My father is a man of brown hair, pale skin, and deep-blue eyes. He visits the spirit of my grandfather, who lurks in the park downtown in the middle of the autumn, every November 2nd. He sets up an altar as well - he buys cigarettes, the November 2nd local newspaper, sugar candy skulls, sugar cane, dried apricots, Legal instant coffee, china paper ornaments and a mid-sized candle, and places them around a picture of Alfredo Valenzuela, my grandfather, who would drive a tank for my country´s army. My father, a man of 61, quiet and self-absorbed, is barely a shadow of my mother, a breeze on Ash Wednesday, or the smell of Stout beer. To him, the afternoon is long, made to slumber, lullabied by the images of devastation from the second war shown on the television screen. Only can the smell of butter cookies awake him from the unknown. The unknown, my mother calls his dreams, for he has never shared a single particle of one of them. It's only dreams, says he while smiling.


'Tis twenty-two years time

Long has it been since we last met. His fingers tapping the table, then combing his beard, then reaching for my hand to feel the scar in my index finger. He talked of hummingbirds and the fruit of the summer, while he looked into his cup of tea for pieces of undissolved sugar. He grabbed his teaspoon with just two fingers so he stirred the Earl Grey as swiftly as the breeze swings a girl’s hair. I’m immortal, I said throughout the conversation. His face made for mine, his freckled lips almost touching my ear lobe, and he said, You’re right, the low sound of it ricocheting in me. We had strolled in an endless spiral before the smell of cherry and cinnamon bent our will and made us sit in that crowded café. At times he seemed absent, staring at the pattern that decorated the table, speaking abscondedly to everyone and no one, but not to himself. He made a pause in his speech, blinked, laid his eyes on me, and smiled as if I were the only light in a dark night, giving me chills, getting my blood to irrigate every vessel in my face. I could only say, Gotta go to the restroom, before I got up and walked away while feeling myself burst. There can’t have been enough water coming out the faucet to quench my excitement. I splashed myself three, four, five times before I left. When I came out, when I saw him taking small sips as though he could defeat eternity with a cup of tea, when I took my first step towards him, time froze - the air in my lungs, the girl with the balloon, the steam from the coffee machine, the rose on the floor, the old couple arm-in-arm, the fly by the window, everyone, everything, became a pile of salt, still at first, then spilling slowly across the floor, eventually reaching the edges of the other spilling piles, merging, mutating, evolving, melting into a sea. While I turned to salt, while my essence became that of the Lord, I saw him stirring his cup of Earl Grey while adding a couple of sugar cubes. I knew he wouldn’t get off that chair till I came back to grant him my ears and my eyes once more.

Twenty-two years later a quiet sea still surrounds the one being which hasn’t dissolved. He’s sitting, sipping, stirring, adding cubes of sugar, tapping the coffee table. Once in a while he takes a peek around to utter, You’re right, and the sea becomes agitated. He smiles, and goes back to savouring his tea.


First Surrealist Manifesto

From Le Manifeste du Surréalisme, 1924


We are still living under the reign of logic, but the logical processes of our time apply only to the solution of problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our experience. Logical conclusions, on the other hand, escape us. Needless to say, boundaries have been assigned even to ex- perience. It revolves in a cage from which release is becoming increasingly difficult. It too depends upon immediate utility and is guarded by common sense. In the guise of civilization, under the pretext of progress, we have suc- ceeded in dismissing from our minds anything that, rightly or wrongly, could be regarded as superstition or myth; and we have proscribed every way of seeking the truth which does not conform to convention. It would appear that it is by sheer chance that an aspect of intellectual life - and by far the most important in my opinion — about which no one was supposed to be concerned any longer has, recently, been brought back to light. Credit for this must go to Freud. On the evidence of his discoveries a current of opinion is at last developing which will enable the explorer of the human mind to extend his investigations, since he will be empowered to deal with more than merely summary realities. Perhaps the imagination is on the verge of recovering its rights. If the depths of our minds conceal strange forces capable of augmenting or conquering those on the surface, it is in our greatest interest to capture them; first to capture them and later to submit them, should the occasion arise, to the control of reason. The analysts themselves can only gain by this. But it is im- portant to note that there is no method fixed a priori for the execution of this enterprise, that until the new order it can be considered the province of poets as well as scholars, and that its success does not depend upon the more or less capricious routes which will be followed.

