A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Neruda, only known to me in the poet’s words––
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul––
Neruda’s bones have been exhumed for examination.
I did not want his decomposed body uprooted
from its plot, transmogrified into murder mystery.
Poet of eternal present, I cradle his imagined bones
and pull them to me, his tango body’s phalanges
jangling as I cross and giro tibia and fibia––
pinned by the sun between solstice
and equinox, drowsy and tangled together
clanking across tiles of a kitchen floor.
Let Neruda be, I plea, still dancing, his bones tethered
to my body tripping and swaying in tango rhythm,
talking head on the radio droning on
in conspiracy theories of the Pinochet regime
poisoning Neruda, life split in poetry and politics
as the night wind whirls in the sky and sings.
Forecast of ill fortune––to lift bones from the grave––
much like this wave of melancholia. In inevitable
surrender, I concede: what does it matter
to have dug them up as his love lyrics resonate
in his monotoned moan, Gardel crooning
behind our bumpy boleo: el dia que me quieras.
Neruda’s unearthed skeleton clings to my arms,
scent of honeysuckle climbing limbs like vines,
as I sweep and dip inside his metaphoric sigh of sea
and our final soltada––voice of the rain crying:
no carnations or barcaroles for me,
only a wound that love had opened.
Neruda, now so mystical and magical,
cloaks his bones in flesh and play, conjures
a dusty fiddle, leaps and lands on the walkway below,
the violin with its ragged companion…
learning how to befriend lost souls
and sing songs to wandering strangers.
Copyright 2017 Andrena Zawinski. From her collection Landings published by Kelsay Books.
Author’s note: In this surreal narrative, the Neruda lines are italicized and from his poems in this order: “Love Sonnet XVII,” “Drunk as Drunk,” “Poem Twenty,” “Lost in the Forest, Come With Me I Said and No One Knew VII,” “Ode to a Violin in California.”