Death in Beverly Hills

In telephone booths
There are mysterious inscriptions drawn with lipstick

They are the last words of sweet blond girls
That, with bloody cleavage, take refuge there to die.

Final night under the pale neon, final day under sky of hallucinations,
Streets newly watered with magnolias, yellow lights of
The patrol cars at dawn.

I will wait for you till half past one, when you leave the cinema – and at
That hour, the one who’s body was like a branch of orchids
Is dead in the Morgue.

Wounded in the nightly shooting, kept in the corners
By the search lights, slapped in the night-clubs,
My true and sweet love cries in my arms

A final light, the most slender and clear,
It seems to be sliding away from the closed night-clubs:
This light that stops those passing by
And speaks gently about their childhood.

Music from another time, song to the beat of those old
Notes from the night we met Ava Gardner,
A girl wrapped in a clear raincoat that we kissed
One time in an elevator, in the dark between two floors, and
She had such blue eyes, and she always spoke in a very low
Voice — Her name was Nelly.

Close your eyes and listen to the song of the sirens in the night
Made silver with bright signs.

The night gets warm blue avenues.
Shadows embracing shadows in swimming pools and bars.

In the dark sky the stars fought
When she died of love,
And it was as if she smelled a perfume very slowly.

By Pere Gimferrer
Translated from the Spanish by Jesse Wells


Jesse Wells is currently a student at the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Pere Gimferrer is a Spanish poet born in 1945. Gimferrer’s first poetry books in early 1960s (Message from the Tetrarch, The Sea is Burning, Death in Beverly Hills) made waves with their fantasy, references to popular culture, film, adventures and exoticism, in a time when Spanish poetry was considered also a political arm against Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975). Gimferrer was part of a new generation of poets, influenced by mass media and international authors like Ezra Pound or Saint-John Perse. In the 1970s, he wrote his poetry mainly in Catalan and garnered many awards.