English

HUGO MUJICA was born in Buenos Aires in 1942.  He studied Fine Arts, Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology and Theology.  This range of studies reflects itself in the variation of its works that covers so much the philosophy, like the anthropology, the narrative as the mystic and above all the poetry.

Among his main books of essays are “Origen y destino” (1987), “La palabra inicial” (1995), “Flecha en la niebla” (1997), “Poéticas del vacío” (2002), “Lo naciente” (2007), “La casa y otros ensayos” (2008), “La pasión según Georg Trakl” (2009) , “El saber del no saberse” (2014) and “Dioniso. Eros creador y mística pagana” (2016). “Solemne y mesurado” (1990) and “Bajo toda la lluvia del mundo” (2008), are his two short storybooks.

His poetry work, initiated in 1983, has been published in Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, France, Italy, Slovenia, United States, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Israel, England and Bulgaria.  In 2013-2014 Vaso Roto Ed. -Mexico-Spain- published his “Del crear y lo creado”, 3 volums with almost his complete work of poetry and essays. In 2013 he published “Cuando todo calla” that won the “XIII Premio Casa de América de Poesía Americana”, followed by “Barro desnudo” (2016) his up to now last poetry book. Some of his books has been translated and published in more of 10 languages.

His life and trips have been the main material of his work, milestones as the to have lived and participated of the decade of the 60 life in the Greenwich Village of new York, as plastic artist, or to have quiet for seven years in the silence of the monastic life of the Trappist Order, where began write, they are some of the steps of his own history.

Books in English:

“Paradise empty”. Arc Publications. UK. 2015.

“What the Embrace Embraces”. Coimbra Editions. San Francisco, California. 2008.

 

Prologue to “Lo Naciente. Pensando el acto creador”:

 
As a prologue

It might be that a God created man in his image and likeness or that man himself imagined God in his likeness, what it is true is that when the human being started to tell himself the story of the beginning of the world in which he found himself living, he gave that god as primordial attribute to creative being, said, intuited that to create is the very first act that a human or god can do, or the act in which one and the other are a same occurrence, a same fecundity.

Every time I write -that is my form of creating-, I discover, o maybe I inagurate something of me, of me or everyone, as if the knowing, the understanding and even the acting, was not the immediate relation that I can establish with my being or my nothing; as if to create also taught me this: that creating is more primary than knowing, more deeply profound than understanding, more definitive than acting.

What I try to say, what I try to think poetically or to thoughtfully poeticize in this book, is that the creative act, in it and with it, we relieve again the most primal and revealing event that each one of us lived: to have been born, the instant without shadow or memory in which without being we receive ourselves, the creative instant that when we received, it made us begin to be.

Each creative act put us in that location that is not a place: in the void from which everything comes, en the hearing of what comes along looking for a name that names him in his being. For this same reason without doubts, once and again in the writing of these pages I found myself equating creation with birth, to continuously creating with continuously being born…

I intuit that in the face to face relation, or in nakedness to nakedness, with the being of existence, the creativity is the most decisive relation, so decisive that, we can not dispose of it, so decisive that is gratuity and gift. Maybe, and finally, because creating is not a way to understand ourselves, it is the most radical way to let ourselves be created.

 

POEMS:

***

in the pond
the stars speak out

the earth
sends up
its earthy incense

the word
listening to the night

and all names
all
in one late bird

***

near

very near
a blind man is reflected
in my quiet tear

near

nearer yet
in his eyes I place my tear

so that both may see

***

lilac
dawns
among gray chimneys

humble
resurrection
of every night

the possibility
of creating all once again

something
like a pardon

***

as if
making love
through the wound

are we not born
out of the pain of others?

***

like the blind man
calling light
to the thunder

my saying
what silence names

***

in tatters
I continue whole

I almost
do not need myself

***

a forest, felled,

shrieks
not knowing that it shrieks

like the marble angel
on a child’s tomb

***

wounded lamb
drinking farewells at the shore
of every shipwreck

we all need someone
from whom we die

***

from the window I saw autumn
inside I saw nothing,
I shivered

an emptiness in not only emptiness

***

when there are no walls
neither are there echoes

only rain
falling
towards
forever

only the beggar sleeping
on a bench

as if on the open palm of the world

when there are no walls
neither are there echoes

only rain
falling
towards
forever

only the beggar sleeping
on a bench

as if on the open palm of the world

***

obstinate
the window
of the blind man’s
house

to see darkens the gaze

***

knocking at the door
of the empty house

not that they might open,
that I hear myself calling

***

my hands are dead
from begging pardon for life

of such guilt am I already victim

***

when two hollows meet
they are not hollows: it is transparency

***

in the depths there are no roots,

                                               there is what’s been torn from

***

and everything is achieved by itself

                                without errors, as uselessness does

***

there is a god looking at himself
in the blindness of every man.

