an outline for the reconstruction of events; jeannie duval’s cheek tickled by a paris fly 1852; helpless (and in my mind I still need a place to go)

José Eugenio Sánchez

Translated from Spanish by Anna Guercio

an outline for the reconstruction of events

let’s say it was leipzig—long after mozart—
when the carriage pulled up to the gate
and someone blew a trumpet

let’s say powder was being snorted
and a woman in a massive corset and black crinoline
brandished her enormous breasts
then soaked them in wine for the dinner guests

in another room—not visible in the painting—
six musicians (surrounded by a crowd) struck up a minuet
for the damsel who—crouching below the table—slurped a chubby man’s member

red curtains                     plush pillows                     birds in flight
a cigar in the blurry slowness of the fog

though we may all hold earth between our fingers—even mozart—
let’s say it was leipzig
well of desire


jeannie duval’s cheek tickled by a paris fly 1852

in geneva I met an american ballerina
who I lived with in paris
and she taught me everything about rhythm music and
movement—said celine—

henri mahe described her thus:
huge green eyes a touch of cobalt
ever so angular like a cat’s
thin elegant nose
long golden locks blushing strawberry
in curls that fell to her shoulders

any country that can produce bodies so bold in their grace
their spiritual elation so enticing
should have had much more to offer in the way of cash flow

my ballerina’s hip is a lesson in patriotism

her groans
vowels: that she emits with rasping grunts
consonants: that detach themselves rustling the bushes accompanied by the wind out to the city’s edge
they are longer than all the colors

but disaster came
and tears
I tried my best to comfort her
and under emotion’s spell our taxi traversed all the drugstores
at random
their implacable scales insisting she’d gained over a kilo

she ran off to buy a ticket back to new york

it’s rained so much since the afternoon she left
now that I think about it
the houses along the park are still tidy as always
the trees’ shadows have grown and they reach for night in the sky


helpless (and in my mind I still need a place to go)

in this bed where the sea slept
and the ashes of Alexandria were kept
and the ants stored provisions through the holocaust summer
and the most despicable sorceress wrote her prescription for exterminating lovesickness

in the very same bed where the maja and venus posed
where juana la loca mourned philip the handsome across seven states
where the holy spirit impregnated mary

here in the only bed trafficked by phoenicians
which served as redbeard’s map
and was the prince of ishtar’s magic carpet

in this very bed the first elephant gave birth in captivity
charlie parker played the saxophone and a woman at the same time for the last time
and—years before—jesus mulled his mount of olives speech
it’s where I learn that each bed is a country that doesn’t exist when you’re not in it

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