The Invasion


On the day Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil, I had a bit of a breakdown in the subway, where the passenger travelling next to me kept having VOX adverts while he scrolled down his Facebook feed (VOX is a fascist Spanish party). When I got home, in desperate search for hope and meaning, I wrote this piece.

I first performed this poem at the European Championship in Budapest (Hungary), where I came 2nd and won the Jury Award.

On Saturday, July 15th, 1944
Anne wrote:
“In spite of everything
I still believe
people are good at heart.”


She died seven months later.


I once wrote Anne Frank a very excited letter
(back when I was her age)
telling her what word processors were.


And I miss her today.


Today, October 29th 2018,
I am afraid of what she’s thinking,
wherever she is,
she who wrote: “Look at how a single candle
can both defy
and define
darkness.”


What have we learned?
Where have we gone?


Anne, did you know
darkness had no walls.
I assumed it would have walls,
limits, that it would be conquerable,
that Unamuno did say:
“Venceréis, pero no convenceréis.”

Miguel,
¡están convenciendo…!

They’re not just winning, they’re convincing
because truth
is the first casualty in war,
isn’t it, George?
and our hands holding the light
against this growing dark
feel more and more like we are
drawing a sword
that’s a splinter,
the dark’s getting thicker,
the dark started the war and blamed the light
for being violent,
our words were ripped off our bodies.

Difference is not a threat.


Insecure men
successfully climbing on top of high fears
advertise a puppet theatre called Certainty.
Louder: Certainty!
Louder: Certainty!
Louder: Certainty!
Outside it, Otherness becomes
such a convenient dumpsite.
The invaded get called invasion.
The clouds blame the rain
and forget that they too are made of water.

I try to remember the hope,
that stone of hope you dreamt you hewed
out of the mountain of despair, Martin.
I try to remember that vulnerability
and strength come from the same source, Judith.
I try to focus my eyes and read your words
but the masses are tilting the boat,
like they’ve forgotten we can’t swim.

How did you cope?

Can our bodies together mend the bruised?
Are we seeing darker clouds because our eyes
were ready for brighter lights?
Is this the aftermath
of the secrets that held together
the rules of a few
over the power of all?
Is hope
optional?


Is there an arrow across History?
Does it point
somewhere
livable?

Moving hurts, Rosa,
but move we will.


It’s not an invasion.
Our movement
is not just expanding.
It’s that we’re starting
to occupy
our space
as the light
both defies
and defines
the darkness.


We cannot invade
what should have been shared in the first place.

The Space for Sadness

Versión en castellano: El espacio para la tristeza

Our good fortune allowed us to feel a sadness that our parents didn’t have time for and a happiness that I never saw with them.

Mike Mills, Beginners

Only those who are fortunate enough

find the space for sadness.

And if you have gathered time to spend

walking through that vast space

of sadness,

then, I guess, you get

somewhere.

I don’t know.

I’m still knee deep

in the space where sadness grows wide like a lake

shallow like a pond,

and the weeds tickle your calves

and you find some other halves

of you, buried in the deep

and the water is not clear

and you fear that the bubbles in the mud

may be the truths

your halves, half buried, speak.

You’ll have to pull,

but still,

you’ll have to kneel,

pulling with

both hands, three

if you can,

and pull, your elbows mud,

and pull, weeding the lies,

and pull, until you find

those other halves

of you,

soft under the reed.

 

Only those who are brave enough

find the space for sadness.

 

And what do they know

that I ignore?

Does their God never let them down?

Do they know?

 

As empty of matter

as an atom,

as empty of matter

as a bomb,

the fear has grown.

 

Will I ever see the sight

of this lake from afar?

Is this the wind that blinds

the doors when they’re ajar?

 

Sun, will you help me dry my other halves

as I stretch them out on the pebble beach

(the rocks that used to be my dreams)

and wind, will you occupy

their paperless bodies when dry,

so I can say,

“hello”

and

“you are me”

and

“you’re set free”

and

“I apologize”?


Versión en castellano: El espacio para la tristeza

To Come Back Home

Los MOOCs son una de esas cosas de la postmodernidad que me dan esperanza. Hice un curso online gratuito de Songwriting fantástico, y éste fue uno de los últimos trabajos que entregué.

To Come Back Home habla de volver a casa después de mucho tiempo, pero también de volver a la verdad de unx mismx después de intentar vivir fuera de ella.