It was only fitting that Freud should appear with his critique on the dream. In fact, it is incredible that this important part of psychic activity has still attracted so little attention. (For, at least from man's birth to his death, thought presents no solution of continuity; the sum of dreaming moments - even taking into consideration pure dream alone, that of sleep - is from the point of view of time no less than the sum of moments of reality, which we shall confine to waking moments.) I have always been astounded by the extreme disproportion in the importance and seriousness assigned to events of the waking moments and to those of sleep by the ordinary observer. Man, when he ceases to sleep, is above all at the mercy of his memory, and the memory normally delights in feebly retracing the circumstance of the dream for him, depriving it of all actual consequence and obliterating the only determinant from the point at which he thinks he abandoned this constant hope, this anxiety, a few hours earlier. He has the illusion of continuing something worthwhile. The dream finds itself relegated to a parenthesis, like the night. And in general it gives no more counsel than the night. This singular state of affairs seems to invite a few reflections:

1. Within the limits to which its performance is restricted (or what passes for performance), the dream, according to all outward appearances, is continuous and bears traces of organization. Only memory claims the right to edit it, to suppress transitions and present us with a series of dreams rather than the dream. Similarly, at no given instant do we have more than a distinct representation of realities whose co-ordination is a matter of will.(1) It is important to note that nothing leads to a greater dissipation of the constituent elements of the dream. I regret discussing this according to a formula which in principle ex- cludes the dream. For how long, sleeping logicians, philosophers? I would like to sleep in order to enable myself to surrender to sleepers, as I surrender to those who read me with their eyes open, in order to stop the conscious rhythm of my thought from prevailing over this material. Perhaps my dream of last night was a continuation of the preceding night's, and will be continued tonight with an admirable precision. It could be, as they say. And as it is in no way proven that, in such a case, the 'reality' with which I am concerned even exists in the dream state, or that it does not sink into the immemorial, then why should I not concede to the dream what I sometimes refuse to reality - that weight of self-assurance which by its own terms is not exposed to my denial? Why should I not expect more of the dream sign than I do of a daily increasing degree of consciousness? Could not the dreams as well be applied to the solution of life's fundamental problems? Are these problems the same in one case as in the other, and do they already exist in the dream? Is the dream less oppressed by sanctions than the rest? I am growing old and, perhaps more than this reality to which I believe myself confined, it is the dream, and the detachment that I owe to it, which is ageing me.

2 I return to the waking state. I am obliged to retain it as a phenomenon of interference. Not only does the mind show a strange tendency to disorientation under these conditions (this is the clue to slips of the tongue and lapses of all kinds whose secret is just beginning to be surrendered to us), but when function- ing normally the mind still seems to obey none other than those suggestions which rise from that deep night I am commending. Sound as it may be, its equilibrium is relative. The mind hardly dares express itself and, when it does, is limited to stating that this idea or that woman has an effect on it. What effect it cannot say; thus it gives the measure of its subjectivism and nothing more. The idea, the woman, disturbs it, disposes it to less severity. Their role is to isolate one second of its discappearance and remove it to the sky in that glorious acceleration that it can be, that it is. Then, as a last resort, the mind invokes chance - a more obscure divinity than the others - to whom it attributes all its aberrations. Who says that the angle from which that idea is presented which affects the mind, as well as what the mind loves in that woman's eye, is not precisely the same thing that attracts the mind to its dream and reunites it with data lost through its own error? And if things were otherwise, of what might the mind not be capable? I should like to present it with the key to that passage.

3 The mind of the dreaming man is fully satisfied with whatever happens to it. The agonizing question of possibility does not arise. Kill, plunder more quickly, love as much as you wish. And if you die, are you not sure of being roused from the dead? Let yourself be led. Events will not tolerate deferment. You have no name. Everything Is inestimably easy.

What power, I wonder, what power so much more generous than others confers this natural aspect upon the dream and makes me welcome unreservedly a throng of episodes whose strangeness would overwhelm me if they were hap- pening as I write this? And yet I can believe it with my own eyes, my own ears. That great day has come, that beast has spoken.

