José Carlos Becerra translated by Forrest Gander
The Difficulty Deciding
The difficulty deciding even when we must decide, spurred to that place where an act sanctions our filthy weapons,
the clash irresolute as the trembling of a tree with spring in its branches, the marvel of its inorganic tail tucked from sight.
The tree calls for clouds to immobilize the landscape, an invitation to the unknown to take its place in the branches.
The difficulty deciding is a tree planted to measure seasons by the heft or fragility of its branches.
The decision is an argument of considerable animism, a sappy idealization of free will,
it’s a tree with some clouds passing over its canopy, perfectly blurred and conspicuous.
The mix of motives in the difficulty deciding draws on a flair for predicting the outcomes,
the rustle of eternity in the opening and closing of the eyes of the dead not yet touched by the full fact of their death,
and that’s where desire’s vacillation is most pronounced and most sure of its memories:
desire is the bestial aspiration of the dead to convince us they’ll come back.
A choiring of impressions that lead a man to glimpse himself as a rodent in that mirror-life he calls his work.
There, the difficulty deciding is the impulse to take it all by force, to haul it cross-country on horseback in the downpour of a world where reality spurs us with its bullshit.
On horseback, on horseback through the image
of a horse of clouds passing over a tree.
Poet, essayist, novelist, critic, and translator, Forrest Gander’s most recent books are Alice Iris Red Horse: Poems by Yoshimasu Gozo (New Directions) & Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems (Copper Canyon). He is the author of The Trace, a border novel (New Directions). He is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Whiting Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. In 2017, he was elected as a Chancellor to the Academy of American Poets.
José Carlos Becerra (21 May 1936 – 27 May 1970) was a Mexican poet from Villahermosa. José Carlos Becerra was a Mexican poet from Villahermosa, Tabasco. He was one of only two people from Tabasco to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. While traveling in Europe, he was killed in a car accident near Brindisi, Italy, age 34.