YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

October 2011

VOL XIX, Issue 10, Number 222

Guest Editor This Issue: Heather Ferguson

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Mois Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Evan Light; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401


Selected Works

by Jorge Etcheverry

Translated by Christine Shantz, and by Jorge Etcheverry and Sharon Khan


From Vitral con pájaros and The International Festival of Poetry of Resistance, Volume 1
        Kale Borroka ("Street fight" in the Basque language)


From The Escape Artist  
 	Fragment 7
	A Caucus of Quail

From Waves, Volume 13, Number 4
	Fragment IX  
	Rue de Grand-Pré

From Hablativo agente
	Ode to Greta Garbo

From Logbook

From Tangiers

From The Witch

From Vitral con pájaros
	This is the story...
	Let the band play on
	A talk with Martinez

From A vuelo de pájaro
	For a child was born (A Christmas Carol)
	Consumerism & Guilt (the beginning of 1991)

Post Scriptum

        Jorge Etcheverry Bio/Bibliography



From Vitral con pájaros and The International Festival of Poetry of Resistance, Volume 1
(1998, translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan)

Kale Borroka ("Street fight" in the Basque language)

Wherever there's youth 
Whenever there's youth 
corrupt governments 
occupation forces 
will get no peace.

The streets will bristle with barricades
the city air will be difficult to breathe 
filled with the smoke of burning tires 
Policemen with dogs 
like numerous, hungry vultures 
will rush against the multitudes
shrouded in tear gas
while central or federal governments 
pass new anti-terrorism 
edicts, laws, decrees 
in puppet parliaments
where party divisions are so many masks 
hiding the usual suspects.

Today young people take to the streets
in San Sebastian
Toronto, Ottawa, Gaza, 
you name it
at the meetings
of the World Bank, NATO, the G8, the IMF
where corporations dressed up as countries
devour everything
while they plan how to price the air 
the water
the genes of plants and animals
how to squeeze another drop of people's blood
sell them more illusions
impose new rules for buying and selling their flesh.

It used to be in Chile, El Salvador 
Mexico City
that the young people took to the streets 
to the Sierra in Cuba
to the mountains in Colombia and Venezuela 
occupying Universities in Uruguay and Argentina 
for example
boys and girls
like a flock of celestial, ephemeral birds 
throwing stones, Molotov cocktails 
so miguelitos in the streets
—— potatoes studded with nails
or sharp metallic cable
so they always land
with the points up——

Let it be them, the youth
some of them
spanning vast horizons in the task of growing up 
maturing in the soil and manure of utopia
taking to the streets 
again and again 
while we
old, accommodating 
watch them on TV 
throwing stones 
provoking the police

And we'd like to believe we were like them once 
like these kids who are running 
because it seems there's shooting 
And we'd like to believe 
they might have learned a thing or two from us 
who are watching them now 
setting aside our petty worries 
for a while
to catch a glimpse of those clear, vast landscape
that together with he streets make up 
Their Territory.

