Farewell to the Führer

Farewell to the Führer, farewell to all Führers who have been or who will be.
Farewell to all Führers true or false,
good night, I say, good night,
With an intimate reactionary sadness

Farewell to the Führer who gobbled Black Forest Cake
while his tanks fed upon the roads of Europe.
Farewell to all Führers who love Wigner or the Giovinezza
be they clean-shaven, bearded or sporting a big moustache.

Farewell to the Führer who fled to Buenos Aires in a submarine
after killing Eva and Blondi, her faithful dog.
From the snows Miguel Serrano hears him call
but neither by sea nor by land can they find him.

Farewell to every Führer who orders us to bury ourselves with him
after contemplating how the ruins of his Empire burn,
and in the meantime he doesn’t let anyone sleep in peace
even though we haven’t raped, or robbed, or murdered.

Farewell to every Führer who compels the poets
to censor their manuscripts or keep them secret
under threat of sending them to his Island or Archipelago
or to cut cane under the Utopian sun.

Farewell to the Führer of Antipoetry
even though he sometimes preaches better than the Christ of Elqui.
It’s better to teach no dogma at all, even if it’s ecological,
When one can’t take off for Chillán on a bicycle.

Farewell to the Molina kid, cruel Führer of Lo gallardo,
where he wrote Steppenwolf ahead of Hermann Hesse,
even though O.L. Jesus Christ died for him, according to what Anguita says,
And farewell for those who want us to say yes when we Love No.

Farewell to all Führer s to whom losing forty or forty thousand men doesn’t matter
as long as they invade islands populated by sheep,
and after the defeat take refuge in general retirement
to listen to the tango “Silence in the night, and all is calm.”

Farewell to him who was for a time our secret Führer
and recommended abstinence to us, bottle of whiskey in his hand,
and with scorn abandoned his Bunker in front of the hill
to conquer Venezuela as his ancestors had.

Farewell to the rogue who aspired to be Martin Bormann:
Enrique Lafourcade, count of La Fourchette.
They’ll see him walking a ridiculous little dog
Not able to get even as far as the Parque Forestal.

They’ll see him feed himself, ruddy phantom,
on pale and fragile nocturnal doves.
They’ll see him swing through the most godforsaken towns
looking to sign autographs for Mayors and grade-school teachers.

They’ll see him sob, thinking of his days off the Diet
with pig’s feet in Los Buenos Muchachos.
They’ll see him spill a furtive and invalid tear
while he sings I am the King, thinking himself to be Pedro Vargas.

And there won’t be anyone left from the Generation of 1950
To sing I had a comrade in unison.
Farewell to every Führer who would give it to us hand with a stick
and also with a rope

Thinking that like him we’re hardly sensitive.
And good night friends, good night,
until one day we meet again
in the arrogant and maddened hour of skeletons.

Written in Mulato Gil de Castro Square, in Santiago,
on the evening of December 2, 1981, date of the launching
of the novel with homonymous title by Enrique Lafourcade.

Translated by Carolyne Wright

Note: Extensive notes on “Farewell to the Führer” have not been printed here.

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