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      THE INITIAL MANIFESTO OF A HUMANIST

The calling of good-for-nothing words,
or living this much on your own, has small call
on you if with a daily and a deader certainty you see
that not only do you shun its laurels
but they gall you all the more greatly, so
if you honestly don’t want to change your already two-bits wits
into a penny-pinching whore’s who’ll sell her tits or soul
to any John with dough or if, fundamentally,
you do not require that much and what matters is that you bear
life and its sadness with dignity,
it would be better if, from here on in, you accept
as unavoidable the sentences of loneliness and failure,
and cling as with a bright, blind, starry-eyed abandon
to this small ridiculous calling and you make of it,
and that in your empty room the burning words
which hound you and assault you
could go cold as ashes
just for uttering your name.

autógrafo

Santiago Montobbio
Translation by George McWhirter


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