From The Escape Artist (1980, translated by Christine Shantz) Ahimsa It is the year of the doves. They describe interminable circles, stalking the black ravens of war. The wind carries off the physicist's hat and makes it roll through somewhat lyrical meadows. In the month of the cats the days are shorter — and never did we have less time to ourselves. Let me speak awhile, halt my journey for a few moments. I come from the East. I have seen the walls of all the cities quiver and quake. I have seen dizzy crows over ripe wheat fields. I have seen the blood of the flocks that were scattered over those same wheat fields. And this I say unto you. This is the hour of the hurried and the solitary preachers. It is the time of Solomon. It is now that the master descends from on high and becomes one with the multitude dragging his prayer wheel. It will be tomorrow when the skirmishes become more furious. It will be then that I end my litany, it will be too late to tell of the red cobblestones of the street.
Fragment 7 Awesome inert composition in many ways abandoned by the hand of God, ordaining a new Gospel of Desolation, like a serpent that curls swiftly back upon herself, intoxicated by the Sun, intoxicated with the heat and the landscape — A train goes by — Knower of vast meridians, she is now imprisoned — let us lament. Knower of vast wild meridians and birds, and birds This was told to me by the bees that buzzed inside my head. This was suggested to me by the tiny steel wheels of any machine whatsoever — A train goes by — The migrating birds further and further off, the city more and more polarized — a train goes by — And the face, suffering a tumult of knives, in the sky. A ubiquitous eye, twinkling and white, white. An imaginary hand blessing the streets with the most traffic, decorating lapels with stars, shaving the white legs of virgins An infinity of choruses, frog choruses — flutters like a handkerchief in the wind blowing in from the outskirts — trains go by, trains
A Caucus of Quail A proliferation or intensification of sun spots has been announced for the year 1982 — according to Sonia. “Incidents are taking place on a diplomatic level on at least three continents” — says Emilio. The five-year-old girl distinguishes between various languages. She distinguishes and assimilates racial differences. Something else, let's say it straight out. We celebrate the Revolution on every page. Faced by school compositions, posters with a central motif, well-defined themes with many epithets crossed out, short sentences with long spaces in between. The proliferation of peoples and groups raises its head (once again). The horse of the inconceivable Third World proletariat breaks into a gallop, causing the reins to slip from the hands of the elite. —At my place, we all sit at the table, we read these and other things in the newspaper. We smoke innumerable cigarettes without filters. We wash the dishes and prepare various hot meals The clock governing this order, from the bookshelf — We sit to leaf through the photocopied articles and eat toast, we rummage beneath the mask of Being and Time — Basically, our eating habits have not changed. A bird in the hand. Admit it, establishing the comparison with the cars fitted with bars, the skyscrapers with jungles hanging from their highest balconies — down here, in the evening, we, the ethnic groups pululate, made arrogant by the proximity of night "Let us feel poor. Let us feed gray pigeons in the inner courtyard of the apartment complexes. Occasionally, let us compare, in front of shop windows downtown, the build of the mannequins, the sweet texture of the suits On Saturday morning, the immigrants fill McDonald’s Expelled from their country, Chileans of the most diverse types disseminate a varied anecdote throughout the cities of developed and developing countries. Let us not fear the introduction of technical terms from the social sciences. Conflicts in various places explode like ripe pomegranates, the red seeds of the multitudes rolling, densely or sparsely, always towards the centre of the city, in search of Cathedrals, Embassies, with varying success, Government Palaces, "and so on, and so on" These things concern us as we walk through the slushy snow, stimulated or preoccupied with more immediate problems: heavy shoes, the rate of inflation, ill-fitting clothes impersonal observers do not touch the heart of things. They see us pass by before their browless eyes. I attempt to lay the foundations of the fecundity of these phrases (how about that). The grass grows beneath the snow. The self disappears behind the tumult of phrases, the swelling of the long line.
