Ernesto Cardenal and I

By Roberto Bolaño Roberto Bolano
I was out walking, sweaty and with hair plastered
to my face
when I saw Ernesto Cardenal approaching
from the opposite direction
and by way of greeting I said:
Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven
that is communism,
is there a place for homosexuals?
Yes, he said.   
And for impenitent masturbators?
For sex slaves?
For sex fools?
For sadomasochists, for whores, for those obsessed   
with enemas,   
for those who can't take it anymore, those who really truly   
can't take it anymore?
And Cardenal said yes.   
And I raised my eyes
and the clouds looked like
the pale pink smiles of cats
and the trees cross-stitched on the hill
(the hill we've got to climb)
shook their branches.   
Savage trees, as if saying
some day, sooner rather than later, you'll have to come
into my rubbery arms, into my scraggly arms,
into my cold arms. A botanical frigidity
that'll stand your hair on end.

Source: Poetry (November 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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November 2008
 Roberto  Bolaño


Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) co-founded the Infrarealist poetry movement in Mexico City in the seventies. He later moved to Catalonia, Spain, where, after becoming widely recognized for his novels and short stories, he published two collections of poetry: Los perros románticos (The romantic dogs) and Tres (Three). His most recent collection, La universidad desconocida (The unknow university), was published posthumously in 2007.

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SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Christianity, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

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