Literatura en México

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Cinco Décadas de Cuento Mexicano. Antología. Perea, Pitman, Taylor, Tedeschi, Valenzuela

Beaching bride (English version)

Álvaro Ruiz Abreu
Foto: cnipl. INBA

Álvaro Ruiz Abreu

I had, in the inside land, a very poor bride

unusual eyes of cupric sulfur.

Maria was called, she lived in a suburb

and there wasn¿t among us nor a shadow of disturb.

Ramón López Velarde

Come in, please take a seat, by the window if you prefer, this house is a little dark, I actually live alone as the only company I had was my sister Adela and she died seven years ago. Since then the house seems less livable to me, sometimes even sullen, with a smell to gone things. Do you want to take something? The portrait you have in front is from her, she was very pretty, widow by the twenties and as I was single, we went to live together, but her death tore us apart. She was a kind company. I remember her with a white hat, in a ride in a ranch in Lomas Verdes, from where you could see the gray water of the river. She forces me to go back to another time, and to other people too, to the city we shared, to common friends. How could I explain? To things we both loved at the same time and at the same place. I¿m going to tell you this once and for all: you belong to your childhood and youth years. Don¿t look at me that way, I know what I¿m saying. What comes later is perhaps much more solid, even everlasting, but it is not but an extension of what you saw in that first season of your life, don¿t you think? How many times did my sister tell me to erase the past, take it away from us, and even if I tried it was impossible. I saw that I crashed against high walls. To erase the past! It¿s not that easy, because in a way it hides to your sight during the day and at night it appears in our dreams.

¿Anita, you forgot the napkins. Bring the sir one of clothe... Luis Echegaray, that¿s it, I forgot your name and last name, you come from the newspaper, yes, of course.¿

This woman is a saint, there are some still, even when years had wore her out they can¿t defeat her yet. Several times I¿ve told her, Anita, go back to your town with your grandchildren, what are you doing here? But so proud and sovereign she keeps silence; her answer is to wake up by six and a half every day, even Sundays, very clean goes down to the kitchen, makes a little noise with the pans, the pots, the dishes to drink her coffee. Who knows how many cups she drinks while she listens boleros in the radio for hours, lost in the songs. She must remember things, places. She eats when she remembers to eat, without program or schedule. Oh, sorry, what was I telling you? Oh, yes, about the people I met in José Ramón¿s time.

If I got it right when you phoned me, you want to know how well I knew José Ramón. Oh, and also things about his life that help to examine his work and some misunderstood parts of his biography. I hope I can help you. It¿s been so many years as you can see, and still I keep a beautiful memory of that thin, sad-faced man, and those fallen, always asking eyes, placed on his face as two small lighthouses he seemed to send signs to the distance with, and his mouth with his thin lips, was worth a big wisdom. That if he was cheerful? Look, he always had a lack of humor, but he had more than enough intelligence. He attended the mass, of course. With firm steps, wearing a suit and a hat in the same color, even with the hot weather of the tropic, he went into church as if he was attending a ceremony. Before and after the revolution. Imagine that! He fought from the writing trench. He was a big supporter of student magazines, he founded the one that replaced the Revista Azul, he was the writer of corrosive articles and editorials, he seemed to be born for the beautiful, definitive things and he had to live in a broken time. Why, what do I say! I don¿t want to tell you what everybody knows about him, about the perhaps unreal or exact image that either History ―so disposed to enlarge or belittle men― has built, or the critics that walk under cover of their own wind, even if it blows to the wrong direction. I wish ―and you may excuse me― I could make you a portrait that may be faithful to the man and to the artist, and it may reflect those years that I lived so intensely; something similar to the chronicle of what we were and won¿t be ever again.

I told you that every morning I wake up and look at my old wooden bedroom that gets the bluish light filtering across the curtain and bouncing against the bed metal. It then seems to me that I had opened my eyes in the times of the revolution, but I hone my ears and I start listening to the turning on of the car motors, the buzz of the airplanes, and I verify we¿re coming to the end of the 20th century. In what time I live! My mind gets lost in the labyrinths of the past even if it knows its itinerary quite well. It can turn around a little, and still it¿ll stop in those years of the armed movements, of the anxiety, when we had to escape everyday so we could preserve our lives. We lived in the air, like suspended, but ―please, write this down― anchored to hope. And even if that¿s something lost, severe, but as if it was still beating hard in the ankles ―I feel it so now―, then I cannot put it away: it is the hope that raises dust storms where men and their passions can be lost or saved. Hope allowed us to glimpse the future even if we were close to catastrophe. How can I tell you? It is not possible to chase it away, to untie it from the spirit of those years, nor rip it from my current eyes. Oh, Mr. Echegaray, I¿m so glad to have you here so you can keep my testament: the story I want to tell you. Take into account that I never liked to show off about having met such a poet as José Ramón, whom I was about to marry.