From Waves, Volume 13, Number 4 (Spring 1985, translated by Christine Shantz) Fragment IX Zeno said that space is divisible. Between each leg and bush, then, gapes an infinity. The seagulls will fly in wide, concentric circles as the fishermen, with a foreboding of stormy weather, dock their heavy, dilapidated boats. The heavy shelled crabs wave their pincers amid the waves which become ever higher and higher, with their strong legs arranged two-by-two they stir up the shifting sand composed of an infinite number of grains, black, white, yellow. The seagulls fly out to sea. But let us make no mistake. They will return, first as points of light, then showing their obscure albatross-like wingspread, as they dive upon the crabs. Now the rumour of the waves is drowned out by the sound of breaking and sucking and the waves are tinged with red foam. These are natural events. Then the winds cease blowing, but only after they have drunk the blood of the waters. Which tints the sands, bathes the curved beaks of the birds and wets their lean wings
Rue de Grand-Pré The historic parades have passed. In these times of recession the light of a new lyricism appears against the horizon. Rodrigo Lira was the only poetic voice in Chile. The ex-militants of parties, who put up with a bad life, say that they have gone on to new heights, e.g. literature. For many of my generation, still bent under the prodigious weight of the Catholic tradition, loving is like praying My cat cannot stand being compared with those of your house, curled up at the foot of your bed, wrapped in drowsiness as in an invisible plastic bag. Your angular and somewhat coppery face — you told me you have some Indian blood — softens its lines in a slumber that stretches over days, and my nostrils take in your emanations like incense. “I don't want anyone to fantasize on my account. Life has always been hard for me. I always got involved in sex as if it were a bubble. The atrocious days of my adolescence run through memory, washing dishes in the kitchen as my sister plays Bobby Vinton records on the floor above, again and again, interminably” Soon, in a few years at most, your mind, overwhelmed by so many years of learning and reflection, will seek out another little street in which to hide from the "LIGHT OF THE WORLD" The kosher food shops stand elbow-to-elbow with the Italian cafes and the cafes of practising bisexuals, earrings hanging from their right ears, who wait on tables as they hum Jacques Brel songs. In Brussels I saw a poster announcing Klaus Kinsky in Woyzeck. These images are entwined in the fishing net. Christ said to Paul: "Kill and eat."
From Hablativo agente (Translated by Jorge Etcheverry, edited by Sharon Khan) Ode to Greta Garbo The season of the skylark stops humming among telephone lines, making person-to-person calls flourish and sing, stops whispering in the background of female voices when they answer, in whatever language, or sing on the other end of the line. The most satisfied men are the least productive. Now we find ourselves partially involved in a description of very particular matters. What can we do? We didn't invent the world or history. All the dishevelled and aging travelling we elaborate like spiders or snails. At this moment a thin young man of indeterminate age passes by, smoking. While the afternoon stretches out like the back of a white cat, biting off the orange of the world and chewing hard. Like an imaginary mouth I lift those full, silky skirts. I pull down your gaudy, violet-pink pantyhose and I nibble your slender sex, covered in soft down, the other extreme, the reason for your mouth. You succeed in annulling the dimension of your poor brain, always inclined to take flight, besieged by the fragile intertwining of the body's skeleton. Caged in the old familiar tales about the White Knight, the taste for sex, the boredom, the propensity to oversleep. Like a butterfly with heavy velvet wings rise the wit of your laughter and the voracity of your eyes and fingers. Here, in these latitudes, frustration turns us into consumers: how many packs of cigarettes and cups of coffee have crushed my lungs and liver along with the juices of your inexpressible cunt, shaking the firm, methodical meshing of the revolutionary world order, unequal and combined. Like a flourishing of faces and arms that bursts into the apartment of the so-called inner life. A swarm of bloody lithographic paper attacks us and makes us teeter at the corner, when we’re already walking, shaky from tobacco and booze, and dreams over which you reign like Greta Garbo in the films of the ‘20s ? unquestioned and unquestionable, lifting a white thigh trimmed with a black garter beneath the frills of a black can-can skirt. Let your publicized silhouette and face publicizing bras and dresses, the high heel of your shoe, your top hat and platinum-blonde hair be like a candle in the middle of a pasture that attracts and ignites all the insects of television and hidden longings (not just ours), that suffocates and masks Revolutions & Humanism, which relativizes and shapes Aesthetics & Politics. With a flustered expression in the eyes, a fluttering of the eyelashes, a brief observation in bad French. (Also published in Existere, Volume 9, No.4, 1989. Translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan.)
