With The Disguises of Fire I have tackled a creative obsession that still does not leave me alone: silence and its relationship with life and death. The book has as an emotional guide, the music of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, since each of its four sections has a musical indication for the reader.
The poems are based on the beliefs that death is the way to return to the silence from which we came, and that in the physical world we are all variations, disguises, of a previous fire.
According to Eva Castañeda, “The disguises of fire is an atypical book in the current Mexican poetry written by young people, if we consider that the bulk of the poetic production bets on the vertigo and the noise on the page, following the current trend.” Coinciding with this, Jorge Ortega affirms that the book “means a pleasant exception to the rule and a guarantee of resistance of the poetic temperament to the dictatorship of fashion in progress.”
With a jury made up of the poets Jorge Esquinca, Luis Armenta Malpica and Carmen Villoro, Los disfraces del fuego was winner of the regional poetry prize Rodulfo Figueroa 2014, given by the State of Chiapas in Mexico. It was published the following year in Atrasalante Editions.
That same year, the poet Margarito Cuellar included Los disfraces del fuego in the list of best books of the 2015 of newspaper “El Norte” in Monterrey, Mexico.
In 2017, the book was finalist of the prestigious Ibero-American poetry contest “Festival de la lira”, in Ecuador.
The current section should be read while listening to
Für Alina, by Arvo Pärt
I want to pretend that I hurt you, my silence.
I want to pretend that I throw stones at you,
that I throw birds and fish,
anything that flies, at you
and then you break, you crack
and all your pieces only fall inside of you,
and I pick them up and look at you,
and there you are,
complete as always,
I come out of you, Silence,
searching for you rhythm and your repetitions,
to hold your face
and your temperature within me.
I fill my eyes,
my lungs with you.
All my tongue tastes like you, Silence,
my metallic saliva, my voice of clouds,
Broken glass takes me to you,
to a blind boat, to an awaken stay.
I come out of you, Silence.
But what doesn’t?
I have seen you resting in sick sheets, in exhausted bread. I have seen you in the kneeled beauty of the sores, in the taste of dust.
You have walked, my silence, with eyes filled of new words. You have succumbed to the asthma of stones, to the most relentless age of fractures
and to sweetness.
I can’t contain you. You come out of me like the relief of flowers
at the feet of the hanged man. You come out of me, Silence,
and you are my father and my son, my inheritance.
Suddenly a glass breaks and you transform:
transparent sliver, clear stridence.
You come out of me, Silence,
and repeat yourself.
Who comes out of whom?
An echoless bird
gets naked and rests
on your hair.
A lie sunrises within you,
it sweetens you.
A truth becomes a maiden.
Turned to yourself, Silence,
you fill our veins
with transparent birds.
Your underground flight makes us equal.
but it isn’t you.
The disguises of fire
Tabula Rasa, Arvo Pärt.
All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new?” It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
Eclesiastes, I. 7-11
Fate takes pleasure in repetition, variants, symmetries. Nineteen centuries later, in the South of Buenos Aires province, a gaucho is attacked by other gauchos and, as he falls, recognizes a godson and with gentle reproach and gradual surprise exclaims (these words must be heard, not read), “But che!” He is being killed and never knows he dies so that a scene may be re-enacted.
Jorge Luis Borges
Bitten by her age
my grandmother talks to the previous one
that saw her through my eyes:
Didn’t it ever hurt you
leaving me like this,
with five children?
You never thought about us?
I feel guilty of the silence
that my face, before myself, kept
but I clarify: my love, I am your grandson,
the first child of your youngest son,
I’m the one who lives far away.
I was going to say she tells me,
that it didn’t make sense
that I was so old
and you remain the same.
She hugs me with relief,
as if this conversation
But it will happen, as usual,
next time we see each other.
[…] the word for pleasure covers contradictory realities
comprising notions of warmth, sweetness, and intimacy of
bodies, but also feelings of violence and agony, and the
sound of a cry.
Like sound does to the string,
pleasure tightens the hand
of he who holds a blade.
Pleasure tenses the hand
of he who asphyxiates:
pleasure opens its mouth.
Pleasure opens its mouth
and says names, says
pleasure opens the eyes
staring at a corpse
pleasure opens the eyes
and looks at us, dark animals
to all it opens.
The lightning, upon arising
displays the veins of the sky.
New maiden: reveal
your arteries: they are the singing
of the repetitions: water stroke
and walking of the ants
on future cracks.
in your wrists dance
the lightning, the branch,
the drawing of the river,
the desert and its veins,
the lines of the skin,
the dry tongue.
(All archetype is the beginning of a repetition,
the birth of an echo.)
New maiden, look at yourself:
you are happening.
Hard honey is luminous
and sweet as the light. Quiet is the way
in which blood rises
and you sunrise
Your feet have the taste of a certain sad chord
played by the hands of a dark skinned girl
on a fictitious piano, on a moonless afternoon.
Your voice, slow riddle,
is inaccurate as the eye of the old,
absolute as hopelessness.
Your silence is a fish
cutting the blackness,
a lizard at night,
a sleepwalking woman.
The nape of your neck is a dance, reflection
Declaration of love
Pleasure is within your body
like death is within the knife.
You are direct and alone, simple
as your archetype
you are new.
Your numerous skin
was in the mirror
of all of us who have been,
of all of those who will be.
However, my Heart
there is no sadness today
in our repeated fugue:
this illusion of novelty is enough.
Like the first one, the current section of this book
should be read while listening to Für Alina, by Arvo Pärt
A flower blooms
at the feet of the hanged man.
True and calm, the flower
ventures and extends itself into the silence
in which it is born and which unifies us.
you take us back to the place of no sound,
you inhabit us from inside your time,
from the tick tock of the heart
to the space, because you are, my death,
the silence between two heartbeats.
You are not ours, Death, you are not ours.
Our bitterness and calm belong to you;
we are yours.
You, the undresser,
take our disguises off.
You open the door of a clock within our chest
and a seagull
goes back to the ocean.
Its song is noiseless.
Where are you taking me back to, my death?
Where are you taking me back to?
I was within a silence
before the disguises
and now you emerge, Death,
with your walking of fish,
with your song of sleepwalker,
with your light of sunflowers in a dark room.
You emerge within me and you also
have disguises: arches of light,
of churches and cemeteries.
Your face is the ocean
the hand of the suicidal
the voice of the murderer
the wine of others and its alien death
within us, like the voice
of the unborn, the voice
of pigeons that are transparent
like hunger or thirst
like the disguise of fire
like the body
that seems to never die.
Your faces, my death, are also
the ocean of the repetitions.
Within beauty, my Heart, inside the beauty is death, burning. From us to the bodies desire is riding, and from the bodies, from within the bodies to ourselves death is watching, watching and coming forward,
bird made out of air.
Full of death are the fresh apple
and the undressed maiden. Full of death
are the boy’s thighs, the skin of those who sweat,
the disguises of fire.
Full of death is all beauty.
Full of you, my death
I feel transparent birds
within my veins.
Your underground flight holds me.
but it isn’t you.