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Chus Pato

CHARENTON [*] (excerpt)

translated from the Galician by Erín Moure

and now the panopticon is a ruin

but never mind for i can imagine the landscape however i want
if a desert, it’ll be a tell
if rich with vegetation, wisteria will grow over the buildings
if in Antarctica, it’ll be a phantasmagoria of ice

some folks (working women, crazies, schoolchildren, poets) still live there, they don’t realize no one guards them

for in times of plenitude, systems of domination don’t pay attention any more to populations, it’s not their job to feed them

it has to do with what you were saying, that “capital is illiterate”

i have to get out:

exit biology, remain in my body

* * *   * * *   * * *

but also: das kapital, no more than a grain of sand in the tempest of the species

* * *   * * *   * * *

but my bones are not found in ontological opposition to my flesh
the acid earth of my mother-sonosphere obscenely devours my happy skeleton

                                               on pain and the learning of space

* * *   * * *   * * *


i get the order to run, so i run, manage to get to the table, sit down
(immediately surrounded by ladies) who, authoritarian, insist i get up; i explain, correctly, that i’m saving the table for my mother and her friends, the ladies insist, i watch my mother’s group approach slowly, languidly; the ladies start to threaten me, i don’t relent, finally my mother’s friends arrive, i smile politely, the ladies/ / melt away

from that tower, the same thing always happens; two images one after the other

in one, the triremes of Caesar (exhausted from lack of money) arrive; they beat the ocean with their oars, frighten the natives, vanish

in the second there’s nothing to be seen
but a heart in a shamrock trance pulses: Ireland! Ireland!


he carefully folds the newspaper, says
— relax, we’re on firm ground
“this city is an atoll governed by a crazed viceroy”

to open your eyes was to contemplate a garland of cigarette papers looped across the wall, on it the face of Antonin Artaud repeated to infinity

only an anarcho-mathematical muse could travel hundreds of kilometres, await the precise moment when an author (she or he) assigns her one, none, (or all) of those
/ / papers

Pleistocene: “the past is a far country” (m.o.)

AUTOBIOGRAPHY FOR TRUCHIS (written by herself)


* * *   * * *   * * *


-is it true madam that you wish to be Moses?
-well, it’s true that the possibility opens to me of leading my people across the Sinai
-are you aware of the desperation of your progenitor?
- i’m aware of the repression of his desire, finally i wasn’t thrown (baby stroller and all) off the New Bridge
-this saved you?
-rather, it saved my father; i’d survive anyhow

                 — do you acknowledge your signature on this document, madam?
                 — i acknowledge being an avid reader of the pages of Faust (Hadrián Leverkühn)
                 — ¿did you ever sign a pact with the Devil?
                 — (...)

* * *   * * *   * * *

to be extracted from the mother like a blood sample is from our insides (the name, fragile fluid of civilization). the technique applied by the analyst is not exactly that of the circulation of the blood

[*] Chus Pato’s Charenton (Vigo, Spain: Xerais, 2004) is a catchment mechanism: it navigates the border between the “real” (which does not exist and which, yes, exists) and fiction (which always exists) in the opposite direction to the usual: In it, fiction becomes reality. Charenton is a fluid that leaks, oozing political and textual fragments of our past and present. Its inventions do not coincide; in Charenton, the poem is a linguistic freedom machine.

Chus Pato

Chus Pato

Chus Pato (photo, right) was born in Ourense, Galicia (an autonomous community in Spain) and is the most radical and important poet in Galician today. A selection in English translation from her 2000 book m-Talá has appeared from Nomados in Vancouver Canada in 2003. In her words: “I lean toward constructions which investigate the possibility of a language-thinking that declines to repeat the already-written and lives in contact-lamination with the seams of the unsayable, of what hasn’t yet been written into the corporeality of the poem.” “My autobiography? Insofar as all autobiography participates in fiction, I prefer not to be forced to choose, so I opt not to have one.”

Erín Moure

Erín Moure is a Montreal poet and translator. Her newest book of poems, Little Theatres, appeared from Anansi in Toronto in April, 2005. Photo credit: lemonhound.

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