To Pablo Neruda (first letter)

Dear Mr. Basoalto,
I wasn’t sure what a poet was or could be growing up.  I resented the mystification, pretension and elitism I associated with the vocation, regardless of how precarious it could seem.  I was also alienated by the willful philistinism that surrounded me in everyday life.  This was confusing and sometimes torturous.  Now I’m trying to reclaim the name, the word, the calling.  I believe it to be yours and mine, something inherent to everyone.  It’s another aspect of ourselves that has been extracted and separated out, disfigured, ethically subverted, stripped, spiritually evacuated, sold back to us by those who gain from the ongoing phantasmagoria of exchange within capitalist relations, the interchangeability of words, meanings, subjects and objects, the death of love.
And it was at that age…Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
It’s 2017 and your remains have been analyzed again, finally proving that you didn’t die of prostate cancer — but your murder remains officially unconfirmed by the current order.  Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if your significance as a “Peoples’ Poet”, a cypher for our inherent benevolence, the struggle to give us agency and communion, to creatively respond to need and injustice, to articulate possibility, wasn’t ongoing (and when I say us I mean all people everywhere).  Controllers know the force of our potential and what it portends, what is to come with the cultivation of our solitudes and solidarity.  They won’t be contained or acculturated when we finally take them back.  You can’t be erased either.  None of this gets lost in translation.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating planations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
Your path of sacrifice can now seem inevitable and still defies the worst of our appetites and envies, all corruptibility.  You must know this in your heart.  Here I am now, as haunted by the clarity of Durruti’s words as Lorca and Franco must’ve been, as you once were – all of us triggered by yet another manifest poet who refuses to be disappeared:  No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.   The truth of you, of us, of our becoming, is never acknowledged by the world as it is.  We don’t need the world as it is anyway.  You continue to teach this.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.
In concluding this not sent letter, I wish I could address everyone alive.  I need to restate what we already know.  The future, any future, requires the search for ourselves and one another.  Can we fall in love with what we’ll find and what we don’t? What we’ll never know and what we’ve always known?
The world needs poets now more than ever.
jeremy