blackmail press 18
Mario Meléndez
Linares, Chile
Mario Meléndez (Linares, Chile, 1971), studied Journalism and Social Communication.  Outstanding among his books are: “Autocultura y juicio” (with prologue from the National Prize of Literature, Roque Esteban Scarpa), “Apuntes para una leyenda” y “Vuelo subterráneo”. 

In 1993 he received the Municipal Prize of Literature in the Bicentennial of Linares.  His poems have appeared in different revues of Hispano-American Literature as well as in National and Foreign anthologies.  Mr. Meléndez has been invited to numerous Literary Conferences including: The First and Second Conferences of Latino-American Writers, organized by the Society of Writers of Chile (Sech), Santiago, 2001 and 2002, and the First International Conference of Amnesty and Solidarity with the People, Rome, Italy, 2003, at which he was named Member of Honor of the Academy of European Culture. At the beginning of 2005, he was published in the prestigious revues “Other Voices Poetry” and “Literati Magazine”. During that same year, he won the Harvest International Prize for best Spanish-language poem from the University of California Polytechnic, Pomona, in the United States. Parts of his work have been translated into Italian, English, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Romanian, Farsi and Catalan. Currently, he is working on the project “Fiestas of the Itinerant Book”.


A cow grazes in our memory
blood escapes from the udders
the landscape is dead from a shot

The cow insists on its routine
its tail drives away boredom
the landscape revives in slow motion

The cow abandons the landscape
we continue hearing the lowing
our memory grazes now
in that immense loneliness

The landscape leaves our memory
the words change name
leave us weeping
on the blank page

The cow grazes now in the emptiness
the words are mounted on her
the language makes fun of us


One day I will return to your eyes
and I will begin anew
I will return with a hollow sound of metal
and wet sun
I will look between the eyelids of time
your green body and your hair of grapes
I will crown you in silence with my mouth
and with my hands that will not stop
I will return for you and your star-strewn blood
coming to pass the evening like an old shadow
something will tear itself there above

and we will not be ourselves
something will burn suddenly with the echo of bed sheets
And I will return more alive, purer, more hungry
and I will return flying and tearing feathers
all I do for you, all in silence
until the roosters prolong the night
when they see you undressed


Eve was hanging her dead from the window
so that the air might lick the faces
full of scars
She was looking at those faces and was smiling
while the wind propelled her breasts
to the worm eaten night
An orgy of aromas shook the silence
that she wanted for herself
and between whispers and good-byes
a blind cricket was breaking the strings
of his antique violins
No one neared Eve
when she suckled her dead
the cholera and the cold
were fighting over their adolescence
the orgasm gave passage to the horror
desire to the blood
and to small violent creatures
detached from their stomachs
populating the night-falls
with conflict and nightmares
when all ended calmly
and the shadows finally
regressed to their origin
Eve guarded her dead
kissing them on the mouth
and she slept naked atop them
until the next full moon


The girl of the open dress
rises on the hour
in which words are of celebration
for she herself is a celebration
when she stretches her thigh to the ground
and the wind blows over her
with its infinite fingers
A tricycle of crystal awaits her
with the flowers of the patio
and a nest of blind butterflies
undresses between its bones of honey
And in her bed of blue plumes
she hangs her braids of wheat
and counts her dead bees
until remaining asleep
while the evening envelopes her
with its yellow lips
The daughter of the open dress
awakens on the hour
in which the clocks dream
because she herself is a dream
when she opens her dress
and the sparrows flock
crazy with love
above her paper-white breasts


My village is cold each day of the year
it is hungry, thirsty and young

My village is a piece of wood
from a bed that does not suffice for four or for eight

My village has rain and wind
it has faces sketched with ash
it has hands that applaud for not dying

My village has no name
it has no state nor states
it has no streets nor smiles

My village has no God
the sea-foam and salt conquered the saints
the water from the taps is purer than a church

My village is a summary of weary love,
a biography without limits nor angles
a recent cadaver
a cup that never will be filled

My village has children who appear ancient
and ancients that robbed their years
it has mothers with submissive eyes
and men who are cut in half

My village has trees without trunks and without leaves
it has roses that change their color
for a kilo of bread

