Reverse Mimesis

[multilingual poetry]

...not a desire to love, but a force to love, a virtue that gives and produces, that engineers.
— the Anti-Oedipus

The apology went something like this: Gaudí died looking at his own damn building.

Difficult not to compare the heart to, well, anything. Really.

The small white flowers are everywhere, you know. They splinter, then splinter again.

I wonder if vulnerability isn’t entirely compromised. Just yesterday someone posted a story

about people who’ve jumped off the Golden Gate. And lived.

The sun rises. Everything goes on looking iconic. There was something,

they said, about the sudden allure of problem-solving in mid-air; duration is crucial

in such circumstances. At the precipice it’s more about flight than anything else.

That first night in your father’s flat, I made a comment about the window.

It’s great for suicide, you cooed. I laughed & called you my little Deleuze.

The point is, a man becomes unkempt. Disheveled first by love. Then politics. Later, light.

The heart flutters away or is arrested in photomontage. Ostia!

A tram strikes the architect on the Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes on his way to confession;

just abans he’d taken two steps al revés. As if to avoid it. People who see the accident

think he’s a beggar. No one takes him to a hospital. What I’m trying to say, love, is:

it isn’t, ultimately, about hubris. There’s this collective turning-of-the-head.

A doctor came, then went; cleared his throat, said there was nothing he could do.

I imagine, in lieu of a certain future, a passerby muttering a few choice phrases: «¡Estaràs bé!»

They say the same thing, the signs above the Bay. No one believes them.

Until, I guess, they jump. I crack a stem from the sidewalk & suck.

The seeds scatter, the sea roars. The bridge sways in the wind.

Who, then, to forgive? Given the degradation of living, of having lived? ¿Entends?

Sometimes, someone takes you somewhere to die. Other times you take yourself.

I don’t need to tell you this. In the morning, you’ll open your father’s window, then read the news

in three languages. THE SUN RISES, it says; CRISIS EXACERBATES.

STATE OF EMERGENCY IS DECLARED. The policemen of the world raise their baton,

mid-air. In Barcelona once again the Gran Vía està bloquejat. «LIBERTAT», the people

are shouting, «LLIBERTAT». Meanwhile, greyish plumes scale the horizon

like bleached coral. In Oakland, too, the sky erupts. A building goes on being built.

Whitney DeVos is a writer, translator, and scholar based in Mexico City. She is the author of a chapbook, On Being Blonde, and an assistant poetry editor at Asymptote. Her translations of Notes Toward a Pamphlet by Sergio Chejfec and The Semblable by Chantal Maillard were published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2020.