Monday, November 25, 2013


Roberto Bolano

Ernesto Cardenal and I

I was out walking, sweaty and with hair plastered

to my face

and then 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 rasied 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.


Roberto Bolano
The Unknown University
translated by Laura Healy
New Directions, 2013

Ernesto Cardenal