Marcello Sambati – Ecce Homo, 1988 (English, 1989)

Marcello Sambati

“Ecce Homo”
for Friedrich N.

Something is falling
it has no limits

Glitter, flame:
they last as long as they are worth.

A though impels me:
the truth is scattered here.

Iniquitous stones.
Knots that will never be undone.

Hunger and insomnia
in the animal pen.
Slaughter, blood that flees,
scattered tongue: here we live.
Waiting for a ray of sunlight.
Stretching our arms out to where
there is a ray.

For every knot a surrender
I have made a knot
for every atrocity.

She says:
“Look, I really am in love”.

Memory appears, pain speaks.

“I fell in love here once.
The first time here I was disembowelled”.

All the ants drowned in blood:
put ashes on the wound.



I can’t say.
Closed walls, doors, mouth.
Now I am mute.
……………………(I can tell no story)
……………………(I must show indifference)
……………………(my craft, my art)

It’s late for casting seed.

I must sew here
the air is all torn.

We’ll be other creatures tonight.
The words will change us.

The sewer of air becomes a volute.

I must feed myself.
Words are not definitive.
Like smoke: said ad lost.

I must feed myself.
No-one listens.
No-one speaks.

I eat. I tie knots. I sew.
I detach myself. I detach myself.

We are already other creatures.
Voices from the cracks
on lips tortured by breathing.

Dried-up word of mine: I is
a weaving.

Mood, unreason, child,
Mater dulcissima, much-loved sister…
The tongue will be cut out.

Gather the pieces up in a basket
even the smallest.

This body, this animal, this thing:
I grit my teeth, I resist, resist.
I keep watch over my borders.
I exhibit thirst, scabs fall off.

Two bodies in friction, labouring, in love:
I grit my teeth, resist:
My soul is torn apart.

The body grows, loses its balance.
I won’t be able to breathe.
I must not know. I must not have.
It’s right.
……………………….(body rising up)
……………………….(breathless body)

The cry.

Here I am:
magpie bird
I dive into the well,
my deep mirror,
a mortal flight.

On the water float
the shattered wings
of my broken body.

Thought devours itself
In this carnage of seeing.
Cra, cra, cra……………..

I will never see myself
in your gaze.

Here I am face to face.
I’ll touch you and I’ll know you………

I can’t see you……………
Let me catch you, let yourself…….

I eat you because I love you.

I is lost and you no longer exists.
Two skulls in a desert.
Between I and you the air is struck dumb.



Charred dream
frozen passions:
I can no longer find myself.
A spirit has come in guide me:
I am his, the malicious genie
That lives inside children……

Close your eyes and you’ll see.
I have changed many faces
I have punished myself.

Leave me to be a little.
Talk to me a little.
Eyes are watching me.
Thoughts burn inside me.

These are my words.

I speak of something other than me, that
is stuck to me and that is other than me,
and that has always been with me, and
one day both of us will be no longer.

Of that I speak and this that has other
bodies, soft and spiny, sensual and
repulsive, different, of another time.

And you, other than me, beautiful and
sleepless, eternal if you like, you waken
me to the memory of the world, your gaze
illuminates me, you other with the animal
eyes, right here, clinging to my body.

Are you hungry for me? Your eyes are
feverish, you are unreason and fury, you
have escaped from some other body that
no longer has its own present.

You are my interminable insomnia: okay,
okay: I am the collector of holy futilities.

I embrace myself, I fool myself I’m seeing
Give me your hand: come.
Let’s welcome each other properly.

You have fasted,
You must be weak.

He who is alone loses his memory.
The lips no longer recall
What they have touched.

You don’t notice how I am disappearing:
it’s the end.
Bring me cherries and other childhoods.
The spirit is worn down to a volute.

I have shown my skin
My reason has given way.
Insect to insect.
Disheartened bones,
hoarse words.

Spies from the cracks
the enchanted animal
that shows itself in the scenes
of life living it.

Here is the thing
part worm and part butterfly
that crawls and flies
that crawls and flies…..

It’s losing blood…..

(Translated by Jane Gruchy)

anche in:
anni '80