Héctor Margaritas | “When I discovered that words could make an universe, I start (dis)armimg poems”

Poet. Yes, definitively a poet. His work came to me through Instagram, just as a suggested contact or a simple hashtag, then I see our mutual friends and I quickly understood that it was not going to be a light poem, sublter neither indirect. The language complexities become visible, tangible and imaginable in his texts. Sex, life, intensity in what happens among people in this world are read in each page, both in his first book Irreverente, as it will be (for sure) in his second poetry book Lagrimal, releasing soon.

Here below, Héctor Margaritas tells us a little bit more about his entrance into the world of poetry, his subjects and performances, among others…

¿How, when and why started the poetry in your life?

I have two hypotheses. The first when in Pto. Varas, city where I was born, the Public Library was inaugurated. I remember I was in a very old German mansion that I always looked forward to when I went down to the center with my parents. It was winter. I remember giving hot chocolate to the children, I was also impressed by the amount of books that lived in that place, the room for children was really beautiful, green and yellow and very high. Every time my parents got ready to go to the center I also joined, so that they would drop me off at the Library. There I began to read Marta Brunet and a book called Cuentos para Marisol. It was my first reading before the Principito and Papelucho. In Marta -or that book- I found two very singular things: first, that the frogs spoke and a word that the author denoted during the whole journey, that it made a lot of noise to know what it meant: poetry. My second hypothesis is of when I was going through the second half and I fell in love with a boy. Then, as the closet can be that voracious and scary, I started writing letters that I later discovered were prose. I have always thought of poetry as a puzzle. When I was a kid I loved doing puzzles, I remember autumns like that. Then, when I discovered that words could form universes, I started (dis)arming poems.

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Margaritas (daisies in Spanish), where did it come from? What is its history?

It is complex. It has to do with the territory where I grew up. Also because I like visually the white color penetrating a pale yellow. Also because I have an aunt named Margarita or because I love Marguerite Yourcenar in the same way. Let’s see, when I was a kid – above my house – there was a huge pampa where at the end of the summer different tenants were going to leave oxen for a single purpose, death. Without knowing, small and everything, I hated to come back from school and forbidden to go up to the pampas to eat maqui, blow dandelions or watch how the clouds moved depending on the wind. They were huge animals and I spent a lot of time not knowing why they were leaving before spring arrived. One day I asked my parents what was going on, then with pain they explained to me the meaning of dying. The oxen went to the fair to be slaughtered in some southern corner. That news gave me great sorrow, I felt guilt for having hated them since they ate the roses, the grass, the chacai, the maquis, the daisies, the dandelions, etc. The pampa in winter was mud and bare trees. That day I discovered two things: death and guilt. Some time passed and everything bloomed again, they too: the daisies under an apple tree that I loved to visit when they bloomed. The story stayed there. When I started studying literature I had to write a pseudonym for a poetry contest, I had never done that exercise, I always signed as Héctor Barría. I remembered the south, I remembered my favorite colors, from one of my fundamental writers, from my androgyny, also from the pampas and the decapitated oxen.

Daisies are always plural, they always grow together in group as protecting themselves from the bulldozer winter and to reborn in spring. I used the metaphor and there started to be (and I was born), I guess. 

In your poems, are there so much life and biography, as there are fiction and borrowed stories?

Yes, there are. Although today I am in a process of autobiography rather than research. But in my first book of poetry, Irreverente, there I wrote in notebooks when I was a teenager the stories of my friends as they came out of the closet, how their parents took it and in the same way making comparisons with their lives and mine. It was very entertaining. When I decided to publish many of them they told me not to use their names, so I created a long poem called “manifesto margaritas” where I tell their processes without saying their identities. I think oneself has to respect those spaces and silences, in the end the one that was getting thin was me.

Now I would like very much to take up a presumed novel that I started a few months ago, it is a transvestite that makes up dead people. I do not know, I have to know her physically (she must exist) and then write her story. The novel gives you that possibility. I feel that poetry, in some sense, can be more personal. Or at least that’s how I’ve taken it.

Tere is a scriptural politic, at least, in my poems.

Poetry can be generated as discursive constructions (political, critical, among others) on certain themes, in your poems does this construction exist or is it rather a form of natural and personal expression?

Yes, that is, I think that somehow there is a scriptural policy -at least- in my poems. It is always going to be political to talk about the body or sex itself. Chile is a country that lives by prejudices. Writing about my sexual homo experiences has helped me a lot so that different people understand some meanings, I do not know, or get to the bottom of the poem – or my sheets – that exercise is nice, I like when someone who I do not know comes to me and says who has felt reflected in some poem, it has recurrently happened to me very often with one called Boquita Mala. I guess one always suffers. That is a very political poem, but I remember being dying of grief when I wrote it, however there is a message, a deformed language that incites self-acceptance, for example.

In other interviews, the “coming out of the closet” as “going back to parting you” are dealt with, what is there in that rebirth?

