I am waiting for my grandmother,
At the top of a ravine.
She descends every morning gathering sticks.
She gathers enough for a day,
A robin bathing in the pool,
In my heart.
I clear of delusions my struggle.
I was born into a hedgehog family, a hedge by an asphalt road.
We ran a long time,
When the hedge was burned down.
Out of breath I began to cross, looking to my left,
To cross, one, then another road.
From my height I thought that traffic,
Would always come from the left.
Crushed by a car from the right,
I was picked up and made into a scarecrow.
From the height of a scarecrow I could see the sun rising,
Watch the stars, wait for the morning,
When courageous birds showed no fear of my presence.
Dreaming to be on foot.
Years passed by, then one morning I found strength,
To move forwards, backwards.
On my long awaited feet.
Full to the brim,
I stutter my love.
My burning soul,
Recoiling from delusions.
Autumn’s breeze soothes the pain,
Dawn is approaching.
I have spent a long time pouring energy,
Into a cup which I have been holding upside down.
Like a blind man,
I have learned to hold the vessel.
With the stick of my knowledge,
I move now in men’s world.
The clouds which have overhang my mind,
In a dreary dawn my eyes open to life.
Dipping into the universe,
To find our existence a contradiction.
A mad man at night,
A sound one in the morning.
My own Salieri at dusk,
A singing lark in my dreams.
On the brink of despair,
Into the ravine of unquenchable desire,
Seeking my path with fervent care.
Over the deserted fields,
Sunshine follows the rain,
Alone and naked,
Like a polyhedron.
Hard on my ear,
My neighbours’ barking dogs.
The wren’s melody.
Jupiter and Venus,
Wafted through the air
Like a dandelion’s seed.
I bounce from knot to knot,
Fear nothing and everything,
My impregnable figure,
It’s my strength.
I chase the tempest and the rain,
Through my daily death,
I go on living.
On the blooming sunflower,
A quivering white stain,
Life’s transient expression.
I live through decay,
Turning brightness into sound.
An eternity of bubbles,
In the morning,
Waiting for a few grains.
On the blooming forsythia,
Soothing my pain,
By my doorstep,
Mourning a robin,
In early spring.
When two years old I almost died of diphtheria. Home was near the railway and every night the freight train’s tremendous din made the house and myself shaking . During rainy days I would spend hours watching drops on the telegraph wire shining like crystals and joining only to fall. In summer with mother and my brothers used to walk miles away from home to gather wild artichoke and if lucky we would find wild bees’nests hanging from caper bushes. There were thousands of swallows ceaseless diving.
We were always busy, the money father was earning wasn’t enough. Mother had to work hard every day and in all seasons. In September after the first days of rain used to go over the fields picking snails before they could eat any grass. All of us slept in the same room . There was another room though father wouldn’t let us sleep in it . He was scared and, scared us to death. Father when conscript to fight in the Spanish civil war left mother with a son and pregnant. He was back after four years with a large scar at the back of his neck.I was conceived soon after.
Everything I saw puzzled my imagination and soon began to run away for short explorations followed by my mother’s voice. Thus I became acquainted with a young peasant who enjoyed himself in building traps . The traps though primitive were terrific, consisting of a flat stone the size of a roof slate placed on the ground and kept almost straight by three sticks dangerously balanced against a second stone round shaped and heavy. The sticks designed as to converge not directly against the round stone but over a little twig flat shaped. Birds wouldn’t have been attracted were not for a cricket pierced all the way through the eyes with a thin stalk and cleverly fixed between the three sticks. So treated the poor cricket would survive for an hour or so becoming an attractive bait . To complete the trap a tree branch was placed nearby where birds would eventually roost. Catching crickets wasn’t easy,they were difficult to be seen and approachable only against sunlight.To get the cricket the bird had to stand on one of the three sticks that wouldn’t support it, thus making the bird ending under the stone.
Father was very jealous of mother and overbearing . When he left in the morning I felt relieved and worried at his coming back. Once , while playing with a rubber ball he came back from work in a particular bad mood , snatched the ball and cut it in halves with an axe . Catching lizards with a loop made out of a long , thin stalk became my pastime.
Armed with sticks we went along the dry brook to look for hedgehogs, now and then a scared lizard crossing the path. We stopped near a bush and my peasant friend abused me.
With father holding my trembling hand I entered a room full of children sitting at old desks. A man that was going to be my teacher for the next five years showed me some letters on the blackboard that I was supposed to be able to read .On my trying to read all the children burst into a flooding laugh. For months my home work consisted in filling up several pages of the exercise-book with short,vertical lines close to each other. It seems that would have made my hand firm enough to hold the pen. The class room was three miles away from home and mother each day took me there on her bicycle.
