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                                                 By Luz E Macias

         “You're dying. There's nothing wrong with dying among gray clouds that cover the city and the trees, with their colored leaves that sing of another autumn”, I  say, smiling.

         “You're laughing because I can't move. Wait until this pain that immobilizes me lessens a little and you'll see that you can't make fun of me,  especially in front of these people looking at us”.

        “Your pale tawny, dense face extends until your neck, I can't make out if it reaches your body. I don't dare open your shirt and undress you in front of these imbeciles that say nothing, watching you shamelessly.”

         “That's what I want, for you to touch me, to take me.”

         “Your glassy, weak eyes can't really see me. It seems as if you're asleep, but your eyes remain half open, watching us with no sign of  clarity, happiness, or anger. You don't move, or complain.”

        “Don't distract me. Why don't you just  be quiet already. Leave me in peace.”

        “Your face says nothing to me. It doesn't tell me if your illness is serious. Sure you suffer, but  I'll  make you suffer. Your beard is a bunch of rags sewn by spiders. You stink. And it's as if you passed right through the air; flies move around your body, it doesn't bother you. You're inert before their buzz, to the tickling of  their legs on your naked arms, on your bare feet. I look and smile at you, why don't you finish dying. Let me help you descend to earth before going back to loving your body.”

       “You're watching me and you don't help. You're happy seeing me like this. You feel stronger now that my energy is up. You laugh at me, but who are you? You who encouraged me to do wrong so many times. To seek pleasure in lust, in gluttony.”

        “Please, close your eyes. Don't blame me for your bad examples.”

       “Now I understand and try to recognize who you are, because when I had money, when I had lovers, when I had everything,  you were with me. Now I have nothing. Just a park bench that sustains me. Just these trees made leafless by time, my coat. The warmth has gone, the good bye of a gray afternoon, the sun going down, announcing my departure.”

      “Shut up already! Who told you to leave your house? It's your fault that I've suffered!”

       “Oh, Alma   now you want to go. Now you want to leave me alone, because I can't give you pleasure, because I  don't have a drink to win you over.

       “The bottle of wine is empty. You threw it out in your anxious fight to drink it all. Although were a couple, you were more selfish. You dominated me, you took me by the hand through the world.”

       “You can see that I haven't left you, even though I despise you. I'll pay for your pleasures, because I'll continue living, while you  rot away. I'll be screaming in pain. You  were always bad. I didn't show you the path, you led me.”

       “When will learn to recognize our errors? When will we have the dignity to recognize who we are?”

       “Do you remember your first temptation? I loved you, I  begged you not do it, to leave me. I insisted that robbery was bad, that regrets made me jump on your childs body. The lie was your first trick, you liked it because people believed you. You felt pity for me? I woke in the night, bothered by your great mischievousness. You ate the bread, jam, and olives. It was a banquet, it's true, and I enjoyed it. But it was you that incited it all. You triumphed in your first trick and kept setting traps until you became one of them.”

       “Tell me, was it me who begged you to do it? Speak traitor!”
       “I'm sorry, but it's late. I have to go. Finish dying. Listen to me. I have to go somewhere.”

        “So you're standing here in order to accuse me. What does it matter that you're here, what does it matter if you shout at me that I did it, if were one being in the end. So many regrets weigh on me that I'm suffering. I'll get up off  this damned bench. I'll look for wherever you are. I'll annihilate you so that you dont rise up. I am your strength. I was your skeleton where you stood. I was your body where you enjoyed yourself. Who are you to tell me so many stupid things? If my feet could mobilize themselves. I swear, I'll walk. I'll leap, and trap you in my hands at once, and crush you to bits. I'll pull you apart, ghost that travels through the air. Now that you get tangled in the trees, that you crawl along the ground. You think I don't see you? You're under my bench! You're licking up the wine that the earth drank. You're  drunk on liquor. You don't forgive me for not having looked for you with something for buying a drink. I'm moving. I'm going to catch you.”

       “Keep struggling. That's how I love you. Push again. Your  feet are a pale coffee color, wrapped in the dried out eggshell that your skin has become. Your long skinny fingers toasted by time announce your departure. Your claw like nails are hooks that move like eagles claws. They move. You're going to walk. You move your leg violently...Calm down! What's going on? Another push? Don't fake anything; I don't pity you. Does it hurt? Tell me. Give me a sign, so I can understand you. Move your lips. I won't get close. And if you catch me, if you wrap me in your flaccid arms, your bony hands?

       “Don't complain. Your thick, purple lips gesture. Oh, this body of mine! Don't call me because I'm deaf to your complaints. I'm deaf  to your clamor. I'm immortal as far as your bodys concerned; you can see how I sustain myself without it, transparent and light. Why should I be with you, if  it's because of you that I'm suffering. Why should I be close to you, if  the cold has come for me so many afternoons that your death no longer scares me. Why should I be here, if  the pleasure and worldliness are done and over.”

