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English, Pizarnik Alejandra, Poem

Alejandra Pizarnik: She wants to speak…


2  [untitled]

She wants to speak, but I know what she is. She believes love is death—even if everything devoid of love disgusts her. Since her love makes her innocent, why should she speak? Mistress of the Castle, her fingers play upon mirrors of pronouns.

With every word I write I remember the void that makes me write what I couldn’t if I let you in.

I stand by the poem. It takes me to the edge, far from the homes of the living. And when I finally disappear—where will I be?

No one understands. Everything I am waits for you and still I hunt the night of the poem. I think only of your body while I shape and reshape my poem’s body as if it were broken.

And no one understands me. I know that life and love must change. Such statements, coming from the mask over the animal I am, painfully suggest a kinship between words and shadows. And that’s where it comes from, this state of terror that negates humanity.


This poem posted here are taken from 17 typed manuscript pages Pizarnik brought to the home of the poet Perla Rotzait in 1971, less than a year before her death.

Flora Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972) was born to Russian Jewish parents in an immigrant district of Buenos Aires. During her short life, spent mostly between Buenos Aires and Paris, Pizarnik produced an astonishingly powerful body of work, including poetry, short stories, paintings, drawings, translations, essays, and drama. From a young age, she discovered a deep affinity with poets who, as she would later write, exemplified Hölderlin’s claim that “poetry is a dangerous game,” sacrificing everything in order to “annul the distance society imposes between poetry and life.” She was particularly drawn to “the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleeting presence of Lautréamont,” and, perhaps most importantly, to the “unparalleled intensity” of Artaud’s “physical and moral suffering” (“The Incarnate Word,” 1965).

The uncollected poem presented here (written between 1969 and 1971) Source 



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