From the chemist I got rats poison and one evening took it with some water. As soon as I felt ill called mother. She called a doctor and I was given stomach-washing treatment. Reached puberty knowing nothing on how I came about. The first time I made love to a woman I had to give her money. She was lying on a bed near by a cradle with a little
child sleeping in it. I felt like a sparrows’ young that had fallen from its nest.
I left home as soon as I got my diploma from the art school and a job.My wild sexual life ended up in a serious venereal disease that took three years of therapy to get rid of. Left Rome for Paris with a French woman and for a year lived in a studio in Montparnasse. Soon found myself without money and knowing a woman to whom I meant just sex. Although suffering from hunger and loneliness I was determined to stay on . Reality was hard to bear and difficult to face up to.
I became an odd-job man and quickly found a loft where to move to. Money left after paying rent was just enough to get bread and some cheese.Eventually, thing improved a little “for the blue sky bends over all” . I entered l’Ecole du Louvre and got access to student’s restaurants . The precarious life I was leading found expression in heights of overpowering enthusiasm followed by the depression of a lost child. Surviving as a town pigeon saw myself as a firebird. I mixed with all sort of people from intellectual to students, tramps and prostitutes . Once in a cafe`, met a soldier from the Foreign Legion that insisted for a trial of strength, so we had a go. ” discipline , discipline, it’s all you need “he said . Discipline , however, was a concept totally absent in my mind.
In Paris I became acquainted with a psychiatrist and art collector. On one occasion at his home he handed me a book and with a sardonic smile said : ” how do you like the binding ? ” . ” pig skin ” answered I , ” no , It’s human skin and the siren a tattoo”.Tossed about like a ship in a stormy sea without a compass looking in the darkness for the lighthouse. Through professor and theater critic B. D. to whom I was introduced I became fascinated by the almost magic atmosphere I enjoyed when attending an evening out to the famous Paris’theaters .From my loft I enjoyed a pigeon view of a sea of slated roofs and I had a new job too. During the night I was to decorate the Christmas trees of the avenues. With a bundle of clothes , few drawings and my heart filled with enthusiasm, sailed for Mexico from Bilbao in Spain. Floating on a nutshell over the ocean of my passions , knitting useless dreams of achievements and doing the Ocean crossing several times a day and ,like legendary sailors discover islands that would vanish as quickly as flying fishes.
In Mexico City the only room I could afford wasn’t wide enough to extend my arms and on lying down I would almost touch the door with the tips of my feet.It was on the loft without a window and sun backed from early morning to sunset.Mammy Pilar, an old indian woman living in the same loft cleaned and pressed my washing. Moved by sympathy a couple of people helped in overcoming my wretched existence . I was given a job in an art gallery and the opportunity to hold my first exhibition.
I left Mexico for New York. I didn’t like the american way of life and, one early morning landed in London. ” The most painful thing in life is to wake up from a dream and find no way out “. Likewise , I had woken up to find myself in a dry rut. It was very cold and wind swept London’s streets and I was wandering all over for a job. I found one in a restaurant, cleaning pots and pans in a court-yard where the word quickly was the owner’s constant refrain. England, the needed cask for my unfermented mind.
I went for the first time to the Tate Gallery to see B.H. show. Her work, particularly the carved wood sculptures were impressive and soothing. There I saw a distinguished old lady in a wheel-chair, it was B.H., I couldn’t take my eyes off her and felt an unresistible wish to speak to . Her voice and welcoming eyes enchanted my mind .I had now an invitation to visit her studio in St Ives . By early May on a splendid starry night we were driving through Devon (with an English friend of mine) towards St Ives where I was expected the following afternoon. I blew my nose and opened the car window to through out the paper handkerchief , my friend immediately stopped the car and I had to pick up my ” foul action “. I won’t ever forget my first “English” lesson!
In St Ives was mesmerised by the sea and the Cornish coast. Became acquainted with local surfers and learned some surfing. One evening ended up in a party just outside St Ives and, as I have always been inclined to new experiences and eager to try anything, when I was offered to take LSD,I did it with enthusiasm. Soon started seeing tarantulas walking around and, scared, left the party. Before ending up in a psychiatric hospital, was in bed and had someone seating near by, suddenly saw his face blowing into pieces and felt my self travelling on a beam of light through an opaque tunnel of plasma.The sensation of being a subatomic particle and scared by the extreme speed. Gradually the speed came down and the colour of the plasma changed into red and then earthly red to end up into yellow and green. Still I am around !