100 Refutations: Day 85

God Save You

When shadow forms itself within you;
when you snuff out all your stars;
when you’re swimming in the mud, most fetid, most infected,
most miserable, most macabre, mostly made of mostly death,
most bestial, most arrested,
you have not fallen yet,
you have not rolled to the deepest depth, yet…
if in the cavern of your chest, most overlooked, most remote,
most secret, most arcane, darkest, emptiest,
meanest, and demoted
psalms of sadness there be sung,
biting down on anguish and heartache,
one part still pulses, moans an angel, chirps a nest of blushings,
and you feel a knot of anxiety.
Those who are born tenebrous;
those who are and will be larvae:
those who are hindrance, danger, contagion. Those who are Satan,
the damned, and those who never stopped short, never always,
never same, never never—
will not regenerate,
do not auscultate themselves in their nights,
do not weep for themselves…
they who present themselves commanding, satisfied—as rules,
as molds, as a stud to bolt things down, as standard unit of weight,
as load-bearing beam—
And they do not feel the desire,
for that which is healthy, for that which is pure
not one wretched moment, not one wretched instant,
in their arcane brain.
To him who “Tsks” his shadows,
to him who taciturn wanders;
to him who bears upon both his backs—like an unavoidable weight,
like the punishing weight of a hundred cities, for a hundred years;
of a hundred generations of delinquents—
his stubborn obfuscation;
to him who suffers night and day—
and through his sleep still suffers—
like the grace of a spiked belt, like a bone stuck in the throat,
like a nine-inch nail inside the brain, like a ringing in the ears,
like a relentless callus,
the notion of his own miseries,
the great burden of his passion:
to him I bow my head, I bend my knee;
I kiss the bottom of his feet; I say: God save you…
Dark Christ, stinking saint, Job within,
infamous cup of pain!

Bios

Pedro Bonifacio Palacios (Almafuerte)

Pedro Bonifacio Palacios (1854-1917) was an Argentine artist, writer, teacher, librarian, translator, and journalist who lived at the turn of the twentieth century and published under several different pseudonyms. His most well-known pseudonym was “Almafuerte,” which translates to “strong soul.”

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Visit www.linawritesessays.com.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.