Should we stop to breathe as we open a parenthesis in the dream

Four poems by Kepa Murua translated by Sandra Kingery.

Circumference. Poetry in traslation


Writing Fatigue
by Kepa Murua

Because it is so difficult to unravel
what we feel inside as unique,
we find ourselves despondent in a life
where nothing is celebrated
except abandon.
Because it’s so hard to explain
that which only happens to us
accumulated fatigue conquers us
in the face of others’ happiness.
What causes this lack of control
over spoken words,
exaggerated gestures
and multiple hugs?
Have we gone crazy
wanting to be happy at all times?
It’s this way of life
that exhausts us at work.
That kills us at home.
That distances us from the sea and from love.
From fine rain and from tenderness.
From grass and from hope.
From a kiss that’s given at first light
and from the morning sky.
It’s this servile way of life
where nothing more than serene dejection
is celebrated
and the undaunted annihilation
of all that surrounds us
which leads us to hide at home
and disappear into a map
where the route of men
follows the lost trail of animals.
Why mark a territory
that will never be ours?
Why draw a house
with a fireplace and a little path
that takes us to the school?
A tree that gives us shade,
a sun that lights our way,
a bird that sings?
And why say finally
this is mine, this is yours,
if we cannot leave a path
where we look each other in the eyes
like a cat does at a fixed point
or a tiger with a point that is closer by?
Will we once again stride from one side of the cage
to the other, from one side of the cell to the other,
because of the need for fresh air
in a space that opens at our feet?
Should we stop to breathe
as we open a parenthesis in the dream
which pursues the life we want
while it is the fatigue that writes
about love that’s confused with desire,
need with hope
or fear with abandonment?
It is the sketch of the days of childhood
when not seeing the true meaning
of what attracts our attention.
The liberating shout of youth
when not understanding what’s happening
around us.
Not finding the precise words
—at the precise time—
that which we experience as unique
and that only happens to us.  

translated from Spanish by Sandra Kingery

Writing the Anniversary
by Kepa Murua

If all dates
are a number on the calendar
not every day passes by the same
just as a sincere sob  
and false breathlessness    
do not signal equivalence.  
We thought we had lived it
or we thought we had lost it
but once the storm passed
life pursues memory
when you cross paths with a person
and your heart pounds
in an unerring sigh.
This was a day like any other.
A day without importance.
But it was wrapped in an ephemeral
light in which we believed
and with which we toasted
so as not to collapse
and to continue onward.
And we did so with a kiss
and two glasses that clinked
very softly.
You could say it was eternal.
You could say
that just as no one
believed in us
no one would dare break it.
But, as you see, life has that duplicity
that awaits us between the days
that are marked or erased on the wall
to save the happy moments
as we try to bury in our memory
those who caused us so much damage.
What are we talking about?
About love?, tenderness?
friendship smashed to bits?
About something real that no longer remains?
What were we talking about in the meantime
while the numbers passed
their empty signal behind our backs
and we wrote
the lower case words bigger
so they were given more importance
and we would be heard a bit farther out?
Writing an anniversary isn’t easy.
Writing the ritual that throws us
against the center of the calendar like puppets
is not easy. Some relate it
to the death of their loved ones.
Others with losses that are confused
with discoveries.  But all of them
—like the days that are erased
or the ones marked in red—
cannot be lived again
no matter how much a person reminds us
of a noteworthy day that seemed
more important to us than life itself.  
On a date like that when there is no longer
that feeling that makes us collide
against everyone—sometimes gently
and others very hard—
the body that is dedicated to a time
impossible to forget resounds. 

translated from Spanish by Sandra Kingery

Writing Memory
by Kepa Murua

I am sitting upon my memories.
The blue bedspread.
The red carpet and the chair
that was also blue
next to the window with two doors
that look upon the balcony.
The place has changed so much
I don’t recognize it.
I can’t find the street to the school.
I can’t find the entrance to the cinema.
I find so little I can’t even find
the number or the name of the street.
The hidden house
looks like a buttonhole on the pocket of a coat.
I should, like he does
when it comes to getting dressed, call
someone and ask for assistance.
Ask where
the sweet shop is.
And the little plaza.
And the alleyway
that leads to the avenue.
I can still hear
the sound of the train in my head
and feel how things move at home
when it passes.
How the lamp slides over
or the floor creaks with its weight
in that shoebox
so close to the rails.
But as one knots a tie
after twenty years
I must remember more:
the sound of the stairs in my room
when someone was bounding
all the way down to the entrance.
The white sky of winter.
Or the intimate blue of summer.
And the first lobster my mother showed me
or the first alley cat that approached me
on the terrace.
The rose bushes on the terrace.
An old pedal car with number thirteen.
I’ve always liked that number
I think it makes me lucky.
Remembering while you get dressed
has those things:
the clock in the sitting room sounds.
The piano lid is closed
but life continues on
in the midst of the death
that awaits us around the corner.
I hope when it arrives it finds me dressed
dreaming that I remember
those things I thought forgotten.
I hope it finds me sleeping
with my memory still misplaced.

translated from Spanish by Sandra Kingery

Writing While Standing
by Kepa Murua

Writing while standing
is listening to music
while swaying your body
from side to side.
You can’t walk quickly.
You can’t rest fully.
You can’t look into someone’s eyes
or touch with a hand
your chin from the chest.
It’s forgetting what you have in your hands.
Strolling through the voices of the desert
upon the sands of doubt.
Saying life’s like that
that keeps us glued to the ground.
Writing about love
while thinking about abandonment.
About abandonment
when you think that every day that goes by
you’re more alone.
It’s not asking many questions
and answering what you see around you
with your eyes
like a partial voyage
in slow motion.
It’s feeling the chill
in the middle of summer.
Covering yourself with a hat
that hides the rays of light from your eyes
and drawing a sun
in the middle of the ocean
that bathes with your feet
and in a millisecond
what remains of the desert
in the palm of your hand.
It’s walking along the wrinkles of the skin
like one does in sand
very slowly with bare feet.
Touching up its veins
if you write about love
and don’t live it fully.
Lightening the sorrow.
Freeing its chains
with the pride of being the same
even while appearing different.
Writing while standing
is like doing so sleeping
without knowing that you’re alive.
Like leaving the muddle of the world
in the depth of your dreams.
But it’s doing it
with your head held high
and telling life
that even if it disguises its beauty
in melancholy and brusqueness
you are there
to decipher it
in order to stroll down its streets
with an invisible bike
in the depths of a song
that you hear from an open window.
It’s talking differently
while running slowly.
Listening in another way.
Feeling what is lived very deep inside.
Feeling free.
And after taking the blindfold off
flying very high. 

translated from Spanish by Sandra Kingery

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