Oh, I was telling you that hope is the only thing that kept me alert on those dangerous years, because life could be lost in a matter of seconds, for a good reason or in a gratuit manner. José Ramón devoted himself not to a cause ―that is to impoverish the History― but to the future he saw in the early mornings when he waited for the sunrise building images of love and lovers, of the body and its beating. He wrote lines to the dreams and to Death. He didn¿t live among cottons, he was a victim of his time; he had, like the Savior, several falls but he recovered from all except the last one, he knew it was his own death. Those years, I told you, I can¿t take them away from me: it¿s the topic years tied me to, that¿s why I remained in this loneliness without doors. What are we in Mexico? Forgetfulness and plain rancor, don¿t you think?

Why, I see you like gannets. Well, me too. I think they are elegant, very appropriate to wake up with them and dream again; their perfume is sweet, very stimulant for thoughts. To José Ramón, they were the flowers of disquiet, of the non shared but integral, transcendental beauty... but of course he could make poetry at any time. His favorite color was white even if his critics think it was black because that color always kept him company for all the setbacks he suffered. I don¿t know. A true poet can take advantage of a broken mirror, of a gloomy corner, of a free, slender flower like the gannet, of sadness and humor, of an insipid afternoon, of the smell of coffee in the mornings, of a broken ring bell. Oh, but I wanted to explain you all this later, not now, I hope you don¿t mind, you know how your mind goes from one topic to another even when you¿re not talking about the same place or the same years. Look, that Japanese-style flower base, a 19th century jewel, one of the very few I keep, was a gift from my father, or, what do I say?, an inheritance, he liked it a lot, as well as this piece of porcelain and that silver snail shell.

Maybe this information can be useful for you: in the early century, the small city where José Ramón and I were born was a marine port, and many objects from aboard arrived there: porcelain, lamps, crystal works, cheese, jewelry, silk and wine. There were also magazines from Spain and France, Italy, Holland, that we took to learn about other ways of life. Oh, we loved to dream about another world, looking at it was already a way to start the trip. I liked the ones about European fashion. It was normal that people had that world at the reach of their hands even if they were not exactly landholders. My father, you see, was a notary who got a very worthy position; he was called almost all around the state so we never were in the lack of school or anything at all. Oh, my father! Tough as the men of his time, strict with the women of his house, he imposed us, his daughters, habits and customs, an education. He was squared head, righteous and disciplined; he hid a contagious glance under his silver rounded glasses. Yes, he was a functionary at the service of the Porfirio Diaz regime, he never denied it. His biggest weakness was to try not to get corrupted, to be honest in a country that doesn¿t know that word; perhaps that¿s why he never became rich. Mainly he was a man of principles: a moderate Catholic, respectful of everybody else, with firm ideas about women, sex, politics, society and the origin of man, a lover of science. I remember him defending the order and the progress, until reality made him change. I remember him in his old Ford on his way to ¿El Provenir¿, one afternoon when he took us to see the sea for the first time. Ah, I think I hear again the whistle of the breeze like a crying that drags itself and the crashing of the waves. In that sandy place, with October sultry weather, he was wearing a vest and a hat, can you believe it? Well, he knew how to get out of ¿his¿ world and join the marching of the revolution, but it was too late.

I¿m going too fast and stumbling. Excuse me, when you¿re eighty three years old you¿d like to say everything you¿ve seen, to express your impressions at once, like someone who knows there¿s no time left for more. It¿s like your profession, Mr. Echegaray, always chased by time, by fear of hours and minutes, isn¿t it? No, don¿t worry, at my age I still have some prudence left to open my eyes and feel that noise and nonsense are grazing my skin; yes, it is hard to understand, but it is not to feel it in its clumsy vitality.

