José Koser

Last Will and Testament

translated by Mark Weiss

The truth is I only care about words, not every word (I don’t care for the
                word word, if truth be told) snow isn’t a word I care for
                (I don’t care to be cold, and snow–I mean to say lyric
                snow–has become so commonplace) one less word now:
                and for the letter n there are others. A multitude. Nabob,
                an exotic word–not the least chance to use it, a sonorous
                word, but there’s an overabundance of sonorous words,
                we can discard it: what’s left? The fugitive image of any
                word, lacking an image leaves a concept (leaping inside
                us) it crumbles: in truth I care not at all for the word
                nothing, abstractions leave me limp with boredom, tepid
                tepid abstractions: I want to see and touch (above all
                touch); I want to sniff the spoor of the word buckwheat,
                my god, how many combinations: the words are millstones
                turning; whatever word a mill-vane broken into
                syllables; and on the shore the dying, what does it say.
                Marah, marah: is that what it says? I listen closely,
                nothing but interference; and I taste, I crush a stem of
                purslane against my palate, but it clarifies or tells me
                nothing now: here on the edge, manna, masquerade are
                the remaining words, backward, or forward to this place,
                at the edge: what, to what to speak with words: listen to
                me, the bread that I’ve put on the table parts, down to
                the center of its husk, brings forth ash (ants brought forth
                once more): and then, what. The things are obscured by
                so much thought, classification and description, description
                doesn’t bring the chameleon back to the chameleon,
                doesn’t bring back the mother, doesn’t bring anything
                back to us, let us yield, that the jacaranda of this life is
                passing, I am homet (the lizard): nothing. A green thing
                that lost its tail. The masquerade of her whose veil is
                dropped, see the face’s skull, the body’s bones, skin of
                golgotha peeled away now: the donnybrook I was once,
                now I hear myself and slide inwards: outside a lovely
                day. Euphrates. Much dis- tance. A god of nickle or zinc
                can’t cope with peo- ple, nitrogen has been enough to
                keep me alive. Spurious, but alive. With some or another
                word but not with every word. The word Capulí
                tells me nothing, it has nothing to do with me; dying,
                let’s see, I can’t adjust to its destiny: nor, finally, to the
                dictionary–too vast. At the final moment any word will
                do; linen, for instance, at that moment: the ark on one’s
                shoulder, bread on the table, hand on head, and at the
                head’s point of transcendence, be it the word wheatfield
                that I hear, for instance, in the yellow crossing of axles:
                or be it bread, by omission. And might I see made whole
                all crumbled things.