there is a destiny that repeats the one and only time,
crossing the same threshold
where I sat down as a child
to watch god go blind

***

it is not enough to open the eyes
we must open what we see
remove the bandages
from nobody’s breast

***

                  there are mirrors that are like men
they open breaking themselves

                                                    so few die of life

***

to live as if under the sea,
where to breathe is to swallow death

or as if living searching
for one’s child lost in a crowd

not knowing where he is,
nor knowing if he’s been born

***

earth: the sky’s shore
but without sky:
a wasteland
where life kneads with my life its host
for a god no longer hungry

***

face down
muzzled by dirt
without disowning anything denied me:

the lightening speaks through its slash
not its thunder

***

I dressed for the banquet
and they put me to prune my bones

I undressed
for the wedding
and they clothed me in frost

                               of what greed am I the price?

***

TWO MANNEQUINS

             My mother and my father: two mannequins, one of sea foam flying over the beach, the other of snow falling upon a storybook (the shadows of both made of coal). The two of them under the rain, the rain that washed me of them, but high up, there where the rain’s still a lake, high up, where no children set foot.

EDGES

A child running along a breakwater under the rain.
The rain ceases, the breakwater ends.

            Jump! (Don’t die at the borders, don’t become a furrow on man’s brow).

WITHOUT ECHOES

          One can shelter oneself from fear by writing “fear”, as if to fear something, fear of writing, not the terror of nothing, of writing “nothing.” Of a life without echoes, as sailors speak on high seas, as those who are heard pray.

LIFE DOWNHILL

                Barefoot, in a cemetery of cans, three kids are pushing an empty cart uphill. One on each side, one behind.

 The cart they push uphill,
life downhill.

IN CIRCLES

          There is a dead child on the beach in broad daylight, and there is a dog circling around it as if the earth were his cage. A man watches them fixedly, or the sight has transfixed him, but he does not see the child, dead children cannot be seen, for to see them is not to see them, it is to see a hole in one’s own eye in the form of a dead child.

TRAP

 Like the trap of wanting to be the other, to see oneself.

 In the broken mirror I see myself opened,
but in fact I am only broken.

THE RITUAL OF FUTILITY 

like seeing a star fall
without
making a wish;

or like someone
with no assigned destiny
except waiting
for what will pass by
without taking us along

what we see
without seeing
because it’s not like us.

the ritual of futility
or hope in the extreme:

a blind child
in front of a mirror
as if what one is
were not needed in order to be.

DAWN

quiet,

as if not moving
so that the blood not overflow the mouth

quiet,

as if sensing a bird
wounded
in the palm of the hand

without closing the hand
without opening the eyes

there is a faith that is absolute:
a faith without hope.

THERE ARE DOGS WHO DIE ON THEIR MASTER’S DEATH

there are dogs who die on their master’s death

bodies which make not love
but fear
not moving
but trembling.

and there are men
in whom god dies
like a drop of lacquer
upon the breast
of a marble torso,

they are those who weep believing
they’re speaking,
or cry out in their sleep but
at dawn forget the cry
by which they’ve lit the night.

there are men in whom god groans
at not finding a man
to die in the flesh,

but he weeps
not as one weeping alone,
but as one weeps in a child’s embrace.

REMAINS ON THE BEACH

all is a tide
ebbing
and leaving
remains on the beach,

all is outside
in the nakedness
of hands.

what remains is to lick the lips
to taste the salt,

what remains is all
that will be asked of us again
with nothing of what we’ve been given.

WHAT THE EMBRACE EMBRACES

the tap drips
and something of the stone
fades out with the water,

dies
as if it were human.

we seek to retain that which
in the other goes,
what at times falls apart

but it’s just the farewell
what the embrace embraces.

SHORES

outside a dog barks

at a shadow, its own echo
or at the moon
to lessen the cruelty of distance.

it is always to escape that we close
a door,
desert is nakedness without promise

the distance
of being near without touching
like the edges of the same wound.

inside doesn’t fit inside,

they are not my eyes
that can look me in the eye
they are always the lips of others
that tell me my name.

ONLY A FEW DAYS AGO

only a few days ago my father died
only a few so many.

he fell weightless,
like eyelids when night
arrives or a leaf
when the wind doesn’t uproot but cradles.

today’s rain is not like other rains
today it’s raining for the first time
over the marble of his grave.

beneath each rain
it could be me lying there, I know,
now that I’ve died in another.

