Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Carlos Edmundo de Ory

Much reading these past few days. A lot has happened in the last twenty years or so of theory/poetry/life. So today, this is a poem from a writer I am much enjoying, the Spanish poet Carlos Edmundo de Ory, translated by Steven J. Stewart. This appeared, along with some of his other poems, in the New Orleans Review, vol 30 #1. (published by Loyola University)

I obtained this book while on a trip to New Orleans in 2004, almost exactly one year before Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city. This particular poem intrigues me because unlike many of his other poems, the meaning of this one is unclear to me.

"I Advise you to Sleep"

I Advise you to sleep when you can't
to go to mass in a dream
to pay all your debts on horseback
to knock on a door and have it be opened
to play with a typewriter on the floor of your room

If the drugs for your insomnia can't get you to sleep
go out on your balcony at midnight
and watch the soldiers coming home from the war
or a woman carrying a flower pot
or four penitents from Seville

I warn you that it's the same
whether you sleep or not
whether you dream or smoke
if when you light a match
you burn the darkness
and the flame speaks to you

Tell your pillow that you are a lord
a lord a lord
don't let it think
you forgot how to sleep as it well knows.

No comments: