Tango (part I)

 

You are of cobblestone and knife
Of railway and rags
Of compadritos bailando
Juntos como enamorados.

I hear your name and a black and yellow
Flash before my eyes
And in Corrientes and 9 de Julio
My childish belly tightens
With the ricocheting of heels rushing

The whimsical pace of your heartbeat
Is the thread and cloth of romantic regalia… The kiss of tired lovers.
The disquietude between their legs.
Of lost noses smelling themselves to sleep under a gauss of violins perched atop crumbling stucco buildings and closed cafes.

Your cuerdas foranéas
Are the humming of emerald birds
In the ears of a couple dancing
On the sidewalk.
The soles of their feet spark
The light of a million suns
In the interminable night of
La Boca.

La Boca…
Where Maria’s perfume is the force
That propels the jealous dagger
Into the rib cage of her lover
Where her skirt is the deathbed
Of her martyr.
Where their story had always a score
Where his last breath resides in the bellows of a bandoneon
And their last words are the apocryphal inspiration of a thousand lonely sobs

And there you are pebeta!
Where my grandmother made a pact with the “sect of the knife”
Where she abandoned two children
Following a song
Where her crimson lipstick and excessive blush hid the hue of native
Where she grasped at fine linens and silver as she polished and cleaned.
Her eyes glazed over a crystal delusion.
Where the song of an infant nation was the malleable pathos of perpetual children.
Where the knife took a life of its own.
Where brothels were the inception of cliche novellas

And in the penumbra of the rising morning star the iconic hatted silhouette is ready to sing a broken heart or pierce yours as his eyes narrow in the mythical fog of La Boca.


trains (and stops and andamios and re-routes)

In trains we pass the lines

Of incandescent dark tunnels.

Your eyes like blinking far-away stars

Their radiance eons away,

across

Right in front of

The gaze that shifts

In guttural tremors;

And I want to tell you that I am lost under this brick and mortar without your embrace.


My Teeth Are Gone

Down the riverbed

Dried but always nascent

This time of year.

Frogs underneath sleep a dream

Only perturbed by the percolating

Rainwater

with careful step, I feel them once again.

I am off to a quiet place.

 

The dunes, ahead,

Flank the bend

Of the riverbed

and I must turn left;

Once it straightens again.

My great grandfather first told me about this

When I was still holding my mother’s tail

And off he went,

Off to a quiet place.

 

If memory serves me right,

He looked at me the same way

That I am looking at my sons and daughters on this day.

We’ve wrestled through this path with countless marauders

These countless dry spells.

But I fear not for their safety…

I have taught them well.

Some are stronger than others and in this

I find rest.

So I stay behind as the riverbed straightens

Until a little one strays from his mother’s rear-end

It is they that, just as I had then, do not understand

But all my brethren will keep them safe

As I am off to a quiet place.

 

The trees bare the minutest leaves

In this patch of dry grass

They are easy on my stomach, in vain…

But I let melancholia

Run its course

Like the rain greens the land

I’ve always trekked

Where the elephant shrew makes its home

And I never see one twice,

But know of his mother’s scent.

I will not step on them,

Never have I

In these endless suns, neither will I today

On my way to a quiet place.

 

Bleached bones and hardened skin

Some have disturbed the sleep of my elders, family, and friends

I hope this is not my fate

This I know, I’ve passed through here forty suns ago

Because of lack of food and smoking thunders among the trees

But this does not stop me from lying down

My tired frame.

I have finally arrived to the place where my ancestors have gone

Once the river straightens

And the trees become few

Amidst the boulders that hide

Our bones from the winds.

Our quiet place.


Of All Your Edifices and Grand Statues Only Rubble Remain (old rumination)

Concrete cracks in time

Lets the flower

Bloom divine


Ode To The Cicada

The amplitude of your mating call
Reverberates in the summer air
A premonition for some
A rambunctious rustling for others
I pray to thee,
As you behold light.
Fourteen scores after you birth;
A burrowed, quiet thumbing through layers of dirt (…that eternal librarian)
That climbs up the plum tree under a star plagued sky.
It is the beginning of summer
And you bloom at mid trunk.
Leaving a carapace.
An underground rumination to forget,
To start anew, mid trunk, alighted
From a crystalline skin;
You burst!
And trade your marionette strings
For song and wind!

Always a tyro pilot,
Haphazardly navigating the effervescent summer air
I wonder how you make it from
Branch to branch
As Sphecius waits for a chance to
Stick to your side his stilling dagger.

I carry no coinage in my pockets.
A lump of dirt in my right pocket
A handful of seeds to my left
I’ve planted trees by my endless windows
In hopes that you made them
Your courting ground for one summer.

In the thin shadow of high noon
Your presence is the quickening breath of the tireless singer…

You’ve filled my childish evenings with magic
As my puzzled mind made sense of your former self
And my afternoons with the invigorating electric sap of the summer heat.
Then, at night, you told me about the future…
And I listened…

Sweet Cicada, I belong to you.
To your calling that lulls me to sleep under the weeping willow…


Für Anne

Entre montañas de verde vestidas en dulce niebla

Te encuentras

Unos pajaros revolotean en tu pelo

Y una flor desconocida enciende tu iris

Yo aqui en otra selva

Pensando en ti

No veo nada

A no ser de que me imagine ver a traves de tus ojos, no quiero otra cosa y agarro un baston para hacerme el ciego entre los edificios grises y el asfalto hirviendo un brevage que te intoxica hasta punto de hacerte olvidar el florecer de una flor o el perfume de hojas en el aire, y los colores de alas en corteo

Un vuelo de ojos entre ramas llenas de lluvia,

Te miran.

Y donde tu suspiro descansa

Hay miles de estrellas desparramadas en cada uno de tus pasos.

Palmas y

Rasgueo flamenco

Corre entre tus venas Hessianas.

Que arenas acarician tus pies? Si pudiera rezaria por vientos monzónicos para que se las llevé y de puros celos me pongo a soplar petalos de flor al viento; soplo dia y noche hasta que mis labios se convierten en petalos de amapola bañados en vino.  Y yo aqui poniendo cientos de capullos de rosas en mi nariz para poder acordarme del perfume de tu piel.

Un canto de crystales reverberando entre piedras

Te llama

De noche caminas sobre una costa vaga del sol

Y te das vueltas pensando en mi vos llamandote a lo lejos.

Cuerdas

Un acorde mustio

La letra no escrita pero entonada

Que cancion en tu ausencia te puedo cantar para que te traiga a mis brazos? Que sonidos pueden mis manos rechinar para encantar un ave que lleve mi mensaje? E puesto algodon y miel en mis orejas para poder escuchar la dulzura y la suavidad de tu voz. Pero eso en fin me a robado de todos mis sentidos, menos uno.  Es por eso que cada ves que pienso en ti, mis manos se mueven en el aire.


Dominican Cigar Shop (old piece)

 

I found a hair sticking out of my cigar

so I tried to pull it out

it ripped.

I unrolled the leaf

Cracked the wrap.

And looked through the tobacco

brown,

dry,

and in a tight embrace.

The Hair was

black,

dark,

and shone as ebony

pale,

strange,

and i saw her in the heat

sweating

combing her hair with her fingers as she swiped the toiled perspiration.

I held it in my hand

put it to my nose

and sat down next to her.


Rain Drop

In capricious gales

Your weight has gathered

Enough confidence to

Land on my forehead

A lazy eyelid flickered in reflex as futile as holding one’s breath during a childish storm.

We dreamed a Moorish dream

And on we went

Like a newly formed brotherhood

Ill-conceived and destined to be wiped-out

A slight tremor that sent you rolling through my eyebrow, desperately leaving behind parts of you like the clicking of a bandoneon key is left behind as its bellows push the sound through its labyrinthine mechanisms.