My village is a wound to the temple
a sick guitar that is deaf and mute
a song of numbers
definitely sad
definitely bitter
definitely forgotten
in the big dream of life


to Víctor Jara

Further from the guitar
are the separate hands of the homeland
a sound of wings that burns
and scorches my shoes
an invitation to urinate on the ground
with the pure seed of the singing
Further from the guitar
the blood sketches violent music
and the head of the singer fills itself with holes
and with kisses smelling of death
Further from the guitar
the roads cry
the rain weeps and falls on its knees
because the son of the earth
will not complete his passage
Further from the guitar
further from the discharge
that stopped the hearts
further from this poem
and with the unforgettable wound
the eyes search for Victor
further from the guitar
and from the homeland


She went out to walk the words
and the words bit the children
and the children told their parents
and the parents loaded their guns
and opened fire upon the words
and the words howled, yelled
slowly licking their blind wounds
until at last they fell face down
on the bloody ground
And then came death
dressed in its best pomp
and stopped by the home of the poet
to call her out with desperate cries
and the poet opened the door
without suspecting what awaited
and saw death suspended by it shadow,
“Accompany me,” death said to her,
“because it is night, we are in mourning.”
“And who has died?”, asked the poet
“Well, you,” responded death,
and extended her his arms
to give her his sympathy.


Carry me away to the south
of your hips
where the humidity
envelops the trees
that issue from your body
Carry me away to the deep earth
that looms between your legs
to that small north of your breast
Carry me away to the cold desert
that menaces your mouth
to the exiled oasis of your navel
Carry me away to the west of those feet
that were mine
of those hands that encircled
the sea and the mountains
Carry me away to other villages
with the first kiss
to the interminable region
of language and flowers
to that genital route
to that river of ash that overflows
Carry me away to all points, love,
and to all places drive my fingers
as if you were the homeland
and me, your only inhabitant.


Let them come to see my poetry
it is not made of lightweight material
it will perfectly withstand the winter
and in summer it will refresh
minds and bodies
There are powerful beams between each verse
there are ribbons supporting my words
And if the rain desires to enter
I shall place my dreams in the roof
and I will stop the leaks
with my own pain


If you were bald I would still love you
I would go mad kissing your head
your little golden moon
If you were bald, oh if you were bald
I would carry you to the river of memory
I would sit near the fire of your shaven eyes
I would pour a swan in the middle of your forehead
But the great and blind hair of the head
the great breath of crystal
the great fiber of ash and pollen that you are
all that life holds for you in your hair
that which the night robs in whispers
all that the color of ecstasy licks in you
like in a lightning fast return
like in a prolonged sun
like in a game of light heaped on your collar
all is, love, and high is the wave
this current, this air
this clump of seaweed dried in the wind
this human cordon heaping toward you
this tide, this blast
this whisper that ties me to the last roots
and that which is born, and that which ends
and that which falls into the deep abyss of your blood
that which has not been written, love, all the mystery
for which in the shadow of your hair
I will smother forever.


Caperucita never imagined that El Lobo would leave her for another woman. She never paid attention to the advice given in matters of love by her Grandmother. It would seem that one morning El Lobo told her "Caperucita, I want to break up with you.  It no longer excites me to chase you through the woods; it no longer pleases me to dress as your grandmother to allow you to tell me your usual stupidities, that I have big ears and eyes such sharp teeth, and me, like an idiot, responding that they are the better to hear you, smell you and see you. No, Caperucita, our relationship is over."  So Caperucita, disconcerted by this confession, set out to run as far away as she could, thinking of the class of woman who had conquered the heart of her lover. "It is her, I must be like her", repeated the child while searching desperately the house of the old woman. "Grandmother", she finally cried, when she had contemplated the face lying in the bed, "how could you do this to me? You, the friend in which I confided most?". "I am sorry", said the other woman, "I never expected to become pregnant at my age, and much less from someone so intelligent and imaginative. Nevertheless, he is a responsible wolf, who I do not doubt for a minute, for offering me marriage on hearing the news. I am sorry, Caperucita, you must seek out someone else. After all, this is not the only wolf in the world, right?


My sister awoke me very early
that morning and said to me
“Get up, you must come and see this
the sea has filled itself with stars”
Marveled by this revelation
I dressed myself hastily and thought
“If the sea has filled itself with stars
I must take the first plane
and gather all the fishes of the sky”

Copyright 2004 by Mario Meléndez.

Translated by Ron Hudson.