the magnificent prose, and all the references I do not get.  It is clear that there needs to be more Bolaño in my life, so I went searching for some of his poetry.  It’s difficult to find and this poem Godzilla en México is the only poem I could find.

GODZILLA EN MÉXICO

Atiende esto, hijo mío: las bombas caían
sobre la ciudad de México
pero nadie se daba cuenta.
El aire llevó el veneno a través
de las calles y las ventanas abiertas.
Tú acababas de comer y veías en la tele
los dibujos animados.
Yo leía en la habitación de al lado
cuando supe que íbamos a morir.
Pese al mareo y las náuseas me arrastré
hasta el comedor y te encontré en el suelo.
Nos abrazamos. Me preguntaste qué pasaba
y yo no dije que estábamos en el programa de la muerte
sino que íbamos a iniciar un viaje,
uno más, juntos, y que no tuvieras miedo.
Al marcharse, la muerte ni siquiera
nos cerró los ojos.
¿Qué somos?, me preguntaste una semana o un año después,
¿hormigas, abejas, cifras equivocadas
en la gran sopa podrida del azar?
Somos seres humanos, hijo mío, casi pájaros,
Héroes públicos y secretos.

English:

GODZILLA IN MEXICO

Listen carefully, my son: bombs were falling
over Mexico City
but no one even noticed.
The air carried poison through
the streets and open windows.
You’d just finished eating and were watching
cartoons on TV.
I was reading in the bedroom next door
when I realized we were going to die.
Despite the dizziness and nausea I dragged myself
to the kitchen and found you on the floor.
We hugged. You asked what was happening
and I didn’t tell you we were on death’s program
but instead that we were going on a journey,
one more, together, and that you shouldn’t be afraid.
When it left, death didn’t even
close our eyes.
What are we? you asked a week or year later,
ants, bees, wrong numbers
in the big rotten soup of chance?
We’re human beings, my son, almost birds,
public heroes and secrets.

It’s been compared to “The Road,” a strange post-apocalyptic poem that is deceptively simple.  It begins as simple narrative, but the last five lines really got to me.  I love the line, especially “We’re human beings, my son, almost birds,” it’s just beautiful.

What do you think fellow 2666 readers?  Does this fill that void at all?  If you haven’t read Bolaño before, are you intrigued by this poem?