From The Murmur of Borders

Lila Zemborain                                                                              in Spanish



            Vuillard and his figures flattened against the background, stitched together, a green that thus makes evident the lines demarcating the fold of a sheet or the orange that later is a face, in that reconstruction of the visible that is painting, automatic process in the onlooker but that to me is a successive process, with one eye shape, with the other color, form and color at the center of the BRAIN that receives the influx and in a millionth process makes up, articulates, interprets, submits, ritualizes, executes, demands and guesses that in that combination lies a figure, and further back another approaches, a hand threading a needle and knotting the string, a daughter leaning towards the mother, without pose, not upright, with the stress of confinement in each wallpaper’s stain, the chiaroscuro out of which the figure emerges, in this atmosphere saturated by smells and pins and words in French and chattering and silences around a fruit bowl, the sadness or the embarrassment in the lit zone, and the eye that gazes and documents a psychological state in the walls’ EMANATION, where humidity, broth, the fabrics spread out on the tables, the clients’ sometimes-too-heavy perfume, and the whispers, the surrender to the test, or the hand that makes the fold, the mold, the scissors, the tape to establish measurements.


            But who would have these dresses made? Would they notice the texture that the figures along with background sew—in that strategic position—the effeminateman?


            Burning rose on the crumbled skin, the hair blackened over the years yellow, orange beard, stains that form an eye, a gaze, a figure that my eye notices, breaks down and asks itself if art is nothing but the divided gaze that marks a lack of focus, the distance between the eyes that perceive the different, that which drapes the submersion into the brain’s knots, the nodal center of a sphere we call head, which shelters in its shell the primitive organ responsible for expansive modulation.



Translated by Manuel Fihman



Argentinean poet Lila Zemborain has been living in New York since 1985. She is the author of seven poetry collections, among them Guardians of the Secret (Las Cruces: Noemi Press, 2009), and Mauve Sea-Orchids (New York: Belladonna Books, 2007).

This text originally appears in El rumor de los bordes [The Murmur of Borders] (Sevilla: Biblioteca Sibila – Fundación BBVA, 2011). Used with the permission of the author.