The Masterpiece Project

by Carlos Martínez Rivas

          BUT things should be as bad as they can get.

No jute mattress no water jug.
Hanging head down. Ankles
bound with rope,
a new one, tied to the roof beam,
creaking with the body’s weight.

Because things should be as bad as they can get.

Lacking not just the necessary but
the indispensable too. Material resources zero.
From wretchedness springs radiance. No worldly mite
should taint its clarity.

Batlike, at ground level
you sense an emanation, black earth odour
mixed with dung, slaked lime. You sway
like the figure of the hanged man night winds
rock, maternally. But, you’re dangling upside down:
skull a plumb bob; temporal veins bulging, heroic,
bringing the beleaguered mind its flow of blood.
In the air your blind arm, outstretched
from its unsteady trunk, traces circles,
isosceles triangles, sketches of The Masterpiece.

It’s come to that already. And things are getting steadily worse.

Translated from Threnody for Joaquin Pasos & other poems
by Roger Hickin