Oliverio Girondo #08 – GIBRALTAR

From his 1925 poetry collection, Calcomanías (Decals), this poem is indicative of the transition which the Argentine poet, Oliverio Girondo, was about to make, as he moved away from the Gaucho lyricism to an exploratory poetics, which attains its strongest form in Perusiasion of the Days & is hyperbolized in In the Medulamost.

GIBRALTAR

The rock arches
its tiger spine
that waits
to take a swipe
at the canal.

Clutching the only street,
as if it were a rope,
the houses keep their balance
so as not to fall into the sea,
where the promenades
coo between their arms
the warships
who possess the skin and lethargy of a crocodile.

The faces identical
to these sculptures
which the convicts carve out
of an olive pit,
the indians sell
ivory tibias of mammoth,
authentic silks from Munich,
tea games,
which the ladies hide underneath their skirts,
in order to hide their embarrassment
while crossing the border.

Fed up with terra firme,
the sailors
board the cafes,
until the dizziness plunges them
under the tables,
or they sound a warning
with the bells of their pants
so that the nannies
come running to worsen
their nostalgia of distant lands,
while the pipes perfume
the city’s sidewalks.

Algeciras, February, 1923.

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