Ernesto Cardenal's
Star Found Dead on Park Avenue
 Translated from the Spanish 
by Jonathan Cohen

The bolts of lightning woke me up
like the noise of furniture being moved and rolled across the floor upstairs
and later like millions of radios
or subway trains
or bomber planes
and it seemed that all the thunderbolts in the world
were hitting the lightning rods of the skyscrapers in New York
and they stretched from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to the Times Building
                Speak not to us, Lord. Speak not to us lest we die
from the Woolworth Tower to the Chrysler Building
and the flashes were lighting up the skyscrapers like photographers
                Let Moses speak to us.
                Speak not to us, Lord, lest we die

"He probably died last night around 3 a.m."
the New York Times later said.
I was awake then. The lightning woke me up.
The sky made starry by apartments and bathrooms
the lights of lawful and illicit love affairs
and of people praying, or robbing a safe right upstairs
or raping a girl as a radio plays full blast
or masturbating, or not being able to sleep
and people getting undressed (and drawing their curtains)
And the noise from the 3rd Avenue El
and the trains that come out of the ground at 125th Street
and go back down again,
a bus stopping and starting at a corner
(in the rain), the scream, perhaps, of a woman in the park,
and the wailing of ambulances in the empty streets
or the red fire engines for all we know speeding to our own address
"… His body was found by Max Hilton, the artist,
who told police he found him on the bathroom floor,
the floor's pattern pressed into his wet cheek
and he was still clutching a vial of white pills in his hand,
and in the bathroom a radio was playing full blast
no station at all."

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