“Funerary Monument to Gerónimo Calbo” – Luis Felipe Fabre

Funerary Monument to Gerónimo Calbo
trimmed with allegorical flowers and presided over by verbal statues
of Apollo and Hyacinth

1

O Hyacinth, beautiful Spartan of Apollo
the favorite: be careful!

a hand of wind
is lifting your tunic

O Zephyr, winged youth, the west winds
behold: the wind being yours
it’s not yours

the air
that Hyacinth
exhales with sweet sighs of love

“Ay Apollo, ay Phoebus, ay my little sun.”

2

Jealous breath of breath: the wind
Zephyr of invisible eyes
spies the lovers: they are practicing track and field!

Apollo
hurls the disc, yet its path
blows a sudden Zephyr and cruelly throws it off course

careful, Hyacinth, careful!

Ay, before carefulness,
in this olympics of the split-second
the disc reaches
the finish line: laurel wreaths for revenge

Ay, the disc
that split open the young man’s forehead
atrocious red lips for the kiss of death

3

Marble of dread
and marble of pain:

Apollo
by himself
an impromptu statue

At his feet,
Hyacinth: a beautiful fountain streaming blood

In the background,
as props, three or four centaurs,
complete the pause

4

The blood of Hyacinth and the tears of Apollo
are wed in liquid nuptials

tears of semen
then tears that impregnate and suddenly: flowers: flowers!

Flowers are born from the blood of Hyacinth!

Flowers that die once summer arrives:
mortals, like Hyacinth.

Flowers that are reborn once spring arrives:
immortals like Apollo.

Flowers that struggle between father and father,
yet, in the end, flowers that settle
as vegetal monuments

to the memory of Hyacinth: dead in the flower of his youth

5

All that is lost
returns as something else in drag
For example: beneath the silhouette of a flowering hyacinth

Hyacinth: spring-flowering bulbous plant
belonging to the lilac family.

Hyacinth:
from the Latin hyacinthus; the Greek
υάκινθος (hyákinzos) which means flower of ay.

Ay: everything returns
but translated into another language: unrecognizable.

6

Hyacinth:
the morning of Tuesday
November 6, 1658
Gerónimo Calbo was driven into the bonfire

Hyacinth:
Gerónimo Calbo
mestizo, 23 years old, a tailor
accused of the abominable sin of sodomy

Hyacinths: this has nothing to do with the hyacinths
Gerónimo Calbo, if anything
it has to do with the weeds
if anything

with nothing. And with the dry herbs
that fed the fire in which he burned.

But we are in spring
and once again the hyacinths bloom.

For Gerónimo Calbo
this wreath of hyacinths, hyacinths, hyacinths.

Gerónimo Calbo
All they did for him was transform him into ash
and he has no more of a tomb than the wind of Mexico City.

 

(translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky. Originally published in Flores para los muertos / Flowers for the dead. Juan de la Cosa, 2016).

Picture 16

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Luis Felipe Fabre is a Mexican poet and essayist, born in Mexico City in 1974. He has published Leyendo agujeros. Ensayos sobre (des)escritura, antiescritura y no escritura (2005), Cabaret Provenza (2007), La sodomía en la Nueva España (2010) and Poemas de terror y de misterio (2013). He lives and works in Mexico City.