Feeling the wet finger lay

On my high cheek bone

A kiss of gray

A terminal breath

The rupturing love story of chaos

That birthed all those who burrowed themselves

Only to emerge estranged from that light

Only to quicken their breath down

The steep angle of an archetypal jawbone.

Once more

And off my chin you end, limp and lame, amidst the threads that transmuted you into a memory that is only too fresh to singe itself in the staccato of crisscrossed embraces and departures.  I hang you out to dry above green steps.


Gray is a Memory

The morning is a horrid mess of ice covered snow and sleets of cold water

breaking through

the gray of this perpetual             morning of all mornings.

I was hoping for a day off;

a day of mooring myself in sheets and covers in a cold room.

There is a dog that does not care about homelessness or bills or school;

hell!

I don’t even think he knows he is even breathing.

No, but he feels it.

That’s one thing that matters when looking out of windows at passing shoes and perched pigeons;

feeling the cold window panes,

the warm breath against the back of your hand,

the condensation collecting at the bottom of your finger tip as you trace your name or someone’s name;

a scribble of running droplets.

Starched sheets covering the lawns

bring me back to waking in fogged mornings and,

as I made my way to school,

stepping on puddles of ice sheets making music with my rubber soles.

Small polyrhythmic compositions that filled my calves with joy and traveled to my ears as they interrupted the sound of my own breath through the vacant streets.   Ice floes shift above my head and I inhale the moist air as I balance my body on one leg that sinks into

the crunch under my heel.


Yellow Galoshes (old)

