Nombrar y Nombrarme

I came across Alejandra Pizarnik from a diary entry last October. This sentence stood out to me: “Ahora se que cada poema debe ser causada por un absoluto escandalo en la sangre” “Now I know that every poem must be caused by an absolute scandal in the blood”. I knew what she meant, how frustrating it feels when you’re pushing yourself to make poetry like you’re a factory spitting out products. It took awhile to really let it sink in because we all have our moments when the things are stirred and then the aftermath is placed within the confines of whatever medium is desired by the soul in that moment.

I became distracted by other things until I came across Pizarnik again by stumbling on this screenshot:


Alejandra Pizarnik in a letter to Silvina Ocampo “Alejandra” (2013), directed by Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina

I was intrigued and went on a mission to find the movie. It’s from the biographical movie titled Alejandra (2013). I became so enthralled with her story, felt a little validated when learning she too would keep a journal with quotations, and overall felt a sadness in knowing how painful she felt life was and saw no point in continuing trying her hardest to let it all go. Throughout the film, Vanessa Molina brings to life Pizarnik’s poetry, adopting the tonality of her voice. Then towards the end the only audio recording of Alejandra’s actual voice is heard. I was moved to tears, and since then every time I read a poem, my inner voice now has adapted her tonality, her grave emphasis to each word, asking me to dig a little deeper.

As I was watching this film I was eating a mandarin, and now every time I eat a mandarin or smell citrus I will always remember Alejandra. I love when scents or food get associated with something I end up loving. It makes me feel so connected to everything in a very beautiful, romantic way.

If you’re curious and want to be inspired also, here’s the movie in its entirety with English subtitles, and let me know what Alejandra Pizarnik has stirred within you.

(trigger warning for mentions of suicide and suicide)

Full diary entry:

Domingo 24 de Noviembre de 1957

Desalentada por mi poesia. Abortos nada mas. Ahora se que cada poema debe ser causada por un absoluto escandalo en la sangre. No se puede escribir con la imaginacion sola o con el intelecto solo; es menestar que el sexo y la infancia y el corazon y los grandes miedos y las ideas y la sed y de nuevo el miedo trabajen al unisono mientras yo me inclino hacia la hoja, mientras yo me despeño en el papel e intento nombrar y nombrarme.

Alejandra Pizarnik, Diarios.

My translation:

Sunday November 24, 1957

Discouraged by my poetry. Abortions only. Now I know every poem is caused by an absolute scandal in the blood. You can’t write with only the imagination or only with intellect; its necessary that the sex and the childhood, and the heart and the great fears and the ideas and the thirst and again the fear work in unison while I bow towards the sheet, while I collapse in the paper and attempt to name and to name myself.

Alejandra Pizarnik, Diarios.

Brian, I Know

The reflection staring back at me
Shattered just by a few words
Oh Brian the girl you knew
Left me at the turn of a corner

The sweetness licked clean
By the fires blazing from those eyes
Oh Brian people change
When they get bruised over and over again

Your heart may break
But mine rots within me
With the memories that won’t fade
But don’t cry Brian, don’t cry

You can find me in every sad gaze
The reflections of lightening over rivers
I move between the veils now
Oh Brian find me in your dreams tonight

Waterfall

Such sorrow tumbling down
Racing through the rubble of the past
Upturning the dust of dried blood
The scabs opening
And the sorrow pulling at the skin
Tumbling down through the hours
And the days turn to months
The months disappear through a mouth
A scream seething through the broken chest
Caging the heart that shrieks
A bird caught between the ribs
As the sorrow pummels through the ground
The soul unraveled in its wake
Such sorrow seeping in the dirt
Turning into a river, overflowing the lakes
Running towards the sea
And staining the ocean
What’s the color of sadness again?
Grey and blue
And the waters roll, tense and relax
Nothing out of the ordinary
Sorrow falling from me
No different than water crawling towards the sea

They Say

You learned to open your mouth just a little
The steps follow you
You take their words into your loom
And weave the static into knots
And you open your mouth just a little
Even as they expect you to pout
Lips lather the tripping toads
That follow you croaking their words
You take those murmurs into your womb
And grow the knots that eventually spill out
Open your mouth just a little woman
There’s nothing you can offer
Everything has been made
No one needs your meddling.

Mornings

Sour scent of sleep
hunger and craving
the sweetness of a smile
fading in a dream.
Love has become fiction
made up of words
building of scenes
that never manifest.
The sour scent of sleep
your hunger and craving
the bitterness of realizations
brightening in the reality
You’ve become a fiction
a lie on a lie
made up of words
and borrowed emotions.