From Logbook - (Translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan) XI Where will I turn the serene birds of my pupils? In this inhospitable land, in these inhospitable times? Asks La Gabriela as she arrives in Santiago, standing on the threshold like a pearl inlaid in a cavity. Far to the north, the crags are crazed by the sun, the sex of the cacti inflamed, their irritated fuzz, in reality their spines, standing on end. Where will I turn the resentful birds of my pupils? The children reduced forever to dark dwarfs roaming among the rocks of the coast like the shrimp they feed upon. The old men of stony beards climb into the beds of their daughters, the seamstresses, as soon as they feel the least bit drowsy. "Let's not rack our brains anymore trying to recall those ever-so- clear skies and that oh-so-putrid stench of the sea that has debased our souls. Let's go back to the austerity of religion as to a white sailboat."
XXVII After years of burying myself in my own suffering and the vacuity of any sort of task or enterprise, I felt forced to go and spread relief in the Third World. But it was a problem to decide with whom I should work there. The aides-de-camp of different governments and the attachés of various embassies wanted to see me. The preachers of a hundred gospels of blood and utopia handed me their sacred books. I waited, disguised among people of every nationality, mostly francophones, who launched themselves into mournful evenings like an ambiguous wave, filling all the cafes. Let's start again. I was raised in pain, then I was trained to go to the Third World to sow consolation. I couldn't cope with life that wasn't like a jump out of an explosion at night, like the sudden shock felt when a patrol passes close by as you lie precariously hidden. I couldn't stand any calm except for restorative sleep or food. No respite but the sweet flood of fatigue like warm, heavy water through the body. Or the needed introspection that precedes action, resulting in success or failure. Other diversions would make me the victim of the hundred, multiple spiders of pain. You took away the calm of my life along with the might-have-been of a stable maturity. Your semblables will pay for it one day with their tranquillity, maybe their blood. Many men like me are incubated in the countless tenement buildings of modern cities. Thus reasons one of them as he walks along the downtown streets, day dreaming, after reading Isidore Ducasse, after a date with Isadora Duncan.
From Tangiers (1997, translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan) No one puts laws in my head. Everybody may think what he wants as long as he doesn't say it out loud. The pants are pressed between the mattress and the springs to have them ready for the following morning. In the face of the succession of days is born the urge to do definitive things But let it not be given to us to prevent this agitation. It's not our problem. Those plants with voracious roots could cling to something other than rocks and air. Something like the glimpse of a kind of choice that some make suddenly appears like a half-naked kid on the gray shore of skepticism, to our surprise (and that of spectators) May a cold hand in these hot latitudes support and absolve and caress this whole array of nearly unalterable things (or not so)
(...) Let's come back to the most obscure poetry. Events fly by. And those immense birds —Condors? Flapping their enormous heavy wings (perhaps in dreams). I only feel the warm wind against the external walls of my head. Not the wind of the true beat, of the oscillating flight, Good God! Foreseen, erratic, winged, of the passing and progression of time. In a way other than inside my pupils. Or the interminable, hence subdivided spaces inside my head A dangerous, red-headed woman, around my age, also flies by, like a broomless witch wrapped up in a maelstrom of calendar sheets, of urban architectural niches, or meadows. She is regarding at moi, sideways, with a vague smile, while cabled news breeds prolifically in a new medium (as Benjamin predicted and described) among the voices —in a way parallel with my grey-haired head: the atrociously mutilated bodies, the carcasses, the annihilation of vast natural sectors — while voices rise — pulsated up from below, from inside, by an identical rhythmic flowering
