Buenos Aires: Santos Locos, 2021. 163 pages.
I met Gustavo Yuste in person for the first time at a Young Poetry Festival, in Buenos Aires, some six or seven years ago. That was when he gave me a copy of Tendido eléctrico, a small book-object with a blue cover, which led the way to a great admiration.
Of course, life kept lengthening and even curving that pathway. But always leaving space, that tiny hallway of confluence to allow for the next step forward.
I never stopped reading Gustavo’s poetry because it has—in its entirety—a sense of personal entanglement to it, a greater degree of involvement, an episodic and presumably foreign memory that we end up making our own because we know that it somehow contains us, takes us in as protagonists or as antagonists, although without naming us or explicitly involving us in its individual cosmos.
That is how I arrived at Accidentes del ánimo, a compilation published by Argentine poetry press Santos Locos in 2021. And, inevitably, this book is all I was imagining and much more (of course, much more). Accidentes introduces that intimate and personal tone from daily life into a textual space that cohabitates—perhaps unintentionally—with a zest for life that is mediated by a past that “urges,” an obligatory oxymoron that links what has already happened with what is happening and with that which, imminently, can happen at any time: “el equipo del que somos hinchas / volvió a perder / en las próximas elecciones es casi seguro / que no llegamos ni al ballotage / y la serie que veíamos / no va a tener nuevas temporadas / por problemas de presupuesto” [the team we are fans of / lost again / in the next elections it is almost certain / that we won’t even make it to the ballot / and the series we used to watch / will not be renewed / due to budget problems].
Yuste does not impose a reading speed, nor does he necessarily establish a fixed order of meaning. He does not do that in this book, nor does he in any of his previous books of poems. Rather, he proffers an invitation to randomly explore that familiar and generous convergence between words and images. Like a medieval miniaturist, he materializes a circumstantial moment of confidence, and decants a sensitivity for his readers that always produces the scrupulous detail of things, the reflective and the collective: “sobre el pasto de la plaza enrejada / las personas con sus ropas de trabajo / se sientan a tomar sol y escuchar música / durante la hora del almuerzo” [on the grass of the trellised square / people in their work clothes / sit in the sun and listen to music / during lunch hour].
The goal is to reveal the obvious aspects of a way of life, to feel the life in one’s own body. To show, as in a triptych, pre-feeling, feeling, and post-feeling. To trample the present and to firmly grasp the past with one hand, but without ceasing to map out with the other that which is already coming, that which has almost already arrived. In conjunction with the initial epigraph (an appropriate line from the song by the English band Pulp): “Is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel?”
This book arms and disarms itself, dissects and converts itself into five other books: Boleros accidentados (unpublished), ¿De qué sirve un puente que no se usa? (digital), Lo que uso y no recomiendo (Modesto Rimba, 2018), Las canciones de los boliches (Santos Locos, 2017), and Bonus Tracks (Fantasma Edita, 2019).
The evocation of childhood, the recurring summons of disappointment, the daily motion—sometimes favorable, other times harmful—of things: the poems of Accidentes del ánimo move through this coexistence, as if all the things the poem might be saying were living consciously within us, as if something unknown within that poetic system might leave us clinging to its webs of nostalgia, making it impossible for us—yet again—to maintain any requested distance.