Puerto Rico. Alayubia. 2021
El sitio del relámpago can be read as one long poem from start to finish. Over the course of the poems, images appear that favor the convergence of subtitles. For example, in “Devocionario” we see how fire acquires dimension in silence (but never in the stillness of a child) and how a god (in the very transience of passion) devours an existence. Then the creature emerges in fire and silence. Though it may seem contradictory, the event occurring externally—the transmutation—takes place internally, where the consciousness of song is not perceived. Song about the cosmic meaning of life: God, silence, fire, stars, and lightning, among other words, which point us toward an encounter or dialogue with a sensitivity to the unexpected.
The environment and interiority of these palpitations are built with language. The poetic voice settles in the grooves of unconsciousness. The beats of the words are in consonance with an experience. In “Memoria del gusano,” the author says: “Volar también entumece. / Esperar otro ciclo / en un paréntesis de alas” [Flying also numbs. / Waiting for another cycle / in a parenthesis of wings]. A sort of journey is celebrated, driven by a tone that stops at what we recognize in the emotional experience of a confined space.
The brevity of these poems manifests itself in their form and structure: short verses prevail throughout the book. The poet focuses on precision; the images will be free in their state of development. While reading the poems, it is worthwhile to ask ourselves, where is my memory? It is built in the exercise of reading and subsequent contemplation, in the link between life and death, in the shape of lightning. The meaning of the word is renewed by the reader’s experience. Consequently, it is a unique and unrepeatable occurrence so long as the shock resulting from the poetic voice-poem-reader encounter takes place.
Enchantment is embodied. Such a character is imminent. We therefore understand the experience as that unique and unrepeatable encounter that implies accommodation without hermeticism. Subtlety will be there even if cosmogonic questioning is present between the lines. Through this, we try to explain the unobjectionable presence of the ballad along with the coexistence of another vision, that story neither told nor directly manifested, but which seeps into the reader’s memory. This is what I mean by shock. This is the reader’s experience of the poem.
In El sitio del relámpago is the beginning of life, perhaps as we have been made to see it. There is also a visualization of reality: “Creímos en Dios y / existió el miedo” [We believed in God and / there was fear]. Everything is a concentrated event in the lightning: fire, electric shock, instantaneous, exhalation, glow. It can just as easily be the sharp, the cunning, the keen, or sticking a finger in the wound. Everything is contained in a reality and in a supposed something that approaches us using words. Its fertile light flirts with inquiry into what we are and what we could be, like two waters, two flashes: “La intemperie nos mira / con cerrojos” [The open air looks at us / with locks]. Although it happens externally, the final experience is internal.
Twenty-two poems are gathered in the first part, “En suspenso,” and the second part, “En todas partes” has twenty-three. A structure that adds up as a unit to make up the whole book with this theme. Here (at the second part) we stop and consider the subtleties. In “Rhema,” the song or the word of God to the believers is enunciated in a present with inconsistent chalices that fade that initial message to reach the everyday: “Lamen las raíces de las casas” [They lick the roots of the houses], then becomes the counterpart to the prosaic or the pagan. The same happens in “Finis terrae”—the duality of the shadows between the luminous and the existence of the skin is presented in the maximum expression of the human, and therefore the ephemeral: “Morar bajo la pie l/ como quien esconde una lámpara” [To dwell under the skin / like one who hides a lamp]. As the popular saying goes, nothing lasts forever.
The book ends with its namesake poem: “El sitio del relámpago.” Words like God, poetry, people, earth, naked, lightning, and darkness appear in this poem. The experience of reading is glimpsed in a frank way based on the splendor of the word. The realm of solitude in the face of the poem persists. The images seduce, the better to inscribe themselves in the breaking of the established order to project another encounter, another experience. The radiance is not in the external phenomenon—it happens in the fleetingness. The sign will be given in relation to the poem’s character.