From The Witch (1997, translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan) Like a heretic theologian in a lost country in Central Europe unravelling the brilliant tapestries of a Gnostic religion, slaving away at manuscripts in a little shack, without disciples, surrounded by ex-comrades since converted to Arianism, who make the sign of the cross as they pass in front of my door — What can you do about generalized opinions that are in reality the law. Besides. You don't feel like fighting anymore when you see others walking the corridors with dignity, well-fed, well-heeled, lighting up the tranquil eyes o successful men Or walking downtown streets, with hair styled, wearing tailored suits, muttering as one leg chafes against the other. Women with glowing complexions and voluptuous though proper gestures wait to be invited to candlelight dinners by young, athletic executives. They hope to find Mr. Right, the one they still might marry one day — All these advantages crammed together like young girls looking at us through the window of our study, enticing us to go out while we are busy reading or writing a treatise on criticism. And suddenly all of this is hung up in the closet like a suit with baggy knees and elbows, a bit tight at the waist —The call of all those voices of the system like so many other sirens with loud or deep voices or like those girls who find you weird and tell you, as they cross and uncross their (long) legs and ask you for a cigarette, that if you dressed properly and cut your hair, they'd give it to you A profusion of suns proud and red persisted in rotating over my head, one after another, irritating my blood as I walke the streets of the microscopic center of the city, like a swarm of furious bees that run arrows over me —from place to place, furious, with my hands clenched in my pockets, my high arches deforming my shoes, as can be seen in various photos taken of me from passing cars that slowed down as they drove by me —It was like a rim of steely looks going deep into my brain, menacing like a muttering chorus: Now that we've all settled down and we don't plant ourselves in the cafes anymore, or ride bicycles with our manes flowing, flaunting the freedom of the hippie, the measured self-destructiveness of the poet, the dead-calm of the skid-row bum, the furious, dispossessed rebellion of the Third-World revolutionary. Now you have to join us, we who have decided to make a small place for ourselves in this bazaar, since we cannot tear it down and replace it with our own, whatever that may be. And we're telling you, simply and directly, and in this way you will be able to pass it on to the youth who will come after us when they dangerously attempt to prolong adolescence beyond permissible limits. You will tell them and they will listen to you because of the influence you have always had over youth, using your facility with language
II Dreams have always been a source of the greatest interest for us. Days would strain between my fingers in adolescence like a liquefied sun, lightly tanning my skin as night came, hospitable like a soft fragrant pubis distilling the juice of dreams slowly into avid lips in the process of formation Later when I have felt the world narrowing around me like medieval stocks around my ankles, wrists and neck, the muttering buzzing of those variable insects — Dreams — have given me compensatory visions Like pieces of incomprehensible dominos before the eyes and hands of an idiot child lie the fragments of dreams, ready for interpretation — Like a man of indefinite age, or like a human being of vague outline and indefinite sex (let's be politically correct) the dream strolls along the labyrinthine streets of the psyche, dressed in exceedingly picturesque rags The ultimate meaning of all those dreams walks around ready for the unbiased mind, imbued with a vast intelligence and erudition, though endowed with an innocent naïveté that will condescend to do the inventory and classify those numerous volumes — Earlier at the beginning of the century, the theosophist and somewhat socialist generals in certain South-Cone countries, taking up an immemorial tradition, proclaimed that man (microcosm) is a replica of the Universe (macrocosm) Those stale discussions don't interest me anymore. Spiritualism, like so many other things, is a springboard, or self-propeller All life events, even the most important ones, lack meaning While we stop for a moment at night on a steeply climbing street like those in Coquimbo or Booth Street and we look down at the myriad of lights, some small, some large, that are spread out below Through dreams (it's said) you tap into things more at the level of nature: instincts, impulses, whatever —Like really juicy pumpkins, full of many seeds (girls eat them behind doors to get shapely legs or induce abortions) In this way Particular things regarding the Universal are dealt with (permit us the use of upper case) —Like a flower of many unequal but strongly centered petals, concentric in its drawing, whose lines of force in spite of their apparent dispersion seem to converge and/or diverge from a common centre Likewise lead to, or separate from, Dreams, like that, with a capital, the different, moist facets defined but limited by the geometric framework of the same crystal —Like processions seen from a distance moving along the streets of small towns in southern Europe —Like different