Europe’s Night

Dionisio Cañas

A writer and artist, Dionisio Cañas was born in La Mancha (Spain) in 1949, lived in France for nine years, and in New York from 1972-2005. His recent poetry books include The Great Criminal (1997), Heart of Dog (2002), Video-poems (2007), And He Began Not to Speak (2008), Lugar (2010), and The Night of Europe (2017). He has published several books of essays, including Poetry and Perception (1984), The Poet and the City: New York and Hispanic Writers (1994), Memories of a Voyeur: Voyeurism and Society (2002), and Can a Computer Write a Love Poem? (2010). Since 1987 he has created poetry performances, actions, and installations in collaboration with artists such as Montserrat Soto, Carlos Pazos, and Francis Naranjo, as well as with the composer José Manuel López López. He was a member of the artist collective Estrujenbank.

"Europe’s Night

Too much blood for so little land. _____The peasant poisons his crop _____ to have it eaten by millions of rats. _____ Too much blood for so little land. _____ The lorry driver carries fruit that tastes of sulfur. _____ Too much blood for so little land. ____We have cleared the forests, and in the cities _____ pedestrians suffocate for the benefit _____ of the pharmaceutical industry. _____ Too much blood for so little land. _____Ecodeath, economy, eco-coffins _____for immigrants who die at sea. _____ Too much blood for so little land. _____ Ah! Yes—you said—they’re cheaper _____ than wrapping them in plastic _____ and throwing them back in the water _____ to be eaten by fish. _____ Too much blood for so little land. _____ Ah! Yes, dear Valéry, _____Ce toit tranquille, où marchent des colombes, _____ Entre les pins palpite, entre les tombes; _____Midi le juste y compose de feux _____La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée! _____That quiet roof where the doves go by _____ throbs between the pines, between the tombs; _____the impartial noon builds fires on the sea, _____the sea, always anew … _____ Too much blood for so little land. _____And the drowned floated on the blue waters of the Mediterranean. _____ ¿Es esta la Europa que queremos? _____ Is this the Europe we want?

Too many dead to keep on dreaming. _____Live body, dead body, worms _____ piercing the dusk. _____Your presence is a scandalous absence. _____ It deceives stunningly. _____ Thunder and lightning in a single bubble _____ rising in the rotten air of New York. _____ You had to flee to find yourself _____ in the same place as your disappearance. _____ Now you live the dream of Europe, _____ a place pierced by the shame _____ of massive exterminations. _____ Prague Spring—you said— _____ French May—you said—. _____ And Sarajevo, always Sarajevo. _____The Berlin Wall torn down—you said … _____ War crimes are not erased _____with a blue flag crowned with stars. _____ Over the skies of Paris _____ drones like the eye of God guard against _____ any possibility of a happy ending.


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