Mario Meléndez








Translation:  Ron Hudson







My sister awoke me very early
that morning and said to me
“Get up, you have to come and see this
the sea has been filled with stars”
Marveled by this revelation
I hastily dressed myself and thought
“If the sea has been filled with stars
I should take the first plane
and gather all the fishes from the sky”





I must be careful of the worms
when they bury me
most certainly
they will speak badly of me
they will spit on my poems
and urinate on the fresh flowers
that will adorn my tomb
it may well be the case
that  they even devour my bones
tear out my intestines
or at the height of injustice
rob my gold tooth
and all this because in life
never did I write about them





Eve hung her dead from the window
so that the air might lick the faces
impregnated with scars
She looked at those faces and smiled
while the wind pushed her breasts
to the wormy night
An orgy of aromas shook the silence
where she desired herself
and among sighs and good-byes
a blind cricket weeded
his old violins
No one approached Eve
when she suckled her dead
the anger and the cold
fought over her adolescence
the orgasm gave way to  horror
the desire to  blood
and  small violent creatures
took off  from her belly
populating the dawn
with conflict and nightmares
when all was calm
and the shadows finally
went back to their source
Eve put away her dead
kissing them on the mouth
and she slept naked on top of them
until the next full moon





At times
when I get drunk
words take me home
on an old wooden tricycle
And far from removing my shoes
and putting me to bed
as would normally happen in these cases
they leave me sprawled in the garden
covered with ants
and with my face stuck to
the garden lamp
“That’s what you get for writing bad poems”
they tell me
and go off singing and laughing
my last beer





All of the cats in my neighborhood
are Sinatra fans
they begin to la-la-la his themes
a soon as I put on the CD
and the voice flows
between the ceiling and the brick walls
At times they beg me
to repeat some single
then the sound of “My Way”
“New York” or “Let Me Try Again”
pricks up their whiskers
and throws them headfirst against the glass
This does not happen when I read my verses
they stretch, yawn
look away
or chat amongst themselves
in a lamentable display
of ignorance and sabotage
« You do not understand me »
I tell them
And I put on the CD again
so that Sinatra sings
and those cats are filled with poetry





My cat wants to be a poet
and to that end
everyday he looks over my originals
and the books that I have at home
He thinks that I do not realize
he is too proud
to allow me to help him
He brings rough drafts with him
on which he takes notes with care
each thing that I do and say
Only yesterday, in one of my recitals
he appeared incognito among the crowd
wearing a checked shirt
and my old red shoes
that I had not seen for a while
At the end of the function
he came over to me  with my book in hand
wishing me to autograph it
and for this he gave a false name
one Sylvester Catica
I recognized him immediately
by his big whiskers and hairy tail
but I said nothing
and preferred to follow his lead
Then he slipped under my arm
one of his manuscripts
“Read them when you can, Master” he told me
and said goodbye amongst praises and good wishes
And it so happened that last night
and being unable to sleep
I  half-heartedly picked up that gift
to look it over
It was a love poem
a beautiful love poem
dedicated to Susana
the Siamese kitten
who lived at the back of the lot
It seemed to be  a perfect composition
it had strength and rhythm and imagination
and all the necessary elements
to say that it was a great poem
and without doubt it was a great poem
a poem such as I had seldom read
Then I was filled with anger
and jealousy and rage
and the dawn caught me
with the text in my hands
without daring to tear it
or to make corrections
May God forgive me for this
but I see no other way out
tomorrow I will throw my cat out in the street
and I will publish the poem under my name













Mario Meléndez (Linares, Chile, 1971).

Studied Journalism and Social Communication.  Outstanding among his books are: “Autocultura y juicio” (with prologue from the National Prize for Literature, Roque Esteban Scarpa), “Apuntes para una leyenda” y “Vuelo subterráneo”.  In 1993 he received the Municipal Prize for Literature in the Bicentennial of Linares.  His poems have appeared in different revues of Hispano-American Literature as well as in National and Foreign anthologies.  Mr. Meléndez has been invited to numerous Literary Conferences including: The First and Second Conferences of Latin-American Writers, organized by the Society of Writers of Chile (Sech), Santiago, 2001 and 2002, and the First International Conference of Amnesty and Solidarity with the People, Rome, Italy, 2003, at which he was named Honorary Member of the Academy of European Culture. At the beginning of 2005, he was published in the prestigious revues “Other Voices Poetry” and “Literati Magazine”. During that same year, he won the Harvest International Prize for best Spanish-language poem from the University of California Polytechnic, Pomona, in the United States. Parts of his work have been translated into Italian, English, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Romanian, Farsi and Catalan. Currently, he is working on the project “Fiestas of the Itinerant Book”.

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