- The Stationary Man, and: Strange Animal, Innocence, and: Prehistory
The Stationary Man
Birds quickly lose their fearand learn to perch alongside concrete cats.
Birds that have never seen a real forestwith firs, cypresses, or poplars.
Fragile city beings. Night surprises themon the eaves of tall buildings,beneath factory smokestacks,or on those trees that grownext to busy freeways.
Still along with the concrete catson some rooftops have begun to appearmotionless birds, putting up with rain and wintera sign of lingering birdsong.And soon we'll surely seehow iron trees show up in our yards.With hurricane-proof branches.(Couples no longerto carve their names in the bark).What of the sad birds that have never seen a forestwith firs, cypresses, or poplars?The birds that grew upin metallic filament nests?Their dreams of wakingon the fragrant branch of an acacia,an actual tree, a forest surroundingto protect their chicks? [End Page 50]
I see the birds perching alongside concrete catswhile the statue of a man is placed in front of me.The Man.I suffer from the longing to touch his marble members.I too have never seen a real forest,the firs, the cypresses, and the poplars have been banishedfrom my mind.
I'm turning into a stationary man.
Strange Animal, Innocence
Children, if they can, grow.—José Saramago
The time comes when you discover behind the latticework of your chestthe death of the old animal innocence.And you linger immersed in the exasperating whiteness of day.Limp. Watching the insane asylums go up.Like seaweed in an ocean of light. And you're the island within the island.Deprived of the gravity of vessels. Of the beautiful creatureswho cross the Atlantic in their holds. Arabian horses.Greyhounds. Monkeys. Quetzals. And that strange animalcaptured in the confines of Bikaner. Innocence.
Though heralded death still surprises. It disrupts.It forces open the cage/heart with its inner cave-ins.You come to the latticework and see the motionless animal. You grow pale.Something of you parts with it. It splinters against the stumpsof the prison where you captured innocence.It's the hazard of becoming an adult. Of growing up.Landslides. Fissures.The human cycle. Seasons the arm of Godreaps in life's dangerous landscape.To lose innocence is to go deep into the asylums.To take on delirium's potion drop by drop.
You search for signs of aggression. Tooth marks. Arrows.The well of blood flowing in the throat. [End Page 51] And you don't warn the murder redness of who's killing.The mark of some fingers on fur.Or a clot of pain in the eyes. Wide open.The death of innocence is natural. (Natural & deathare terms with a complex association—I know).Oh, poverty of language. Incapable of making martyrdom precise.Agonal nights of the specimen that knowsit's defined by its fatality. Not antelope. Water dog.Fire bird. But a strange animalcaptured in the confines of Bikaner. Innocence.
We must learn to say good-bye.To the velocipede metallic lightness in hallways.To the house where we grew up. To being scared of the dark.(Immense behind the arcades). To Tree Kings Day.To Grandpa and his stories. To Grandma and her sweets.To Sunday afternoons. Say good-bye.Cut loose the moorings. With the gravity of vessels.With the resignation of beautiful creatureswho cross the Atlantic in their holds. Arabian horses.Greyhounds. Monkey. Quetzals. Birds of sun and shadow.
The time comes when you discover behind the latticework of your chestthe death of the old animal innocence.And you want to go back to the pictures.To the album of first times. When the houseson the block were the world. And you woke up to the musicof the rain on zinc rooftops. And you were happy.And the animal—just a baby. Like you.Playing around in the flatlands of an unbarred chest.