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Antonio Cisneros

King Lear

Translated by Michael L. Smith

I want my son to have what I didn't.

Stop fooling yourself: you take a woman and have a couple of sons
0 and spend
your life at you jobs, neither clean nor dirty, until stacking up 10
0 columns of copper coins under the bed
and after a while -- you employ honorable practices unless honesty etc. --
you save 2,000 columns more in the wardrobe and 60 in the bathroom
0 ceiling and then
it's the old monarch that's going to build a castle in the frontier lands
before his death and the death of the eldest of his sons, "with a
0 complete bath upstairs and a small one by the hall"
and between the sands and the western tower he will plant apple trees
0 and the oak forest
that will be the noose among his children and his children's children
0 and the others that will bear his name,
but he knows that one can become caught in one of those branches
0 and Absalom -- his son, "the oldest, who's going to be an engineer" --
will split his head in 2 like a cantaloup.
Now you avoid the branches and change the forests for cliffs"
on the moist sand his horse is happy and swift, the enemy ships don't
0 disturb the sea,
only the air that blows brings the cold of the Norman helmets -- "just
0 over there was the general manager in his limousine, I pretended I
0 didn't see him" --
but his sons weren't interested in his war with the Normans nor did
0 they learn to use the crossbow,
and you from the office to the house taking care not to walk under
0 any branches and again to the west tower
-- between the kitchen and the smoking room: the bathroom is always
0 occupied and in the remaining rooms not even a spider at night
when the air is clean: the light of the other windows, the great
0 neon signs, and you take advantage of the low tide, adjust the
0 sandals of deerskin, the mantle: you ride along the sea,
and Absalom -- the youngest one "he'll make a great lawyer, this boy"
0 -- opens the net on the soft sand and raises his bone harpoon
-- you don't like it -- I know, revise the figures, stop fooling yourself,
you take a woman and you have a couple of children and work and
0 etceteras until piling 100 column or etceteras under the bed
and the dollar goes up 50% and the Normans land after blowing up
0 those towers never built
and your copper coins are eggshells that the air crushes.
All right, your sons haven't come out any better than you,
but the same thing awaits them in the oak forest and at the edge of
0 the waters
and now take the trouble to look for them: there's not another winter to
0 waste and this wheel's stuck.

Like a Figtree in a Gold Course, 1972