La grabación es caseramente chapucera, así que escucharla es opcional 😉

The snow has almost washed away

the walls once made of stone.

The latch is broken, off the gate

under the nettles overgrown.

 

Is this the place I once belonged

where time’s been carving holes.

Has it survived while I’ve been gone

is it the same, how can I know?

 

Because it’s taken me so long

to come back home.

 

 

I wish I couldn’t claim as mine

this winter of the soul.

I have been staying in a lie

a lie I can’t call home.

 

The day I heard the siren’s call

no time to say goodbye

forgot my past, I learnt their song,

forgot my | lullaby.

 

That’s why it’s taken me so long

to come back home.

 

Bridge:

What with the pain of being lonely?

what with the pain of being mad?

The truth can never be forgotten

it always pulls you back

(it always pulls you back)

 

 

I wish I hadn’t been so long

away from who I am.

Love echoes in familiar walls

no longer trapped outside.

 

The night will fade into the dawn,

July will melt the snow.

Never will I forget my song

it’s time to let it grow.

 

Because it’s taken me so long

to come back ho-ome.

Like the song? Great! Want to use it/work on it/sing it? Fab! Email me at insulas@gmail.com and let’s talk.

 

Llicència de Creative Commons
Aquesta obra està subjecta a una llicència de Reconeixement-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional de Creative Commons

Dear Sir (Benvolgut de Manel, en anglès)

Sí, sóc groupie.

Sí, descobreixo els grups 2 anys més tard que tothom.

Sí, a vegades intento traduir cançons que m’agraden a amics guiris, i a la inversa.

Sí, n’hi va haver una que de cop, només traduir-la, ja rimava, tenia un ritme, ho posava fàcil.

Sí, durant el pont de desembre a Tivissa et sobra el temps.

Sí, vaig fer una versió en anglès d’una lletra de Manel que m’encanta.

Sí, us la deixo i callo.

Dear Sir,
allow me to presume
even though we haven’t been
quite properly introduced
that you know about me
just as I know about you,
maybe just my name,
one annoying fact or two.

Dear Sir, I must admit
oh hell, what can I do?
You’re not my cup of tea
I mean, hearing about you,
yours were the wildest dreams
which still make her feel a fool,
yours the nights when the phone
was all a constant ring.

But I still see you in CDs
which you never took home,
and a few of them so cool
and others you won’t miss.
Dear Sir, I still see you
in a quiet smile she makes
and that picture in a crate
I pretend I haven’t seen:

the two of you, so young and strong, next to a van
while the view of Paris or Budapest lays behind
you are pointing to the camera wearing a defiant smile
and you feel you are eternal somehow
and you ignore that I exist and that I am
just waiting my time.

Oh well but you two look so nice,
and it must have hurt so much,
and I guess well no, I know
believe me I understand
that maybe even now
you feel you crumble down
for a sec if an old friend
says the name that you both shared.

But now I hope everything’s fine,
and you don’t really miss those times,
and whenever you look back
it’s so over you can smile,
and there’s so many things around
and you’re having so much fun,
that you feel grateful that I grew
hidden in your petty lies
hidden in an awkward look
behind annoying doubts
and every sudden intuition
“could there be much more to life?”
hidden in “we’re still too young
and we can’t make up our minds”
hidden in “I don’t know why
but I feel trapped and want to die”.

Dear Sir, how weird to think
it hurt so much
for you to know my name, my fate, my hands, my touch
or my fingers gently running down down her spine.
Dear Sir, I am sorry I arrived
and took your place
but one fine day
you’ll understand
I waited my time.

Dear Sir, I must conclude
I know you are a busy man.
I just have to say goodbye
and that I am much obliged,
I hope you’re not too cross,
I hope you don’t think I’m nuts,
may the force be with us,
farewell, adieu, goodbye.

If we ever cross paths,
my apologies from now,
I’ll look like a serious man,
wait while you two catch up,
I’ll pretend not to be hearing
your joke about my height
or how you justify
that your style is oh so smart.

We’ll wave goodbye and walk away
and she will say you have grey hairs
and step by step, we’ll leave you behind
just like the scamp who stayed in the corridor
to slap her bum
and used to kiss her in the bushes at the back door of the school

oh poor fools, what a shock it would have been
if you and I had jumped out and said: “oh hi,
we’re waiting our time.
Make some space for us
‘cos we’re waiting our time.