       “If  I could get to you,  but this pain in my heart doesn't let me. I don't want to writhe in front of these imbeciles. I'll be strong until the last  minute.”

        “Now you're complaining. Don't cry. Your tears are rains of a winter gone by.  The mask of  laughter that covers your body now is a warm summer that won't return.”

        “I’m fooling you. You'll see how  you'll  come back to me without my asking you. I'm touching you inside. I'm drawing closer to you, with my laugh, with my teeth polished by the fever of  not wanting to lose you. If  I can convince you that you can live in me for two more decades of  lust, I'll have won. I'll destroy death, because I'm immortal. Oh, my heart   why do you stab at me now, when I'm conquering this traitor. Don't move, muscle. Don't move, body. I'm your God.”

       “What are you saying? That you're immortal? That's  your misery. Your body isn't eternal. Look at me. I'm immortal. I don't need you to live. Don't move; you're bothering the air around you. People avoid you; they cover their noses. The guys from the morgue are coming for you. It all makes me laugh.”

       “I swear, before leaving, you'll enter in  me, because I'm waiting for you.”

        “I told you not move. Tsk, tsk, tsk  you've exploded. The worms come out of your rotten skeleton. I'll  get away from you. Don't  get up, skeleton. Don't come closer, with your carved up face, your languid hands. Don't walk towards me...I don't want to enter your body, let me hide in another onnnnne...”

       “I  caught youuuuuuu.”


From The Steps: Stories From Heaven & Inferno (2000).


                                        Por  Luz E. Macias

        Te estás muriendo. No es malo fallecer entre nubes grises que cubren la ciudad y a los árboles con sus hojas de colores que nos cantan otro otoño digo y sonrío.

        Tú ríes porque no me puedo mover. Espera que pase este dolor que me inmoviliza y sabrás que de mí no te burlas, menos frente a esta gente que nos mira.

        Tu rostro café pálido denso va descendiendo hasta el cuello. No veo si trasciende por tu cuerpo. No me atrevo a abrirte la camisa y desnudarte frente a estos imbéciles que no dicen nada, que sólo te miran sin pena.

       Eso quiero que me toques, que me poseas.

      Tus ojos vidriosos y débiles no te permiten verme del todo. Parece que duermes, pero tus ojos siguen semiabiertos y nos observas sin una mueca de lúcidez, de alegría o de rabia. No te mueves. No te quejas.

        No me desconcentres. Cállate de una vez. Déjame en paz.

        Tu rostro no me dice nada. No dice si tu mal es grande. Si sufres, pero yo te haré sufrir. Tu barba es una hilacha tejida por arañas. Hiedes, apestas. Y yo siento que traspasas el aire; las moscas

viajan por tu cuerpo, no te molestas. Estás inerte a su zumbido, a las cosquillas que producen sus patas en tus brazos desnudos, en tus pies descalzos. Te miro y sonrío, ¿por qué no acabas de morirte? Déjame me. que te ayude a descender a la tierra antes que volver a amar tu cuerpo.

          “Me estás mirando y no me ayudas. Te alegras de verme asi. Te sientes fuerte ahora que mi energía se acaba. Te ries de mi pero ¿quién eres tú? Tú que tantas veces me animaste a hacer el mal. A buscar en los placeres la lujuría, la gula

        Por favor cierra los ojos. No me culpes de tus malos ejemplos.

        Ahora entiendo y trato de reconocer quién eres, porque cuando tuve dinero, cuando tuve amores, cuando lo tuve todo, tú estabas conmigo. Ahora no tengo nada. Sólo un banco callejero de este parque que me sostiene. Sólo estos árboles deshojados por el tiempo son mi abrigo. El calor se ha ido, el adiós de una tarde gris, el sol descendiendo en el ocaso me anuncia la  partida.

        ¡Cállate de una vez! ¿Quién te dijo que te fueras de tu casa? Por tu culpa he padecido!

        ¡Ah Alma! ahora quieres alejarte. Ahora quieres dejarme solo, porque no tengo bacos que ofrecerte, porque no tengo placeres que darte, porque no tengo licores con que engraciarte. La botella de vino se acabó. Tú la botaste en tu pelear angustioso de bebértela. Aunque somos una pareja, tú fuiste mas egoísta. Me dominaste. Me llevaste de la mano por el mundo.

         Ya vez que no me he alejado de ti, a pesar de despreciarte. Por tus deleites yo pagaré, porque seguiré viva, mientras tu te vas
pudriendo, yo estaré gritando de dolor. Desde siempre fuiste malo. Yo no te enseñé el camino, tú me llevaste. 

           ¿Cuándo aprenderemos a reconocer nuestros errores?  ¿Cuándo tendremos la dignidad de reconocer quienes somos?

