Photographic Memory and Other Poems

Nacho Oliden


Cuando creas que algo detrás de ella palpita,

Se extinguirá la luz y con la luz tu ensueño.


The lighted window across the street

is inverted in this nocturnal puddle.

The things, like projected film,

just passing on the surface…

When there is no light to wait for me,

in memory she will be what she was in that puddle.


… si no era más que un frente eléctrico de lámina sin costados ni fondo, para nosotros la escena filmada vivía flagrante, pero no en la pantalla, sino en un palco…

QUIROGA: ‘El espectro’

Let me sit in my row and enjoy this human devilry that

resulting from the cult to the machine,

allows the presentation of souls.

As coming out of a high cauldron,

gas and ghosts confused,

souls shown to souls light the bodies.

The rolls of life are released, the destinies unfurled,

And as long as the light consents the spell,

I’ll be the other:

I’ll be the boy walking up the zig zag paths,

I’ll be Gena Rowlands amusing on the stage,

I’ll be Moreira, stabbed, staggering with courage,

I’ll be Hutter and I’ll be Wayne and I’ll be Django;

at every second, I’ll be Argos, recognizing my Odysseus.


The old gentleman claps the telescope to his eye, looks all round, sees nobody else in sight, stares at Tom again, and cries out very loud: Hal-loa!

DICKENS: ‘The Lamplighter’

To go out and wander

looking for that face untouched by the eyes

and unseen by the mind.

That face of mysterious and uncertain birth,

waiting at its table, in its corner and its shade.

To invent chance and fulfil the unalterable future,

for when the face, the crystal, and my eye align,

I’ll exclaim as I always do,

like the astronomer who clapped the telescope to the eye,

and found only a lamplighter’s face at 5 in the afternoon:

Hal-loa! Here’s an extraordinary fulfilment,

of a prediction of the planets!

Then the light and the ink will unite,

and the memory of the world will be enlarged.

Nacho Oliden

Ignacio Oliden (Buenos Aires, 1997) is a poet, translator and literary critic. He is Co-Editor in Chief of the literary magazine La Piccioletta Barca, and is a member of the editorial comittee of Buenos Aires Poetry (magazine and publishing house). He also writes poetry criticism in the Culture Supplement of the newspaper Perfil (Argentina). His work has appeared in print in newspapers, anthologies, and literary magazines in various countries, and his poetry has been translated into English, Italian and Greek. He has published Poetas del Renacimiento de Harlem (2023, in collaboration with Juan Arabia), and Mester de Juglaría (2024).

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