Friday, November 10, 2023

"Teodoro Luna Confesses After Years..." by Alberto Ríos

Teodoro Luna Confesses After Years to His 
Brother, Anselmo the Priest, Who Is Required 
to Understand, But Who Understands Anyway, 
More Than People Think

I am a slave to the nudity of women.
I do not know with what resolve

I could stand against it, a naked woman
Asking of me anything.

An unclothed woman is sometimes other things.
I see her in a dish of green pears.

Anselmo, do you know what I mean if I say
Without clothes

Her breasts are the two lions
In front of the New York Public Library,

Do you know that postcard of mine?
In those lions there is something

For which I have in exchange
Only sounds. Only my fingers.

I see her everywhere. She is the lions
And the pears, those letters of the alphabet

As children we called dirty, the W,
The Y, the small o.

She is absolutely the wet clothing on the line.
Or, you know, to be more intimate,

May I? The nub, the nose of the pear,
Do you know what I mean? Those parts of the woman

I will call two Spanish dancer hats,
Or rounder sometimes, doughboy helmets from the War.

Sometimes they are flat in the late afternoon
Asleep. Like drawings,

Like a single rock thrown into the lake,
These parts of a woman an imperfect circling

Gyre of lines moving out, beyond the water.
They reach me at the shore, Anselmo.

Without fail, they are stronger,
And they have always been faster than I am.

It’s like watching the lassoing man,
The man with the perfectly circling rope,

Pedro Armendariz in the Mexican movies,
Or Will Rogers. Wherever one is from,

Whoever this man is.
And he is always there. Everybody knows one.

He always makes his big lasso, twirling his rope
Around himself and a woman from the audience

Only I am the woman, do you understand, Anselmo?
Caught in the circling rope. I am the woman

And me thinking of a woman
Without clothes

Is that man and that rope
And we are riding on separate horses.

Source of the text - Alberto Ríos, Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses: Poems.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1990, pages 65-67.

TJB: In this dramatic monologue, the speaker starts to confess to loving naked women, but he’s actually confessing being caught in naked-women metaphors.

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