Poetry by Santiago Vizcaíno

song of oneself

Estoy enamorado de mí mismo,
hay tantas cosas en mí tan deliciosas.


santiago has drowned in the stain of his own ego,
blind from the solitude of ignorance,
dark brilliance that flickers out,
atrophied vulva, abandoned cervix.

[he wished to live in the secret world of a ridiculous pretension.
his life was a continuous postponement of suicide.]

a horrible son of a bitch who knows not where to hide.
the places he has gone are awash in the misery of
*******his virility:
depraved animality that consoles itself in the memory of a body.

twice he has robbed out of resentment
out of morbid prejudice;
he has also spat upon his mother’s weeping
and has broken out in desperate laughter.
santiago despises his first name,
which he must bear like a dead cripple.
santiago feels like crying in the abandoned space of the street
where the ghosts of a few final sighs are sacrificed,
in chorus.

santiago quotes in another language so as to conceal his barbarism.
dove si grida non e vera scienza
says lezama who alludes to ortega y gasset who quotes leonardo.
santiago does not believe in that.

santiago wants to occupy the place where satan makes love
with a blond child
the monstrous / the monstrous
the monstrous occupies the point of friction between the snapping
*******of two fingers.

[what to do with the silence —says santiago—
that encircles a line laden with plentitude.
what to do with this god that is the exegesis of a book
*******of the spirit.]

santiago flees from the hail lashing against the windows,
he senses that the city exalts the night
and makes a ball out of the tiny bag which contains
*******all evils.

once again your father has come to beat your mother
and muteness has amputated your tongue
[topical application for fear]
sufficient reason to enjoy the anguish.

santiago is not alone now,
but he no longer feels like repeating his name.

women regard him as though he had raped a turtledove
or frightened a mute child.

he was also a child when they inserted a wretched
that destroyed his heart.

but there is no reason to be sad, santiago.
a woman has also had at least one orgasm,
she has shared the metaphysical salt of her body in limbo,
she has offered her nipples bathed in beer
and together you have choked upon the fine humor of a flaccid

all night the heavens spit forth the morbidity of a necrophile god.
all night santiago masturbates
to forget the gait of the shadow like an old mule,
like a one-eyed mule.

santiago cries for his son
who he cannot fuck up like his grandfather did his father / like his
*******great-grandfather did his grandfather
and so ad infinitum…

someone reads your discourse rotting away the epidermis.
santiago, someone wishes to decipher the rhythm of your heart
*******slowly bleeding out
on the graphite blade.

we all have faith in santiago:
he will no longer be the ugly girlfriend,
the sacrificed indian,
the feeble howling that multiplies.
unless santiago should die or become ill
which is the same.


you will die santiago, you will die, and your corpse will be the thirst of the night
***sad like the paramo. you will die santiago, reciting satanic psalms
***because your faith is dark but lucid. change, santiago, occupy yourself
***with the sea and the foam of the day.
santiago, the womb of your nails nests the borough of desire. and who told
***you that there would be tidiness there beneath the rug like a body alive
***but putrefied? no, no, there was nothing to see or tidy up because perhaps
***a name lost, letter by letter, the slave shadow of its meaning.
and so, why repeat the mask that does not scream. however, you say santiago as if
***saying night or clean dust of the morbid filth of sin. speak no more santiago,
***say doors that closed off reason, say the metaphor that barely sparkles spat out
***like a gargoyle that ponders. what does the gargoyle ponder?
what does santiago ponder when he has been confined to his town of dove rapists.
***you too shall rape and your resuscitated member occupy the place where an old
***woman points to a cross and prays and falls to her knees before your merciful
***penis and says “save me,” and you say “take this goblet, my child.”
santiago sleeps upon the flame, he is a fakir. double weeping within his body that
***inflames his memory: island of dying beings who shove at one another to see
***his body bloated like a puffer fish. what will you sow in your blood? go, rest,
and you, what do you regard perversely, this that I am? rage does not harden.
***rage has miraculous forms of softening your language. now all of this
***shines forth from the natural order of misery.
look, santiago, at the scrotal bag beneath your chin. look at the obese monster that
***you have created like a golem.