Do you accept my offer? Then we start to understand each other. Well then. The man that is engraved in my memory was quiet but determined, not a country guy as I told you; he was a Catholic who had the most progressive ideas of his time. His trace in local culture, and then in the national one, was firm. He had nothing to do with his ungainly, lusterless, graceless profile, that made him look small. Besides his aspect, I think you have to look for an explanation of his temper in the fact that he came from nineteenth century, and in the delusion ―too big if you ask― caused by Madero¿s assassination, the only apostle he believed in. That¿s how I see him. His life was divided since 1913; before, he was sure about Mexico¿s social, spiritual renewal, afterwards I think he only saw the chaos. He gave himself to a cause again: the one of the Constitutionalism, but Mr. Venustiano¿s assassination was stronger than his health and his will. He died very young, the following year, as everybody knows. Did he let himself die? Perhaps. He was just thirty three years old.

I tell you, his personality has to be looked for in those long, so confusing years of the civil revolutionary war, and in his own free spirit, inside watcher, capable of seeing the invisible, like a magician. He was delicate in the treatment, I mean, in his passions, but determined in political matters and with an almost unique sensibility, after all the sensibility of a poet, isn¿t it?

Where did I meet him? In one of the Sunday afternoon walks in the Army Square. After the seven thirty mass, it was a costume to go to the square and start the walk. I think it was in September, the month when the lands gets hot, and the heat and the sultry weather get installed on the sky and on the streets, on the clouds and on the river, and no one or nothing could take it away. The heck of a heat that rain cannot calm down but that makes it grow, nothing less. I have seen him sometimes in Del Carmen¿s church, so serious, so protected by his faraway, unreachable sight. But by then, a friend of my father, Mr. Palavicini, was visiting us. He was a very well known journalist from Mexico city; Palavicini was keeping José Ramón company and he introduced him:

¿Here¿s a true poet, but you must already know him, as he was born here!¿ he said and laughed enthusiastically.

I saw closer to me a young man of at most twenty two years, who shook hands with my father, my mother and me at the end, and he stayed with me for a little while. ¿He¿s a very simple man, an admirer of beautiful things, a true promise of our poetry, do not forget that,¿ Palavicini repeated to my father. Maybe it was a glance, a presentiment, but the point is that I felt that his eyes were looking at me over and over because he opened them with all the strength of his soul, and I saw in them ―believe it or not and even if it may sound sickly sweet― a faraway, blinking light, the incarnation of the desire that was calling me.

The square was the only place where men and women, young and old, looked at each other face to face, in such a small, isolated city, so hot as if it had been put in an oven, but very beautiful. It was a park and a square, a breath and a road cross that allowed you to guess the presence of the river waters. There you could see the boats that went up or down the river, and the all sizes ships docking, smoking and horning, taken perhaps for their own maritime vocation. That I have to be more precise? Ok, all right, Mr. Echegaray, but words betray me. At that park, political plans were hatched, as well as loves and ruptures, because there were tables and chairs to seat around, yes, at the cafés of the square, merchants, landholders, sugar refinery and ship businessmen made business, they poked into the Earth¿s soul. What else happened that day? Nothing. Introducing each other, the greetings, some words about politics, and some other ironic words about my father¿s behavior. 

Imagine, at that place Monday was exactly the same as Tuesday, and Wednesday just as Thursday; however, Sunday was different, or at least it seemed so to us: everything was colored, and we walked around the square over and over again with the certainty that we would find our destiny in one of them. Afterwards, at night, the Casino awaited us, in a high floor of the main street, the orchestra playing like calling the parishioners, who attended obediently to the chatting, the dancing, the drinking, the gossiping. The Casino! The center of the most various parties was also the scenery of political discussion when the confrontation between Diaz¿ and Madero¿s followers was unavoidable. It seems that my father, my mother, my siblings and my girlfriends are lost in that ballroom, and at the far end José Ramón appears like taken out of a battle, in triumph, dressed in his black suit. Enormous candelabrums, art deco tables, curtains and banisters from where you perceived the acid smell of the riverside, the rotten dirt of the marshes. 

Sunday afternoon the city walked around the Army Square. Well, I spent there the most eternal moments of my youth, those you will never take out of your mind, were they extraordinarily good or extraordinarily bad, right? I was a kid then, I was not in the age of boyfriends yet, I think I had turned fourteen in April ―do not be surprised that nothing has happened yet―; he always was an educated person, even if for many people he was nothing but a timid guy who didn¿t deserve to be called a poet. They are not convinced by the image of a man that was not a troubadour that goes around the world looking for women, revolutions, relationships and fame, some bohemia too. Nor by the image of the writer without applause and prizes, who doesn¿t write by order, entrenched behind his vanity, but for an intimate need.

