Arturo Desimone’s Poems

Arturo Desimone

Lettre a Karl Marx One/ Uno

Marx I do not write to you
as Roque Dalton would,
calling you a poet
for your sexless Neoplatonic ballads
to Jenny von Westphalen
Roque at least was a poet
who wrote of your yearning
for the fat arms and mammaries of Jenny

(By the Rhineland milkfarms where the ghost
of the work-ethic first assailed you as you lazed reading
Shlegel by the river

Where fuedal landlords crushed

Peasant uprisings of the first revolutionary
protestants, betrayed by Luther
your lute did not avenge them either, they were peasants
not industrial workers.

You saw yourself in the river, beard not long enough

you did not see the skull at bottom

in which the watersnake lived)

Roque knew some divine and splendid carnality
as Ruben Darío, who was born not far
from where Roque was executed
by his own troop comrades.

I wish he had mentioned the maid
in the wine-cellar paid by Friedrich Engel’s father
the mating act involves a kind of dialectic–
to me, fertility is not purely material.


Lettre a Karl Marx Dos

Karl, you began your final work of aesthetics,
you promised in your letters “this will be the best ever”
to Engels you said “you ain’t seen nothing” but died
from drink, maid, cigars after paragraph one.
Brecht interpreted it for you, in his own special,
Germanic pragmatist way,
Never write on an empty stomach
Usually I wake up and write poems
in the morning while hungry,
alternative to losing seed
and vitality to fantasy lovers I saw on Polish vacations
therefore before I finish this poem,
or dare continue it, I am off to the baker
to buy lunch—
irrational tongueless Slav I am,
I forget to buy bread, practical problems are Hydras
and I don’t solve the problem until
Marx tells me  I need to be rational, the slave revolt cannot have
magic or fates
or any such fantasies scientifically
inventorized by Dvorak.


Lettres a Marx Tres:  Inquiry as to Feed-Back on Your Poetry

I ran back from lunch with these ReQuests, am rereading again these
poems for Jenny you sent me for my opinion,
forgive me for Red pencil.

did you ever learn
‘Miel et Lac Sub Lingua Tua’

Dario’s first Latin line, age 3—
Not to be found in Cicero

Maybe ancient
Roman proletariat whispered these lines in dark clay huts,
not fearing flies would come
eat honeyed mouths of the hungering afflicted

Even plebs
shunned their eyes,
forbade their feet
from washing
at the foot-fountains
They were captured slaves, in a dream my ancestors
from islands Sicily, Thrace
from the limitless forest Poland.

But “What-If” History is bourgeois Imagination,
and I am a Man of my Times.


Letter to Karl  Fourth /Cuatro
Karl,  I wonder what you now see
from your wine-cellar that floats
across oceans of afterworld,
do you look back on this world, trying
to throw pages of your promised never delivered Aesthetics
to the dark waves, hoping the wind
the fish that eat diatribes will bring them back to us
farewell Prometheus who wrote silly ballads to Jenny,
and who read Goethe to his daughters, and Ovid’s
Amores to his maid, in the winecellar paid by Engel’s father

discoverer of the importance of material,
you asked me when I will start the hell I too will
throw stars and shir-ha-shirim columns to the side
and grow up, become a human being,
I rather remain a symbolic animal,
it is more useful to Revolution.


But we needed
We needed the lamp to animate with a soul the iron Spartacus-ship
you gave us foolish oar-men,
your Aesthetics might have surprised and prevented:
pragmatist Brecht who interrupts every few lines of dialogue
with some ode about economics, material, harvests, proletariat,
and his tired ode to sagging noise-vagina of an aged prostitute

the Aesthetics of grub before spirit, ruptures, loose air
might have prevented several cultural revolutions,
might have prevented today’s Post Cold War fantasy
more vampiric than all other capitalistic parasitisms:
that Art is a Democracy, Anus Domini
poets perform ”intellectual labor”,

German Geistelijck, relating to psyche and phantoms,
inferior to drudgery of workers and managers,

Craft (from DE, Kraft.)

Thank you for this,
had you explained yourself, would Brodksy have been put on trial
for parasitism?—

He did not fetishize degrees or wage-labor
his only employer: mysterious pre-jesus god,

Sons of Jewish peasants hid their idols to gods like playboys
from burning stare of the letters in the column,
Semite alphabet of reproachful, if I keep you, let me be an ancient Slav
on the outside.
Maybe the young Marx would have corrected Brodsky
at Tribunal,

Maybe saying for him god just a lumpenproletarian’s false consciousness
ash metaphor of
Father Labor,
mating with Mother Nature,
in the great wine-cellar on which all earth is suspended in grief
you might have told the courtroom
Story of Mona and Fabor mating
like Egyptian Nut and Geb, with the giant green prick and the stars
you might have defended him, as your brother parasite,
you never held a job either, but he beat you—Brodsky never even went to high school.
And neither did I.


Arturo Desimone, Arubian-Argentinian writer and visual artist, was born in 1984 on the island Aruba which he inhabited until the age of 22, when he emigrated to the Netherlands. He is currently based in Argentina (a country two of his ancestors left during the 1970s) while working on a long fiction project about childhoods, diasporas, islands and religion. Desimone’s articles, poetry and short fiction pieces have previously appeared in CounterPunch, Círculo de Poesía(Spanish) Acentos Review, New Orleans Review, DemocraciaAbierta, and BIM Magazine. A play he wrote won a prize for young immigrant authors in Amsterdam in 2011, and published in the world-lit journal of University of Istanbul. His translations of poetry have appeared in the Blue Lyra Review and Adirondack Review.


This article was first published in counterpunch. It has been republished with permission from the author.


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