roberto bolano
my life in the tubes of survival

Because I was a pigmy and yellow and had pleasant features

And because I was smart and unwilling to be tortured

In a work camp or padded cell

They stuck me in this flying saucer

And told me fly and find your destiny. But what

Destiny was I going to find? The damned ship looked like

The wandering Dutchman through the skies of the world, as if

I wanted to flee from my disability, from my particular

Skeleton: a spit in Religion's face,

A silk stab in the back of Happines,

Moral and Ethical support, the forward escape

From my executioner brothers and my unknown brothers.

In the end, all human and curious, all orphans and

Blind players on the edge of the abyss. But all this

Inside the flying saucer could only make me indifferent.

Or remote. Or secondary. The greatest virtue of my traitorous species

Is courage, perhaps the only thing that's real, palpable even in tears

And goodbyes. And courage was what I needed, locked up in

The saucer, casting surprising shadows on peasants and drunks

Sprawled out in irrigation ditches. I invoked courage while the

damned ship

Flicked through ghettos and parks that to someone on foot

Would be enormous, but for me were only pointless tattoos,

Magnetic indecipherable words. Scarcely a gesture

Hinted beneath the planet's nutria cloak.

Had I become Stefan Zweig and seen the approach

Of my suicide? With respect to this, the ship's bitter cold

Was indisputable. But still, I sometimes dreamed

Of a warm country, a terrace and a faithful, desperate love.

My falling tears would linger on the saucer's

Surface for days, evidence not of my pain, but of

A kind of glorified poetry that more and more often

Clenched my chest, my temples and hips. A terrace

A warm country and a love with big faithful eyes

Approaching slowly through my dreams, while the ship

Left smoldering trails in the ignorance of my brothers

And in their innocence. And we were a ball of light, the saucer and I,

In the retinas of poor peasants, a perishable image

That would never adequately describe my longing

Or the mystery that was the beginning and end

Of that incomprehensible artefact. Like that until the

End of my days, submitted to arbitrary winds,

Dreaming sometimes the saucer was smashing into a sierra

In America and my corpse, almost without a scratch, was rising up

To be seen by old highlanders and historians:

An egg in a nest of twisted shackles. Dreaming

That the saucer and I had finished our ridiculous dance,

Our humble critique of Reality, in a painless, anonymous

Crash in one of the planet's deserts. d**h

That brought me no peace, so after my flesh had rotted