IRASTORTZA, Tere:
Some poems

Tell me
what you think
of me,
poem written
with a cheap Bic:
what do you feel
when I cannot extinguish
my cold breath
and my hot blood;
what,
when I throw you
balled up
into the functional wastepaper basket in the left corner;
what,
when I come screaming
and drown my sorrows
in your sad grids.

I was daydreaming
and when I found myself
without answers
you also

turned mysterious on me,
cheap and scorned piece of paper:
mysterious grid
that I love,
poem written
on a yellowish page,
poem that I love
above all else.

© Irastortza, Tere. Gabeziak (Things Lacking), Pamiela, 1980.




When in the midnight of life
I feel that your presence
stems from your
absence,
when I feel that when I drink you, you your smell
comes to me from going to bed on the edge of tears,

it is not enough for me

it is not enough for me and
I ask for your hands
also, among my great anguishes,
it is not enough for me and
I need your hands
until these great anguishes explode.

When in the midnight of life
I embrace our
verse
I would like
to undo your absence

I would like to undo it
and I don't know how
I don't know how and
I caress the moon
with the hands I lack,
I caress the moon
in the refuge that life has at night,
as if in all the hours of the night
your presence
flowed
from your
absence.

© Irastortza, Tere. Gabeziak (Things Lacking), Pamiela, 1980.




Why
can this notebook
that serves for everything
not serve to preserve
the shadow of your lips,
why?

Why
on this page
that I soiled one night
is it impossible for me to bind
traces of you,
why?

Why
with this pen
that I have used a thousand times
can I not
write
a single poem on your skin?

© Irastortza, Tere. Gaia eta gau-aldaketak (Gaia and Night Changes), Pamiela, 1983.




Bring to me
dreams
places between
mathematical operations
hearts painted
behind summaries of history
on my fingers,
formulas
calculations
clouds
in kisses

without gagging
lips that came squealing,
without slowing
the footrace
driven by knives
and
the sugary night poems
you never
wrote, wrapped up
in the hours
you spent thinking of me.

© Irastortza, Tere. Gaia eta gau-aldaketak (Gaia and Night Changes), Pamiela, 1983.




Dawn Poems III

I take you
trembling

with the kiss
on the mouth
that I once offered to the mirror
in our unembraceable space
chained before the mirror
and remaining to be discovered,
in the strange body
admired in the mirror.

Trembling
I follow you

once and for all
freeing flowers and leaves
from tractors,
in the handkerchief of laughter
that is embroidered
only once,
once
dreams
fall to
rubble, coughs.

Trembling
I consume you,
and wait also
trembling.

© Irastortza, Tere. Gaia eta gau-aldaketak (Gaia and Night Changes), Pamiela, 1983.




Here
those who have nothing to do,
those who do not open their windows to the breeze.
Here,
those who do not want
to seat winter by the fire,
those who do not want
to submerge the night in a naked river.
Here,
those who beg
to rape life
without paying for
or tasting the air.

But here, those of us who would flee
if the moon
were a known hallway,
the stars,
pearls on a necklace
hanging from the night,
if life
were a holy error,
perhaps
to sparks,
if ice had a heart of fire;
as far as the mills
perhaps,
if misfortunes could be ground;
to offer
love
as if it were a carnation.

© Irastortza, Tere. Gaia eta gau-aldaketak (Gaia and Night Changes), Pamiela, 1983.




Two eyes had
life
and it did not catch sight of
happiness;
a mouth
and it could not
quash the romance
of green insanity.
Two hands
but it could not seize
the skirts of the night!

The hands
had life,
the eyes
life,
the mouth,
and impotency also
was incapable of living,
but it was impossible
to suckle life,
to finish off death,
and more impossible
to vanquish humanity.

© Irastortza, Tere. Gaia eta gau-aldaketak (Gaia and Night Changes), Pamiela, 1983.




Thirst has chained
my palate,
when I was pinning down rays of light
with thumbtacks
in the margins of nightfall;
it came to me with bitter impotence,
with a persistent nettle itch,
lower parts turned to vinegar,
ray of life
on your palate;
I don't know, who knows
such is the solitude that chained me when I fell
into the vegetable garden of the years
that can no longer make honey
in me,
nor rays of life
in you
--on the edges of nightfall?

© Irastortza, Tere. Hostoak (Leaves), Pamiela, 1983.




