IGERABIDE, Juan Kruz:
Some poems

SMILE

A man smiles,
a woman smiles,
they kiss. Me.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



LIFE

Open your eyes:
see two suns,
red and hot.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



AFFLICTION

The moon hides
behind the clouds,
cries over the earth.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



DAWN

A sound on the horizon:
morning trills,
the sweetest song.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



LIKE A BUTTON

I was born through a buttonhole,
like a button, but crying.
Meanwhile, the moon smiled.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



ONE SMILE

On her lips a petal
sings a melody:
the sway of her breath.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



PAIN

Little sister is alone,
poor her;
shush, close the door.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



PARENTLESS

A little orphan
holds tight
to a beautiful kite.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



CITY CICADA

Shut up cicada,
stop that song,
you're breaking the night.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



BIRTH

A child is born:
simultaneously, the earth
starts turning.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



HAPPINESS

A child laughs:
butterflies
flutter from his mouth.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



LONG-LOST MEMORIES

It's my birthday today:
an old ray of light
came to my window.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



GRANDFATHER

He switches the radio on:
he wants to turn off
the sound of time.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



NIGHTBIRD

The child wants
to stay up:
his eyelids carry
two dusky elephants.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Botoi bat bezala (Like a Button), Anaya-Haritza, 1999



What is that out there?
Is your hand trying to open
that curtain of rain?
It is raining,
as always,
and as always
the same old rain
draws the curtains
on long-gone days.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



VIOLENT DEATHS

The eyes of men
who suffer violent deaths
have two bullet holes
where the pupils were.

And those pupils are
raindrops,
making holes on a roof
in a downpour.

The eyes of men
who suffer violent deaths
have two raindrop holes
where the pupils were.

And I have buried my index fingers
in those holes where the pupils should be.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



A POEM FOR A RUNAWAY

When the runway heads homeward,
the wind blows him farther away

The plight of the road is a relief
when he finally absconds from home;
as his parents shout his name
and the wind takes it away.

He thinks far, far ahead,
twenty years into the past at least:
that's how far he'll look back,
Will they be home that day?

A flower blooms in his eyes,
like a gemstone on the shore;
he'll be a prodigal son
without a home.

The streets of others,
the faces of others,
his parents' yellowing photographs.
A runaway can never return.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



LIKE IT ALWAYS DID

The Mountains of Bizkaia
are full of wounds.

Mothers gather the last blooms
from the meadows,
and hold them close their hearts,
while they wait to crown their dead
with multicoloured garlands.

Wind hits the windows,
loose pebbles clamour against the glass:
don't sleep, don't sleep,
we will not let you sleep,
don't sleep, stay still, in your shroud.


Rain combs the mountains of Bizkaia,
like it always did.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



MY FATHER'S HOME

If they ask for blood
in exchange of a name
I will turn mute
and never again need names.

Not one drop of blood I'll shed
to defend my father's home

A stranger's home, a cardboard home,
and they call that my father's home.

My father is a lodger.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



HAPPINESS IS SUSPICIOUS

The world is split in two:
one side for the happy,
the other for the bitter.

One for the oppressors
and one for the oppressed:
the world is split in two.

The world is split in two:
Justice-seekers inhabit one,
cynics the other.

The world is split in two. Perhaps each side could be split into two more sides, and in turn, each one of those into two more. Perhaps each one of us is also split in two: sometimes we are happy and other times tremendously sad, sometimes we feel oppressed and other times we walk all over people - though perhaps unintentionally.

But the world is split in two,
there is no doubt about that;
and still, happiness is suspicious.

One day the earth will cover us and make us equal; or rather, the earth above us will be made equally neat, even and straight, and then I will smile suspiciously, my last happiness frozen on my lips.

It is raining in the cemetery. The sound of rain makes us equal.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



ORPHAN MEN

I am seeking my shadow
in Van Gogh's painting.

In a letter the painter wrote that he found it difficult to paint the orphan men he saw begging for alms in the streets. Only the air of loss in their worn orphan faces could be drawn. The silence of the age is difficult to portray, Van Gogh: how can an old happiness be drawn?

The sky would like to carry
the waterless lake in its arms;
the mountain goes back and forth
chasing bands of clouds.
Wild swans hold the lake down
so the clouds won't take it to the sky.

Van Gogh painted
the lake, the cloud and the wandering mountain;
it's raining on Van Gogh.
The gliding swan, the water's tremor,
don't they stir your soul?

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



CHILDREN'S EYES

There are no roads in the desert,
in itself it is the road to all roads.
I would kill myself
if children's eyes didn't speak to me
like they do.
If nothingness is the frontier
of the rained-on road,
if nothingness is the road itself, even,
then let me be nothing, soon.

