Friday, 2 February 2018

Defeat - Rafael Cadenas

I who have never had a trade
who have felt weak facing every competitor
who lost the best titles for life
who barely arrive somewhere and already want to leave (believing that moving is a solution)
who have been denied in anticipation and ridiculed by the most able
who lean against the walls so I won't completely collapse
who am a target of laughter even for myself
who thought my father was eternal
who have been humiliated by professors of literature
who one day asked how I could help and the answer was a loud laugh
who will never be able to start a home, nor be brilliant, nor triumph in life
who have been abandoned by many people because I barely speak
who am ashamed of acts I haven't committed
who have needed little incentive to start running down the street
who have lost a centre I never had
who have become the laughing stock of so many people for living in limbo
who never found anyone who would put up with me
who was omitted in favour of people more miserable than me
who will spend my whole life like this and
who next year will be mocked many more times for my ridiculous ambition
who am tired of receiving advice from others more lethargic than me ("You're so slow, get with it, wake up")
who will never be able to travel to India
who have received favours without giving anything in return
who traverse the city from one end to another like a feather
who let myself be pulled along by others
who have no personality and don't want to have one
who muffle my rebellion all day
who haven't joined the guerrillas
who haven't done anything for my people
who don't belong to the FALN and all these things and others whose enumeration would be interminable make me desperate
who cannot escape my prison
who have been dismissed everywhere for being useless
who actually haven't been able to get married or go to Paris or have a serene day
who refuse to acknowledge facts
who always drool on my story
who am an imbecile and more than an imbecile from birth
who lost the thread of the discourse being executed within me and I haven't been able to find it
who don't cry when I feel the desire to do so
who arrive late to everything
who have been ruined by so many marches and counter-marches
who desire perfect immobility and impeccable speed
who am not what I am nor what I am not
who despite everything maintain a satanic pride even if at certain hours I've been humble to the point of bringing myself to the level of stones
who have lived in the same circle for fifteen years
who thought I was predestined for something beyond the everyday and have achieved nothing
who will never wear a tie
who can't find my body
who have perceived my falsehood in lightning flashes and haven't been able to topple myself, sweep away everything and create my indolence, my flotation, my wandering a new freshness, and obstinately commit suicide within arm's reach
I will get up off the ground even more ridiculous to keep mocking others and myself until the day of final judgement.

Rafael Cadenas (born 1930) Venezuela
Translated by Guillermo Parra
Source: TYPO Magazine: Venezuelan Poetry: 1921-2001

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