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Las Ruinas del Corazon

Let me share with you one of my favorite poems. An excerpt is on my blog description (see above) Please excuse the gruesome details, but if you'll reflect on this, it makes perfect sense.

Las Ruinas del Corazon
--Eric Gamalinda

Juana the Mad married the handsomest man in Spain
and that was the end of it, because when you marry a man

more beautiful than you, they say you pretty much lost control
of the situation. Did she ever listen? No. When he was away

annexing more kingdoms, she had horrible dreams
of him being cut and blown away, or spread on the rack,

or sleeping with exotic women. She prayed to the twin guardians
of the Alhambra, Saint Ursula and Saint Susana, to send him home

and make him stay forever. And they answered her prayers,
and killed Philip the Handsome at twenty-eight.

Juana the Mad was beside herself with grief, and she wrapped
his body in oils and lavender, and laid him out in a casket of lead,

and built a marble effigy of the young monarch in sleep,
and beside it her own dead figure, so he would never think

he was alone. And she kept his body beside her, and every day
for the next twenty years, while pungent potions filled the rooms,

she peeked into his coffin like a chef peeks into his pot,
and memories of his young body woke her adamant desire.

She wanted to possess him entirely, and since not even death
may oppose the queen, she found a way to merge death and life

by eating a piece of him, slowly, lovingly, until he was entirely
in her being. She cut a finger and chewed the fragrant skin,

then sliced thick portions of his once ruddy cheeks. Then she ate
an ear, the side of a thigh, the solid muscles of the chest,

then lunged for an eye, a kidney, part of the large intestine.
Then she diced his penis and his pebble-like testicles

and washed everything down with sweet jerez.
Then she decided she was ready to die.

But before she did, she asked the poets to record these moments
in song, and the architects to carve the song in marble,

and the marble to be extracted from the most secret veins
of the earth and placed where no man could see it,

because that is the nature of love, because one walks alone
through the ruins of the heart, because the young must sleep

with their eyes open, because the angels tremble
from so much beauty, because memory moves in orbits

of absence, because she holds her hands out in the rain,
and rain remembers nothing, not even how it became itself.


  1. Yep, it may be gruesome but it's still a lovely poem. "Rain remembers nothing.." -- such a wonder.


  2. I totally agree. I love this poem. :)


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