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      CATALOGUE OF ANTIQUES

Not so much obscene as tasteless little x’s of kisses
and nibbles on the earlobes were shat we smeared
at the ends of postcards, nauseous nuzzles on the muzzle
too, and if mailed to adorably stupid girls:
Up the Shelled Mussel and Gola Pola Poppies
how go our missions in Angola, or when older-
I want to bee a priest too, if posted to a stern grey college,
little x’s of kisses or nibble-o’s, or wee goatee moustache
in the era of the one-long-bender that even I –half-mailbox,
half freak of nature- was able to stomach: the xoxo
of nibble and kiss, and I can’t tell why
I now recall the uninterrupted summers,
and most of all, Javier, tipsy-toppling over and singing
in the small hours of the morning, at six, Javier
stopping a delivery man to show him
how an elephant in yellow-crayon
on a children’s drawing pad,
which someone had meant to give to an Ana
as a present, was still superlatively ballsy, mark you
and it hasn’t swung round the corner of my mind for nothing
the young lass had to have him charmed, x-ed with kisses, beers –
o-nibbles, nights, the deserts or Javier or Artós Square
in the poor man’s face, inconceivable things like that
are what come back, and I should make note of, for when
I have the time and notion to compile, in fake verses,
my non-playable catalogue of antiques. And in the margins
of the paper I mustn’t omit to put in how, already, at the onset
of extreme adolescence I made it a habit
to collect in the loose bags under my eyes
the small refugee hours of the morning, to collect, or steal
the little deaths off of time: the sugary legs, goodnights;
moons and handkerchiefs, knives, endearments, wells
and this font of fondness for good-for-nothing things,
which take prime and major blame
for me ending up, complacently, accepting that my own life would turn out
utterly useless, a young lad who smiles most irresponsibly at the infinite
possibilities he should be looking into,
lookit giving up the Law to squander their time
writing weeny verses, the worst of that’s
how lads end up a communist, and it’s a goddamn shame
my particular army of grandmas
chanted in resignation.

autógrafo

Santiago Montobbio


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inglés Translation by George McWhirter