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10 the minnesota review Otavio Afonso from Dead City this is a time when poetry is made of fear and the city: the only way to create new forms for your children it's not enough to preserve the image of an age that knew the circle of birth if today the identity that time explodes on crowded sidewalks knows the circle of the city man is not a nation: nor does the darkening city have the same face as you strong and full of day drawn in the palm of the hand like those on maps indicating the unmarked unchanging position of your dead all tempted you: the shot and a stiff shoulder cut meat the unsalted taste of death even the song the guitar scratched for the living theater of the streets space and memory Afonso il of those who went away in the incomprehensible parting that has no end but all tempted you to bring the present to the tips of your fingers and ignore the hidden city when crossing cemeteries— broken fields dense with objects like feet on the ant-hill of history I want to hold your plain life in my hand measured in spans the size of your cell suspended in the center of the wall between the choice of shooting and hesitant leap I want to keep in unending memory the other side of the news where you don't find published old announcements of deaths nor reminders of cities I left of women I loved in order to understand for a moment the uncertainty printed like wallpaper on the hallways of the nights on the other side of walls silence in conquered space whispers of dislocated bones or an absurd hole in the breast where the nightwind of hate enters: the cold is painful and simple and in the city that hides its dead the cell may take the form of fear or the walking cadence of the living 12 the minnesota review Santiago was a marked card spade of the black suit wounding the shoulders of the Andes (dead September dead from weapons fallen in the streets of Valparaiso where even today for whoever wants to hear one speaks in silence of the history that history killed) Santiago posthumous mountain chain empty city where one shoots a skeleton of snow Translated by Tom Page from Cidade Morta, by Otavio Afonso. Havana: Casa de las Americas, 1980. ...


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pp. 10-12
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