Poem number 6 for April 2015. I’m reading the epic book “2666” by Roberto Bolaño. I’d say I’ve nearly finished it, but I still have about 150 pages to go. It’s a 900 page book. I’m not sure if it’s a work of genius, as some say, or an overly long ramble in need of severe editing. I’ll post a review when I’ve finished it. What’s for certain is that there is some stunning language in the book. And when you consider that Bolano was Chilean, and that it was written in Spanish, this seems to me to be even more impressive.
For today’s poem, I’ve taken some phrases, fragments from one part of the book, and played with them, to turn them into something that resembles a poem. Most of the words are Bolano’s. A large part of the book is concerned with an epidemic of murders of women in Mexico, called in Spanish feminicidio (“feminicide”), in a fictional town called Santa Teresa. In the real life northern Mexican region of Ciudad Juárez it is estimated that 370 women and girls were murdered between 1993 and 2005.
2666 – Poem uno 1
Where six roads meet
and buses head in all directions
my driver waits like an undertaker
A makeshift market
An old woman selling pineapples.
Out of politeness I buy one
In an island of light past the shacks
giant butterflies dance like cripples
reminding me of a sunset years ago
The streetlights bathe me in an aura of haste
My breath smells of scorched oil
I hear accordion music on the wind
She was a legend invented by inmates
I think I hear her laughter
like a prisoner’s nightmare.
I find her on the outskirts
behind the hundred year old walls
Her dyed hair curtains her face
Her skin is empty now
as if she has been drained of everything
except absolute fear
All that is left is a crater
the prisoners, the jailers, gone
“Don’t push your luck boss” says the driver
Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015