Monday, May 2, 2016

A poem by Ismael Ramos

Alas I Cannot Swim

I say: I’m twenty-one and I don’t know how to swim.
Across the river is the tree, the man, and my heart.
Tempted, I observe the reflections of things.

My intelligence is useless. No way to open the water with a word
because at the bottom of the word there is flesh. In the memory of the word
there are little bits of flesh. They sink too.

It’s no riddle: how to make it to the other side in one piece
without being eaten.

Decisions will have to be made.


I’m sitting at the edge of the dock. People pass by behind me talking
loud. There’s music and the boats cross from one shore to the other
loaded with tourists. The sun beats upon the tile. Water is everywhere.

There’s also a a dog who lifts his head whenever someone passes too close
as he sleeps.

I admire the transparent blood of bird wings. Why do we only love that
which grows old?


We lose it all even before being born.

The hero departs leaving his love behind, trusting his body to the light and wind.

I can say: I am twenty-one and I can’t swim. This is my stomach.
This, my brain. My name is Ismael.


In dreams, the face of the drowned.

There is a god to represent men and another for things. There’s a god
who reflects my face in the water.

I don’t believe in salvation. I don’t believe in blood.
I believe in the desperation of the beloved.

The dog awakes and walks near the water.


I’m the guy sitting on the edge of the bed. Just about to sink, a soft
shadow above my head. The power of a lion running at a lance.

The warmth of sunny late winter days caresses me.
I feed the birds from my hand.

I fall.

~Ismael Ramos (translation mine)

Ismael's blog here:

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