PASOLINI REPLIES TO A FAN


after “Frammento epistolare al ragazzo Codignola” (1964)

Dear boy, yes, of course, let’s meet,
but don’t expect much from it.
If at all, new disappointment, a new
inner void: those things that nurture
narcissistic dignity, like suffering.
At forty I'm like I was at seventeen.
Frustrated, forty and seventeen
can meet, of course, banter over
converging ideas, the problem
of two decades, an entire lifetime,
despite apparently being the same.
Until a word flies from unsafe throats,
dried up from crying, the desire to be alone,
revealing the irremediable distance.
And besides, I have to be your poet-
daddy, I will retreat behind irony,
and it will upset you: to be forty
happier and younger than seventeen,
now the master of life.
More than this prospect, this pretence,
I’ve nothing else to tell you.
I’m selfish, what little I possess
I keep tight in the fist of my evil heart.
Two spans of skin between cheekbone and chin,
the mouth forcibly twisted into shy,
smiles, and eyes that have lost
their sweetness, like tart figs,
you become the very portrait
of that maturity that hurts you,
maturity, no brotherhood. What use is
a contemporary, besides wrinkled hide?
As that’s already been given, the rest

is cold comfort.

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