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Literature feat. Music Illustration: Agnes Fong. Illustration: Agnes Fong.

Two poems by Reina María Rodríguez

I don't hear, I don't hear Bach anywhere...


…while the lady was playing
the last chord of Bach's fugue...

The fusas, “those double ticks on the pentagram”
he called them Fe—with gravity
how hard it was to interpret.
The lost intensity of those semifusas 

with dissatisfactions.
Sacred cantatas of any subterfuge
and jump out the bathroom window
toward a rainy sunday morning
(the piano still locked inside the house)
maddened by Melchor's outbursts
on its broken strings,
in a vulgar classical music program on the radio
where any hand
hits him indifferent today.
And she looking back, back,
an unfinished fugue,
one hundred and twenty-nine compasses symbolizing
the word obsession, and then

I no longer hear Bach anywhere
in the version of Wanda Landowskca.
I don't hear the crowds (those dalliances),
their tares.
So to my sensitivity
those shards also corrupted her
that inadvertently overwhelm us.
All my money invested in buying those records
Gradually resounding more the nonconformity
less devotion every time
after an ungrateful desire for things
They do not come scratched on the plate.
Hear you come back down the arpeggio ladder
with futility, with disdain.
Noises, outrages, sarcasm...
(Smuggling in The House of Czech Culture,
which does not exist anymore, in P and 23).

I used to go to concerts on Sundays
with that little gray silk dress
and the hole is getting deeper, more disgusting,
between that simple girl
and me.
¿Could it be that I was traveling through uselessness
of a feeling?
¿It will be that the theater burned under a cusp of resonance 


The house collapsed one Sunday morning
to the corner of Neptune,
and the keys sounded without Faith
on my back buttoned to the mother-of-pearl of a keyboard
who had turned (round) the world from a corner,
on uprooted yellows
to a key, to a button, to approximations 

from my hands
with that poor indifference of girls
committed to nothing
(but with something learned from that sinful vanity)
Suspecting that it would be worth very little to hold 

that definitive yes.
"For whom?" Faith asked me from the keyboard.
It was my passion, I know, tricking my fingers
of a semitone, equivocal.

In the end, I'm not complaining.
But that confusion remains, that uneasiness,
that vague nostalgia called music
against the pedals when colliding
very slowly first
(quick then),
with regret
poorly polished bronze under the skin,
corrupting there
in the gold champagne from other images
passed through the fingers.
“A misplayed delirium!” she shouted,
a pain of the fusas nailed in the chest,
counterpoint, high treason
of an inordinate amount of time,
but “absolutely measured”
I said very sure
between one beat and another,
against fear.



The score will be empty.

Nothing will appear in it. 

As Constance will eat Roman chestnuts

and you will be the genius.

Dispassionate, not persuasive.

A blank line and over it, suddenly:

bassoon, clarinet,

in the hearts of girls who smile.

Towards an ascending space

(bitten by his mouth)

the chestnut liqueur now empty, still.

There are too many notes waiting for us.

Opaque directions that the sounds took

of a destiny.


Taken from Catch and Release, Havana, Cuban Letters, 2007, pp. 9-11; p. 23. 

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