Saturday, October 3, 2020

Why Can’t I Be Your Body?


 Why Can’t I Be Your Body?

 By Elias Nandino

 Translated by Don Cellini

Why can’t I be your body
on top of my naked body
to hug myself
and feel the fire traveling
up my thighs through you?

Why can’t I be your eyes
so they can cry with mine
in the shade of my chest
and crack the silence
with beads of water?

Why can’t I be your hands
to play with mine
and run them across my body
like toys pushed by the wind
to invent a new caress?

Why can’t I be your mouth
to kiss myself in the fire
you have sparked on my lips
and feel that I am the one
pouring himself into the other?
Why can’t I live your life
to feel what I feel
deep within your chest
and watch you approaching me
like an image in the mirror?

I want to be both glass and wine,
the roots and the branches,
the riverbank and the current,
the bell and its sound,
the fuel and its flame.

Keep sleeping without seeing me,
awake here beside you.
I fly into the flight of your dream
to be so close to you
I breathe through your body.

Elias Nandino (1900-1993) was a Mexican poet who made his living as a surgeon and physician. He published twenty volumes of poetry in his lifetime, work often focused on solitude, eroticism, and love. In recognition of his dedication to teaching and assisting young writers, the National Young Poets Prize in Mexico is named in his honor.

Because his love poems are not addressed to any particular individual, they have sometimes been labeled narcissistic and this poem has echoes of it though its source is the memory of an encounter with his lover. When Nandino writes that he wants to see his beloved “like an image in a mirror,” One might conclude that this label is correct. The theme of love is often addressed in contrasting pairs of presence and absence in many of his poems. For example, in another poem titled “My First Love,” he writes,  “And in the blue that hides the evidence/I discover your unforgettable face,/ and suffer the presence of your absence.”

Source : Elías Nandino: Selected Poems, in Spanish and English
by Elías Nandino,Don Cellin (Translator)