Melancholy during Sundays. Fear of Mondays. Salaries. The new guy at the office that loses all his glow as time goes by. Debts. Walls. Meetings. Bosses. Humor. Gossip. Death. Corruption. Hope.
Is life passing you by?
Benedetti dedicated this book to the office, to ordinary things, to daily problems. Most of his poems are about the lives of people that work in an office. And I just loved it because there are many things to analyze in here. You think about an office and you feel like it couldn't get any more boring. And you're probably right. Nothing interesting happens in an office. Nothing but papers and coffee and work. Because you'd have to be inside people's heads to listen to the song they're singing while you're talking to them, or see what they really think of you while you're shaking their hands, or hear the screaming when they're looking through a window. Their silence can be heartbreaking. The silence of anonymity is loud.
I found sad, heartfelt and humorous poems all over this book. Just like the experience of being at work. We're talking about a poet that can write about salaries or bank accounts without losing the ability of dazzling you. So this is certainly a remarkable work. There's a Kafka vibe that I couldn't escape from. That suffocating feeling of being a small person lost among huge walls and giant piles of papers, while you're witnessing all the excitement of life through a little window. Sure, not everything is that gloomy. However, that feeling haunted me from time to time. Still, what I loved the most is the fact that Benedetti's poetry is simple; there's no arrogance in his style, no complicated words that end up saying nothing (and yet, there's meaning behind his simplicity). Almost no commas, few periods. Nothing but words and music.
So yes, you have a job. You have a salary that helps you bring food to your table and clothes to your closet. But does it make you happy? Are you actually living? Sure, it's not the end of the world. There are people that would love to have your job. Any job. You don't like what you do, then. You feel like you're wasting an entire life doing something that you don't enjoy but need to do. What's the big deal? Suck it up. Be a man and a lady. Be content. It's not like a painful death caused by a thousand needles that are pinching your heart. Or is it?
Are we only allowed to enjoy a clear blue sky when our lives are almost over? Does it really depend on how we see it?
DespuésEl cielo de veras que no es éste de ahorael cielo de cuando me jubiledurará todo el díatodo el día caerácomo lluvia de sol sobre mi calva.Yo estaré un poco sordo para escuchar los árbolespero de todos modos recordaré que existental vez un poco viejo para andar en la arenapero el mar todavía me pondrá melancólicoestaré sin memoria y sin dinerocon el tiempo en mis brazos como un recién nacidoy llorará conmigo y lloraré con élestaré solitario como una ostrapero podré hablar de mis fieles amigosque como siempre contarán desde Europasus cada vez mas tímidos contrabandos y becas.Claro estaré en la orilla del mundo contemplandodesfiles para niños y pensionistasavioneseclipsesy regatasy me pondré sombrero para mirar la lunanadie pedirá informes ni balances ni cifrasy sólo tendré horario para morirmepero el cielo de veras que no es éste de ahoraese cielo de cuando me jubilehabrá llegado demasiado tarde.
I know, some people will understand that poem, some won't (Do I dare to translate it myself? Certainly not!). I also know there are more questions than statements in this review. This book is THAT good. Benedetti is that good. I must admit that I'm not a big fan of Latin American poetry. Borges, Pizarnik, a bit of Storni, Vallejo, Girondo, Neruda (few poems, actually). But Benedetti is an amazing writer I've recently discovered and that you must get to know, if you're interested.
AngelusQuién me iba a decir que el destino era esto.Ver la lluvia a través de letras invertidas,un paredón con manchas que parecen prohombres,el techo de los ómnibus brillantes como pecesy esa melancolía que impregna las bocinas.Aquí no hay cielo,aquí no hay horizonte.Hay una mesa grande para todos los brazosy una silla que gira cuando quiero escaparme.Otro día se acaba y el destino era esto.Es raro que uno tenga tiempo de verse triste:siempre suena una orden, un teléfono, un timbre,y, claro, está prohibido llorar sobre los librosporque no queda bien que la tinta se corra.
I regret not being able to speak Russian or German to read my favorite authors without the assistance of any translator. Then I read books like this one. And I remember how lucky I am of speaking my language and being able to appreciate its beauty without a third person's subjectivity. And then I feel like home, again.