Mario Benedetti: On love, lust, longing & life
A selective translation of some of Mario Benedetti's great poems.
Mario Benedetti On love, lust, longing & life Translation by Brenda Noland On love, lust, longing & life Mario Benedetti A selective translation by Brenda P. Noland Love is one of those emblematic elements of life. Brief or extended, spontaneous or minutely constructed, no matter the way it is the essence of human relationships. - Mario Benedetti Contents On Love Let’s Make a Deal 11 I Love You 12 Still 15 Tactic & Stategy 16 On Lust Every Instant 20 Intensity 23 The Ideal Secretary 24 A Naked Woman in the Dark 27 On Longing Afternoon Love 31 Vice Versa 33 It’s So Little 34 Welcome 37 On Life Intimacy 40 When You Are Smiling 43 Image of You 44 On Love 10 Let’s Make A Deal Partner you know that you can count on me not up to two or up to ten but count on me If sometimes you notice that I look into your eyes and a glance of love you recognize in mine don’t alert yourself nor think what a delirium despite the glance and even because of it you can count on me But let’s make a deal I would like to count on you it’s so nice to know that you exist one feels alive and when I say this I want to count at least up to two at least up to five not for you to come hastily to my aid but to know certainly that you know you can count on me. If several times you find me unreasonable don’t think what a pain either way you can count on me 11 I Love You Your hands are my caress my daily reminders I love you because your hands work for justice and for your sincere image and your wandering steps and your cry for the world because you are of the people I love you If I love you it’s because you are my love, my accomplice, my everything and in the street arm in arm we are much more than two and because love is not a halo nor morality tale and because we are a couple that knows it’s not alone your eyes are my spell against a bad day I love you because of your gaze that looks and plants the future I love you in my paradise meaning that in my country people will live happily even without having permission your mouth that is yours and mine your mouth doesn’t lie I love you because your mouth knows how to shout rebellion If I love you it’s because you are my love, my accomplice, my everything and in the street arm in arm we are much more than two. If I love you it’s because you are my love, my accomplice, my everything and in the street arm in arm we are much more than two 12 13 14 Still I still canâ€™t believe it you are arriving to my side and the night is a handful of stars and happiness I feel, taste, listen and see your face, your long step your hands and however, I still canâ€™t believe it Your return has so much to do with you and me that because I guess it, I say it and because of the doubts I sing it no one could replace you and the most trivial things become fundamental because you are arriving home however, I still doubt of this good luck because the pleasure of having you seems to me like a fantasy although I havenâ€™t always understood my blames and my failures I know that in your arms the world makes sense and if I kiss the audacity and the mystery of your lips there will be no doubts or misunderstandings I will still love you more. 15 Tactic & Strategy My tactic is to look at you learn who you are love you as you are my tactic is to talk to you and listen to you to build with words an indestructible bridge my tactic is to remain in your memories I don’t know how nor with what pretext but to remain in you my tactic is to be frank and to know that you are frank and that we aren’t selling each other simulations so that between us there is no curtain nor abyss my strategy is in turn deeper and simpler my strategy is that one day I don’t know how nor with what pretext you will finally need me. 16 17 On Lust Every Instant Urgent male sudden female donâ€™t waste time love each other leave everything in the kiss touch the new flesh consume the only intercourse destroy each other knowing that time will pass is passing has already passed for both urgent old man old sudden woman. 20 21 22 Intensity Who embraces breasts will madly caress. 23 The Ideal Secretary I am the ideal secretary. My boss is elegant, my boss is so discreet, he is tall, he’s distinguished, he is a complete boss. When he comes and asks for a carbon copy, I am an ideal secretary. My boss has a wife two kids and three maids At least the wife doesn’t understand anything. When he comes and says: We are one for the other I am the ideal secretary. My boss has a Mustang and an apartment where his remorse and I go to sometimes. 24 Then I conform: «it’s only a venial sin» I am the ideal secretary. My boss behaves like a mature type, he disguises his tummy when he dresses in dark. And if he yawns and says: «Not today, I don’t feel well» I am the ideal secretary. When my boss leaves my boss, that old man, I dismantle myself and remain alone in front of the mirror And I tell myself the exhuasted ritual: I am the ideal secretary. 