I am from earth and I have been carefully developed to travel. Extirpated from rocks, each of my parts is a fraction of me and everything ; while I am one object, at the end of this process which I will tell you about, my background is extremely varied. My core is made of lead from Nevada, my skin is of Bolivian copper and my guts are from various parts which now escape me; there is a curiosity, within me, as to finding out about what makes up my guts, but the only thing I now know is that it was first formulated in Asia and then spread all over the world… Anyway, my conception was rather violent and it involved various stages, all connected by conveyor belts, trucks, furnaces, casts, more belts, boxes, and hands. I am to fit into a chamber, then travel from that chamber to some mark or object. These things I know, but the details are so obscure I barely have any idea where to begin to look for answers; yet, since I am a simple being, I leave these inquiries to those who feel compelled to search and study the nature of those troubling questions of existence which could consume the best of us.
Of course! You might ask: how do you know about some parts and not of others that make you?! Well, I tell you, the details…I am trying to put together in the darkness of the aftermath… within a box. I am just waiting…I don’t know what for, but I am waiting within this comfortable, dry, cool box which offers the company of others like me and theyhave informed me of some of these former details; now, I am forced to trust their information since they are my only company, but these “facts” could, perhaps, be proven otherwise…I will just tell my side of this story, ok? This is the only way I have to make some sense of me and everything around me. Most of what is “me” was heated to extremely high temperatures, and dragged by the truckload into huge vats to be melted together; then molded into blocks of differing qualities, placed, arranged, and stored to ensure the proper usage of me. The conveyor belts are our feet from the moment I left the rocks.  I think I am among others and we see the world passing by and we just sit there trying to make sense of things, but BANG! We are suddenly changed from one thing to another without us ever being able to do anything about it. I was to be nurtured by something which went by the name of Winchester corporation, in Illinois; the truck dropped off most of what was to be my skin onto pallets, then forklifts placed these pallets in the appropriate shelves. I find it very suitable to be in the right place; order and categorization have made my life much more bearable. Bells, buzzers, chains, casts, sprays, bangs and much more distress later, I now possess a slick shape which is filled by lead, perfectly balanced in weight, and of somewhat seducing qualities…I like this! My form is one that is supposed to offer the least amount of resistance. I travel swiftly through most anything.
Now, the shelves were rather quiet, depending on the place of course, and we stood there silently. We were sometimes moved, these brief moments would make us rub against each other; startled by this and the clink that followed each tangent, we stood there nonetheless…silently. Stamped and shipped, we ended up in some store, on some street, at the best prices. Sold to some such Jorge, I felt that the brief transition to this new shelf was interesting; Jorge carried us mainly by hand at a smooth pace and we, again, came to a rest. I think he liked us, he put us in a cool and dark shelf for some time and it was just some more of quite the same stillness of thought.
One day, Jorge picked us up and placed us on a table. I think his dog was lazily walking around the same room; the table being close to the back door of the house gave us an opportunity to feel the warmth of the sun and we, maybe only I, became excited for some reason. Jorge’s son, Gabriel, was getting ready to go out as well; he was about 7 years old and wore blue jeans, yellow galoshes, and a third generation brown jacket that had seen countless mornings like this one. The backyard wore no fence, an open field into the flatness of the landscape. Trees in bunches scattered as tight, flower bouquets rising midway through the ground adorned the flat-lined horizon in random places.
They walked for some time, Gabriel thought of facturas (pastries) as his mind fell off the horizon and skirled on a heap of pastries of all kinds and chocolate milk…warm…sweet…
“Gabi! Por aca!,” Jorge yelled “Is this way!”
Gabriel tilted his head out of his dream and followed his father; he carried us in his small canvas bag with a knife and some matches. I was enjoying the smooth steps Gabriel took and the heat from the sun gradually became slightly warmer and I grew anxious with the peculiarity of this trip, it was much different than past jaunts. In the darkness of this box, the splattered memories of that day become clearer and the paces of that walk are felt closer. Jorge carried his favorite winchester rifle as any good arms man would: his hand fully covering the trigger guard, safety on, and the canon pointing down to the ground. He knew a good deal about weapons and hunting; this is why, I think, he bought us in the first place…we are the best. Gabriel walked to his side now, he did not say too much, if anything at all now that I recall. Jorge stopped, having spotted something, and said to Gabriel,
“give me the canvas bag, I will check these boys out before we try them out on our food”
Gabriel did just that and Jorge’s hand reached for a few of us in the box; his hands were sweaty and soft, his skin bent to our contour as he lightly pressed us into his rifle. “Ah, this feels right,” I thought, “I fit perfectly into this new place, this must be that “chamber” I was told about.”
Jorge had spotted a beam that was sticking out of the ground about 100 meter from his sight. He told Gabriel to walk back a few meters for his own safety and Gabriel nodded as he silently agreed with his father’s request. What a good boy he was.
Jorge placed the rifle firmly against his shoulder, looked around briefly, the proceeded to aim at the metal beam sticking out of the ground; he did not realize about my special relationship with metal…there was no predictability as to my trajectory when confronted with certain hard metals. Gabriel walked away from his father as his eyes perused through his surroundings and spotted a stork; white and graceful, the stork floated briskly through the milky air. Gabriel looked at its motionless wings in mid flight…I was pushed up, by some lever, and I saw light. Something in me was agitated…all of the sudden, I felt a strong, brief tap at the bottom of me. I felt propelled through the cannon at immeasurable speeds, my being burning through the cool air. I reached the metal beam in less than a second as my head plunged into it and I shed my lead core; my copper skin recoiled, and I was traveling over Jorge’s head, then I saw Gabriel and I was heading right into his dreaming head. The stork was still in his gaze….and I could swear, after I reached a full stop, that I was looking through Gabriel’s eyes…he looked at the bird, at the sky, then the azure of his gaze turned dark….
Jorge turned around, but did not see Gabriel, and he became frantic and started running around the landscape. He saw the gray sole of Gabriel’s yellow galoshes and tears flowed from the corner of his eye lids. He screamed as he held Gabriel’s pierced head in his hands…bleeding…motionless. I traveled through the boy’s head, and his dreams were the last thing I touched.  The warmth of Gabriel’s body, I remember, quickly faded as I ricocheted back into randomness.