Thursday, April 30, 2009

April, Poetry Month-Gentleman Alone by Pablo Neruda

Gentleman Alone by Pablo Neruda

The young maricones and the horny muchachas,
The big fat widows delirious from insomnia,
The young wives thirty hours' pregnant,
And the hoarse tomcats that cross my garden at night,
Like a collar of palpitating sexual oysters
Surround my solitary home,
Enemies of my soul,
Conspirators in pajamas
Who exchange deep kisses for passwords.
Radiant summer brings out the lovers
In melancholy regiments,
Fat and thin and happy and sad couples;
Under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and moon,
There is a continual life of pants and panties,
A hum from the fondling of silk stockings,
And women's breasts that glisten like eyes.
The salary man, after a while,
After the week's tedium, and the novels read in bed at night,
Has decisively fucked his neighbor,
And now takes her to the miserable movies,
Where the heroes are horses or passionate princes,
And he caresses her legs covered with sweet down
With his ardent and sweaty palms that smell like cigarettes.
The night of the hunter and the night of the husband
Come together like bed sheets and bury me,
And the hours after lunch, when the students and priests are masturbating,
And the animals mount each other openly,
And the bees smell of blood, and the flies buzz cholerically,
And cousins play strange games with cousins,
And doctors glower at the husband of the young patient,
And the early morning in which the professor, without a thought,
Pays his conjugal debt and eats breakfast,
And to top it all off, the adulterers, who love each other truly
On beds big and tall as ships:
So, eternally,
This twisted and breathing forest crushes me
With gigantic flowers like mouth and teeth
And black roots like fingernails and shoes.

Was given this book to read: Havana Noir by Achy Obejas. Here is what the jacket states:

To most outsiders, Havana is a tropical sin city, a Roman ruin of
sex and noise parallel universe familiar but exotic... Habaneros
know that this is neither new,nor particularly true. In the real
Havana -- the lawless Havana that never appears in the postcards
or tourist guides--the concept of sin has been banished by the
urgency of need. And need -- aching and hungry--inevitably turns
the human heart darker, feral and criminal. In the stories of
Havana Noir, current and former residents of the city uncover
crimes of violence and loveless sex, of mental cruelty and greed,
of self-preservation and collective hysteria.

Waiting for my Cuban in London to give me his thoughts on it, before I proceed.


Elyse said...

Thank you so much for your post on my blog! I am thoroughly enjoying your have pointed me to some great places, like the blog to help that woman and her kids, and the blog with the article about women in Saudi Arabia. So, basically, your blog is great!

And, I LOVE Pablo Neruda. ;)

A Cuban In London said...

I loved that poem which is one of those little jewels one treasures immensely and digs out only once in while.

Re the book, this is the first I've heard of it and I look forward to reading your review on it. In regards to the supposed debauchery in which we indulge, I could say that Cuba is such a conservative society (the legacy of Catholic Spanish colonialism and African slaves) that of course you have sexual self-repression galore and this results in people doing what in other polities is completely normal and open. As for myself I am looking forward to reading Dulce Maria Loynas del Castillo's biography. I've been told that it puts Cabrera Infante's to shame.

Many thanks. Enjoyed your post thoroughly.

Greetings from London.

Anonymous said...

That was an interesting read. I liked it.

My Castle in Spain said...

Yoli, i would love to discover La Havana through this book and go there one day..that's for sure!

Di Mackey said...

I adore Pablo Neruda, thank you for this post and the book ... well it reads kind of delicious!

Katia Shtefan said...

Wow. This is the most sensual Neruda poem that I've ever come across.

If you really like Neruda, check out Red Poppy at It's a non-profit set up to create a documentary about Neruda, publish his biography, and translate his works into English. To see our blog on Neruda’s literary activism, go to

rochambeau said...

This poem is rich, realistic, sad, yet steamy!! He really sets a mood in this piece.
Thank you for the introduction to Pablo Neruda Yoli. I look forward to reading more of his work.

Happy Weekend!

Gabby said...

Hoiw fantastic! I love Neruda, and especially that poem. Been looking over some Lorca and Machado this month, too. Thanks for that!

Gillian said...

Running out tomorrow to get THAT BOOK!
I'm sinking my teeth into it already. Thank you for pointing the way Yoli!!!
How intriguing.
Your music, images and mood suit me entirely.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

I absolutely adore Neruda. His words are so rich with life. I went through a phase where I read all of his writings like a thirsty woman in the desert. He is a wonder.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Oh, and I'm with Gabby on Lorca - another of my great loves.