26 A Naked Woman in the Dark A naked woman in the dark has a clarity that illuminates so if grief happens or a black out or a night without moon it is convenient and even advisable to have in hand a naked woman A naked woman in the dark generates a brilliance that inspires confidence then all days become holidays, spiderwebs vibrate in the corners, and the happy and feline eyes look, and of looking they never tire A naked woman in the dark is a vocation for the hands almost a daestination for the lips and an extravagance for the heart A naked woman is an enigma and is always a party to decipher. A naked woman in the dark generates her own light that ignites us the ceiling becomes sky and itâ€™s a glory not to be innocent a loved woman, a glimpsed woman pushes death aside. ÂŠBrianne Holtkamp 27 On Longing Afternoon Love It’s a shame that you’re not with me when I look at the clock and it’s four and I finish the letter and I think ten minutes and I stretch my legs like every afternoon and I rotate my shoulders to loosen my back and I bend my fingers and crack lies out of them It’s a shame that you’re not with me when I look at the clock and it’s five and it’s like clockwork that calculates interest or two hands that jump over forty buttons or an ear that listens how the telephone barks or a guy that crunches numbers and gets the truth It’s a shame that you’re not with me when I look at the clock and it’s six you could surprise me and tell me «How are you?» and we could stay me with the red stain of your lips and you with the blue stain of my carbon copy. 31 32 Vice Versa I am scared to see you need to see you hope to see you long to see you I want to find you preocupation of finding you certainty of finding you poor doubts of finding you I have urgency to hear you happiness to hear you good luck to hear you and fear to hear you altogether I am fucked and radiant perhaps more the first than the second and viceversa, too. 33 It’s So Little What you know is so little what you know of me what you know are my clouds is my quietness are my gestures what you know is the sadness of my house seen from outside are the shutters of my sadness is the foyer of my sadness But you know nothing at the sum sometimes you think that it’s so little what I know of you what I know are your clouds is your quietness are your gestures what I know is the sadness of your house seen from outside are the shutters of your sadness is the foyer of your sadness But you don’t call But I don’t call. 34 36 Welcome It occurs to me that you will arrive differently not exactly more beautiful or stronger not more docile nor more cautious do not forget that your face looks at me like the people smiles and angers and sings like the people and that gives you an inextinguishable fire you will just arrive differently as if this season of not seeing me would have surprised you too perhaps because you know how I think of you and enumerate you now I have no doubt you will arrive differently with new signs of depth and frankness after all nostalgia exists even if we donâ€™t cry a ghostly cry not even on the pillows of candor nor under the opaque sky I know I will love you no questions asked I know you will love me no answers given. I am nostalgic you are nostalgic and I hate how he is nostalgic Your face is the vanguard perhaps it comes first because I paint it on the walls with invisible yet strong strokes 37 On Life Intimacy We dream together and our intimacy wake up together and in the mean time time does and undoes is so immense that death hides it in its vacuum it doesn’t care about your sleep or my sleep we are dumb or maybe too cautious I want you to tell me the grief that you keep we think that the seagull isn’t falling we think this spell is eternal that the battle is ours or of no one you’re alone I’m alone but sometimes loneliness is a flame. we live together we succumb together but this destruction is a joke a detail a gust a vestige an opening and closing a paradise 40 on my behalf I offer you my last trust 41 42 When You Are Smiling When you are smiling it happens that your smile becomes the true survivor the wake left in your future the memory of horror and hope the footprints of your steps in the sea the taste of skin and of sadness when you are smiling the whole world which also ensures its bitterness smiles with you. 43 Image of You I have a loneliness so crowded so full of nostalgia my guests assemble conspire like dreams with their new found spite and images of you of long ago good-byes and welcomed kisses of the beginnings of change and the last car of the train lacking innocence I bar the door because I want to be alone with my image of you I have a loneliness so crowded that I can organize it like a parade by color size and promise by period by touch and by flavor without a tremor too many, I embrace your absence and it helps me with my image of you I am full of shadows of nights and desires of laughter and some vague curse 44 but your image gazes elsewhere with it’s loving eyes that no longer love like food looking for its hunger they look and they look till morning turns to night and my day is extinguished The walls depart the night remains the nostalgia departs and nothing remains already your image has closed its eyes and it’s a loneliness so desolate. 45 Design, photography and translation by: Brenda Patricia Noland Mora 2010 On love, lust, longing & life In honor of his one-year passing (1920-2009), this book compiles some of Mario Benedettiâ€™s most distinguished poems. Benedettiâ€™s work as a journalist, novelist and poet is highly recognized in Latin America. His writings speak to the hopelessly romantic, to the desolate, to the grounded and to the passionate. Mario Benedetti â€˘