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Walking Around

by Pablo Neruda

It so happens that I am tired of being a man.
It so happens that I go into the tailor shops and the movies
all shriveled up, impenetrable, like a felt swan
navigating on a water of origin and ash.

The smell of barber shops makes me cry out loud.
I only want a rest of stones or of wool,
I only want to see no more buildings or gardens,
or merchandise, or eyeglasses, or elevators.

It so happens that I am tired of my feet and my nails
and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens that I am tired of being a man.

Still it would be delicious
to scare a notary public with a cut lily
or kill a nun with a blow to the head.
It would be nice
to roam the streets with a green knife
screaming until I freeze to death.

I do not want to go on being a root in the dark,
hesitating, stretched out, shivering in my sleep,
deep down, in the wet gut of the earth,
soaking and thinking, eating every day.

I don't want so many misfortunes.
I don't want to keep on being a root and a tomb,
dying of sadness, a lonely tunnel,
a cellar with terrifying corpses.

That's why Monday burns like oil
when it sees me arrive with my prisoner's face,
and it howls in passing like a wounded wheel,
and its footsteps towards nightfall are filled with hot blood.

And it shoves me along to certain corners, to certain damp houses,
to hospitals where the bones hang out the windows,
to certain cobblers' shops smelling of vinegar,
to streets horrendous like cervices.

There are sulfur-colored birds and horrible intestines
hanging on the doors of the houses I hate,
there are sets of false teeth forgotten in a coffee-pot,
there are mirrors
which should have wept with shame and horror,
there are umbrellas all over the place, and poisons, and belly buttons.

I walk along with calm, with eyes, with shoes,
with fury, with forgetfulness,
I pass, I cross offices and surgical supplies stores
and courtyards where clothes hang on lines:
underwear, towels and shirts that weep
slow dirty tears.


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