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Solo La Muerte

Grief/The Day of the Dead, Carlos Schwabe (1866-1926)

David Keith Byers, son of the late Helene and Harold L. Byers, died after a long illness on October 25, 2009. He is survived by his beloved daughter Jennifer Byers of Chicago, Illinois; long time companion Leslie Lupino of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; and his sisters Lorna Smith of Allendale, New Jersey; Karen McKenney of Arlington, Virginia; and Debra Lombardi of Safety Harbor, Florida. He is predeceased by his sister Doreen Chassin of Buffalo, New York. David grew up in Ramsey and lived in many places throughout the United States. He spent the last twelve years of his life in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He will be remembered for his life long love of music which sustained him wherever he lived and worked. A private memorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Only Death Solo La Muerte
There are lone cemeteries,
tombs filled with soundless bones,
the heart passing through a tunnel
dark, dark, dark;
like a shipwreck we die inward
like smothering in our hearts,
like slowly falling from our skin to our soul.

There are corpses,
there are feet of sticky, cold gravestone,
there is death in the bones,
like a pure sound,
like a bark without a dog,
coming from certain bells, from certain tombs,
growing in the dampness like teardrops or raindrops.

I see alone, at times,
coffins with sails
weighing anchor with pale corpses, with dead-tressed women,
with bakers white as angels,
with pensive girls married to notaries;
coffins going up the vertical river of the dead,
the dark purple river,
upward, with the sails swollen by the sound
of death,
swollen by the silent sound of death.

To resonance comes death
like a shoe without a foot, like a suit without a man,
she comes to knock with a stoneless and fingerless ring,
she comes to shout without mouth, without tongue,
without throat.
Yet her steps sound
and her dress sounds, silent as a tree.

I know little, I am not well acquainted, I can scarcely see,
but I think that her song has the color of moist violets,
of violets accustomed to the earth,
because the face of death is green,
and the gaze of death is green,
with the sharp dampness of a violet
and its dark color of exasperated winter.

But death also goes through the world dressed as a broom,
she licks the ground looking for corpses,
death is in the broom,
it is death’s tongue looking for dead bodies,
it is death’s needle looking for thread.

Death is in the cots:
in the slow mattresses, in the black blankets
she lives stretched out, and she suddenly blows:
she blows a dark sound that puffs out the sheets,
and there are beds sailing to a port
where she is waiting, dressed as an admiral.
Hay cementerios solos,
tumbas llenas de huesos sin sonido,
el corazón pasando un túnel
oscuro, oscuro, oscuro,
como un naufragio hacia adentro nos morimos,
como ahogarnos en el corazón,
como irnos cayendo desde la piel al alma.

Hay cadáveres,
hay pies de pegajosa losa fría,
hay la muerte en los huesos,
como un sonido puro,
como un ladrido sin perro,
saliendo de ciertas campanas, de ciertas tumbas,
creciendo en la humedad como el llanto o la lluvia.

Yo veo, solo, a veces,
ataúdes a vela
zarpar con difuntos pálidos, con mujeres de trenzas muertas,
con panaderos blancos como ángeles,
con niñas pensativas casadas con notarios,
ataúdes subiendo el río vertical de los muertos,
el río morado,
hacia arriba, con las velas hinchadas por el sonido
de la muerte,
hinchadas por el sonido silencioso de la muerte.

A lo sonoro llega la muerte
como un zapato sin pie, como un traje sin hombre,
llega a golpear con un anillo sin piedras y sin dedo,
llega a gritar sin boca, sin lengua,
sin garganta.
Sin embargo sus pasos suenan
y su vestido suena, callado como un árbol.

Yo no sé, yo conozco poco, yo apenas veo,
pero creo que su canto tiene color de violetas húmedas,
de violetas acostumbradas a la tierra,
porque la cara de la muerte es verde,
y la mirada de la muerte es verde,
con la aguda humedad de una hoja de voileta
y su grave color de invierno exasperado.

Pero la muerte va también por el mundo vestida de escoba,
lame el suelo buscando difuntos,
la muerte está en la escoba,
es la lengua de la muerte buscando muertos,
es la aguja de la muerte buscando hilo.

La muerte está en los catres:
en los colchones lentos, en las frazadas negras
vive tendida, y de repente sopla:
sopla un sonido oscuro que hincha sábanas,
y hay camas navegando a un puerto
en donde está esperando, vestida de almirante.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 28th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
I'm sad for you Jen. Love you. *Hugs*
Oct. 28th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that your father has passed. I'm thinking of you; let me know if you need anything.
Oct. 29th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
my condolences... know that many of us have been here, and are always willing to talk about it.
Oct. 29th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
My condolences to you and yours. I'll send love your way.
Oct. 29th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
I have thought of you often these past few days. I am glad you have so many good friends to support you in your grief. Blessings to you and your family.
Oct. 31st, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
Thinking of you with love and concern.
Nov. 1st, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
*hugs and love to you, friend*

I've been thinking of you, and wish you many blessings this Samhain.
Nov. 2nd, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
My condolences.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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