lorca in new york

New York 


Frederico García Lorca

(Office and Attack)
To Fernando Vela

   Beneath all the statistics

there is a drop of a duck’s blood.

Beneath all the columns

there is a drop of a sailor’s blood.

Beneath all the totals, a river of warm blood;

a river that goes singing

past the bedrooms of the suburbs,

and the river is silver, cement, or wind

in the lying daybreak of New York.

The mountains exist, I know that.

And the lenses ground for wisdom,

I know that. But I have not come to see the sky.

I have come to see the stormy blood,

the blood that sweeps the machines to the waterfalls,

and the spirit on to the cobra’s tongue.

Every day they kill in New York

ducks, four million,

pigeons, two thousand, for the enjoyment of dying men,

cows, one million,

lambs, one million,

roosters, two million,

who turn the sky to small splinters.

You may as well sob filing a razor blade

or assassinate dogs in the hallucinated foxhunts,

as to try to stop in the dawnlight

the endless trains carrying milk,

the endless trains carrying blood,

and the trains carrying roses in chains

for those in the field of perfume.

The ducks and the pigeons
and the hogs and the lambs
lay their drop of blood down
underneath all the statistics;
and the terrible bawls of the packed-in cattle
fill the valley with suffering
where the Hudson is getting drunk on its oil.
I attack all those persons
who know nothing of the other half,
the half who cannot be saved,
who raise their cement mountains
in which the hearts of the small
animals no one thinks of are beating,
and from which we will all fall
during the final holiday of the drills.
I spit in your face.
The other half hears me,
as they go on eating, urinating, flying in their purity
like the children of the janitors
who carry delicate sticks
to the holes where the antennas
of the insects are rusting.
This is not hell, it is a street.
This is not death, it is a fruit-stand.
There is a whole world of crushed rivers and unachievable
in the paw of a cat crushed by a car,
and I hear the song of the worm
in the heart of so many girls.
Rust, rotting, trembling earth.
And you are earth swimming through the figures of the
What shall I do, set the landscapes in order?
Set in place the lovers who will afterwards be photographs,
who will be bits of wood and mouthfuls of blood?
No, I won’t; I attack,
I attack the conspiring
of these empty offices
that will not broadcast the sufferings,

that rub out the plans of the forest,

and I offer myself to be eaten by the packed-in cattle,

when their mooing fills the valley

where the Hudson is getting drunk on its oil.

translated by Robert Bly



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