domingo, 4 de marzo de 2012

The Indefatigable Fabricio Estrada - León Leiva Gallardo


The Indefatigable Fabricio Estrada

“His incessant labor amazes me. He is an indefatigable castor canadensis who rebuilds his lodges as often as the reluctant currents may destroy them. This trait of his is not the product of overconfidence or vanity; it is the result of well-founded love and respect for his craft and his people”.
By León Leiva Gallardo
Every time I travel to Honduras (mostly to Tegucigalpa), the first thing I always do -- after seeing family and friends -- is to go to the bookstores and search for the latest titles of Honduran writers, something literally impossible to find anywhere else. In this our town, I often end up finding the classics in Guaymuras and the latest in Café Paradiso, the meeting-place of poets and writers in general. It was there where I first read with great enthusiasm the irreverent, quick verse of Rubén Izaguirre and also Fabricio Estrada's first book of poetry. Their poetry couldn't be any more different if one purposely looked for contraries. I was baffled by the easiness, wit, and humor of Izaguirre. He had that element of surprise, graffiti-like quirkiness, much needed in those dismal days after Hurricane Mitch. But, please, don't get me wrong. This comparison is not gratuitous. I became interested in new poetic voices then, at the end of 1998, the beginning of 1999, because it was Rubén Izaguirre who introduced me to them (I will write about Izaguirre on another occasion). Allow me to explain myself.
In the 1980s and still in the early 1990s Honduran poetry was adamantly represented by a constellation of well-known poets such as Clementina Suárez, Oscar Acosta, Roberto Sosa, Nelson Merren, José Luis Quesada, Adán Castelar, Rigoberto Paredes, and a few others. As I started to travel every single year from 1997 through 2002, I felt that we were in need of new sounds and furies. It was during those years when I learned about many of the poets that are now part of the new generation.
I believe it all started with Rubén Izaguirre, who first ventured into the small realm of Pez Dulce, an independent publishing venue he founded with another friend. Although self-publishing has been the norm in Honduras, Pez Dulce opened an invigorating window of possibilities. I was not a publishing house per se; it was more like a poetic manifestation, a personal, down-to-earth approach and attitude that slighted academics and ideologies. Pez Dulce was to become the expressive and publishing springboard of other poets.
One of those poets was Fabricio Estrada, who has now become a very important presence in Honduran literary scenes. His incessant labor amazes me. He is an indefatigable castor canadensis who rebuilds his lodges as often as the reluctant currents may destroy them. This trait of his is not the product of overconfidence or vanity; it is the result of well-founded love and respect for his craft and his people. His poetry delves into the personal and ultimately embraces the social. No doubt one of the most versatile poets in terms of themes and style. In times when the metaphor seems to have become passe, sided by the trivial and the conversational piece, Fabricio Estrada reminds us that it is truly the essential element of Spanish verse.
***
A Flame of Darkness
In the past few days I have convinced
my own shadow
to serve me as a guide of sorts.
So much light is indeed propitious,
the glare of many eyes watching me
as I grope in the dark,
the sun cast on rings and chains
that hold,
that grab, and
constrict the soul until dreams bleed.
It is the season of insects,
the time of the ritual dance
about the bonfires,
the time of the seductress sequin,
the time of the illuminati.
I grope through the lights
holding a flame of darkness in my hands,
a lost soul among the living,
a gust of black smoke from the fire,
striking, dark cloud, wound-puncturing,
and horrid walking staff of time,
carbon never really destined to become
diamond
nor mirror.
My first personal acquaintance with Fabricio Estrada (one of those brief encounters experienced by travelers) was in 2008. I was about to begin the presentation of my then recently published book, when I noticed he was sitting alone by the entrance of Café Paradiso, leafing through a chapbook. The sitting area was somewhat empty, yet his presence persuaded me that we actually had a “full house”: Because Fabricio Estrada is always a multitude of voices, a perceptual being that devours sights and sounds, and almost intentionally a stealth surveyor of the land, a centipede, it occurs to me now. You never know when you're going to find him roaming the surfaces of the least-expected places.
***
Normally
I
It all begins.
I make a parenthesis in a dream that
just doesn't want to end.
Before I go out I make sure
that all my things today are
precise:
The time, the smile,
the little hole
normally
growing in my pocket.
And now I can cross the street with a flower in my hand,
defying
the automobiles that rush by.
II
Here,
I discover that loneliness
passes by desguised as a multitude.
I stand aside and patiently see it go by.
Ahead awaits another discovery:
the Cathedral is embarrassed by my presence,
with every brush of my eyes
her skin
blushes with doves.
III
Definitely,
orchids will not grow inside buses.
Hours on and
desperation is an uncontrollable plague,
legs, shoulders,
all
cramped in a shrilling music.
The windows filter in a moon
that pierces to the very core;
the moon,
silently graphic,
scouring the world in constant movement.
IV
I do not wish to end this,
but the day that is now hiding
imposes its rules:
fatigue,
the first stars...
deep impressions buried
like seeds in the soil.
Now I close the parenthesis.
Night comes and it rests
on my desolate body.
Before I sleep I make sure
that all my memories today
are precise:
sadness,
my pocket
normally
sinking into the little hole.
Now... I can forage my bed
with a couple of petals in my hand
defying
the dreams that rush by.
Note: Fabricio Estrada, poet and cultural activist, was born in Sábana Grande, Francisco Morazán (1974). His publications include: Sextos de lluvia (1998), Poemas contra el miedo (2001), Solares (2004), Imposible un ángel (2005). His works have also appeared in the following anthologies: Casa Tomada (1995), Cien Años de Poesía Política en Honduras(Roberto Sosa, 2003), Las Rutas del Viento (Alfredo Pérez Alencart, Madrid, España, 2005),La Herida en el Sol, Poesía Centroamericana Contemporánea, (Editorial de la UNAM, México, 2008), Viento en vela (Revista, muestra poética latinoamericana, Pablo Benítez, 2008),Sandino, orgullo de América (antología latinoamericana, Marcelo Lira -- Chile) y Cuerpo Plural, Poesía Hispanoamericana Contemporánea (Gustavo Guerrero -- Instituto Cervantes de Madrid, 2010). (3/1/12) (photo of Fabricio Estrada courtesy Internet)