I believed to see in his attitude the presence itself of what our time lacked for. He gave me these lines: ¿Your eyes pass along the night in ruins, and the soul to the dewless meadow.¿

But I was telling you, from that afternoon on I couldn¿t take his gaze out of my nights and my days. That year passed, yes, the one of Madero¿s triumph, and then I knew José Ramón had treated Mr. Francisco several times before he became president, when he was traveling around the country making friends and forming the anti-reelection clubs. When Mr. Madero decided to call the nation to take the arms, José Ramón was also present, he may have collaborated in San Luis Plan redaction. But I knew all those things afterwards. About the time I¿m talking about, when we first met and started to treat each other, what matters the most is that he went away. He disappeared from our state and moved to Mexico city, that was his dream and his delirium. My father used to comment, accompanied by some old friends, in the mornings during the unending breakfast that was served at home, that many rioters were already by the National Palace gates awaiting for compensations, and he qualified them of rapacious vultures, of false prophets that should be condemned by the country. One morning he brought me the newspaper and called me:

¿Maria, I want you to see a photograph,¿ he said from the dinning room of the house, ¿come here, dear.¿

¿Tell me what¿s going on, you¿re upset! Is there another revolution?¿

¿No, it¿s not that. Look at this boy that appears by Madero, Pino Suárez and some others, isn¿t he José Ramón, the poet Félix introduced us?¿

¿Yes, he is, but he has nothing to do with those ¿vultures¿ you talk so much about. José Ramón is different.¿

He just said ¿I hope so¿. But ―things of life― I kept the clipping, I still keep it in a can of El Globo chocolates. You can see José Ramón ―as you are so interested on him― by the side of the top ones, in spite of his faith and religion. I¿ll show it to you later, ok? What my father found out in the newspaper, I knew it already from his own voice. But I¿m going forward, it¿s just that you forget everything at this age. Of course I had found José Ramón at the same square again, now without my parents, when I walked with my sister and my girlfriends. I saw his serious, straight figure, his sharpen hands, his gaze on mine, he kept on greeting me until he broke his shyness and talked to me. I was a young lady who didn¿t understand what was going on in Mexico and all around the world, but I loved to hear what he said, with that tone of voice of a harsh, determined baritone. I got aware of the fight in the country between the ones that wanted things to change and the ones that held onto the way things were, I started to see through his words that men were not divided in good and bad, but in senseless and free. To hear him was refreshing, his conversation was like going to the school and learn, learn how to enjoy the things that are right behind of us and we don¿t see them, nor we understand them. He could talk with such a peculiar simplicity about French literature and have you captivated a whole day; he told stories about writers and writings from 19th century, many of them that I had to read and learn by heart. He quoted authors from here and there, I remember he explained me poems from Victor Hugo that he read in French, and he knew by heart the stories of many novels like Red and Black, Madame Bovary and the Memories from Beyond the Grave, from where I keep this line he wrote me: ¿It could be said that the Old world is dying and the New one is beginning. I see the reflex of a sunset whose sun I won¿t see rise. All I have left is to seat by the edge of my grave, and then I¿ll descend bravely into eternity with my crucifix in my hand¿. Beautiful, isn¿t it?

All this is pretty common for someone who is devoted to literature, but not for me. I found exceptional the taste and the intelligence he had to get into that world, the way he had to enjoy it, oh!, and the sense to pass his experience to the others. There are a lot of poets and there will be new ones, young man. But poets that talk to the mystery that is in the gaze of a woman, I have only met one. He went away from here because he saw he won¿t progress if he remained at the small province city he was going to remember so much in his lines. He took all his family, siblings, uncles, parents; he was the eldest of four children and he lived tormented by the destiny of each one of them. Mr. Madero had called him to the revolution. I saw him before his departure, of course, but it wasn¿t easy, specially in those days when the city was in curfew because the governor from Porfirio Diaz¿ regime wasn¿t gone yet.

Here comes the participation of another person, my cousin Rosi Mestre, who was always very sensitive to what was going on. In those days, she was the connection between José Ramón and me. He lived in the abysms of the night, in the ranches, adrift, I think. She brought me a letter signed by José Ramón, who told me ¿I want to say good bye to you before I go to Mexico city, I want to see you, but we have to have some precautions.¿ I think that Madero was already in Mexico city, in triumph, and Diaz was on his way to France, but in our province, Madero¿s politics arrived late.

