Annabell Manjarrés Freyle’s poems

Annabell Manjarrés Freyle
(Santa Marta, 1985)

Communications specialist and journalist. Poet and storyteller. The Office of the Governor of Magdalena awarded her first place in poetry and second place for short story in the Poetry and Young Person’s Short Story Contest in 2013. She is the Bueno y Breve National Short Story Winner of El Túnel magazine from Montería in 2015, which she won with the story El hombre en su jaula [The Man in His Cage]. Author of three unpublished volumes of poetry: Espejo Lunar Blanco [White Moon Mirror], Óleo de una mujer acosada por el tiempo [Painting of a Woman harassed by Time], and Animales invertebrados [Invertebrate Animals]. Her poems have been translated into English, Catalan, French, and Italian, and appear in various national and international anthologies. She has written an unpublished collection of short stories and is currently working on her first novel. The next selection has been traslated by Ana María Correa:

Pieces of Men

pieces of men under foliage
men transformed into pain
pain of terrible weeping
tears boiled in agonized prayer
pieces of men cut into fourths
the fifth part is still crying underneath the house
the house is not human
the fifth part screamed louder than the chainsaw 
a device invented by men
men with their extremities still stuck
to their trunks like trees 
trees were the first to encounter it
they also fell screaming
their leaves screamed
their birds screamed.

The men in pieces have screamed
and the darkest part remained in their mothers’ navels
the most visceral in their wives’ temples
the most viscous part in their children’s drool
the most eloquent carries messages of fright 
the shattered part 
belongs to their friends.

Pieces of men packed together
in no one’s laws
the blood of no one is transfigured
in the thicket at the pier
they sleep in black bags 
their pieces among the rocks
I have not seen them
they’ve told me 
this country has told me 
on this sand
the same wet, dry, uneven sand
spread out among animals
even to common hells.

This country is a common grave
they plant pieces of men
germinating incomplete men and women
their guardian angels have failed
dark entities triumphed over faith
Today, those who bury them
are a procession of jigsaw puzzles.

Beasts were born in that house 
the house was built with pieces of fallen trees
in the sea
a hand searches for any face
to close its eyes
and the stilt shantytown is ashamed.

They’ve told me 
I have not seen it
this country tells me 
before sleeping
the national hell
a symbol ripped into useless flags
flags divided into two men
men screaming Yes
 men answering No.
A bird of prey flies over
men in pieces 
the bird perches on the national crest
no one has told me
I’ve seen it on top of the palaces
and since then
my happiness is wary.

Amphibian Solitude

A morning can shed
the shells that it breathed yesterday and regret them under the sheets. 
A machine of flesh stands up without the ghost of pride,
surrendering to sleep a few minutes more
under the sheets, under the rug, under an unknown guilt.
On the bedside table,
a teacup without tea or coffee opens its arms to you and says:
 “Push the rock to the highest point, little Sisyphus”.
You know it would do no one any good to see a rock at the peak
but the gods compel you.
Overwriting your name, enclosing it in a circle
will not return it to the one who sighed yesterday. 
Your name is your dress;
your surname, your jacket:
Annabell Naked Manjarrés Freyle.
And, of course, your shoes are not your destiny,
but they can walk it. 
You’ve watched time go to sleep,
oh yes, you have:
the body veering towards a corner,
in the attempt to reconstruct the speeches yesterday sighed.
And who sighs today begs all of the longing for return to go back to sleep
and lull the infantile desire
projected on cozy sheets
and portable illusions.
It would be easier to accommodate desire to what comes or annihilate it 
so that the days of water or earth are excellent.
In any case, making the bed
would be like dressing the name
of the one who receives your body alone.

I No Longer Read Tarot

The midday mirage
showed me
the drowned dancer 
was only humidity.

And in the afternoon’s stupor I could see
the faces of those who 
disguised as God and conjugated me.

I expressed my ignorance to them
as the only truth
and I became 
a shoddy believer.

I ruined all predictions
burning the cards
from shuffling them at random so much.

I took a fistful of sand…
threw it at the sea.
And the sand was my fate
and the sea was nothingness.

There is no reason for a creature of crystal
to see beyond night.
There’s no point.
The swords that hacked me to pieces
lie on the ground with my primitive blood.

A distant woman
is the blood that circulates within me with her metallic perfume,
with her oxygen from the spring
who did not know how to name things.