this pain is too much, it is impossible to continue writing each word as though it were a term for the palpitation of death. and yet, you do, because you have lost everything. you have crucified yourself. no jew came to regard you and no virgin has cried for you. only the false promise that you did not believe. you were lost, adding bodies at random among the multitude. flowers no longer grow upon your tomb, santiago. what it was before has gone and will return with twisting cramps to inhabit the zombie memory in the dazed phallus of your head. how to live with the hill that goes on and on? pedal, boy, pedal, when there is no longer any way for the wondrous to beat once more and to be the reason, the calm, that with which you rocked yourself as if within a giant chest. to what has the night brought you—to the peevishness of who loves you? only the false letter, that you learned at the hand of daily beatings, senselessly. only the letter is salvation, that is to say, the phoneme, that which is infinitesimal, which turns and is a labyrinth of arranged forms. tell me, santiago, why have you let go of what was yours? the true and only form of possession, like love, but painted on asphalt. you let it go because your cowardice and your arrogance had fed your ego, santiago. now you recognize that you were another; and this scarecrow that has come to feed? only once has a man like you understood how to love as cactuses love water. populate everything with oblivion, make lit charcoal of your body. throw water on it, because no one else will come again to search for you and you will once more be the prey. prey that extinguishes, that turns to smoke. no more machination, no more fighting for the dream, because you have not learned to reproduce yourself, because your body is unable to. your body has denied the day, and likewise it denies uncertainty. your discourse becomes ever more false, take your leave, understand only the futileness of this act, console yourself by giving testimony to the weeping. where did that laughter that we needed to make us feel less animal go to? santiago, ask for forgiveness and go. just for once, do not be a coward.


if santiago appears resuscitated
it is not by mistake
only that he did not feel like dying
[just one word santiago]

all poets lie, santiago,
their only truth is the lie,
which dozes in the sublime
makes flesh of the flesh upon the extraneous

you, all of you, know nothing of pain
you are born with the filthy maws of your sea
you are born with this nightmare
which is another way to live
or perhaps the Creator’s own

[this has meaning language corrector who quivers beneath the canopy of death]

santiago has drugged himself a little to live
and a little to be happy…

Noiseless Death

He imagined he would never return.
He affirmed that his country was an invention.
He set himself to the task of forgetting its painful shadow
like a past crime.
Little by little he closed the curtains of his memory
until the silence repeated endlessly.
When he crossed the sea,
his land seemed to him the size of an insect.
He never hungered for melancholy,
And thus he went, spilling years
and learning words
as one goes from one body to another
seeking to escape oneself.
There was no place where he felt the desire to lift his chest.
Because he had an infinite thirst for the future.
Once someone was on the verge of entering his temple
—which was more like a tent of muteness—,
assuredly a Nordic girl with a lost blue gaze,
but he restrained himself.
Each present was an erasable past.
Only his countenance betrayed his pilgrimage.
The story itself marked its language upon his skin.
He, of course, was unaware of this,
his mission was to forget.
He spoke to people with the disdain of the hardened stateless.
He never read anything
He had no interest in the memory of a city.
Museums struck him as insufferable cloisters
where Orientals shot bursts of photos.
He did not drink or smoke.
He had sex to empty himself.
He had a single pastime: staring at the sea.
The waves made years similar.
No one ever saw him smile.
But he was a good worker,
he delivered on tasks with the determination
of a prisoner condemned for life.
One day, when his temples were beginning to gray,
when the night had shut down the transparency of prescript,
when the goblins come out to entertain anguished souls,
he decided to cast himself into the sea.
It was never known of what he had been guilty.

