Contranatura by Sergio Valero

BOMB 91 Spring 2005
091 Spring 2005 1024X1024


The cage has become a bird
What will I do with this fear
—Alejandra Pizarnik

Faith in the eyeglass, not the eye;
in the staircase, never the step;
in the wing, not the bird,
and only in you, only in you, only in you.
—César Vallejo



before dying
the sun casts open the only lip of its face
who threw the rock of the sun over the waves?
the sun’s only lip casts its light to a new angle
death has passed like a bird in the night
with sleep woven into each feather
only the feeble conception of flight
only a finite song until its wings are clipped



I no longer write of those that are not
here. Astrolabe of rhyme with a transparent tail:
         a pheasant. I prefer
to say it, insisting on the fugue toward a voice
that is thinner. That way the verses of suspended lips
awaken and the drift surges like a tremor
        of speech.



your mouth is the bony framework of the sun
a fruit under siege by the music of touch
I touch your mouth
to enter a reason of moss in bone
I bite with your mouth to sharpen my taste for light
your silence is an illumination of hatred
the suns of your mouth will always come from heaven
small white clouds on the tip of the still madness
of your tongue
beyond the silence your madness does not last
does not utter any light
cuts off your light as your voice becomes dust
I touch your voice with the penultimate reach of my silence
your voice is a measureless brim
your voice is the unkindled ceiling of heaven
does not know of madness
knows only of impossible journeys
I touch your mouth of emblazoned rivers
of words of winter



If it’s about longing, let’s talk
about the rain. We’ll build a hearth
so we can talk about the rain. Come, touch here,
         dampen your fingers
on this liquid star, let us leave death
         to be a flower
of only one day. Come, never to speak
is not to drink of this water.



your word
an alebrije of smoke
the word of smoke is an indolent light
heaven casts open its wings to your staircase of voices
let me be death
without dead eyes you do not know how to climb
let me scale the crags of your touch
silence heart
take the keys of my face
take my body like an atom of faith
believe the myths of salt
build me a statue of black marble
my belief is the scale divining your thirst
let me believe you are a rock thrown to the infinite



A painful word always falls two or more
times in the same place. Tonight
the flashes of lightning lack the immensity
of screams. Night remains whispered
a submission: its prayer is reason
for being of the abandoned. From all these words take
only the music
from the ray, the rest the gray illumination plated
by silence.



until the next apple
your breath sustains abandonment
dawn has expired the draft of its hands
leave the water to be the season preceding touch
autumn drops its razors in your eyes
the season is next to fall between your fingers
hold my reason until the next apple
your breath is the mountain that falls through the abyss
paradise until the next apple
scale one apple until reaching heaven
leave heaven to be the darkness of the kiss
let me be the reason for autumn
until the next apple



When the light weakens
do not hold this voice in silence. When you speak
      my name
you will hear salt falling toward the clouds;
      you will meet water
through a draft of rain between your bare feet:
a luminous murmur
of morning besieged. Go, run after that faith
for the possible; and when this weakens
do not hold the light any longer with your silence.



just like feet sunk
in depths of ice
like the dark breeze from a sea
Mediterranean love
like of clouds
like of timid clouds in the house of wind
in the house of sleep
where no one awakens
just like a thousand walls where to forget
the hands
where to shut the mouth
when the scream is close
just like two bodies
lying over the water
just like two bodies
split in their history
like you and I
a single indolence

Translated from the Spanish by Michael Dietz.

Michael Dietz is a writer and translator currently living in Gainesville, Florida. His poems have appeared in New England Review and Verse.

—A founding member of the editorial board of Eldorado ediciones, Sergio Valero was born in Mexico City in 1969. Author of the collections Valga la noche (2003) and Cuaderno de Alejandra (1997), his columns and criticism on literature and music have appeared in Vuelta, Letras libres, El Nacional, Crónica, and El Financiero. He is know as El Polio.

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Originally published in

BOMB 91, Spring 2005

Featuring interviews with Constant Nieuwenhuys and Linda Boersma, Julie Mehretu, Alexi Worth, Pearl Abraham and Aryeh Lev Stollman, Robert Antoni and Lawrence Scott, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Jim O’Rourke, Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Coleman, Brad Cloepfil and Stuart Horodner, and Bruce Mau and Kathryn Simon.

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091 Spring 2005 1024X1024