women known and/or tasted: the series of well-shaped, dark ones, somewhat acidic; the angular, almost masculine blondes, their sex too close to the anus, narrow and very juicy, but with a mild odour reminiscent of sweat and infantile urine In cyclic progression, like a spiral, like all the situations in life repeating themselves, as (some) people have kept telling me over the years. But dividing time in a parallel series, dreams interlock, alluding to, and shaping, different series like entering data in different programs, cards in different files —Like packed kernels of corn prey to the greed of the crow, the laziness of the scarecrow who watches, but simultaneously sleeps Somebody says, parodizing Jung, "The viscous tissue of dreams connects a dark point in the minds of all men, without distinction as to colour and race" — All life's events, even the most banal (the only kind I know) dwell in our minds The most decisive (we wish to believe) manifest themselves through dreams Some of my acquaintances have the habit of jotting down their dreams in the moments between awakening and actually beginning their day —With stiff limbs and half-closed eyelids, still young women sit half-naked on the bed to write down certain nocturnal images. Someday I think I'll ask for a grant to study dreams, reveries, and hallucinatory states in Third-World countries that suffer from chronic conditions of political convulsions. Maybe the Ford Foundation would help me out No way. My heart (and in other days my strength) is and always was on the side of the oppressed. Subjugated nations and social classes always dream about muttering magicians, birds ascending in flight, arrows rising up from different bows, crumbling towers, demolitions and fires
From Vitral con pájaros (2002, translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan) This is the story… This is the story of the cork man who always ends up floating after the floods The story of the cat man who always lands on his feet from trees from planes from ministries and governments The story of the elastic man, the rubber man who bends over to kiss hands “You’re looking better everyday” clapping his enemies on the back in social situations “How’s it going, old man?” as he stabs them in the back pulling the rug out from under their feet This is the story of the smiling man your average guy that everybody likes “Back off, Satan” as my grandma would say, “back off.”
Let the band play on It doesn’t matter Let the band play on even if the musicians are tired even if everyone’s distracted even if no one gives a damn let it play on Let the musicians wipe the sweat from their brows even if no one gives them any wine even if no one gives them any water in this heat Let them go on even if they’re dying of hunger even if their stomachs are growling — “We’re musicians, after all” — one of them says even if no one laughs at their jokes a little stale anyway We have to go on Come on boys, get up We have to go on playing even for the few losers still left let’s go let’s go let the band play on let it play on
A talk with Martinez Tell me, Eric, old dog 90 Willow Street, Apartment 502 Ottawa, Ontario Canada worn out, but still the same working for the Federal Government My God, head over heels in love again like a teen Where are the others our pals from the avant-garde who were daring in ‘68 but are no longer maybe ‘cause of the wife the job, the kids (and since we’re all going to die some day) they want to be remembered as pillars of the community fine, upstanding citizens who’ve done their bit But tell me, reptile or frog Was that all? Weren’t we going be the Chilean Rimbauds? (as Jonás once said) Weren’t we going to destroy language and the world? while the guys over in France were taking Nanterre and Turcios Lima was holding up a train in Guatemala What happened, Eric old dog? What happened to the others? Not just in the political arena After all, just look at Yeltsin If he’d known English, he’d have said “We didn’t mean it” (the last 50 years) And what happened to the other avant-garde the poetic one the ones who went around reading Rimbaud and Mayakovsky and Nelligan (if you need to name a poet from here to get a grant from the Canada Council) ‘Cause let me tell you the others were busy with other things with their books of essays with their jobs at university with the niche they made for themselves here or in Chile And when the body gets old you should at least have some status — We’re no longer the wild birds of ‘68 who were taking on the whole world (Then again, maybe we are sometimes That’s why we’re not doing so well shall we say)
