Daniel Saldaña París reads "Estos elementos serán destruídos" in
Mexico City (2011), later included in "La Máquina Autobiográfica" (The
Autobiographical Machine, Mexico City: Bonobos, 2012). The English
translation by Robin Myers can be read below.
"These Elements Will Be Destroyed"
Daniel Saldaña París, translated by Robin Myers
TIRED, I ambled through Valparaíso, convinced the bird-shouts bloomed
more purely there, as if exploded, multiplying into light across the
mirror of the mountains.
I don’t know if the bit about the birds is true, but at some point, I
don’t know when, something deep inside my thorax cracked completely:
it was as if a group of restless larvae hatched inside my mouth, and
the air was made of awful sounds that pierced my insides.
Then, something that had slept a lifetime in my lungs evolved toward
the sky and left me, now transformed into a swarm, when the asthma
started throbbing locomotives. It was the bellow of a bull slayed by
whatever had emerged from my abyss.
And all the children gathered close to welcome me into the kingdom of
I FEEL no need to write again. Given this lack of reasons, stories and
intuitions, I’ll tell you now what’s next: my torso is a confrontation
of tumultuous rivers.
The rivers drag at stones that aren’t stones; the confrontation of
their waters is my beating heart.
Sit down along the bank of my chest.
Plunge your white hand into my violent clarity.
Touch me where the water meets the earth.
I HAVE confronted rancors in my stomach and they’re a critical event
because I feel confusing and can’t seem to move. I only tell you this
out of the complicity that binds us.
There’s a complicity that keeps the currents unified inside their
These things happen.
They happen in the thorax.
(She pulled my eyelids shut with forceps.)
THE unsoiled birds were crucified, nailed at the wingtips.
Like a seepage of rust, Valparaíso was built on rupture. To walk its
market streets meant watching shuddering crabs, fish fixed into their
death rattles after they met the blade. Flayed rabbits were exposed
mere inches from the eyes and looked like misshapen vaginas that had
lost their mystery.
(I reached the port as if I were escaping.)
EVERYTHING is raw and red.
Animality is, along these streets, the center of my thorax.
Who would endure the naked animality of my thorax against this sky of
Who would endure the unyielding rawness of my flesh against this city
of daytime brothels?
(White morning: transported in the fog, you see your eyelids from the inside.
You know God wants to give you.)
THE trees have pleasures here. They’re tall as rage and sway amid the
weeping improvised by dogs.
I am dissolving in the vowels of her name and in every single context
is a pack of dogs that howls toward the trees.
(Who breathes in my thorax a breath of flesh-red feathers, gnawing at
my flesh’s naked animality against a sky of insults?)
WHO would endure the naked animality of my thorax against this
fellowship of rust in the streets?
The wine is an untimely discourse bursting ---horrific, with horses---
into my mouth. It’s winter now in the open-winged south and I pursue
the scent ---persistent, legless, vertical--- of her vulva.
(This dusky thirst that clatters on and tears at me.)
DON’T look at my new face. I’ve been reborn with the sign of the
birds. I’ve been reborn in the hallway and now I frequent masturbation
with less pleasure.
You’ve been reborn and now her singing doesn’t touch you when she
says. She says you and she holds all of your howling in her voice.
Something relaxes, detonating in your thorax (a sun, perhaps, that now
pronounces: these elements will be destroyed).
She closes like a door.
They’ve stripped me.
I FEEL no need to write: she’s washed her fingernails on my face. Regret.
Thorax, I say again, but something’s broken (a sun, perhaps, that rots
inside me) within the ever-churning center of her name.
She had abortions in my foggy eyelids. Better now that they shatter
me, better now that they contain me: she sang in the light like a
You know God wants to give you.
A soundless Monday.
CONFRONTED rivers, held back in my sperm. Regret. She pulled my
eyelids shut with forceps.
She’ll come to rescue you, shatter you into light. Children will
burgeon from her cunt. You will be matter, moan, perpetual
She’ll come to shatter you.
SHE had abortions in my arms, wounds in the center of her
crystal-clear humanity. She had confronted names. Her eyes, hungry,
opened in the long night of the uteri without a truce. Better now that
they shatter me ---she sang--- they shatter me, she contained and
violently pulled shut her womb’s red wings.
(These elements will be destroyed.)
EVERYTHING I am shatters in me.
It’s time for something else to come.
She kissed my friend’s legs.
She let the time pass through my eyes, sang in the hall, sang in the
air. She suddenly pulled shut ---it’s time for something else to
come--- my childish eyelids.
It’s time for something else to come. Someone will come to rescue you,
to shatter you into light. You will be witness, sin, impregnated
anxieties. Larvae will burgeon from your mouth.
(These elements of light.)
EVERYTHING I am shatters in me.
The house expands toward the center of its atoms.
I lost my voice. She sang into the hallway: Better shatter me now
---she wiped her makeup on the walls. Better shatter me.
Four on the dot. You’re shattered into light and laughter. She’s going
to come here singing in the kitchen, biting the border of her lip to
tell you, Hi, little boy. She’ll sing entire lives to you, she’ll
touch your sleepless eyelids with the fragile touch of fog. She’ll be
your wife ---you’ll feed on crickets--- she’ll wander your whole body
You know God wants to give you.
Daniel Saldaña París is a poet, novelist and essayist, born in Mexico City in 1984. He published the collection of poems, "Esa Pura Materia" (This Pure Matter) in 2008, for which he was awarded the National Poetry Prize "Jaime Reyes", and "La Máquina Autobiográfica" (The Autobiographical Machine) in 2012. He was coeditor of the magazine "Letras Libres", and has collaborated with several publications in Mexico and Spain. His poems have been translated into English, French, Swedish and Polish. He has received grants from institutions such as FONCA (Program for Young Writers in 2006-2007 and for Residencies in 2012) and Fundación para las Letras Mexicanas (2007-2009). His poems were included in anthologies of contemporary Mexican poetry like "Divino tesoro. Muestra de nueva poesía mexicana" (Casa Vecina, 2008), "Anuario de poesía mexicana 2007" (Fondo de Cultura Económica) and "La edad de oro. Antología de poesía mexicana actual" (UNAM, 2012), among others. He was the organizer of "Doce en punto. Poesía chilena reciente" and "Un nuevo modo. Antología de narrativa mexicana actual", both edited by UNAM. Daniel Saldaña París lives and works in Mexico City.
Photo by Valentina Siniego.
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