If man's awakening is harsher, if he breaks the spell too well, it is because he has been led to form a poor idea of expiation.

4 When the time comes when we can submit the dream to a methodical examination, when by methods yet to be determined we succeed in realizing the dream in its entirety (and that implies a memory discipline measurable in generations, but we can still begin by recording salient facts), when the dream's curve is developed with an unequalled breadth and regularity, then we can hope that mysteries which are not really mysteries will give way to the great Mystery. I believe in the future resolution of these two states -- outwardly so contradic- tory -- which are dream and reality, into a sort of absolute reality, a surreality, so to speak, I am aiming for its conquest, certain that I myself shall not attain it, but too indifferent to my death not to calculate the joys of such possession.

They say that not long ago, just before he went to sleep, Saint-Pol-Roux placed a placard on the door of his manor at Camaret which read: THE POET WORKS.

There is still a great deal to say, but I did want to touch lightly, in passing, upon a subject which in itself would require a very long exposition with a dif- ferent precision. I shall return to it. For the time being my intention has been to see that justice was done to that hatred of the marvellous which rages in certain men, that ridicule under which they would like to crush it. Let us resolve, therefore: the Marvellous is always beautiful, everything marvellous is beautiful. Nothing but the Marvellous is beautiful.

... One night, before falling asleep, I became aware of a most bizarre sentence, clearly articulated to the point where it was impossible to change a word of it, but still separate from the sound of any voice. It came to me bearing no trace of the events with which I was involved at that time, at least to my conscious knowledge. It seemed to me a highly insistent sentence - a sentence, I might say, which knocked at the window. I quickly took note of it and was prepared to disregard it when something about its whole character held me back. The sentence truly astounded me. Unfortunately I still cannot remember the exact words to this day, but it was something like: 'A man is cut in half by the window'; but it can only suffer from ambiguity, accompanied as it was by the feeble visual representation of a walking man cut in half by a window perpendicular to the axis of his body. ^ It was probably a simple mat- ter of a man leaning on the window and then straightening up. But the window followed the movements of the man, and I realized that I was dealing with a very rare type of image. Immediately I had the idea of incorporating it into my poetic material, but no sooner had I invested it with poetic form than it went on to give way to a scarcely intermittent succession of sentences which surprised me no less than the first and gave me the impression of such a free gift that the control which I had had over myself up to that point seemed illusory and I no longer thought of anything but how to put an end to the interminable quarrel which was taking place within me.(3)

Totally involved as I was at the time with Freud, and familiar with his methods of examination which I had had some occasion to practise on the sick during the war, I resolved to obtain from myself what one seeks to obtain from a patient - a spoken monologue uttered as rapidly as possible, over which the critical faculty of the subject has no control, unencumbered by any reticence, which is spoken thought as far as such a thing is possible. It seemed to me, and still does - the manner in which the sentence about the man cut in two came to me proves it - that the speed of thought is no greater than that of words, and that it does not necessarily defy language or the moving pen. It was with this in mind that Philippe Soupault (with whom I had shared these first conclusions) and I undertook to cover some paper with writing, with a laudable contempt for what might result in terms of literature. The ease of realization did the rest. At the end of the first day we were able to read to each other around fifty pages obtained by this method, and began to compare our results. Altogether, those of Soupault and my own presented a remarkable similarity, even including the same faults in construction: in both cases there was the illusion of an extra- ordinary verve, a great deal of emotion, a considerable assortment of images of a quality such as we would never have been capable of achieving in ordinary writing, a very vivid graphic quality, and here and there an acutely comic passage. The only difference between our texts seemed to me essentially due to our respective natures (Soupault's is less static than mine) and, if I may hazard a slight criticism, due to the fact that he had made the mistake of distributing a few words in the way of titles at the head of certain pages — no doubt in the spirit of mystification. On the other hand, I must give him credit for maintaining his steadfast opposition to the slightest alteration in the course of any passage which seemed to me rather badly put. He was completely right on this point, of course.(4) In fact it is very difficult to appreciate the full value of the various elements when confronted by them. It can even be said to be impossible to appreciate them at the first reading. These elements are outwardly as strange to you who have written them as to anyone else, and you are naturally distrustful of them. Poetically speaking, they are especially endowed with a very high degree of immediate absurdity. The peculiarity of this absurdity, on closer examination, comes from their capitulation to everything — both inad- missible and legitimate - In the world, to produce a revelation of a certain number of premises and facts generally no less objective than any others.

