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, October 25, 2011

The façade (La fachada)

The façade (La fachada)

To my father, a man who carried a rock solid façade
even when his core was crumbling…

Despite feeling like the mould
corrodes the inner walls of my house,
the cobwebs trap my optimism
and the dirt on my windows
cloud my judgement,
my façade is firm like rock,
my foundations keep me standing,
and the steel frame of my bones
allow me to function.

Nevertheless, the cracks on that façade
and those old leaks on my ceiling
reveal my instability to the neighbours,
whom, with genuine concern
ask what is wrong,
why isn’t my house shining.

I say everything is all right
and can almost get away
without further explanation,
while I sit here
knowing that rotting is inevitable
and silently wishing
for demolition
when in reality I know
that a coat of paint
and perhaps new blinds
will have to do
because this house is too old
because previous tenants
have left indelible marks,
and the façade is still standing.

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