“Senorito, a gentleman wants to speak to you.”
“What traces does it have?”
“Looks like an employee of The Funeral Home .”
“Ah!” I know who he is: he is Don Tristán of the Catacombs. What happens.
And Don Tristán de las Catacombas entered, whom I know from having paid him several coffees without milk. He is tall, skinny, browed, he wears a split beard like Our Lord Jesus Christ, he has black hair, black eyes, a black suit, and black nails. The only thing that does not have black are the boots, which are red.
He gave me a handshake, funereal like himself; the handshake of the Stone Guest. There are men who squeeze our hands like a door slamming shut and grasps our fingers. It’s their way of showing affection.
Don Tristán speaks little, but reads a lot. He is an unpublished poet, with a loud voice; If asked how many editions he has made of his poems, he answers with a disillusioned dead smile: “None! I do not print my verses: I only read them at the chosen souls ”. For him, all those who want to hear him are chosen souls. Calculating the number of times he has read his verses, Don Tristán says, using a special trope, which consists of taking the listener for the reader who buys the book, that his Echoes of the tomb have reached a circulation of nine thousand copies. It means that he has read them nine thousand times to nine thousand martyrs of condescension.
“Well, Mr. Clarín, you will know how I have written another book of poetry and I have come to read it to you.”
-And true; Yes sir. But it has four parts; we will read one each day, and in four sessions we will dispatch. I want to know your opinion of you, because although I do not give a damn about epitheluric criticism, because I have my mind set high (and pointed to the ceiling), as this time perhaps I would be encouraged to give my work to print, yes An uncle of mine dies, to whom I have already dedicated a funeral hymn …
“Ah!” then you can count on it.
“So your uncle will die of you.”
-I think so; Well, he used to say that if the uncle gratefully lets me have a few rooms, I’ll print the book; and in that case I hope that you will treat me as I deserve. I do not ask for more than justice. What I want is for you to get into this poetry and not speak without finding out. The best thing for this is that I read my verses myself and make you pay attention to your transcendental thoughts.
“You know … The barber is waiting for me … I have a three-day beard.”
“Ah!” Do you shave? ”Exclaimed the one from the Catacombs with an accent of compassion … Let the barber wait … You even hear the first part. The book is titled The Eternal Requiem . First part: “Idyll of the subsoil”.
“I warn you that the subsoil is the domain of the State …
“The basement here is that of the cemetery.” The second part, which we will read another day, is entitled “Wisps”; the third, “Responsos de mi lira”, and the fourth, “Rimas de muto”. I warn you that I am preserving the form.
“You do well;” I that you, would do without everything, even the mother who gave birth to me …
—I prescribe the form and go to the bottom.
-Yes, I know; at the bottom of the grave. You are the mole of poetry …
“Nice phrase!” Now listen … First part: “Idyll of the subsoil”.
The worms came
to devour his heart of silt;
in their blood they fathered inhuman,
and the poison killed them.
-How are you?
“Which is well used for them.” Who commands those worms to be inhuman ?
“This calling irrational beings inhuman is not my thing; I have seen it in a poet who reads at the Athenaeum.
-Do not; if I don’t complain. You see: what does it matter to me? I am not a worm.
They took her to bury …
“Like the Constitution.”
“They took her to be buried
in a very wide coffin,
in which they carried all
the dead from that neighborhood.”
The corpse moved
with the stumbling that it was giving.
I found them on the road.
“Stop, I told them, the step.”
The vehicle is not complete ,
there is still room for both;
Take me too,
because I paid for the race;
there is little from here to death,
the trip will not be expensive …
“And they buried you?”
-No sir; all that is a saying.
They exhumed his body,
took him to the pantheon …
“Could that have been the progressives? …
In the humble holy ground
only the grave remained,
and in the hollow of the grave I
buried my heart.
Now hear the IV. And he read me all possible Roman numerals; when he finished the first part, he smelled of the dead.
-What do you think? So, altogether …
—I think that you should wait, to publish your Eternal Requiem , some solemn occasion … for example, it would be very topical on the day of judgment …
“That’s too late …
“Well, when the Necropolis opens …
“Sir, the barber is waiting in the anteroom.”
“Tell him to go away, this gentleman has already made my beard today …”