The disturbing travel poetry of Margarito Cuéllar

At the hotel of life we ​​are all strangers (Laberinto Ediciones, 2021) by the poet Margarito Cuéllar (1956) is a multifaceted collection of poems that could well be seen as a hexagon with six ends connected by the same metaphorical line. This poetic kaleidoscope is a journey, but not in a straight line, rather the poet jumps over paths and highways built with the concrete of verse, a winding road, sometimes well lit and sometimes with chiaroscuros like this game of shadows and lights with which life forges the walk.

This book is also a temporary zigzag, because Cuéllar goes through different stages of being human, from childhood and youth to the maturity of existence to return eternally to the original past through the artifact of memory that Margarito capture in this infallible machine that plastically allows to diffuse this accumulation of emotions and thoughts: the poem.

as if it were a road moviesin the style of the writers of the Beat Generation, Margarito Cuéllar manages in this book to press the accelerator pedal to cover at full speed the most diverse landscapes that the poet looks at, who with a firm step presents us with those feelings of happiness and desolation amid familiar and inland deserts and through the streets and alleys of cities besieged by ghosts who are nothing but the very conscience of the one who writes these poems.

Throughout the verses of this transit, Margarito observes that life is fleeting, that everything will run out in a second, since in this car called life we ​​are just one more passenger who will inevitably reach its final destination. Thus, when Cuéllar arrives in a new place, he asks himself: “and the menu of this restaurant passing through like us? The paths that the writer takes to meet this hotel of passage sometimes connect with other characters and existences, but in others it causes misunderstandings as when Cuéllar affirms: “but the roads change cardinal points and in the new beware we are all foreigners”.

Throughout the book, the reader will be able to perceive that the poetic voice not only marks the traces of memories, but that it follows the forms of the wounds that life leaves behind, wounds that, instead of signifying losses, allow feelings and ideas, but above all actions that allow the traveler not to stop; that is to say wounds that emanate from life, or as Margarito says: “If it becomes infected, it flowers and new scores inaugurate the light. The wound, music of yesterday and bloody notes of today”.

WAY. The idea of ​​changing the path of self-determination and independence of the human being is constant in the verses of this book; fate is not given, but the spurt of the wheel comes at the least expected moment, a kind of life, death and resurrection, just like the wound that blooms – a concept that revives the memory of Ramón López Velarde or that of Octavio Paz-, because on more than one occasion this deviation occurs at night, when the crows come out to eat carrion, but “the crow purifies the air and goes from the lowest ladder to the top of the beauty”.

And it is that the poem does not remain in the eschatological image of rotten meat, but rather of the crow, while it devours, vivifies, makes something new arise from death in order to reach the ideal of beauty. And in this collection of poems, it is something that Margarito Cuéllar does, playing with contrasts to place himself in front of the windshield and thus be able to see the road movies complete: beauty and decay, light and darkness, life and death, flower and crow, city and rural landscape, sulfur and honey.

Sometimes the visitor to this hotel of transit that is existence takes on different faces: sometimes it is a man, sometimes it is a woman, an old man or a child, or a young woman taking long nocturnal walks. to turn you all “into the last drunks of Izazaga” in the center of Mexico City. This alcoholic and nocturnal road, from La Merced to San Juan de Letrán, is not an easy road, because there too you risk life in the midst of darkness: a life that is built with patience, with “the work of the fields of the goldsmith”.

Hay algo restless in the poetic way of Margarito Cuéllar, stinks with our pone sober al camino ya veces our bag of éste para poder tener la fotografía completa, para poder ver y sens sin el prejudice permanent que implica estar dentro de la dinámica de life. With this process of being out of the way, Margarito transforms the person-reader into “nostalgic dissidents who are thin with tears”.

DISSIDENT. The dissident in the poet’s voice deciphers hieroglyphic inscriptions on the walls of an old house, whose language is made up of symbols that time has written and that the inhabitant of the ruined hotel cannot perceive as “the inscriptions stone, dying trees, bastards bloom between the cracks”, since there too “we rent concrete slabs, there are still flowers in their cracks”.

Of course, this journey ends where it began, with the light of dawn, but this next morning it seems that we readers have learned something from the night, learned that we belong to nothing and person, that we are a new solitary being, that we are the crows that devour and recreate themselves, and at the same time we are the carreña, since “returning is sacrificing oneself, while outside my destiny barks into canteen rattles. Nothing belongs to us.”

Like nothing belongs to us inside this non-stop car, to the rest of the world we’re the strangers, we’re birds trying to eat everything else, ’cause I hear music vulture played by a bunch of deaf people,” says Margarita. These six shots presented by the writer in At the hotel of life we ​​are all strangers they are lines that intersect in time and space, scenes of a life that has already been or will be or is in the process of unfolding and which appear at the speed of an engine, a passing night or with a simple click.

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