In homage to Guillaume Apollinaire - who died recently, and who appears to have consistently obeyed a similar impulse to ours without ever really sacrificing mediocre literary means - Soupault and I used the name SURREALISM to designate the new mode of pure expression which we had at our disposal and with which we were anxious to benefit our friends. Today I do not believe anything more need be said about this word. The meaning which we have given it has generally prevailed over Apollinaire's meaning. With even more justification we could have used SUPERNATURALISM, employed by Gerard de Nerval in the dedication of Filles de Feu.(5) In fact, Nerval appears to have possessed to an admirable extent the spirit to which we refer. Apollinaire, on the other hand, possessed only the letter of surrealism (which was still imper- fect) and showed himself powerless to give it the theoretical insight that engages us. Here are two passages by Nerval which appear most significant in this regard:

'I will explain to you, my dear Dumas, the phenomenon of which you spoke above. As you know, there are certain story-tellers who cannot invent without identifying themselves with the characters from their imagination. You know with what conviction our old friend Nodier told how he had had the misfortune to be guillotined at the time of the Revolution; one became so convinced that one wondered how he had managed to stick his head back on.'

'... And since you have had the imprudence to cite one of the sonnets composed in this state of SUPERNATURALIST reverie, as the Germans v/ould say, you must hear all of them. You will find them at the end of the volume. They are hardly more obscure than Hegel's metaphysics or Swedenborg's MEMORABLES, and would lose their charm in explication, if such a thing were possible, so concede me at least the merit of their expression . . .'(6)

It would be dishonest to dispute our right to employ the word SURREALISM in the very particular sense in which we intend it, for it is clear that before we came along this word amounted to nothing. Thus I shall define it once and for all:

SURREALISM, noun, masc., Pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.

ENCYCL. Philos. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association heretofore neglected, in the omnipotence of the dream, and in the disinterested play of thought. It leads to the permanent destruction of all other psychic mechanisms and to its substitution for them in the solution of the principal problems of life.

Patrick Waldberg, Surrealism (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971), pp. 66-75.



-Hace años que no escucho un disco de vinyl. No recuerdo cómo es el sonido, solo que al principio es como un suave silbido.
-Ese silbido, ese pequeño sonido de hojas rozándose en el viento, es la última bocanada de aire antes de zambullirse en el mar.
-¿Y después? ¿Solo el sonido del agua?
-El dulce canto del oleaje sacudiéndolo a uno, ora a la costa, ora al fondo del oceáno.


No corras, Joel; no corras, que el viento te desgasta.

Él abrió los ojos. Se encontraba en medio del bosque, de pie junto a los crujientes árboles y las parlanchinas lechuzas.

Los peces dormían, mientras la calma daba su primera ronda nocturna. Y ahí, en el vado del río, con los pies llenos de barro, descubrió que los ojos nacarados y las manos mortecinas que lo recorrían cada noche mientras miraba carreras de caballos en la televisión, eran resultado de su mal logrado amor por el viento y la luna.


Agua de espada

Yo qué voy a saber de metáforas y alegorías, mucho menos de parábolas, las cuales Juan Carlos Morales ama; o de lo que en realidad quiere decir tal o cual cosa, en un libro. Mis ojos recorren las palabras, las raspan, las degradan, mas nunca reparan en que tan doble o triple su significado pueda llegar a ser. Trato, yo solo trato, de dejarme llevar de A a B, y de ahí a la Z, pasando por J y la X, zigzagueando a través de los árboles, cruzando umbrales, ora en papel, ora en la vista, sin caer en lo límpido, lo falaz, lo vivo y lo muerto de aquellas palabras. Las metáforas y las alegorías, crueles señoras de la retórica, brican a mi paso, olas marinas perdidas en un río a la entrada de mi pueblo. ‘¡No sois de aquí, por tanto, os ignoro!’ les digo. ‘No seré sumergido en mi caudalosa ignominia. No más.’ Así que halo con todo de las bridas, frunzo el ceño, y galopo. Hago por mi hogar.