I no longer read Tarot, it’s true,
because it made
fate out of everything I wanted
alongside the sum
of loose words which
I uttered irresponsibly.
The reflections that drained me
were arriving from afar
approaching me in the moment,
and regardless,
from that moment’s truth
I received nothing

Woman Out of Work

Yesterday’s raindrops fall from the trees.
Seated on a bench I hear the birds’
illustrious conversation.
Get a job, say my servile, tie-wearing colleagues:
Not everything with claws flies, I reply.
The clouds of Santa Marta hide the sun in Scorpio
while the moon is an impostor:
night’s one-eyed, feline gaze.
Salted angel feathers wrinkle on my back: 
likely tasting of time's catastrophic crumbling.
I keep waiting for worldly help, without suffering.
Nicotine promised to calm the imagination,
the indigestible dawns. 
I’ve forgiven the sky for hiding November’s courage,
I’ve raised my hand against every sign of authority.
To absorb the wind’s happiness
yawning is not enough:
it is more honest to believe in the air’s motivations,
in the levitating newspaper on Twentieth Street,
in the dance of the trupillos in an observant plaza.
Doubly efficient for leaping over black water,
I gain time scraping
the numbers on my ID like a lottery ticket.
This soaking city denies
my urgency’s dishonest games.

I’ve Lost the Words…

I’ve lost the words.
I no longer clutch them in my fists.
They left me during a bad shock
and with the health of a brain bereft of green lagoons.
Now I do not know how to interpret this imprisonment.
How can I translate fluency?
With what may I defend happiness when 
sad poems abound?
How can I name indignation?
Where are words when surprise
brings me spacious valleys, allegories of freedom, and 
black soil for sowing my stubbornness? 
Could I, perhaps, list my obsessions?
Where is the word in Spanish
that lies on the border of the word “impossible”?
Is the word “sleep” the key, the door, the window?
Are words the skin in which discoveries rest?
Why have they gone beyond my reach?
This paralysis is from not being able to use them. 
They’re there, somewhere—talked over, violated,
entombed in technical manuals, in the latest books,
or in some Sufi burial. 
Why can’t I retain them in my mind, my eyes, in my hair
incessantly speaking while I sleep?
Words have left me during numerous exiles,
they abandon me and I weep.
I beg for them,
I beg, hitting my head.
I blame myself like a victim unsure of her tragedy:
I blame myself for having forgotten them.

Song of the Minotaur

To be a mirror facing another mirror,
the virtue of infinite beings.
And to judge oneself infinite in one’s own reflection 
reveals obsessive truths.

Certainties which, involuntarily,
open unstable doors
where it is only possible to find answers
in the generosity of dreams.

It is my duty to await Theseus
to put to sleep the forms of my anguish
and find, with the intuition of a god,
the door to the right epiphanies.

How could one not understand that shelves
are the windows of Crete!
I only know it is night because I grow old
and my eyes can barely descry Ariadne’s
mythical beauty.

Ariadne, Ariadne:
perhaps you will never remember
that it was I who freed you
from the labyrinths 
of a library from Buenos Aires.

The Bee Woman

I am here because I have paid.
Now I deserve other dances,
a cycle of new moons.

I came for the recent sprouting of the tamarinds,
for the florescence that lowers the profile of the stars.

I have conjured these dances, I have prayed.

I belong to the seeds of a winter sunflower,
to the rice family, to the mango clan,
to the tribe that climbed branches of mamón.

I have paid Saturn
for all my naive crimes
and I’ve learned from the tribes,
warm silence in their hexagonal habitations.

I have surrendered to the river
the error of my old self-image
and mature sadness
in the mother’s womb.

I deserve other fruit,
children from less thankless lands.
The mountains were right
to be climbed
with sacrifice.

The bee woman sacrificed her venom
in delicate and dangerous places. 
She gave it all.
Poisoned the air
where perfumes flowered.


You forged the ovum
of my eternal femininity
and then went away
leaving me empty embraces
and the reflection of your face in mine
that I still cannot accept.

There is something of you
in all of the men I have loved,
because after delirium
only a poem remains.

We were one body
my mother and I
when you pursued 
the sexual aroma
of an adolescent
devoid of ambition.