I also
will say the saddest words
go, leaf, fall ill?
life

roses that wilt
on porcelain thorns

I will say the saddest words
dove, door, here...
in this haze

you have turned my belly into
a barrel of bitter lemon
a love impossible to clothe
with kisses from a velvet doll

I will confess the saddest words
singular, say, life
word...
without, you, minus, nothing...

I will say the saddest words
perhaps, tomorrow, if I had you...
death
fire
held in a vessel of ice

and life
is the saddest error.

© Irastortza, Tere. Hostoak (Leaves), Pamiela, 1983.




I am going
as if I had found
my town
by chance,
as if my house
were an inn,
as if my bedroom
were not mine,
as if I were fleeing
the new light.

I am going

as if your doors
had not opened,
as if your chairs
did not recognize me
and refused me
as if your fruits
were forbidden to me,
as if my thirst
did not drown you,

as if I had not just arrived.

© Irastortza, Tere. Hostoak (Leaves), Pamiela, 1983.




I will arrive
dragging my sorrows through these pages
bearing
on my back
the weight of so many days
lost as if in Parcheesi
crossing doorways of wounds
open to the west
at dusk

I will arrive for the moment
in stylish trains
grasping in each hand
tombs for life,
at the station of passions
that would stop nothing
at the station that stopped us.

I will arrive if my desire
to see does not flag.

© Irastortza, Tere. Hostoak (Leaves), Pamiela, 1983.




Anything can be enough
to cry about:
embracing sad memories,
seeing a Charlie Chaplin movie,
feeling
the moon drowning in the sea,
dulling the teeth of the zipper of the future.

Anything can be enough
to cry about,

but to keep crying
it is not much
to meet someone on the street
who because of not dying has made himself
someone
else.

© Irastortza, Tere. Derrotaren fabulak (Fables of Defeat), Pamiela, 1986.




You can burst into tears in words
with sentences with neither syntax nor coordination
you can take verses
days and nights
as limited and narrow as dried up oceans
bitterness can make a pact with you
and until you wake up
you try to decide
how to price God's destiny in the market
you could empty yourself of words
from among the seeds of the last flowers of the green fields
from the spawn of the trout of a remote river cave
and nevertheless one needs more solitary reeds
and more eloquent chasms
to be able to yell
since, unexpectedly, a cockroach has landed
on the breast of your life
a bat hangs from your daytime eyes
one needs better-disguised silences
to dry the backs of your eyes as if they were drops of whiteness
that could be sipped like champagne bubbles
and one needs a greater solitude
to cry in a made bed
and to begin to suffer.

© Irastortza, Tere. Derrotaren fabulak (Fables of Defeat), Pamiela, 1986.




We grew apart in the same bedroom
one from the other:
I opened the window
to let out that salamander pain,
rubbing my eyes
so that my tears would not fall on that greatest of passions;
you,
putting light in your pocket
together with coins,
opening your eyes
by day
calling to the wind with sighs
on ropes that swung between the stars,
and when I approached you on tiptoe
catching my waist
wanting to seize me
thinking that, stuck to my waist,
you would be me
-and it was a lie-

© Irastortza, Tere. Derrotaren fabulak (Fables of Defeat), Pamiela, 1986.




After every shadowy darkness
I wait to die
and I make grids
with white card stock
I open the windows to it
and start to play checkers
with barely flammable clouds of fire
that arrive laden with alcohol
until
day breaks and
I hide my fear
by turning it into noise
until I open
the handwritten notebook of the day
and blind myself in it.

© Irastortza, Tere. Derrotaren fabulak (Fables of Defeat), Pamiela, 1986.




In such and such a year of the grace of Our Lord

Let them not cover any mirrors
when I die
so that when I cross the river
what on this side was denied to me and hidden
returns to me from the other side.

© Irastortza, Tere. Osinberdeko khantoreak (Songs of Osinberde), Pamiela, 1986.




You have blue eyes and
I would never want to interpret them
flash poems

the words of poets
want to open up and
I will never close
your book when you leave it on the floor!

© Irastortza, Tere. Osinberdeko khantoreak (Songs of Osinberde), Pamiela, 1986.




He loved
in escape and because of escape
without waiting for the omen of the birds
although no matter how often he retraced that path
he would never be able to return
to the eternity of that instant.

© Irastortza, Tere. Osinberdeko khantoreak (Songs of Osinberde), Pamiela, 1986.




From the tombs of the floors of dictionaries
I extracted and measured
seeking distant sensations
and the names of my nearest and dearest
were lost.

© Irastortza, Tere. Osinberdeko khantoreak (Songs of Osinberde), Pamiela, 1986.