Well then, avoiding many kinds of surveillance ―first of all the one of my father―, I went to San Benito quarter, to the chapel where we sometimes attended the mass, when the Cathedral seemed to us a pit of rumors where people looked at us underhanded but with insistence. The quarter was nice and lonely, with houses painted with lime and with tile roofs. By seven o¿clock, just as he had told me, I only found the grilled banana salesman who yelled long and inconsolably to the night, there was an old pine tree at the small square and the tulips were awaken. I waited there and the minutes seemed unbearable to me; the clock of the Cathedral marked seven and a half with clean bell strokes that rebounded on me, and I thought ¿I hope he hasn¿t been caught¿. Yes, I was worried about him; remember those were the times when a man was executed out of nothing, with no trial at all, just because he was suspected to be on the opposite side. I was about to leave as it was getting late, when he appeared and apologized, but immediately he told me he hadn¿t been able to leave the Madero¿s center as the police of the fake governor ―who had to be kicked out of town― thought the revolution was something from the capital and that out there nobody was going to break the order. Police was a small dictator.

I found him worried, as if he suspected of everybody, he came in and turned backwards as if someone was following him. He took a seat for a moment on one of the square benches. I thought it was something more serious and dangerous; he didn¿t talk with the polite voice of other times, only with improvised phrases.

¿Maria, I have to go, but I¿m taking with me your eyes and your words,¿ he said and I actually felt like fainting.

¿If you could only explain the situation to me, I could try to understand... What is happening?¿ I tried to asked him.

¿We are in danger here, so my family is determined. We are going to Mexico city, my last stop, where the revolution is a reality. Mr. Madero needs those who believed in changing, in freedom and democracy. I feel I¿m part of that project.¿

¿Then what are we going to do, José Ramón?¿ I told him.

¿We are only allowed to love. You have to trust, I will be back very soon and I will write you to your cousin Rosi¿s house, all right?¿

¿As you wish.¿ And he leaned over my face, I felt in his deep eyes that I will never forget, the personification of kindness and tenderness. We held each other, so lightly, those were other times, you know? He kept me company for four streets towards my house, and almost by the Casino he disappeared. I lost the sight of him, he ran towards the river, to his shelter for sure.


Time went by but not my passion for José Ramón. I learned to read the newspaper, to follow him in the distance. The country kept on being set in fire. At nights I saw José Ramón, I heard his voice, repeated his lines. I got his first letter ―you won¿t believe it, Mr. Echegaray, but I keep it and I haven¿t showed it to anyone. You may be the first one to read it as you are so interested in the life of a great poet, in his dignity and his esthetics, that didn¿t know any success but the defeat of a country where everything gets a prize. I knew something about him because his name was in a newspaper, right after the old regime governor left our state and finally one of the new regime came. Mr. Francisco himself named him as secretary of a court room, but he actually was the writer of a Justice minister. If you allow me a minute and you get some patience, I¿ll go look for that letter. Look, here it is, yes, damaged by the darkness of the drawer, yellowish in the shadows, but it can be read, as you are so interested. Well, I think a cultural researcher is attracted by this kind of things. Yes, sir, you¿re only a journalist, but you¿re also what I¿m telling you, and I don¿t like to flatter someone out of nothing.

¿Mexico city, December 9th, 1912

Maria, reason of my concern,

I finally have a free time and a place to live, I now can devote myself to you, even if all this time you have been beating rhythmically in my memories. You can¿t imagine what it has been like to get used to this confusing time. I have been from one office to the other; I met the secretary of that Minister and I had to wait for his reply, and after a long day waiting, nothing but to come back in a week. Besides, I found myself in a city revolving around itself, turned into a merciless shadow. At nights, crushed by anxiety, I came back home at Jalisco Avenue, I surrendered to a kind of eternal sleeping that I didn¿t want to awake from. It was tiredness. In the mornings, I listened to the traffic, the salesmen yelling, the tramway noise; I went into the light like a traveler that comes from the shadows. The street throbbed, and the slow walk of the horse pulled carts. Life was in my retina, blue and naked, ringing in my thoughts clock. Then the other shore of the river appeared, the tower of the church, and at the far end, you and your black shoes.

