Thursday, March 28, 2013

The poetry of Mario Benedetti

"When I'm buried/ don't forget to put a Biro in my coffin."
Mario Benedetti

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009) is a Uruguayan poet, considered one of Latin America's finest poets.

Benedetti was also a political figure and a powerful voice for social justice  in his native Uruguay. He was pursued by the Uruguayan military junta in the 1970’s for his leftist writings and forced to live in exile  in Buenos Aires and Spain. He returned to Uruguay after the restoration of democratically-elected governments in the 1980’s.

Here is an article written after Benedetti death.

His poem “Desaparecidos,” is from a term used in Latin America for dissidents and students that were “disappeared” by police and military agents during most of the 70′s.
Mario Benedetti

They’re out there somewhere/ all assembled
disassembled/ bewildered/ voiceless
each seeking the others/ seeking us
hemmed in by their question marks and doubts
with their eyes on the ironwork in the plazas
the doorbells/ the shabby rooftops”
Little Stones at My Window
Mario Benedetti
Once in a while
joy throws little stones at my window
it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me
but today I'm calm
I'd almost say even-tempered
I'm going to keep anxiety locked up
and then lie flat on my back
which is an elegant and comfortable position
for receiving and believing news

who knows where I'll be next
or when my story will be taken into account
who knows what advice I still might come up with
and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it

don't worry, I won't gamble with an eviction
I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting
there are many things left to say and suppress
and many grapes left to fill our mouths

don't worry, I'm convinced
joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones
I'm coming
I'm coming.
Benedetti dicated his last poem to his secretary:
My life has been like a farce
My art has consisted
In this not being noticed too much
I've been as a levitator in my old age
The brown sheen of the tiles
Never came off my skin

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