And times of love are the only
stops on the road of life

and times of love, the only
respite along the way.

© Irastortza, Tere. Osinberdeko khantoreak (Songs of Osinberde), Pamiela, 1986.




In four seasons

1

Since the sixth day of the ninth month
it has not been cold.
In the early morn the fog no longer leaves dew on the roads,
and there is no need for a cap at nightfall.
At night, a harsh wind carries the clouds from the sky
needing to show the wounds of its soul,
and the moon, completely full,
places itself, guardian angel of the town, above the bell tower.
I look at my town;
everything seems changed; I would like to see what it is like.

Put on your balcony, my friend, cushions of silk,
and bring, as in other times,
bring streams of wine!

2

At dawn, without spirit for anything else,
I look out the window.
The priest of another time, listening for the factory whistle;
the present night watchman of the town says amen to the ringing of the bell.
On the left, the landscape is limpid,
like in the most romantic of still photos.
On the right, smoke from the foundry rises to the blue sky:
it will not give up until it splits the sky.
They say that we are fine sheets of iron,
that we warm up immediately and get cold right away.
But the wound refuses to heal, all the same.

Put on your balcony, my friend, cushions of silk,
cushions on your balcony,
two words on your lips
and bring me photos of yesteryear
let my sadness not be destroyed
when vigilant eyes terrify me.

3

At high noon, the factory whistle and the Angelus bells
strike to the bone through the window.
Tired, the workers go home hungry
and, home from work, the neighbor
reads the newspaper to his wife
so that, in addition to having children and preparing food,
she will know something about the world.
I look around me
and everything is as it was,
on the wheel of ancient generations.

I will take away from your balcony, my friend, the cushions of silk,
and your lips from my pain.
I will fast with the windows closed,
since wounds are not healed
with sugary words or rubbed with ointments.
How can you not be weary, my friend,
of being a man among such men!

4

As night arrives, the columns of smoke collapse
over the balconies, over the washing hung out.
The rays of the sun seem to crack
in muddy streams,
and dog lovers populate
the streets and the parks.
Incomprehensible music from bars
begins to harmonize,
and the night seems a rubber sedative
for insomniacs.

I have read, my friend, the books of the romantic poets
and those of the newest Basque storytellers.
I would like to shatter them all
and light a bonfire
this Ash Wednesday!

© Irastortza, Tere. Izen gabe direnak. Haurdunaldi beteko khantoreak (Those Without Names. Pregnancy Songs), Pamiela, 2001.




Spaces fill:
they are neither shortened
nor prolonged
since they do not move geometrically,
nor can they be held in photos or images.

Spaces fill
-first in ourselves-

© Irastortza, Tere. Izen gabe direnak. Haurdunaldi beteko khantoreak (Those Without Names. Pregnancy Songs), Pamiela, 2001.




Like the anatidae

among which the best known are ducks and geese,
I will approach the most aquatic environments,
as if you were a river that grows with my tears,
like the ANATIDAE, without worrying myself
about sexual dimorphism,
thinking I could fly,
I will fly and fly

in red dawns

in the reddest dawns

© Irastortza, Tere. Glosak. Esana zetorrenaz (Glosses. On What Was Said]) Pamiela, 2004.




We decided
that it was unthinkable that we would come to hate each other.
Even in the coldest cold we walked together,
in semidarkness,
in the dusk of bodies and souls,
while thoughts turned into steam.
Although hate
is born in the orchard of love,

we quoted,
while, in the garrets of the house,
in the cloudiest nights,
we went looking for stars.

In the game of mirrors of hating while loving and of antonyms,
by the time that we surrendered to not dreaming about what we were not,
we realized
that it was impossible to pull
those weeds.

We knew well that the rubble of the passion of love is
Obsession, or call it, if you prefer,
hate.

When the lack of battle is absolute despair
it is even impossible to unite matter and antimatter,

you told me.
I felt my breath go rigid
with every breath,
and those tears that could become the first drop of rain,
like icicles,
though not melting in the sun,
could find no drain. (3)

of course

(3) When all is said and done, whoever decides to inhabit the wilderness of hatred
knows that,
in that desert,
the land of hatred borders only on emptiness;
that, when all is said and done, what leads to the path of hatred,
believing it goes here or there,
is the need to walk without going anywhere,
evidently.

© Irastortza, Tere. Glosak. Esana zetorrenaz (Glosses. On What Was Said), Pamiela, 2004.





© Translation: Kristin Addis