“…, cual agua de espada, manaba sin cesar…”


The tale of a bard

Succinct. It can all go to hell, you understand… I have gone on and on about the minutiae of the speech. It is about the passion I reckon. Not about the accuracy. Or the veracity for that matter. Succinct. A horse it is this moment. I shall go farther than my roots. Mere sprouts they are. O if she could taste the sweat to come. Cross the land and the seas, cross them all off. A colour banner for the sons of God. Some are to reign. Some to cushion my steps. And some to die by the iron. Irony. I hear a roar. The growl of the heart. O if she saw the blood running down the world’s forehead. Hear me brothers and sisters. Deem me not the messiah, but your redeemer. Grant me your limbs and your future, so we all rise and beshadow the atrocity of past. Fear not but tremble. Cast out your hypocrisy and morality. Think not of the battle, just of the outcome. We are the dark and the light. I am your storm and your calm. Focus. Succinct. I will stand before history and replace. They will know my name. No one will be able to deny the turn of the wave I am. It can all go to hell, you understand. Yet God will look at me and smile. In derision. In surprise. In self-satisfaction. He will know my name. Off I go. Succinct.



Firecrackers were never much fun to me. The breeze-like silence of a late summer night was, pardon my poor eloquence, much valued as to rip it with a deafening piece of enthusiasm. I recall a night in specific when Hiram Abdullah (impossible name in a country like mine, which makes it real) threw one enormous firecracker in my direction as to awake me from my stubborn search of Jupiter. My telescope, amateur at best, was a poor tool for my endeavour. However, a false national identity never sat best with me. Besides, attempting to burst the neighbours' eardrum with a paper-and-gunpowder cocktail was barely exciting. So, I made do with the most accurate telescope my parents were able to afford. Hiram, a father of two and ideally trapped in a dead end marriage nowadays, frowned as if his brow could reach his lower lip every time I explained why I was determined to spot a planet that, in his opinion, I could not actually see. Inasmuch as he was somewhat right, philosophically speaking, it seemed a hundred times better an idea compared to what I then deemed as the idiot laughter of my peers while tomfoolerying in the streets.

Julio Vanderbilt (another impossible name) asked me once why I dared be so different, so distant, from them. He swore he was my brother, that he loved me as one of his own kin, yet he wondered hard how come I was unabashedly able to dismiss his company, his words and his experience in life, Whimsy, I contemptuously answered. It was not a lie. Those guys I grew up with bought me drinks, took me on their city journeys, and offered to pay for prostitutes for me. Nevertheless, they were a precarious tool I used to have some kind of social bond beyond my chats with the butcher and my barber (a decent man I believe to be the most agreeable person I have known), and to understand the world around me. Go play football with them, my mother would say when I sat by the radio listening to Bach. Go make friends and share with them some fresh air. I was not much into football or sharing fresh air for that matter. Go play baseball with them, she said. Just two games did they play, just two turns for me to show my quality. Hitting balls to death with a bat is incomprehensible to a large amount of men, let alone children, so lousy baseball was dropped. Go sit with them anyways, my mother would say every summer. I didn't. I sat by the window as to catch some breeze while Julio and Hiram threw firecrackers at dogs and passing cars, Meanwhile, my mother wondered how I was able to be myself and not feel alone. Because I'm looking for Jupiter, ma, and life is all about that kind search.


Oh lala


Enrique and Antonio
Pao and Jona

Joyce + Dostoievsky + Eliot + Borges + Vonnegut Jr + Adams + Eco + Russell + Wittgenstein + Faulkner + Fitzgerald + Rushdie + Petrovic + Chejov + Quiroga + Pellicer

Massive Attack
Colin, Jonny, Ed, Phil & Thom
The Rapture
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Mstislav Rostropovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
San Pascualito Rey

Tarantino and Kurosawa

Stan Lee and Bob Kane

Russell Peters

The group of friends that tumble upon

The ones who are not

Those damned freckles

Power to the red-haired people

And, once more, the joy around


Rain hat in the sun and sandals in the cold. Whimsy. There's no leftover word. Of course the fine gentleman I attempt to describe is far from real. Or at least that's what he would like you to believe. Blind faith. No commas or ifs or buts. Blind faith you must. He sits by the sea observing the sand slowly migrate from one side of the beach to the other. Thinks not of the reason, yet acknowledges. Hums. Hums and smiles. To be honest with you, he is oblivious of what is going on. It is not that he cares not: it's just that his life is too precious to waste about some billions of people who waste theirs brawling over superficial matters.



