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for the 21st century

WINTER 2022-23

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Laureano Alban


I love things that,
though worn,
as if twilight
is still in them,
forever burning.

The edges of chairs
refined by the clear
devotion of fingers.
The transparency
of glasses that have
served decent springs.
Shaded floors. Suits,
frayed by thin air.

I love the weary servitude
of a dull diamond,
the submissive passion
of her silences.

I love the autumn soul,
which was tall once, and shared
the eyes of miracles.

Its way of giving us oblivion,
without crying, without violence,
like the wise closeness in it,
like the light inside it,
like the hand of love,
without anything attached to it

I love old books
touched by the light,
I love pebbles that fit
in one hand, where
distant landscapes shine.

Because their slow music
proceeds towards goodbye,
Because they embrace
the one shadow, without moaning,
Because they hush us —
like the forgotten fire of lamps
that have been left burning,
alone at dawn

YOUR TATTOO (el tatuaje)
Your tattoo
breathes in the night,
little blue animal of amazement,
usually emigrates,
when I don’t look at it
on your back,
full of lewd
love sentences,
as if it had
a power
I don’t have yet
your heart.

Your tattoo
is such a small river:
meanders here and there
hinting at skies.
Minimum flock of
minimum letters
who have signed
a covenant,
with the abyss
of love’s wings.

And in the night, breathing,
making love to you,
shuddering with
the razor-thin hooks
of a panther, lewd
as night, with your
traveling body moving
away from all darkness
and towards the light.

I place my ear closer
to the penumbra that
covers you. I hear the
tiny gasp of the one
who makes love to you
every night while I sleep
helplessly on this side of life.
He dwells with you day and
night, he enjoys your wonders,
the thirsty ash day and night.
When you fall asleep
millimeter by millimeter
he wakes up and he
licks your back,
amazed. And I lie
here, in my skin
of salt, in my shadow
of destiny, marching
lonely into night,
while he lives only
for you, ecstatic
with you and
your gloom,
and voracious
as a man’s

Laureano Alban (1942-2022, Turrialba Costa Rica) was one of the Circle of poets along with Jorge Debravo and Marco Aguilar) and issued, along with Julieta Dobles, Ronald Bonilla and Carlos Francisco Monge, of Transcendentalist Manifesto in 1977 and later the transcendentalist group of Aranjuez, Spain. In recent years he has held several international diplomatic posts for Costa Rica.