Cannon Fodder

*********************Poetry is the poorest genre of fantasy

The distant sea is occupied by ships that dirty the abyss.
A room at the center is the airport of nostalgia.
From here a woman can be seen crying within a
*******walled city.
Where the fragment in fact conceals?
Those who laughed at your failure stayed there.
Here no one contemplates the masquerade of your music.
What music?
I was unhappy before I arrived to the cauldron of terror.
I was unhappy when I suckled my mother’s teat.
But I was never sad, just out of place.
I said things that wounded the pleasure of ignorance.
I was the storm in the head of the penitent christian.
I never ceased to be that which was born to lose itself
under the open pavilion of dusk.
And if I seemed sad I wish to ask for forgiveness,
because deep down I was doubled up, laughing at the solitude.
A woman without panties sometimes visits me
but I do not feel like loving her
because one night I was raped by the asphalt’s beautiful heart.
The Plaza de la Constitución is crowded with sufferers.
The ill-clothed in the carrion of tidiness.
Throughout the night it fills with the plague of jubilant existence.
Corrosive room of this country,
leave me, be gone with your braggart heart.
I am the soldier who mocks the movement of your buttocks.
No one asks now if I am empty at the lamppost drunk and filthy
*******beneath a dress shirt that smiles.
Once they came to my door to see if I was alive.
I am dead, I said, and closed it with a silent blow like an
What a laughable word, solitude!
Write as though you were being hit by a train,
write with the urgency of the letter that will arrive to your dead father,
write agitated like the concubine who makes love with silence,
write about the sublime strangled by language,
all of your complexes overflowing from shame.
Write with the iridescent blood of a christ.
Death is a diplomatic response to the abulia of life.
Write before departing to encounter the fissure left by the ink.
Write before and after the love spilled across the floor.
But laugh,
barefoot through the bed pierced by the forgotten orgasm.
Shatter the spring.
The final sound must be horrible.
One cannot live like this
in boxers
flaccid member
empty of desire.

Kill a Man

*********************To Estanislao Orozco

Kill a man,
make him suffer,
slit his throat slowly,
and watch his suffering bleed out.
Torture him,
pull out his nails with metal pliers,
insert thick objects up his dry anus.
Tear out his tongue.
Pour the lit flame of a candle over his nipples.
Cut off his balls.
Rip off his ear and talk to it.
His nose can also be used to entertain a child.
Observe how he cries in pain.
Do you like it?
Feel his bubbling breaths.
Make from him a well of nostalgia.
Drink in his weeping from an inquisitor’s goblet.
Spit the glass of your misfortune over his mouth.
Go, be miserable.
Be the executioner of his hunger for death.
But never,
hear me well,
give him a pointless job.

[Literature Justifies Chaos, Produces the Good Fortune of All Insincerity]

It is possible that I traverse the same path
as the blind man’s clumsy cane
in the road like the world.
But I have such fear of speaking the truth.

Though it may seem otherwise,
literature is not a preoccupation,
as is eating and penetrating someone.

If all of the world’s insolence were to accumulate over my head,
it should have to be exploded like a giant pumpkin.

It is likewise possible that something has changed.
It is not possible, however,
that a man should die a virgin,
before the futile solitude of his torture.

There are so many loose things about,
but they are not part of the story,
or they are:
entrails that must be eaten
in a broth of love and of death.
I am no longer moved by the hoard,
but rather by individual cases.
It is obvious they provoke the desire to piss oneself,
upon mass reproduction,
laid in the abyss of a deadly afternoon.

Why, then,
should we correct this temporary journey,
if the center itself is the futility of each act.

The urgency to survive is so great,
that it is quite possible the dead
must endure the same music.


Santiago Vizcaíno

Santiago Vizcaíno (Quito, 1982) has a BA in Communications and Literature from the Catholic Pontifical University of Ecuador (PUCE). He was awarded a Fundación Carolina scholarship for study at the University of Malaga, where he completed an MA in Management of Literary Heritage. He is currently the Director of the PUCE Center for Publications. His works—at present amounting to three books of poetry, a book-length study on the Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, and a short story collection–have received numerous recognitions, including the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture’s National Literary Projects Prize and the Second Annual Pichincha Poetry Award. In translation, his poems and short stories have appeared in a number of journals including Bitter Oleander Review, Chattahoochee Review, Connotation Press, Eleven/Eleven, eXchanges, Lunch Ticket, The Brooklyn Rail, and Ezra. His poetry collection Destruction in the Afternoon was published in translation by Dialogos Books in 2015. The work appearing here is taken from his latest collection of poems, Hábitat del camaléon (Ruido Blanco, 2015).

Kimrey Anna Batts

Kimrey Anna Batts (1983) grew up in rural East Tennessee and went to the University of Michigan, where she studied anthropology and Latin American studies. She moved to Ecuador in 2006, and her lifelong love of literature and language gradually blossomed into a career as a professional translator. In 2011, she went to Barcelona to pursue a MA in Literary Translation at University Pompeu Fabra, before returning to Quito in 2013. Her literary translations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Ricochet Review, Lunch Ticket, and Bitter Oleander Review, and will be featured in upcoming issues of Ezra and Cordite Poetry Review.

Hábitat del camaléon. Copyright (c) Ruido Blanco, 2015. English translation (c) Kimrey Anna Batts, 2016.