From Antonio Gamoneda’s ‘Arden las Pérdidas’

Alan Page

This is my second installment of translations of Antonio Gamoneda's poetry. The following are selections from Arden las Pérdidas (The Losses Burn) [2003]. Next month I will post an essay on repetition and dislocation in Gamoneda's poetry.

As with the last set of poems, each poem between ——-'s is originally supposed to be printed on an individual page. They are something between individual poems and segments of a sequence.


The light boils under my eyelids.

Out of a nightingale engrossed by ash, out of its black, sonorous innards, comes a tempest. Weeping descends to the ancient cells, I can sense the living whips

and the animals’ motionless gaze, its frigid needle in my heart.

All is presage. Light is the marrow of shadow: the insects will die in the candles of dawn. This is how

the meanings burn in me.


I am cold under an arc that splits off existence from light,

that splits off all I have forgotten

from the last light.


There is a splinter of light in the appearance of eternity, we have licked translucent membranes almost lovingly, there is nothing but winter on the motionless branches and all the signs are empty.

We are alone between two negations like bones left to dogs that will never come.

Day is about to enter the calcinated room. The black suture has been useless.

One pleasure remains: we burn

in incomprehensible words.


I’ve thrown mercy’s bone to the abyss; it is not needed when pain is of a piece with calm, but lucidity works in me like delirious liquor.

I know nails grow in death. No one

descends to the heart. We strip ourselves of ourselves when we cast out falsity, we gut ourselves and

no one comes. Not

shadows not agony. Good:

let there be nothing but light. This

is the final drunkenness: equal parts

forgetting and vertigo.


Memory is mortal. Some evenings, Billie Holliday lays her sick rose in my ears.

Some evenings I catch myself

far from myself, weeping.


Over my flesh, grave with love, passes the same tongue that whistles in my old age and I awake

wrapped in clots of shadow

and from the night a flower detaches

black and wet with tears.


Still his hands attend my dreams ahead of a black shout, of the iron hidden in my heart.

My old age twists its bones and burns its hair, my old age wrapped in a skin wet with love.

His gaze comes from countries I will never see.

His tears boil on my skin.


The nails of non-existent animals tear out our eyes in our dreams.

Such is the night.


The losses burn. They were already burning

in my mother’s head. Before that

burned the truth and my thoughts

burned too. Now

my passion is indifference.

I hear

invisible teeth in the woodwork.