But today,
on the cusp of your old age, 
I’ve come to remind you
that I am your only daughter,
the one you will never replace
in the arms of any other.

Wilderness and Origin

I am alone in my woman wilderness,
trying to suffocate the symbol
in my unconquerable wilderness.
Inhabited by virgin beasts
and unbreakable spirits.
Inhabited by whiffs of rain
(mud in the air)
and the scent of tigers stalking
my jealous females.

I let my hair grow in silence
to find the calm of forgiveness
and a breeze over the dead foliage 
of words.

And from this jungle of desires
flow my rivers
of blood.

And I scream
to suffocate all the symbols
and return ever to myself.

My Voice in a Labyrinth

My voice rejected its tongue.
It was the tool of bad words used against me.
It condemned me to a constellation 
of predictable acts.

It held me subject
to other songs,
but I know nothing of songs
or silent doves.

I know nothing of beings flying over me
on beach afternoons measured by arpeggios, 
where I could not care less about
hurling my soul into life.

On paper I pantomimed
a powerful scream,
to kill them,
those with distinguished voices,
and take pity on myself:

My poor voice, poor.
Who separated herself from speech
and spoke just to talk.

Who pretended to be 
a guardian of silence
while leaving the house
filthy with interior noise.

Poor thing, poor. 
She who visited suns
and set 
on street corners.


Too much drama on so little ground. 
An existential crisis—I learned later—
is not being able to reach an agreement
with each of your faces.
My aerial face, my song face, my cruel face.
Hardened face in front of the monitor
while my hands smile at the keys.
One observes oneself like a powerless god
drinking in decisions
according to rhythm and applause.
Better to sleep:
to surrender with enthusiasm, in an armchair or something similar.
To sleep is to cooperate with eternity.
It’s to cover mirrors with an archangelic cloth.
Better to awaken:
name objects
although faces ache,
that way, the eye’s crystalline flesh
is not so pure in uncertainty. 
Better still, any decision:
an imprecise reading awakens something animalistic,
and that something, bleary and broken,
disorients doves.
How disastrous: 
one just took flight
and I could not go with her.

Poems in the End Times

Write poems in the end times,
when clouds are no longer clouds
and roofs fly off.

When the buzzing in the sky of my mouth
is no longer from storms,
when others come to replace us
and there’s no time left.

Therefore, you must write poems
and cut them in half.
Paste on an image of another near-forgotten verse
and learn to live with the fragment
of a workshopped poem.

Overworked poems from an old feeling,
a past experience, a useless voice.
An echo that only sounds like an echo.
A poem weary of saying absence,
a poem weary of saying love,
a poem weary of saying loneliness, sex, autumn, wine,
sentiment, blue sky, and perfumed flowers.

A poem weary of the perfume of flowers.

Write poems at the end of the street,
with a period and next line in front of my feet.
Go down another block…
die out 
and discover the man scent I followed, 
while biting apples whole,
turned out to be
only an equation.

A Prayer for Outdoing Eve

Woman, you are no longer Eve.
You do not need to carry the guilt anymore
or awake with that pain
on one side of the world.
You are no longer a goddess,
because all of the gods
are imaginary
and carry under their cloaks
suicidal delusions.

You are no longer Eve
for the first time on Earth
and Earth…
the Earth is naked,
but is not Eve either:
she shakes out her volcanic skirts and sinks.
She feels more blue and of gills
than feathered hands.
And the Moon,
the Moon is not Eve either.
She was born round and magnetic
nevertheless, they judge her for it.

You can insist on arriving barefoot
without searching for yourself in masculine versions,
and so avoid the discomfort
of comparing fertility
to a field flattened 
by a despotic river.
Do you even care about drunkenly following the path of a star?

You’re in style with that executive sweat,
muttering an “Our Father”
detached from the mother;
receiving heliconias
only to watch them wither in their vase,
rusted, stinking of copper,
like pieces of endometrium punished
by a moon cycle.

When you were a girl,
you played hide-and-seek
with your eyes blindfolded by innocence.
As a teenager,
you fell in love with the sun in men’s gazes.
As an adult,
you tossed the blindfold
to acknowledge a man taken by your hand.
As an old woman, filled with birds,
you flew over the wreckage
shaking out the fragile sheet of the past.

Predictable rib,
the victories would have been different
if Eve had written
God’s bestseller.



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