        ¿Recuerdas tu primera tentación?  Te amaba. Te rogué que no lo hicieras, que te alejaras, Te insistí que el hurto era malo, que los remordimientos me hacían saltar en tu cuerpo de niño. Fue tu primer engaño la mentira, te gustó porque te creyeron. ¿Tú sentiste pena por mí? En las noches te desperté molesto por tu gran necedad. Tú te comiste los panes, la mermelada, las aceitunas. Fue un banquete es cierto yo lo disfruté. Pero fuiste tu el que incitabas. Tu primer engaño lo triunfaste y seguiste jugando a las trampas hasta que te convertiste en una de ellas.

        ¿Dime, fui yo quien te rogó que lo hicieras? ¡Habla traidor!

        Lo siento pero es tarde. Tengo que irme. Acaba de morirte. Me oyes. Tengo que ir a otro lado.

       ¡ Ah con que estás frente a mi para acusarme! ¿de qué vale que estés ah?í, ¿de qué vale que me grites lo que hice, si al final somos un solo ser? Tantos remordimientos pesan en mí que los estoy sufriendo. Me levantaré de este maldito banco de piedra. Te buscaré donde estés en este parque. Te aniquilaré para que no te subleves. Yo soy tu fuerza. Yo fui tu armazón donde posaste. Yo fui tu cuerpo donde te regodeaste; ¿quién eres para decirme tantas sandeces? Si los pies se movilizaran. Te juro que caminaré. Saltaré y de un jalón te atraparé entre mis manos para hacerte añicos. Para desbaratarte fantasma que viajas por los aires. Ahora que te enredas por los árboles, que te arrastras por la tierra. ¿Crees que no te veo? ¡Estás bajo mi banco! Estás lamiendo el vino que la tierra se bebió. Ebrio de licor estás tú. No perdonas que no busque con qué comprar tu alcohol. Me estoy moviendo. Te voy atrapar.

            -Sigue forzándote, que asi te quiero. Otro empujón. Ya los pies vestidos del cascarón reseco de tu piel se traslucen café pálido denso. Tus dedos largos flacos tostados por el tiempo anuncian tu despedida. Tus uñas garras son garfios que se mueven como las patas de las águilas. Giran. Ya vas a caminar. Mueve tu pierna con violencia...   ¡Cálmate!; ¿qué sientes? ¡Otro sacudón...!  No me finjas que no tengo pena. ¿Te duele? Dime. Hazme señas para entenderte. Mueve tus labios. No me acercaré ¿Y si me atrapas. Y si me encierras en tus brazos flácidos, en tus huesudas manos?. No te quejes. Tus labios púrpura carnoso gesticulan. ¡Ah cuerpo mío! no me llames porque soy sordo a tus quejas. Soy sordo a tu clamor. Soy inmortal a tu cuerpo; ya vez transparente y liviano me sostengo sin él. ¿De qué vale estar junto a ti, si por ti estoy padeciendo? De qué vale estar cerca ,si el frío paso por mi tantos atardeceres que ya no me asusta tu muerte. De qué vale estar aquí si el placer y la mundanidad se acabó.

              Si pudiera llegar hasta tí, pero este dolor que oprime mi corazón no me deja. No quiero retorcerme delante de estos imbéciles. Seré fuerte hasta mi último momento.

        ¡Te quejas ahora! No llores. Si tus lágrimas son lluvias de un invierno pasado. Si la máscara de risa que cubre tu cuerpo ahora es de un verano tibio que ya no vuelve.

        Te estoy engañando. Ya verás como volverás a mí sin yo pedírtelo. Te estoy conmoviendo. Me estoy acercando a ti con mi risa, con mis dientes acicalados por la fiebre de no perderte. Si logro convencerte que puedes vivir en mí otras dos décadas de lujuría triunfaré. Destruiré a la muerte porque soy inmortal. ¡Ay! corazón por qué punzas, cuando ya estoy conquistando esta traidora. No te muevas músculo. No te muevas cuerpo. Soy tu Dios.

     ¿Qué es lo que dices? ¡qué eres inmortal! Esa es tu miseria. Tu cuerpo no es eterno. Mírame. Yo sí lo soy. No necesito tu cuerpo
para vivir. No te muevas que estas hostigando el aire. La gente te rehuye, se tapan las narices. Ya vienen por ti los de la morgue. Me rio.

        Te juro que antes de alejarte entrarás en mi ser porque estoy esperando por ti.

        Te dije que no te movieras, plas, plas, plas, plas has explotado. Los gusanos salen de tu podredumbre armazón. Huyo de ti. No te levantes esqueleto. No te acerques con tu rostro descuartizado, con tus manos lánguidas. No camines hacía mi... No quiero entrar en tu cuerpo. Déjame soslayar en otroooooo.....

        Te atrapéeeeeeeeé.

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From: The Steps: Stories From Heaven & Inferno (2000)

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