And so I see children's eyes
in the small puddles on the road;
born of nothing,
they ask for nothing,
say nothing.
They just exist, and bring a bottomless depth
to those tiny puddles.

Rain undoes everything,
it fills amphorae, making them burst,
bites chunks out of stone villages,
turns the greatest deserts into mere sand,
renders the sculptors' most miraculous
efforts incomprehensible.

But there they are, on the other hand,
children's enormous eyes in tiny puddles.
I haven't shed a tear,
not one, for centuries.
One must be strong,
one must be someone.
Before they reach the corner of my eye
all my tears dry out
in this sandy expanse of nothingness.

I haven't shed a tear, not one,
for centuries;
I see children's eyes
in the rained-on puddles;
my heart has turned to sand,
I have a hole in my gut of stone,
And, despite that, children's eyes
manage to shake something
inside this void within.

The rain, abating for a while,
made an oasis in my eyes.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



NEXT TO EMPTINESS

The evening is chasing colours;
the swaying trees have hypnotised me
and a stone wall stares at me as it sparkles.

The memory of a naked lover
won't materialise at my fingertips.

A horsefly's concentric flight marks
the territory of my despair.

This evening the breeze denies me.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



I NEED A SILENT HAMMER

I need a silent hammer,
to undo the world at night,
while no one watches.

Why bother fixing it;
break everything and find another world,
the hidden one we keep somewhere.

But such a hammer doesn't exist;
and even I have been fixed, over and over.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



A LITTLE CUP OF COFFEE

The sky, tainted black,
smokes,
reflected in a little cup of coffee;
in a corner, a cloud
almost turns into a face.
My hand stirs the black,
bitter coffee,
and simultaneously,
the memory of you.
I drink and wait for the dregs;
I see a dirty coffee spoon,
where you were meant to appear.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



METAPHYSICAL RECKONINGS IN THE SHOWER

Laughter and murmurings
from the bath tap;
they call me water names,
they bathe me in a thousand
boundless seas.
The moment vanishes
with the torrent of water.
The future is a towel
and the past, the gurgling
in the pipes.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



THOUGHTS ON FRIENDSHIP

Two solitudes under the same yoke,
rooftops out of the corner of our eyes
and the steady pace of friendship.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



SALT OF YOUTH

I sliced the potatoes and started to fry;
they looked like little crinkly faces, turning golden
in the foundry of the summer sun
to the tune of a cicada's song.
There is snow in the streets,
the mountains wander far away,
following the clouds suspiciously.

A hand soft as oil
caresses my waist,
a body is clamped against my back,
a pair of tits dig into my shoulder blades,
her breath blows in my neck.
It's snowing, thunder rumbles outside.
A hot round chip between two fingers,
her lips steal it
right next to my ear.
"A bit more salt," she says,
with a voice born of desire.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



YOU'RE SO CLOSE

Hey you,
remember this face
accompanying the shiver of your skin;
you know I am not asking
for a mere, bony hug;
remember this mist in the lenses of your glasses;
it's me, this monster face, it's my breath.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



THOUGHTS ON LIFE

A thread of black ink
shows the way to the wound,
the track of pain to
the bitter underworld.

Some letters are better left unopened.
Better to resend them immediately,
have them travel from post-box to post-box
without sender or recipient.
Like the letters we get from life.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



DREAMS OF TOGETHERNESS

And we saw the trail, proud,
drawing an O in the sky,
and we saw nothing else.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



THOUGHTS ON LOVE

That everlasting
kind of love always
turns to ashes.
What are you waiting for?
For the lover who'll
love you forever
in a future
that'll never come?
Come, right now,
or fuck off.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



THE FINGER IN THE WOUND

The finger in the deepest wound,
where nakedness is beholden to forgetfulness.
My nails dig deeper and deeper into the flesh,
and my body is no longer a body
but a shape in the air.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



I SHOULD GIVE IT A NAME

The cherries split a smile in two.
the bird makes a nest
in a white sea of yogurt;
the honey is like a phrase
without punctuation, breathless.

It's late, I have to hang the washing,
the dishwasher makes too much noise,
road traffic is a sea,
and I can see waves from my window.

I should give a name to all this.

We are all awake;
the mountains, however, have turned away
and are enjoying a morning snooze,
because they don't care
about the rain of gold.

While all of us go seeking gold
in the workplaces that kill so many homes.

I should give a name to all this.

© Igerabide, Juan Kruz. Mailu isila (The Silent Hammer), Alberdania, 2002



© Translation: Amaia Gabantxo