Jerome Rothenberg: At Huidobro’s tomb, a recollection & lament

                        open this tomb

                        at the bottom of the tomb
                       you will find the sea            

at Huidobro’s tomb

the dirt lies

scattered    beer cans

from a later time

& tiny bones,

half chewed,


the sad detritus

of a world

still not created,

where the stones

under our feet

carry the stains


not from the century

before us

nor looking at it

from across the bay

the bright electric signals

Parra saw


but as we face it now

the sea still there

beneath it

helpless to stop

the spectators who piss

onto its stones


Huidobro’s tomb

receptacle for what

was long forgotten  

a white spot

on a hill of green

beset by grime*                                * by time


the birds that fly

backwards from where

Neruda rests

where overhead the cross

hangs in the sky

unseen* by us                                  * unclaimed


huidobro’s tomb

the place to fly

to land among

the mindless

sightless dancers    

without eyes or limbs


broken bottles

everywhere we turn

the diamond
in your dreams
cracked open
in a mindless sea 

the sound

of distant birds

flying to join us

Huidobro’s tomb

a lonely outpost

over the void


like a dot

that blossoms

neither good

nor evil

true or beautiful

or left in place


alone & lost

Huidobro’s ghost

arises from his tomb

& looking down

sees nothing

but a field on Mars




NOTE.  [18.xi.04]  We had first been visiting with Nicanor Parra, from whose house we looked across the water to Huidobro’s tomb in Cartagena.  The grave there appeared as a white spot set against the green hills in the background.  All of this seemed almost pastoral & truly fitting for a great poet’s gravesite, but when we drove there shortly after, the scene we found was one of desolation – devastation really – with beer cans & other debris from local partiers & small stones kicked & scattered under foot.  It was something I didn’t write about then, though the image pained & stuck with me, so that the poem I should have written earlier has just now happened.  (J.R.)