Pianist’s Fingers by Berta García Faet

pianists-fingers

Translated from the Spanish by Kelsi Vanada

(2) PIANIST’S FINGERS + LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN’S FACE WHEN I TOLD HIM I WANTED TO WRITE A POEM WITH MORE OR LESS RHYME + WHY I GAVE UP MUSIC AND WHY I MENTIONED THE BREEZE AT LEAST ONCE + OPTIMISTIC GREETING TO SUCCESSIVE LOVERS AND TO THE EVER-PLURAL LYRIC YOU + CORDIAL GREETING TO MY FIRST PIANO TEACHER
(1998-2000)

allegro con brio, adagio molto (attacca), allegretto moderato

(A)

i gave up the piano
and my virginity
for the same philological reasons

“fail more” “fail better” all that
not-exactly-this-poem
malformed frustrated mutinous very
naturally

that’s why
i had to give up my piano studies
and my virginity
not-exactly-the-same-day,
beneath that same
rain,
beneath that same
mud,
or haze, or breeze, or rain
so acoustic so
hazy very
naturally

that’s why
i had to give up the piano and my virginity
and the rain and the rain falling
on fallen rain
not-exactly-the-same-day
not-exactly-yesterday:

the word
fails more and better,

the word
word
fails more and better1

 

after orgasm ears ring head falls back coup de grace it turns out slapping the pubis is tender like this screams and the scandal are dirtied music exacerbates what was there already love’s cry lingers incomplete like a half-articulated sneeze love is a half-sneeze cut off by another sneeze creaking a reflex scandalously i rest my skull on your sweet skull a phonograph before the sonata in C major accentuates and duplicates the cravings and increases wellbeing and exists and this psychic chirping doesn’t end the song doesn’t add color just stresses the prodigious hue of your knuckles and it is my scruples not my childhood who spits the insult at me when you’re gone you don’t understand the soul of a thirty-second note you’re cornered by the eighth notes when i get home i read a note from my first piano teacher (1998-2000) in the musical staff you read badly quit music it doesn’t come to you very naturally you read badly you’re more inclined to poetry


 

(B)

paralyzed by the waltz and the cunnilingus,
and understanding
that they weren’t enough aren’t enough couldn’t be enough
will never be enough
not my song not my body

for all that

(anatticinparisthepleuralcavityofthegirlsinthehoney
moonflowers
playingthefieldtheparisnightthereverberation
ofthehillsideofthecheek
ofthemountainchainthebildungsroman),

i began to babble.

i babbled a lot, of course.
and later on,
i began to write and i wrote a poem very
naturally
with more or less rhyme and
with more or less desperation and
with more or less semi-cliché sunrises and semi-professional
orchestras and
it rained a lot
which is to say
it deluged and i know

i should mention the breeze at least

i should mention the breeze at least once2

 

2 when i grow up successive lovers point out the necromantic length of my middle finger you have pianist’s fingers she says to pass the course you’ll have to stroke all of maestro Ludwig van Beethoven’s bones but you’ll have to be superb you’ll have to faint with your eyes open she says you’ll have to quit trying to translate the rain and haze and mud and breeze in befuddling poems about paris and i try hard i try fierce and industrious but fail and fail better and much better the swinging of the sacrifice secretes a very moving fresh red so i am an arid place an arid compass i play für elise very well on a 5-scale electric organ where i lose my place my parents bought it for me to make me happy that’s where i find myself in sum years later you arrive burn everything and take away the records detaching the needle of the example in sum i prefer braille and cherries years later you arrive you point out with your middle finger the necromantic length of my fluorescent middle finger my parents bought me a notebook covered in arabesque designs and owls to make me happy so i’d delve into the artifice of some befuddling poems about certain semi-cliché sunrises and about some guy Waldstein in sum i wrote a poem with more or less rhyme and the contours of the record player bordered on my body bordered very naturally border on your body very naturally you say you have pianist’s fingers but don’t touch anything lest you break it you say we’ll go to the beach to clear away embers of fire and we’ll reread your lactation library i really like your illustrious fertile blackberry bush the waves are onomatopoeic domes from the end of the world even though you mock everything good-naturedly you say even though you denounce all those extra-modernists even though you have pianist’s fingers i love you kiss me in the heart of this mnemonic cave kiss me from your childhood and from your old age and from your collection of rain and haze and mud and the breeze you say kiss me shut up already please and don’t write about this lest you break it


(C)

it’s very understandable,
ladies and gentlemen of the Royal Academy
of the Spanish Language, friends
and enemies of Ludwig van
Beethoven, whom you blame for
everything
because you understand
nothing, whom you blame for
everything, because everything is
nothing

(blaming Beethoven is
the easiest thing in
the world:
the world and the nothing and sex are
disappointing)

it’s very understandable, no doubt, your complaint:

i gave up the piano
and my virginity
for the same philological motives

call it rebellion call it lucid call it
resignation:

my song without words
my body without the words of another
were not worth it

would not be worth it will not be worth it ever
i gave up i understood
i give up,

therefore i write3

3 many years later you say fibers are figures your hands hum waterfalls your hands articulate pantomimes xylophagous eroticism you have pianist’s hands i wrote this thinking of you but now i’m thinking of someone else this is also music gnawing wood this also is music running away from paris this also goes back to the beginning to the damage of not being a musician to the damage of being words i give up therefore i write this too is a caress it’s a slap the world and the nothing and sex aren’t disappointing i greet the ever-plural lyric you optimistically and my first piano teacher cordially (1998-2000) quit music it doesn’t come to you very naturally you read badly i’m sorry for you you’re more inclined to poetry

 

Berta García Faet was born in Valencia, Spain. She is the author of the poetry collections La edad de merecer (2015) Fresa y herida (2011), Introducción a todo (2011), Night club para alumnas aplicadas (2009) and Manojo de abominaciones (2008). She is a PhD candidate at Brown Univiersity, pursuing a degree in Hispanic Studies.

Kelsi Vanada earned her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where she has also been recently admitted to the MFA program in literary translation.

 

Photo: Berta García Faet, La Bella Varsovia
Photo: Kelsi Vanada, ALTA Blog

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