Mario Licón Cabrera (México, 1949) has lived in Sydney since 1992. His third collection of poetry, La Reverberación de la Ceniza was publshed by Mora & Cantúa Editores in 2005. He was invited to the Spring writers Festival (Sydney) in 1998 and to the Semana de la Poesía Barcelona, 1999, and to The National Poetry Week in 2006. He has translated the poetry of Dorothy Porter, Judith Beveridge, Peter Boyle, J.S. Harry, Robert Adamson, amongst other Australian poets, into Spanish.These poems are part of Yuxtas, a bilingual collection (Spanish/English), written with the assistance of a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts/Literature Board. Read Peter Boyle’s review of Juxtas in our Reviews and Essays section.
Photographer: David Cahill
Will these be the 206 aristocratic bones of my father? R.H
I Rodolfo Hinostrosa speaks of his father's bones and I think about yours, padre, and suddenly I wanted to see them.
Will they have survived this quarter of century buried under those drastic, so insolent climate changes?
The scholars in such matters say that one – or better said, our bones – can survive thousands of years buried in the Sahara sands.
But you are not directly buried in the sand. I don't even know what kind of coffin my brothers had elected for you.
In any case, I don't believe that you were buried in a dark and fresh clay wombs' pot as our ancestors used to do it.
Will they move. Will they change site – skull, humeri and femurs? A shoulder blade on a fibula or a tíbia?
Will they seek the trace of the once beloved bones, the bones loved beyond the skin?
Of what will they dream? Which song they will remember? What name will they want to name – the bones –, in their darkness?
Perhaps when it rains they are scattered?
Once, as a boy, I saw the relics of some coffins and in them – remains of hair and clothes stuck on some bones.
They had removed a cemetery to build a playground in its place. We never played there: It was so much its dryness that we all crossed in full silence.
IV One night, a couple of years ago I passed in front of your last shoe-repair shop, that one near the now extinct creek of your Villa de Seris.
The doors were wide open. A dark deep silence inside. And the ruins of the old huge house of Los Gómez more dead than ever.
Now I think that the ideal place for your bones would be there beside the ghost-creek, near the narrow bridge where all passers-by greeted you with so much respect: Don Ventura. Tonight
Tonight I will not read any of my poems. Tonight I want only to give thanks – thanks to Poetry and to a bunch of poets.
To Poetry herself, for having given me another voice, another voice with which I can talk to the trees and stones and birds.
I want to say thanks to the Aztec poet Ayocuan Cuetzpatzin for his deep knowledge of the human heart. To Saint John of the Cross for his advice on how to make love to my soul.
And thanks to Dante Alligieri and Arthur Rimbaud for having given me such good instruction on how to commute through the Hades.
To poetry for giving me a pair of hands with which I can greet the wind and touch the faces of my beloved dead-ones.
To Walt Whitman and Federico García Lorca for the profound resonance of their cry and for the great love the second one had for the first one.
To Vicente Huidobro and Nicanor Parra for taking off the face of to-much-solemnity that Pablo Neruda gave to poetry. And because the first one showed me how to fall from the bottom to the top.
Thanks to Jorge Luis Borges who in his noble blindness thought that paradise was a library. And thanks to Cesar Vallejo, for all his sorrows, his solitude and his poet's bravery.
Esta noche no leeré ninguno de mis poemas. Esta noche quiero solamente dar gracias – gracias a la poesía y a una banda de poetas.
A la Poesía misma porque me a dado otra voz, otra voz con la que puedo hablar con los árboles y las piedras y los pájaros.
Quiero dar gracias al poeta azteca Ayocuan Cuetzpatzin- por su vasto conocimento del corazón humano. A San Juan de la Cruz por sus consejos de como hacer el amor con mi alma.
Y gracias a Dante Alligieri y Arthur Rimbaud por darme tan buenas instruciones de como entrar y salir de los infiernos.
A la poesía por darme unas manos con la que puedo saludar al viento y tocar el rostro de mis queridos muertos.
A Walt Whitman Y Federico García Lorca por la profunda resonancia de sus cantos y por lo tanto que el segundo amó al primero.
A Vicente Huidobro y Nicanor Parra por haberle quitado el rostro tan solemne que Pablo Neruda le dió a la poesía. Y por que el primero me enseño a caer de abajo hacia arriba.
Gracias a Jorge Luis Borges porque en su noble ceguera confundió el paraíso con una biblioteca. Y gracias a Cesar Vallejo por toda su tristeza todas sus soledades y toda su bravura de poeta.