MUERDE MUERTOS es una editorial de autores contemporáneos, abocados a la literatura fantástica, el terror, lo erótico y aquellas obras que apuestan a estimular la imaginación.

“Haikus Bilardo” en Hinchas de Poesía

Reseña de Haikus Bilardo (Muerde Muertos, 2014), de Fernando Figueras y José María Marcos, con ilustraciones de Matías Berneman, por Yago S. Cura en Hinchas de Poesía (*)

During the 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups, Carlos Salvador Bilardo was the Icarus millions of Argentines pinned their little pieces of wax to-even as they badmouthed his impetuous squads. Currently, Bilardo is the general manager of Argentina’s National Teams, but he was also the steward of Argentina’s Golden Age of Fútbol. At this point, Bilardo is more than a soccerlegend: he is the nadir other legends point to. Bilardo holds several degrees in medicine, and was a practicing Gynecologist; but, he gave up his aspirations in those “fields” when they got in the way of his coaching. He is an all-in or not-in-at-all kind of guy. This might explain what inspired Fernando Figueras and José María Marcos to use Bilardo’s organization of players —“three denfensemen, five midfielders, and two strikers” (“Prologue”)— during the 1986 World Cup to create a new poetic form: one that can insinuate the unsayable like haikus can, but that can also recollect and espouse in sparse, tart syllables. In their book, Haikus Bilardo (Editorial Muerde Muertos, 2013), Fernando Figueras and José María Marcos court the circuitous aftertaste haikus proffer as a form, and capsule (of Poetry). Possibly, they are lauding Bilardo as some Dr. Xavier in a Sumo diaper with aspirations of Global Fútbol Domination.
Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature defines haikus as poems of “17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.” What Figueras and Marcos have done is replace the 5-7-5 of traditional haikus with the 3-5-2 player formation used by Bilardo’s 1986 squad. In doing so, they have re-appropriated the ancient, and made it keen. With this book, Figueras and Marcos rig the engine of an Acura NSX into the chassis of a combustion-engine rickshaw; they soup-up the architecture of haikus to suit their needs, and fulfill their historical, emotive aim. Haikus Bilardo are a collection of poems ballasted by the historical documents, non-fiction reportage, and biographies that were born as a result of the swag Argentina garnered as a result of the 1986 and 1990 World Cups.
These souped-up poems are rooted in the childhood conjectures of Figueras and Marcos, the popular memoirs of Diego Maradona (Yo Soy el Diego/ I am the Diego) and Carlos Salvador Bilardo (Así ganamos/ That’s How We Won). There are also quotes from veteran journalists like Juvenal of El Gráfico, Argentina’s newspaper daily, the pixilated wisdom of ESPN docs like Pura Química (Pure Chemistry), and respected Argentine writers like Fernando del Rio, Osvaldo Soriano, and Juan José Burzi. In terms of genre, Haikus Bilardo are pastiched from accurate reportage to World Cup lore. After (Argentina) losing to Camerún in the 1990 World Cup, (and I’m quoting from the book here) Bilardo is known for having said, “Gentlemen, either we get to the finals or pray the plane crashes when we go back to Argentina.” Quotes like these are not part of the poetry —they are not recognized as poetic— and part of the “ride” or “pedo” of this collection of futbol poetry is to contextualize the passion without didacticism or sensationalism.
For example, “Corea del Sur/ South Korea” documents that particular match which transpired on the 2nd of June, 1986, and ended Argentina 3, South Korea 1; and, “Valdano,/ ¡derecehazo al/ fondo!” makes particular reference to Argentina’s first goal, a right-legged, barrel-down goal executed by Valdano in the first six minutes of the match. In this way, the intricate collection, comprised of haikus sutured together comment gazingly on Bilardo’s reputation as an idolized coach of men of great talent like Maradona, Burruchaga, Batistuta, but they also reconstruct the matches, textually, reflecting on quotes originally written about the match by journalists covering the matches. These poems are not pastoral, and they don’t rely on any lyrical qualities per se but they do packmule whole arenas of hinting and subtle inference that make this traditional Japanese form so popular.
Haikus are suggestive dynamos, and a gateway form for other registers like free verse or Tankas. 4th graders and octogenarians alike can dabble in haikus, knowing full well that their powers of inference, conjecture, and analysis are going to be engaged; moreover, we still force college freshmen to read about those black petals resembling faces in the Metro, disavowing haikus in the original language by Bashō or Issa, as if the suggestive penchant of that Pound poem somehow encapsulated all of 20th Century Poetry. These poems find their inspiration in Argentina’s World Cup performances in 1986 (in which no one believed in them and they won the World Cup) and 1990 (in which they were favored but lost to Germany) but they speak to the fanatic in us all. Haikus Bilardo is illustrated by Matias Berneman, and this offers an interesting counterpoint to the words on the page. Some of the illustrations are a little too abstract for my taste, but many delineate the subtext or illuminate signs and symbols used in the World Cups, like Pique, the mascot for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico that is clearly a chile verde with a mariachi sombrero, and a futbol at his right foot.
This title is perfect for libraries that have a hale Spanish poetry collection; however, this title might be at home as well in a Latin American History college class, or any arena where politics, history, and sport merge or intersect. Last, this title might really come in handy in a collection used by Latino poets as it documents the creation of a new form, or something heretofore not in existence, and looking to freely associate. I think this title might even be useful to Spanish language students as it not only recounts the history of the World Cup for Argentina, but indexes hard to pronounce and idiosyncratic Latin American names like Burruchaga or Pasculli. Obviously, the most juice you could squeeze from Haikus Bilardo might involve reading it against Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shade or any short stories by Sorriano.
(*) Publicado en Julio de 2014.

