Why do this?

My father, José Luis Villamizar Melo, passed away in my home town of Cúcuta, Colombia, in August last year. The law and economics were Dad's profession, but literature, history and academia his passion. He wrote and published several books, articles and book chapters. The thing is that so many people have missed out on his work, particularly on his beautiful poetry, which he wrote in Spanish prior to the world wide web. So I thought, what a better way to keep Dad's legacy alive than to bring his writing beyond his world and share it with mine. That is why I am translating over 250 of my Dad's poems to English and publishing them here, one a day, Monday to Friday during 2011 (Dad, a family man, always believed that you shouldn't work on weekends).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Black bags (Bolsas negras)

Last night I struggled trying to fall asleep.  My head was buzzing with the thought of the unknown and the many possibilities.  I hope some of them become a reality soon.  So I decided to get up and watch tennis. Tonight a vivid memory from my first 16 years of existence came back: my Dad’s little sleeping pill.  It was known as ‘Somese’ in Colombia.  I can just see him doing his nightly ritual of taking half of this little pill with a gulp of water, then  he would read a couple more pages and lights out as he started feeling drowsy, satisfied with the achievements of his day, content that mum was only centimetres away…snoring.  From my Dad’s book The celebrated afternoon (La tarde festejada). 
Black bags (Bolsas negras)
Afflictions of mine,
my sorrows,
dismay that tries to drown me,
insomnia disguised as dreams,
the little pill of
Nostalgias of mine,
my oblivion,
bundle of memories:
move on to another being,
one whose heart is lost in thought;
go somewhere else
sorrows of mine, my nostalgias,
sad memories.
Ask the binman
to walk by the house of a man
who has placed on the sidewalk
black bags filled with anguish,
with melancholy,
with sadness and sorrows,
old and new…
so that he picks them up and disposes them
in the most remote latrine.
To the receipts of gruesome merchandise
I add a tax of nameless bitterness
with no known price.

No comments:

Post a Comment