From A vuelo de pájaro (1998, translated by Jorge Etcheverry and edited by Sharon Khan) For a child was born (A Christmas Carol) And let me tell you, Señora that the animals came and warmed the child with their breath and the virgin washed his little clothes in the trough And let me tell you, Señora that everyone came with gifts from the canals and the caves from the lost islands The Imbunche Ivún = a little being and ché = a person its orifices sewn up and jumping the Pincoya sad, wearing black the Caleuche boat of witchcraft navigating the clouds its crew with their heads on backwards And the Colo Colo harmful animal no one’s ever seen mouse without tail who eats alone, without sharing Marmosa thylamis elegans freshened the child’s forehead with drops of saliva And let me tell you, Señora They came each with his own gift the Machucho the Gallipán the Piguchén the Lampalagua And the child laughed at the Trauco who prances along the Huenauca who prances along but on only one leg And let me tell you, Señora that the condors came from the top of the world with fabrics woven of snow crystals And the llamas with fleece spun from their pelts by the people of the high plateau And the choroy — parrot of the waterways — brought a fan of multi-coloured feathers (The days are hot in Judea) And cry-baby, Llorona, stopped crying along the seashore And the sun woke up a bit earlier illuminating the waterways For a child was born And let me tell you, Señora that the fires lit themselves in Tierra del Fuego and the guanacos all neck and eyes came to see And let me tell you, little girl that a girl like you a little chilota could see from her island a new star For a child was born And let me tell you, it was so Just as I’m telling it to you
Consumerism & Guilt (the beginning of 1991) The winter's milder this year as the Tiger of the West bares his fangs at the Jackal of the Desert The Dim Sum in Chinatown has gone downhill, but we still remember a dish of steamed vegetables and entrails we sampled last year Meanwhile, it seems, the Russians won't get into the conflict Yes? no? Comme si, comme ca And then we find a Polish spot in the Market less pretentious than the Hungarian one downtown where the suckling pig, we think, is out of this world In the end, the Europeans have to get into the fray though they have to show some concern for the Palestinian problem And we drink Casillero del Diablo at $8.25 a bottle while we read Borges And imagine if we were Christians, we would see the Face of the Beast in the Apocalypse, unifying the Lords of the Earth in a false peace But there's no point in talking about these things over lunch in Montreal, at La Tasca as we enjoy our bitoque that comes from the American beefsteak but sounds like the Chilean bistoco while we savour our wine, a litre of house red, at a table by the window As Gorbachev takes advantage of the confusion to give it to the Baltic States And behind the face of Saddam appears the skull of Bush the number 666 on his forehead Then maybe we'll go to Montreal for the day to taste the kidneys at Le Paris, beside the Faubourg and order a bottle of C6tes-du Rhone to go with them or the mixed grill at Janos on Saint-Laurent which includes rabbit, Portuguese sausage, pork and poultry the meat garnished with red peppers and served with the best olives in town The war is shown on primetime TV after we've eaten and the Scuds crash down in Saudi Arabia as we sip our after-dinner drinks You can't buy wine after 6:00 p.m. in Ontario So we bring home a Gato Negro from the LCBO We only smoke about 10 cigarettes that night since we're trying to quit And we don't take sides as we follow the conflict After all, the Americans backed the coup in Chile But if we feel like a sweet after dinner or a snack with our wine So be it We’re still conscientious consumers “Support your Arab store” So we go there to get baklava and hummus and if sometimes late at night we still have beer left and don't feel like going out we phone out for pizza from a well-known place where the Arabs talk about the war and serve the public servants at lunch hour


Jorge Etcheverry, born in 1945, is a former member of the School of Santiago and Grupo América from the 1960s. 
He lives in Canada and has published poetry, prose, criticism and various articles in several countries. His books 
of poetry are: The Escape Artist (1981); La Calle (1986); The Witch (1986); Tángier(1991);
A Vuelo de Pájaro (1998); Vitral con Pájaros (2004);  Reflexión Hacia el Sur (2004) 
and Cronipoemas (2010). Lately, his work has appeared in anthologies such as Cien microcuentos chilenos
(2002); Los poetas y el general (2002); Anaconda, Antología di Poeti Americani  (2003); El lugar 
de la memoria. Poetas y narradores de Chile (2007); Latinocanadá (2007); Poéticas de Chile. Chilean 
Poets (2007); 100 cuentos breves de todo el mundo (2007); and The Changing Faces of Chilean Poetry: 
A Translation of Avant Garde, Women's, and Protest Poetry (2008). His anthology of Chilean contemporary poetry 
Chilean Poets A New Anthology was published by Marick Press this year.
Copyright (c) 2011 Jorge Etcheverry

All selections are copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is
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