I suppose one is born with imposed labels. With a name, for example. Your gender, among others. So it is vital, I think, to look a little inside and see where you distil to start healing. It is so painful to do that exercise. You do not always find nice in there. The fissures eventually get cracks and these, from time to time, bleed. But it is necessary (I feel) to go through that state, through that catharsis. I do not know what is beyond that rebirth, in a personal way I found myself much braver and sassier that is to say, I was not afraid to show myself with the world and with my world. I have always inhabited silence and this has been the great driver in all my stages. In the silence I listen to the invisible. It is rare. I like it.

Writing about my horniness, my deformed handwriting and my tragedy was dangerous


Regarding the above, do you consider that there are changes in society from that moment on in your life today?

Changes, like “oh, what great changes” of course not. I say, politically speaking. But activisms that were previously unthinkable have been made visible, although in all history they have existed. I think about 8M, Chile did get paralyzed, the malls if they shouted, and of course not? If it is as vital as breathing to demand new policies, rights, salaries, discern about our bodies, etc. I also believe it goes through a change of generation. For example, I have a sister of sixteen, Tamara. Day by day I am impressed by the power of voice he has, the way he works with his woman. She and her friends think and debate about issues that at that age my friends and I did not decipher and that we also normalized. I think it’s because unfortunately we had to grow up in a castrating society. These generations come with an established cry. The option has always been that: the fight and the rebellion is so vital, I say again, how to breathe. Deconstruction is daily, that is also true.

What is the whim, need or desire to be positioned from under?

Well, this happened in a very gradual way. When I decided to dedicate myself to writing, I began to see possible editorials (the same as those that come to known bookstores and all that) was what I had at that time -not as a reference- but it was where I could maybe start sending mails for a remote publication. Of course, none of those stuck-up editors sent me an email. Then I started visiting book fairs, I started reading in the streets, in a small room with some spectators, to write and upload material to social networks, I also left sheets of my poems in the seats of Transantiago without being seen, that Exercise was beautiful, I loved doing it. It was like leaving a letter and waiting for an answer. Yes, some arrived. For a long time I did that until I began to inhabit similarities in the thoughts of different friends who circulated the subworld of art, we were the exiles of different scenes. There I had already realized that my poetry was peculiar and that writing about my fever, about my deformed lyrics and my tragedy was dangerous.

Then I published my first book in an independent publisher. I started the self-management of my poems, photos or performance. Of course I find this way of manifesting manifestos much more striking; Of course it is difficult to travel without help, especially monetary. One comes with a scratch and there is always a place to scream. I like and accommodate this space. I survive, at least.

Exposing myself both in lyrics as in scriptural bohemy made finish a little book of sixty poems where I relate at a self-portrait mode the distance that I would have walked to forget a bad love affair.

What are you adressing in Lagrimal and how is different from Irreverente?

Lacrimal is my second collection of poems – still unpublished – but already ready, I suppose, is that dissatisfaction is something that has always crossed me. Well, it is a much more autobiographical poems with repetitions and eroticism. I started this experiential record about two years ago after a love break.

Lacrimal responds to an epistolary search that never had an answer, from there and unconsciously returned the poems to give birth. I remember at that time constantly thinking about the sea and the buses. At the traffic lights and sex. In noise and addictions. I became immune to the night and now I play a very bad trick. Exposing me so much between the lyric and the bohemia of writing made me complete a little book of sixty poems where I am telling a self-portrait the distance I had walked to forget a bad love. Irreverent – on the other hand – is much more political, it is my childhood and adolescence. The exit of the closet of my friends and mine, the first time I did the exam of hiv, the first time that a friend of AIDS died, the first time I practiced different types of eroticism. It’s when I started being bizarre. I believe that writing takes me to places I do not know about me or what will happen, sometimes it is an omen, sometimes a dream I will dream later, or a kiss that I will kiss the following week. The kisses have different colors. All this drives me to write, I guess.

Life changes that the age is triggering, are linked to the differences in both texts?

Somehow yes, although there is always a similarity. With the passage of time we have mutated, my writing and I, however we are cyclical, we always return to the origin. The central axis of my works will always be love, that’s true. It is also true that my thirst for eroticism has been implicit in this writing of mine, plus everything that has to do with the space inhabited by two bodies. Lately I’ve been writing about my psychological processes. Do you know why I mention it in this new book of poems? We have a public health system in Chile that is a crap in mental health issues and that we are a depressive population.

Living with depression is not easy, nor has it been easy to live with these weaknesses of mine. Outside they always call you hysterical. We live from prejudice and cold. It’s terrible. But I also needed to make this socio-cultural bridge because you have to educate in different ways (mine is writing) I think that there is no place for burial, there is more to scream and very strong. It was too much for me to think and do it.

I am forbidden to leave, I could not live otherwise, I would not allow it. My grandmother before getting sick with Alzheimer’s told me to write so as not to forget. Well, and here I am: swirl and wind.

One comes with a scratch and there is always a place to scream

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