translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra





I fell in love with Bolivar at age 11

                     in the Redoubt District school 

                     sixth grade


I meditated on his biography


glory shone over his labyrinth

where I could be


alone with The Liberator


no one would find us during those hours

-battlefield or moon filled

                                     with white and red

unfolded as a table for the dissection

of war and peace

or a sheet of agonizing pleasure –


America:  I knew she was inked

with dye from the feathers

                of great parrots

and warriors had mounted her


I knew nothing else

                         though I was born into her


at school for the first time I said

                         your name aloud


and your horse reared

your laurels turned to green fire

your poems spilled thick warm showers

older women threw themselves at your feet

and tossed you flowers


I continued to caress your horse

                                its curling mane

and was certain of having known you


at 13 I loved Captain Nemo passionately



underwater chambers

and the stunned eye of the Nautilus

projecting light


at age 13 I descended into the depths of the sea

did 20 thousand leagues of submarine travel

kissed your dark beard Captain Nemo

clasped your scientific apparatus

between the books’ caulked walls


my eyes were looking at you Captain

and there were navigations


“the silky gaze”

of the great octopus rested on the round window


then entered the submarine

through a tunnel of compliant suckers

carnivorous and

aquatic plants


the voyage would last as long as that suspended gaze

I fell in love with Leonardo da Vinci at 15

fell into sweetest chiaroscuro

ambiguous orchards

geometry’s guileful smile


I would number among his favorite disciples

was like his young housekeeper

who would carry out telepathic tasks

and serve him precocious inventions


I met Leda

Mona Lisa

The Virgin of the Rocks

-my neighbors-

so swiftly

that I found out about Leonardo and burst into tears


I lived in his wet forest color

his somber fallinginlove color

I was enamored with you


and though you were wise

you never found out


I would have liked to strap on your mechanical wings

and fly above Florence with you

so easy to love you from Montevideo

progressing toward Vinci at 15




once you sat me down on your horse’s haunches


and victory was mine


the melancholy tore me apart

I sank deep under water with Captain Nemo

in salty tears propellers high speed

I was the fish who follows the visitor

to a phosphorescent precipice


with “ostinato rigore” Leonardo taught me

the art of flight

the transmutation of impulse

and velocity of shadow:

airplane flying through the dark at ground level



in domestic craftsmanship      I trade ideas

                                                  trade words with all three


with The Liberator I discuss the people

the true weight of         a living dove

                                      a dove by Picasso

                                      or the dove of peace

resting on the length of the staff of justice


a child calls at the door and asks me for something to eat

and the other dish on the scale

spills over with pain

as my tongue receives the Provisional Order

of the fifteenth year

and Artigas steps to my side in this imperious 1984


I’ve modernized the navigator’s compass 

and without realizing it

converted his sextant into radar

sometimes on my nightstand it looks like a fan 

spinning its gaze from window to mirror


let’s talk about that




I keep myself alive on canned greens

and chemical substances

keep applying 

Sienna earth to my face

making up my eyes with black smoke


and I take a seat at Leonardo’s table

-seditious alchemist-

as if I were in my own home

I turn off the light

and explore this writing





                                     (“Avec les gemissements graves du Montevideen”)



                                     Avec les gemissements graves du Montevideen.




I’m Amanda – from Montevideo –

daughter of Amanda, the cow-eyed

contemporary goddess

blackbird heart with lightning bolts

sheltering the beam that shatters night

flapping joy’s wings life touched

daughter of Rimmel, father

fighting cock

violent Cerberus

or tender marrow under the feathers

almost compasses almost arrows

sister of Rimmel, sacrificed and dear

dead because the dead

From the kingdom of the dead

surrounded him


I’m Amanda wife of José Pedro

steady as a cedar, lofty


as the mountain


necessary and distant as the river

that gives us drink

words do not live there

wind veils its love, escarped, inaccessible


I’m Amanda mother of Alvaro

the anxious

“ardent” sailboat

fruit of the union of that burning tree

with my squadron of drifting ships

announced by a baby swallow

who fell on my legs one February afternoon

and lived in my house

fluttered by my bed

ate insects

and disappeared on the ninth day



I’m Amanda

                  and I move toward Amanda without a destination


chased by a golden horsefly

through the purple

of an inexorable continuous

murder of Amanda





                                                         (the night’s parapet)




                                                         to Washington Benavíde



we move down fear’s pitched slope

                                         52nd street and Seventh

on elevators that descend from an

artificial moon toward the petiole of the earth

we travel on electronic wind

                                 from the mouth of fires

we sense the Assassin and teeth like revolvers

and the white chalk on linoleum outlining

                                             the victim’s soul


vociferous Sirens are heard

                                 amid nocturnal swells

calling to the cold hard Fates for help


vertigo unfurls in the highest aligned


their eyes planing from skyscrapers

                                like predatory birds


the giant hospital is so close

                                                  that silence

is only an antechamber for the guards


the homosexual wears a garter with transistor flowers 

and “loaded” dice roll down sidewalks

                                      on Broadway Ave

among pieces from hypodermic needles

lying next to cocaine-wing dust

By the thick pink odor of marijuana

smoke from the “grass”

someone pushes a living sculpture

                                               of a young African


and slaps him into steel cuffs in front of a porno shop

women are unisex and musky

and that old traffic in               orange vulvas

phosphorescent penises

and a variety of supplements:

supermarket for tacit immortality

supermarket for general goods


farther down

The subway’s surreptitious earthquake

makes the sewers moan


(no one knows we’re wandering lonely

                                         among great mindblowing walls)


silhouetted at the huge 45th floor window

the image of creation, erect and fierce

                 as a tiger mid-leap

buildings announce their

                                   luminous 101 109 120


                   their vertically launched trains

                    vibrate like survivors now


electrified I was trembling

witness to terror enraptured

      a trapped heroine

      a satellite aroused

                         to orbit Saturn


that night I rested under a 37-degree shower

rain falling from a nickel dragon escaped 

from a decorative tile

I made the toilet flush with some pedal or

                                          remote control

looked at the window, hermetic yet transparent,

and saw the high level to which alarms had risen


I saw the royal moon of northern December again

                    its plastic lemon segment

                     label adhered

                     to jagged slate cut from a thick sky


-so disproportionate the height that encircled me -


and suddenly, superimposed, enormous

                                 a wild Moon

from Cuneo appeared

stormy yellow streaked spider

over Fabini’s peaceable and slow “Countryside” 

                                              with “Sad Songs”

or above our faraway defenseless Montevideo

rising from its black trees

                                        city planners for the celestial blue web



then                 at that moment

                         in New York

                                                  I thought:

that all humanity must be awake

no one must sleep or turn out the light

and we were all keeping vigil

                                      alert as owls

and I was

not “the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door”

but an olive-skinned Pallas alive and expectant

on that night’s postmodern parapet



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