Thursday, June 6, 2013

José Lezama Lima

José Lezama Lima [CREART]

The house, in the middle of the farm, had all its rooms dripping with light. It was deliquescing in the excess of light, imparting to its surroundings the surprise of marine currents. Inside the house was the feverish couple, and the unrecognizable Isolde began to raise her voice to the animistic possibilities of song. There was Señor Michelena, twirling the champagned stem of the glass, while the woman grazed him, barely turning, stretching out her loins and trailing seaweed, uncertain on which square of the board to begin her song. Sometimes, her voice detached from her body, slowly evaporated, she recognized herself among the lamps or in the water’s sound on the tiled roof while her body became harder as it freed itself from those lunar subtleties and currents. The door half-opened and she appeared, livid, as she turned, the woman slowly opening and straightening her mouth as if fighting against the liquid resistance, with small laminations given her by the sweat of caresses. From the farmhouse door at the bottom of the steps, swaying with lanterns and fleshy phantoms, she barely opened her small mouth, slapped in the dream and requiring new muscles for the sticking plaster. Facing this house of druidic lunar suspicions and with tunics left behind by the Stymphalides, sitting in a stone rocking chair of ground mother-of-pearl, the Chinaman of the swift golden crullers, wrapped in apotropaic linen, was moving osseously inside that big stone house, inside his linen billowing in the strong wind. From the weariness inspired in him by a leftover glass egg, he fashioned a very delicate ceremonial baton, sometimes carrying the dream of antelopes and frontal candelabra to the leafy ashtray at his right hand, sometimes lifting the cottons of one leg to the chair, determined to resist the nocturnal projections behind the crisscrossing of the instrumental ossein. His celibate weariness snaked here and there like a hand that could draw out any of the charlatan, inopportune, and intemperate pieces, and place them on the other side of the river, where it was no longer permitted to look, or even to hum through one’s teeth, a guitar whose strings they will no longer be able to charge, a guitar that points and stretches its throat toward the whirlwind of the eastern gate. But disdaining Lully’s long baton to mark the entrances and exits, in his ocular inspection of the vegetative growth, he heard within the exception to the law of the whirlwind being devoured by the tides’ growth in the pianistic desolation of Monday.

The gasping woman began to roll down the steps separating the house from the close-trimmed grass and the ferrets’ lair. Her flesh had been folded over, stitched, and closed in, as if to make itself resistant to the clubbings that the sailors of the Southern Cross were giving her on the hull. Her nose, sunk in at the bridge, was now more aching than olfactory, spreading out toward the thick glasses protruding like mammae raised to nose level, where a rain of tears seemed to hide a bulk prepared for defense with wailing and a round of waves in between. The bearded swirling, then a half circle exuding stalks of water, carried off the sucked-in chin, made that wailing resistible, for just then she was transformed into an oiled monster of the steps, which was not to be considered a soft monster, of weeping, boneless reeds. The new manatee thumped on the steps of the funeral trappings, and its efforts to reach the rippling reeds lent it new reflections that incrusted on its skin with the blows they were giving it on the hull; its snout wrinkling, it curled up like a baby and fell over on its side. The dripping house went dark and the forest began, availing itself of the lunations of the little goat and the needle, the slow, interweaving dance of reproductions that need the dew. Now the manatee had reached the grass and moving its thick pectoral fins crept toward the stone seat, crawling with the slippery ease its oiled skin gave it, but the Chinamen who was knocking his leg bones around in the large stone house made indolent gestures of rejection and whispered vaguely, his sentences barely intelligible as they clung to the branches or blew around in a circular magnetism.

“Here we are looking at each other,” Golden Cruller said, “but the vegetable gets angry when the wildcat stares at it.” Now the coconut palms will help to fortify the manatee’s oiled skin, and its beatings will help to give body to the hull that is escaping. White falcons reproduce, staring at each other without looking back. Rushing clouds bang against the tree, which is losing its rings, acquires the length of its fleshy verticality, and, leaving by way of its crown of leaves, releases the fortune of its future figurations. Clouds Rushing allied with Quick Slow needs the evaporations that the white falcon sniffs from the antipodes. Reproduction exists by look and shout. The coconut palm has a mirror glance that reproduces if one sinks a finger into its fortuitous waves. Two Obeisances is startled by an insect’s scream, another responds to the deictic of a white forehead, and then must take care of the larvae murdered by the hand submerged in the river. A terrible argument begins between Two Obeisances and Clouds Rushing allied with Quick Slow, about letting themselves get trapped by the Nusimbalta, walking backwards without looking at him and even managing to cross one wing over the other. Hasty Quiet arrives and begins to make fun of the glance and the burgomaster white falcon, because a shout can reproduce itself by the conjugation of different things. Two Obeisances protests about the shout placed alongside the look, but if one speaks to him about the sexual slowness of conjugation, he penetrates, satisfying, the dynasty of the blue dragons.

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