In those days I thought I saw the image of hope in every face of every man and every woman. Madero is not an utopia ―to reach the impossible―, but a reality the coal man and the electric worker, the Zapata or Villa follower farmer give sense to. Madero is a spirit of our time whose mission seemed to be to give back to the nation the color that had lost during the dictatorship years. Madero, my beloved Maria, enthuses us and sometimes disturbs us because of the enemies he has left home, but with no doubt his cause is going to succeed and is going to be imposed in the soul of those who believe in his words. His assignment is not only social, it goes beyond appearance: Mexican citizens in 1912 do not ask ―it would be ridiculous to see it in such a limited way― for bread and justice, but for to learn to dream about another life, to have a piece of a brand new sky. It is not a chimera but the meeting of the common man with his History.

I have spent the time observing a city that hasn¿t overcome yet the scare of having lived a revolution even if it hasn¿t been reached but by victories. The glorious entrance of Mr. Madero in 1911 looks to me more than a social and political event; it was the return of the country to its most healthy nature: the beginning of a new time, of a renaissance the next generations will have to value.

I want to tell you, pale Maria with night walker eyes, that I would like so much to see you again, that you could share with me this experience of change and of the new life that has begun in Mexico. From our small and distant homeland, you must look out with bursting illusion, with impatient love, to the turns we¿ve given with the world. From this place I think I¿ve seen your skin drawn in the noisy afternoons at the neighborhood. I wrote your starched body at the time I read on the skies that the volcanoes illuminate. In your faraway presence, the Ajusco got into my window with its blue and green light and talked to me about you, about the eternal ceiba tree, about the playgrounds and the estuaries where we grew.

I have to say good bye, I will write you soon. Please, give me a signal about your life, your parents, oh, and about the Army Square and its evening fires. I kiss you with immense love, José Ramón.¿

Can you see the precious tone of the letter? It was talking about the poetical spirit of a man that believed in the word free of its inertia; a poet that is not different to the others, but whose word can set you free. He never thought about Madero¿s pitiful, disappointing ending because, you know, for the poet there¿s not evil. How can I tell you? There is evil, but he is in quarrel with Evil; even if he describes it and in a line he sustains it and sings it, it has already be turned into a beautiful, sonorous something that words can transfigure. The poet ―our José Ramón― was a prestidigitator of passions such as love, disillusion, sufferance, the encounter with God. How could he imagine the crime, the plot, the betrayal, all of them facts opposite to the hope of creating a new man? No, sir, the beating he got into his vertebral column, the country, was what made him give in. He was killed by the noise of the bullets, the craziness of revenge.

After the Tragic Ten Days, he came back. His body came back because his mind was somewhere else. Pale, very thin, he barely ate while he was here, somewhat confined because of the political agitation. The second night after his arrival, I escaped from my home at midnight, and I went to see him at the room that my cousin Rosi had offered him. It was a big servant room, now empty because people was gone to the revolution. I saw him very deteriorated, as I tell you. God, what a sinister aspect! Thankfully he got recovered slowly and lovingly. I did the same each night: hear his voice, surrender to a passion that was over tragedy. They forbade me to see him. It took three years to heal his wounds, until he believed in the country again, in Carranza and he decided to go: he went to Mexico city again, armed with a new faith. He got some beating from the older, consecrated writers, he carried on defending himself with his pen. I went to see him around 1918, we walked along the Alameda arm in arm, we could clarify our relationship facing the future. I felt he was not going to change anymore: he was a fragile soul with a mind of steel. I thought we had a life in front of us, we had the urgency to keep on loving us, to avoid marriage in uncertain times. His second poetry book was well received, what beautiful lines José Ramón used to give to Mexican poetry. He dedicated it to me; you must know it, ¿Star of inebriation¿. We walked away from each other, you know, distance united us more and more, so when we could meet, we were born again. Who could have thought about such an early death, consequence of his own failure feeling. He thought he had lost everything but the poetry and the word.

Oh, Mr. Echegaray, I feel tired, as if I had done a long trip, but not in a plane but in one of those old trains of my days. I have wearied my fired memory that has taken me by tangled roads where I was about to get lost. I¿m sorry. We¿ll continue some other day. My God! Who knows where I arrived with these stories that perhaps I should not touch or dust as they belong ―just like the imagination does― to the men that lived them, not to us.

You haven¿t taken your tea yet.

Madrid, November 1998 ¿ February 1999.

Translated by Gabriela Valenzuela Navarrete

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"Frías, del realismo a la melancolía", essay published in La escritura enjuiciada. Heriberto Frías, general anthology by Georgina García Gutiérrez (Google Books)

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Fuente: From the book Paraísos en fuga. México, Cal y Arena, 2002.



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