The Street of Love
On the street where I live, life is worth very little
It goes for less than a gram, and is gone in a sigh,
on the street there is a house where blind dates are made
by soap opera actresses and swanky rent-boys.
However, the street of loves is not so sad
there is a parrot that speaks English, a sad, blue cat
that sings beside a doorway songs of indifference,
while a flea-ridden dog
passes a hat smiling
and asks for a contribution.
On the street where I live love has no age,
nor master nor sex
however, it has a price
marked by the clock of time
which presides that table
under some black knickers.
This is the street where I live, the street of loves,
with naughty red lips, with neon signs,
with black and white men,
with gipsy and non-gipsy,
with white-collar thieves and corrupt police,
with sticky-fingered bankers,
judges with no judgement and priests with no dog-collar.
That is my street where nothing is what it seems
where a Mr Nobody can be someone
where someone… is a Mr Nobody.
José Ramón López Goyos
Asturcones: Treinta y Un Poetas de Asturas (Canalla, 2012)
López Goyos was born in Ponte Nova, Lugo and is the co-founder of a group called ENCADENADOS, based in Gijón. The biographical information in this book does not give me a birth date but he is a productive poet with the following titles to his name:
Eco de Palabaras (2006)
Notas y Versos (2007)
Voces Desnudas (2008)
A Siete Manos (2009)
Sin Cinta Métrica (2010)
Es Tiempo de Moras (2011)
This is phenomenal productivity: a collection a year. It is a poetry of engagement, of performance: sharp, vituperative and sly. It is a poetry that does not waste its time wallowing around with shades of meaning. It comes right out and gives you the double whammy. It reminds me of Benjamin Zephaniah or John Cooper Clark.
Most wretched men are cradled into poetry through wrong,
They learn in suffering what they teach in song.
López Goyos has four poems in this collection. One talks about the “Thirteen Roses” who were shot in 1939, another is called I Will Not Go To Mass Again and tells us how murderers and tyrants go to Mass with the “monseñor del turno”, so it is not for him, and, finally, there is this poem. It plays with engagement/disengagement. He shows himself to be the anti-Achilles, the uxorious poet who will wrap himself in a woman’s skirts rather than go out to fight, but is tough enough to take a beating. I rather like it.
I would prefer a beating as a rebel
to gratification and giving in,
I prefer a good brave bull
to an ox that is tame,
I prefer a wilting carnation
to a flaming gun,
I prefer John Lennon’s Imagine
to a Papal encyclical,
I prefer a loving Jesus
to a crucified Christ,
I prefer a man of clay
to a porcelain god,
I prefer the finches’ fragility
to the vultures’ power,
I prefer the tale of the Three Little Pig
to the tale of the three from Azores,
I prefer to be a coward at a fiesta
that a hero in a war,
I prefer to wrap myself in your skirts
than to do it with a flag,
I prefer the light of sunrise
to the shadows of sundown,
I prefer to be a butt in your lips
to a cigarette between your fingers,
I prefer to go to hell for desiring your hips
than to heaven for an Our Father.