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Romantic Dogs

Submitted by on January 9, 2012 – 9:44 pmNo Comment

By Andrew Rhodes
Roberto Bolano was a Chilean writer, born in Santiago in 1953. After moving to Mexico City aged fifteen he returned to Chile five years later to support the Socialist movement that opposed General Pinochet. Bolano was imprisoned following the Fascist coup but escaped to spend the best part of his adult life drifting, immersed in poetry and left wing politics.

He died in Blanes on Spain’s Costa Brava where he had married and become a father. It’s widely assumed his death from liver disease and hepatitis was as a result of an earlier addiction to heroin.

Much of his work is based on the exiles and poets like himself that found themselves in various parts of Latin America and Spain. He writes of sub-cultures that lay beneath the ordinary working class which unlike most writers of our era he understands and is one of. He was a poet himself in his own eyes and turned only to fiction writing in his later years to make the money needed to support his family and to aid him financially as he died.

Although it would be stupid to compare Bolano’s exile from Chile and his opposition to Pinochet with our own non-life-threatening fight, I can never read Bolano’s poem below without thinking of the supporters at FC United and better people than me who formed the club in 2005.

The Romantic Dogs.

Back then, I’d reached the age of Twenty
and I was crazy.
I’d lost a country
but won a dream.
As long as I had that dream
nothing else mattered.
Not working, not praying
not studying in morning light
alongside the romantic dogs.
And the dream lived in the void of my spirit.
A wooden bedroom,
cloaked in half- light,
deep in the lungs of the tropics.
And sometimes I,d retreat inside myself
and visit the dream; a statue eternalised
in liquid thoughts,
a white worm writhing
in love.
A runaway love.
A dream within another dream
and the nightmare telling me; you will grow up.
You’ll leave behind the images of pain and of the labyrinth
and you’ll forget.
But growing up would be a crime.
I’m here, I said, with the Romantic Dogs
and here I’m going to stay

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