Corea del Sur
by Fernando Figueras & José María Marcos
from Haikus Bilardo

Bilardo,
pasión, locura,
mística.

Pumpido,
Garré, Ruggeri,
Clausen,

Batista,
el Tata, Burru,
Giusti,

Pasculli,
el Valdagoles,
Diego.

Corea,
siglos de ciencia,
arte.

Temor
incertidumbre
nervios.

Valdano,
¡derechazo al
fondo!

Karate
contra Rey Diego,
furia.

Ruggeri,
letal cabeza,
¡capo!

Valdano
mete el tercero;
calma.

De lejos,
la rabia roja:
gólpark.

Fin. Viene
Italia; fe
sobra.

South Korea
translated by Yago S. Cura

Bilardo,
Passion, pure madness,
mythic.

Pumpido,
Garré, Ruggeri,
Clausen,

Batista,
El Tata, Burru,
Giusti,

Pasculli,
valiant striker,
Diego.

Korea,
decades of Science,
the Arts.

Real, real fear[,]
all variables
and nerves.

Valdano,
forehand directly
down throat!

Karate
against King Diego
fury.

Ruggeri,
lethal-steel header,
the Don!

Valdano,
buries the third goal:
then, calm.

From afar,
the red wrath of rage:
gólpark

The end comes.
Italy; our faith
spilleth.

Uruguay
by Fernando Figueras & José María Marcos
from Haikus Bilardo

Tenían
un gran arquero
que era

un muro
vestido de
Álvez

Sacaba
todos los tiros
nuestros.

Pero una…
quedose en el
área…

y Pedro
Pablo chumbó
bajo.

¡Pasculli,
goleador
grosso!

¿Y si
nos meten uno?
¡Fritos!

Mas no,
Uruguay no hace
goles.

¡Que el triunfo
sea pues del
verso!

Mirá,
las cosas cómo
fueron:

ganamos
un duelo de
guapos,

a días
del adiós a
Borges.

Uruguay
translated by Yago S. Cura

They had a
mythical goalie
that was

solid wall
fly and dressed to nines:
Álvez.

He would clear
all our weak, tired
soft shots.

Except one…
that lingered in the…
area…

and Pedro
Pablo bulleted
real low.

Pasculli
robust goal maker,
robust!

And if they
Score on one on us?
We’re fried!

More no way,
Uruguay don’t make
goals, nope.

May triumph
come from the lips of
verses!

Look. Learn,
things[,] how they ended up[.]
There were[…]

we won
a duel between
tough guys

in the days
of scant goodbyes to
Borges.

Alemania
by Fernando Figueras & José María Marcos
from Haikus Bilardo

Celestes,
verdes, delirio,
gritos.

Azteca,
cancha jamás
nunca.

Equipo
de Rummenigge,
duro.

Un centro
de Burru, ¡gol
Tata!

Enrique,
Diego, Valdano,
brillo.

Dos centros,
dos goles verdes,
llanto.

El sueño
se desvanece,
Diego.

¿Por qué
nos dejaste, oh,
padre?

Que se
agriete el mar
rojo.

¡La magia
de Dios y gol
Burru!

¡Equipo
campeón del
mundo!

¡Bilardo,
Argentina, oh,
haikus!

Germany
translated by Yago S. Cura

Baby blues,
greens, delirium,
shouts.

Azteca
stadium never been
nevered.

Team
Rummenigge,
damn tough.

A center
from Burru, a goal
from Tata!

Enrique,
Diego, Valdano
shinning.

Two centers,
two green goals,
loud sobs.

The dream keeps
withering away,
Diego.

Why have you
forsaken us father?
Father?

May the Red
Sea croak with tartness
and Red.

The magic
of god and goals Burru[.]
Burru!

The very squad[,]
champions of the world!
The world!

Bilardo,
Argentina, oh,
haikus!