We come up with our best ideas in the bathroom. Indeed, Albert Einstein was quoted as asking, “Why is it that I always come up with my best ideas while shaving?” After coming back from the ArtCorps orientation in Antigua, ArtCorps Artist Jennifer Sklar Gilbert too found that the bathroom inspired a solution to January tensions in the FUNDAHMER office.
The situation unfolded in the courtyard in my first day back in the office. As I tried to plan how to ensure art and creativity would become sustainable in FUNDAHMER after I depart in 2012, I couldn’t concentrate due to the cacophony of sighs that was coming from the next room. There, my poor, beloved directors were meeting to resolve the current financial hardships our nonprofit is facing. What could I do to lighten the mood? They clearly needed poetry. But how could I get them all to stop for a second and read a poem? The idea came to me on the toilet. Put the poems in the bathroom! Bathroom poetry, brilliant!
I decided on two relatively light-hearted poems, one titled “The moon rises” by the Spaniard Federico García Lorca, and the other “I don’t love you rather why I love you,” by the Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. I scribbled down the verses and decorated them respectively with images of a glowing moon and a puzzled lover simultaneously carrying a bouquet of flowers and a poster reading, “I hate you!”
The reaction was quite positive. During lunch, I overheard two colleagues say, “Now who do you think put up all those poems in the bathroom?” At 3 o’clock, my beloved director Anita came in laughing. “Gracias, Jenny,” she said, “Never before had I read a poem in the bathroom!” I sat down to give her a massage, and though her back was still full of knots, my fingers promised me there was hope that someday soon she’ll be able to relax again.
As I write this blog, the directors are once again around the table, finding creative ways to move forward in challenging times. Perhaps I should serve them extra glasses of water so they’ll have to head to the bathroom again soon and see the new poem up by the famous Salvadoran revolutionary poet Roque Dalton!
Los dioses secretos
Somos los dioses secretos.
Borrachos de agua de maíz quemado y ojos
polvorientos, somos sin embargo los dioses secretos.
Nadie puede tocarnos dos veces con la misma mano.
Nadie podría descubrir nuestra huella en dos renacimientos o en dos muertes próximas.
Nadie podría decir cual es el humo de copal que ha sido nuestro.
Por eso somos los dioses secretos.
El tiempo tiene pelos de azafrán, cara de anís, ritmo de semilla colmada.
Y solo para reírnos lo habitamos. Por eso somos los dioses secretos.
Todopoderosos en la morada de los todopoderosos,
dueños de la travesura mortal y de un pedazo de la noche.
¿Quién nos midió que no enmudeciera para siempre?
¿Quién pronuncio en pregunta por nosotros sin extraviar la luz de la pupila?
Nosotros señalamos el lugar de las tumbas, proponemos el crimen, mantenemos el horizonte en su lugar, desechando sus ímpetus mensuales.
Somos los dioses secretos, los de la holganza furiosa.
Y solo los círculos de cal nos detienen.
Y la burla.
Salvadoran Poet (1935-1975)