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For some time now, I have been searching for a poetic autobiography that is at the same time short, accurate and confessional. Short. Like a certificate, like an index card, shorter still, like a visiting card; like an inscription in a hard rock, like a call, like a name in the shadow.

I am only seeking a name. My real name (not my Christian name nor my caste name), my rightful name, born from the steam of my blood, from my humours and from the old mud of my bones that is the same first mud of the Creation, from which my nails and wings appeared from. My name written with my footprints on the soft sand, until mixed once more with the sea, leaving an undying echo in the wind ahead of me, and the old voice that follows me behind me.  My real name that saves time for psychoanalysis, for the confessor, the reporter and the keeper of heaven or hell. A quick record to be able to say immediately before any suspicion: this is me. Nothing more than a name, to throw on the Great Judge’s table, for the last record of earth. My human voice, authentic and transferable, legitimate and communal; my name of today, of yesterday and tomorrow, tattooed on my palpitating body. My human name, so current, so old and so durable, like the groan and the cry, to proudly wear around my neck and to sound like a sheep’s bell in the world’s huge flock on the day of Final Justice. A name I have to receive and for which I must pay for; for which I have to answer to and for which I have to demand. Say nothing of "memories". I have no memory. “Memories” tell of things that don’t matter. My great experience, my great secret, my great sin, that which I leave behind, that which waits for me in front and the colour of my conscience, I think they fit in the plain letters of this name.

There is a gesture in my body and a tone in my voice that says everything at lightning speed in this name I'm seeking, saying where I come from and where I'm going. And there is someone in the universe waiting for me to say this name, as an order for them to open the gate to me. My autobiography has to be this order. And at the Great Gate, still without any documents, and with all the roads rolled up under my arm like useless plans, we’ll all say the same word: Man. But only one will speak: the Poet. We’re all working for this and each one of us rolls up his roads... and searches for his name.

I want to say who I am to assert who I have been and to prepare myself for who I have to become.

My innermost self is formed of ancient mud, an urgent pulse and a distant glow.

Behind me are dirty footprints; in front, the wink of lightning amongst the shadows, and inside my heart, a burning desire to know my name.


León Felipe
Translated by Lucy

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