Raquel Jodorowsky

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Raquel Jodorowsky

Raquel Lea Jodorowsky Prullansky​ (May 24, 1927-August 23, 2011)​​ was a writer and painter from Chile. She was the sister of Alejandro Jodorowsky.


Ajy Tojen[edit]

Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Randall (2022)

from poems[edit]

  • Poets appeared like flowers on the earth.
    • Los poetas aparecieron como flores en la tierra.
  • Love, love, love, LOVE where do you hide forever?
    In the deep. But so deep in ourselves.
    • Amor, amor, amor, AMOR dónde te escondes para siempre?
      Al fondo. Pero tan al fondo de nosotros mismos.
  • At times I don't know
    if Hunger or the World
    allowing Hunger
    pains me more.
    • No sé si a veces
      me ha dolido el Hambre
      o más el Mundo
      que permite esta Hambre
  • you see bread is never enough
    and the soul is always hungry
    • es que nunca nos alcanza el pan
      y el alma tiene hambre
  • Alone in my room, spinning
    with the whole world in my head
    from the day I was born.
    • Sola en mi habitación, girando
      con el mundo entero en la cabeza
      desde el primer día en que nací.
  • I learned to dream on the roof of the house
    • Yo aprendía a soñar sobre el techo de la casa
  • 100 painters engraving their dreams
    on skin
    • 100 pintores que graban sus sueños
      sobre la piel
  • if you feed us the bread of love
    we will all grow stronger
    with fraternity with pity with serenity,
    • si nos dan un pan de amor
      creceremos todos mejor
      con fraternidad con piedad con serenidad.
  • Ay, those who can't shed light
    nor let others shed light.
    • Ay de los que ya no alumbran
      ni dejan alumbrar.
  • If you don't like this world
    we'll change it with kisses
    • Si no te gusta este mundo
      lo cambiamos a besos
  • I'm just a worm with metaphysical necessities
    wanting to rise but lacking sun
    • Apenas soy un gusano con necesidades metafísicas
      que quiere amanecer pero le falta el sol
  • We are born old
    how life descends
    and one gets younger.
    • Hemos nacido viejos
      cómo después va bajando la vida
      y uno se hace joven.
  • I can climb to the top story
    of the highest poem
    and throw myself into the vacuum
    of a life.
    • Puedo subir hasta el último piso
      del poema más alto
      y lanzarme al vacío
      de una vida.

from letters[edit]

  • Life itself returns over destruction, putting out death. (1963)
  • We think of these people as primitive, uneducated, crude. But bringing myself a bit closer to their lives, I felt with emotion their capacity for kindness which they radiate, because they contain it, towards any stranger. Every civilized-intelligent person, whom I have known, tends towards evil, coldness, distrust of friend. Every civilized-intelligent person, seated one step above the rest, perhaps in order to spit down on them and shout; "because I am intelligent" -with the right to everything, above everyone. I've come to the conclusion, after briefly touching these high villages without aspirations, that intelligence is not one of the human values I respect. It's inhuman. Especially since those gifted with super doses of cerebral juice can't seem to live in peace with each other. They isolate themselves and retreat from a reality they insist on showing their back. There I found men who escape all definition. Perhaps "pure" is the poor word best fitting. I feel not that "I've arrived" in a marvelous world, but that "I've left" the inclement garbage of the city. (1963)
  • There is space, I say this from my heart, to reconstruct the world. (September 1963)
  • I was four thousand feet high. And more. In the heart of stone of the Andes. The open mouth of the earth surprised me, with its deep color. Like one of her fruits, the coffee bean...A difficult earth, only a bit of earth stretched over the sleeping eye of a volcano. One day she awakes, yawns and swallows an entire village with its men, its screams and its trees. (September 1963)
  • Another day the poor inhabitants lift themselves from the ruins and right there begin to reconstruct the roads; children without shoes, but with joy on their shoulders, return to carry the future. (September 1963)
  • The Nadaistas are a miracle. In many ways they are fighters. I've never seen a whole nation living the exaltation of poetry as if it were a political party. After my reading, I tried to save myself from the Cali effusion and I retreated to my dark room in the hotel. Success frightened me. Or the noise of the crowds. (1964)
  • I'm writing a prologue for the Ajy Tojen like nothing ever read in literature. (1964)
  • Long live the thieves! They don't make a lie of their lives in this wormy society. They are what they are. Sincere in their disgrace. Working with them I've learnt the importance of loyalty and honor.
  • Generally, a revolution isn't enough. For me, it's changing one chaos for another. The important thing is to know that which from this moment is to be constructed.

Quotes about[edit]

Margaret Randall, Afterward to Ajy Tojen (2021)[edit]

  • Raquel Jodorowsky's poems, in form as well as content, have had an enduring impact.
  • I remember her as both compact and graceful, shorter than me but with contagious energy. She had long dark hair and eyes that seemed backlit by a magical knowing. Having traveled from Peru, she brought with her its tenuous Andean air and wailing reed pipes. Vivacious and determined, she filled a room with vibrant power. Her poetry captivated us all.
  • Raquel was also clearly accustomed to being a lone woman among men. But she operated on a different strata, not because of her gender but because her lifestyle and goals situated her beyond all social constraints. When she read her work, the air turned electric. We listened in awe.
  • Another of Raquel's letters included a few lines that continue to resonate with me. She wrote: "You can't imagine, my brother, how much I've thought of our children. In all they have yet to touch, create and do. There is space, I say this from my heart, to reconstruct the world." Today Raquel is long gone, and I am thinking not of our children or grandchildren but of my two young great-grandchildren. Is there still space to reconstruct the world? It doesn't feel like it. And yet I believe that the spirit that palpitates in Raquel's work urges that reconstruction even more now than it did then. And that poetry and art remain our best resistance to the horrors that besiege us.
  • In yet another poem, "Chewing" she writes: "This is the first time on earth for me / but I've been in other mouths before and my / heart has beaten in another tongue." And later, in an untitled poem, she describes herself: "Raquel maker of useless poems, says: / I want to regain my dignity / in the poorest spot on earth / dressed in a song to write a song / that doesn't pretend to amuse, honor or impress..." This work is a cry against social hypocrisy, entitlement, consumerism, complacency, ostentation and false idols. Without following party lines or using political jargon, poets such as Raquel honor values necessary to effecting positive social change.

External links[edit]