A PIECE OF HUNGER, A GLASS OF WATER

faithful to the human,

to the dimensions of what the arms
can cradle,
to the fiesta
of what fits into the hands,

to the silenced hope
which is not keeping your lips pressed.

faithful to a glass of water
and to a piece of hunger
brought us by another body,

faithful swallow by swallow,
hunger to hunger.

faithful to the modesty of barely a sign,
barely the abyss
of the other
when silence
quiets the skin that divides us.

faithful to the limits of dying a man,
of having embraced the void
that this very embrace filled.

DEEP INTO NIGHT

Even deep into night
snow
melts white

and the rain in its fall
keeps
its transparency.

It is night itself
who frees us of reflection,

night, who dilates
our pupils.

What the blind man with his stick seeks
is the light, not the path.

WIND WITHIN WIND

Wind within wind,

 rain over the sea and
the water neither rises nor ebbs.

Naked we are all face:
a slash is always a slash complete.

DEPARTURE BY DEPARTURE

I.

Without clothing one is born,
one springs forth

naked arrives:
departure by departure.

II.

Having no place to go is not
having no one awaiting us,

is not having no place to go back to:
death is being born outside.

DAY IS BORN

Day is born
beneath a clearing sky,

the clarity where all
is shown,
what springs towards it
and what its very light withers.

Every birthing asks for nakedness,
just as love does,
just as death bestows it.

ABANDON

Between the fist
and the hand that opens
a life unfolds.

Only death is no stranger to us,
only what’s most ours is born of abandon.

DEEP INTO NIGHT

Even deep into night
snow
melts white

and the rain in its fall
keeps
its transparency.

It is night itself
who frees us of reflection,

night, who dilates
our pupils.

What the blind man with his stick seeks
is the light, not the path.

ARIA

It’s a cold night

and off in the distance
a woman sings
seems to be cradling life.

The voice, not silence,
is the nakedness of words.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Autumn evening,

wind
and, from time to time, a leaf trips down
my window;

from time to time, something is announced
in the indecisive beauty of
every falling leaf.

II

Gleams
the day over the bareness
of the plains

mist dissolves
its veil
and the willows
arise reborn.

All of it opens and the seeing it
opens the soul,
the soul which is that opening.

(Paradise was not lost
what’s lost is the wonder.)

VI 

Period of low tide
a bit of croaking,
what the sea abandons
in the sand
and the loneliness of being
only halfway.

The hour
of melancholy,
that of the absence
of what never was
and we feel it more closely:
that of us to which still
we did not give birth in life.

VII

Toward highness, toward the
the branches drift apart,

in the depths,
in the dark earth,

the roots converge,
thirst entangles them.

 

XXXIII 

When distance
beats within
it is that the within
is already without;

it is to have arrived at the soul,
at the no man’s hollow
that is opened within each of us all.

LXXVIII 

In the end there will be no end
there will be surrender;

that leap
without edge from which to take it,
that leaping into the emptiness
from where one time we arrived,

that surrender
on behalf of which we went about
emptying ourselves.

VI

There’s a split
in the word
split,

a break where
each word quiets,
where all quieting creates;

it’s what in the uttering is breath
not of sound,
it’s where in each word
we hear ourselves revealed.

VII

Toward highness, toward the light
the branches drift apart,
in the depths,
in the dark earth,
the roots converge,
thirst entangles them.

XX

All rain
is uttered by its drops
and the music it falls with,

faces by their scars
and silence by the sea
when it bellows sea
and the lamb
when it bleats lamb.

(It’s not that silence goes quiet,
what it doesn’t leave is echoes:
what it utters
always utters the unrepeatable.)

XXI

Sun lies down
and it all seems on edge
like about to reveal signal
a secret.

It’s not enough to seal
our lips,
we’ve got to listen to the silence
let it utter to us
what of ourselves we quiet.

XXII

Some traces
are not from steps
but from absences,
don’t trace, erase;

they are short cuts to the finish,
what saves us
from the return.

XXVI

Not every root
fulfills
its destiny of light
not every crevice
opens its promise
of abyss;

not every
wandering
comes to handle the earth:
hardly anyone
enters death barefoot.

XXVIII

Day is not just day
it’s also
night gleamed
shadow shown through.

Because it has no shadows
we don’t see what the void sets burning,
we can’t make out
what we have left
when all we have left is nothing.

XXXIII

Silence too
is trace,
trace and sign
toward the nameless

toward what’s only
heard
in the renouncing
once it’s named.

XXXV

Beyond is not a place
and one and the same
is not the same as one;

facing the mirror
we don’t live two lives:
nobody’s is repeated.

XL

Fleeting
like the rainbow
gleaming
parts the water behind the prow;

parted in two
and they are two the same water.

XLVII

There’s always something
that doesn’t end up turning to flesh:

it’s not that we’re lacking
it surpasses us.

Life doesn’t fit in life
so always
somewhere, it breaks on us.