All so sick. Observing her through a pair of binoculars. Joy. Her madness fulfilling. My death cannot be undone, for a charade inflated with grandeur and revenge is not easily murdered. Unnecessary it is to mention what I feel for her. Oblivion. I was about to bring it all down, all because of a night of sex. Yet I have managed to survive. I could feel her once more. Tears rolling down. My fake mental love. The story of our reconciling has not been written. I wouldn't dare use 'yet.' She has been forgiven. Not by me inasmuch as I do not possess such gift. Unearthly. I did give it all to have her come. Twice. Even my own life. However, I was not killed. Undead. Alive. I inhabit her mind. She never minds her condition. I smile.

Elle est la lumière.

To Karol and Krysztof



Dragonflies slamming into the windshields of moving cars. O the bare expectation, foggy foresight and troublesome wing movement are nothing against the crashing speed of a suicidal vehicle which got nothing to lose inasmuch as, well, there ain't much you fear losing when you embrace velocity. If you could hear the splat of a hundred insects smashing into a stoppable force, you would indeterminably come to a piece of paper and jot down the dubious joy and the juxtaposing terrour. Do not blame the dragonflies for trying to unabashedly spot where to nest and give birth to music. Dare not simplistically vilify them: little could you tell were you opposing the devil's strength against your will.



White and yellow curves smudged against the pale background of a regular day, an a-gogo tremble bestowed by the warmth which matches the whole scenario, and the enthusiasm granted by a slice of existence. There is nothing which can barely be up to a moment like this, pure and spontaneous, liquid in essence and solid in thought. The eyes of a thousand beings come to be the eyes of the universe. The band of light bends to the beat of broken silence. The feel of the occurrence shrouds all around her. You should have been there for it was indeed a beautiful second.


I jumped into the river

Dreams of going far, accompanied by whom and what one held dear in life, guided by heavenly birds and stars engulfed by a grinning moon. Never had lyrics tagged music so meticulously on any given day. A mesmerising rhythm shrouding the boom about to come. An outburst of instruments which rather assemble than tearing - drums depicting a march toward an otherwordly river, bass notes splashing like an oar against water, whale chanting evoked by a guitar… There is indeed an arduous trip within the song that may evoke all kind of memory. A journey through past invoking the tasty unpredictability of future in the form of a perhaps occurring present. A piece which should be used at the crossroads of decision.

-This unprecedented event was quite unexpected as well. There was a bow that made her say, "he is crazy." The piano lines marked the rise of a summit on a ridged Sunday. Faulty singing was all around. I could sense my voice holding hands with his, though. I could tell my heart beating thirty times thirty faster than throughout the rest of the night. I smiled. There were tears of joy that blurred not my sight. There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt.

The inevitability of death ought to make such matter easier to digest.

A thought on leaves

At times one's eyes devour swinging leaves
and long for a place where you could simply
sit in the sun to close them up and dream.

Perhaps the tarmac road before those eyes
could take you as far as where the grim sun
you see at dusk hides itself from bashful thoughts.

Not even an oaken liver might stand the woe
this puny piece of longing can rest upon
one's head since leaves can be so treacherous.

Simply stand behind a greasy window in a building
which is taller than any sequoia times two
thus the mesmerising effect fades away in a brink.

In line red plans of proud poems may lie
for a spot in a well-lit piece of land you shall
find to squeeze out the truth trapped in matter.

What if, you wonder what if the eyes and leaves were spectres
loaned to reality by the son of Faust who has
evidently avenged the crumby fate which awaits mankind.

It is a quite weird vision this vision of paper
because of the magenta sky no one stares at
by means of jocular heavens and urchin-like flames.

Sometimes one's eyes devour the grinning face
of one whose waves sink you into a sea
of evergreen leaves made to comfort unrelenting fledgelings.