Mario Licón Cabrera (México, 1949) has lived in Sydney since 1992. His third collection of poetry, La Reverberación de la Ceniza was publshed by Mora & Cantúa Editores in 2005. He was invited to the Spring writers Festival (Sydney) in 1998 and to the Semana de la Poesía Barcelona, 1999, and to The National Poetry Week in 2006. He has translated the poetry of Dorothy Porter, Judith Beveridge, Peter Boyle, J.S. Harry, Robert Adamson, amongst other Australian poets, into Spanish.These poems are part of Yuxtas, a bilingual collection (Spanish/English), written with the assistance of a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts/Literature Board. Read Peter Boyle’s review of Juxtas in our Reviews and Essays section.                                    

                                                                                                                                                    Photographer: David Cahill


 Will these be  the 206 aristocratic bones of my father?
Rodolfo Hinostrosa speaks of his father's bones and 
   I think about yours, padre,  
   and suddenly I wanted to see them.  
Will they have survived this quarter of century 
   buried under those drastic, 
   so insolent climate changes?
The scholars in such matters say that one or better said, 
   our bones  can survive thousands of years 
   buried in the Sahara sands.  
But you are not directly buried in the sand.  
   I don't even know what kind of coffin 
   my brothers had elected for you. 
In any case, I don't believe that you were buried 
   in a dark and fresh clay wombs' pot
   as our ancestors used to do it.  
Will they move. Will they change site  
   skull, humeri and femurs?  A shoulder blade  
   on a fibula or a tíbia?  
Will they seek the trace of the once beloved bones, 
   the bones loved
   beyond the skin?  
Of what will they dream? 
   Which song they will remember?  What name 
   will they want to name the bones , in their darkness?  
Perhaps when it rains they are scattered? 
Once, as a boy, I saw the relics of some coffins 
   and in them  remains of hair 
   and clothes stuck on some bones.  
They had removed a cemetery to build a playground in its place.  
   We never played there:  
   It was so much its dryness that we all crossed  in full silence.  

One night, a couple of years ago  
   I passed in front of your last shoe-repair shop, 
   that one near the now extinct creek  of your Villa de Seris.  
The doors were wide open. 
   A dark deep silence inside. And the ruins 
   of the old huge house of Los Gómez more dead than ever.  
Now I think that the ideal place for your bones would be there 
   beside the ghost-creek, near the narrow bridge where all passers-by 
   greeted you with so much respect:  Don Ventura.  

Tonight  I will not read 
any of my poems.
Tonight I want only to give thanks 
thanks to Poetry and to a bunch of poets.
To Poetry herself, for having given me 
another voice,
another voice with which I can talk
to the trees and stones and birds.
I want to say thanks to the Aztec poet 
Ayocuan Cuetzpatzin for his deep knowledge 
of the human heart. 
To Saint John of the Cross
for his advice on how to make love
to my soul. 
And thanks to Dante Alligieri and Arthur Rimbaud 
for having given me such good instruction 
on how to commute through the Hades.
To poetry for giving me a pair of hands 
with which I can greet  the wind and touch
the faces of my beloved dead-ones. 
To Walt Whitman and Federico García Lorca
for the profound resonance of their cry and for
the great love the second one had for the first one.
To Vicente Huidobro and Nicanor Parra for
taking off the face of to-much-solemnity 
that Pablo Neruda gave to poetry. 
And because the first one showed me how 
to fall from the bottom to the top.
Thanks to Jorge Luis Borges who in his noble blindness  
thought that paradise was a library. 
And thanks  to Cesar Vallejo, for all 
his sorrows, his solitude and his  poet's bravery. 
Esta Noche
Esta noche no leeré
ninguno de mis poemas.
Esta noche quiero solamente dar gracias 
gracias a la poesía y a una banda de poetas.
A la Poesía misma porque me a dado
otra voz,
otra voz con la que puedo hablar 
con los árboles y las piedras y los pájaros.
Quiero dar gracias al poeta azteca 
Ayocuan Cuetzpatzin-
por su vasto conocimento del corazón humano. 
A San Juan de la Cruz
por sus consejos de como hacer el amor
con mi alma.
Y gracias a Dante Alligieri y Arthur Rimbaud 
por darme tan buenas instruciones de como entrar y 
salir de los infiernos.
A la poesía por darme unas manos
con la que puedo saludar al viento y tocar
el rostro de mis queridos muertos.
A Walt Whitman Y Federico García Lorca
por la profunda resonancia de sus cantos y por
lo tanto que el segundo amó al primero.
A Vicente Huidobro y Nicanor Parra  por
haberle quitado el rostro tan solemne que Pablo
Neruda le dió a la poesía. Y por que el primero me 
enseño a caer de abajo hacia arriba.
Gracias a Jorge Luis Borges porque en su noble ceguera 
confundió el paraíso con una biblioteca. 
Y gracias a Cesar Vallejo por toda su tristeza 
todas sus soledades y toda su bravura de poeta.