Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ojos Tristes

Tienen tus ojos un raro encanto,
tus ojos tristes como de niño
que no ha sentido ningún cariño;
tus ojos dulces como de santo.

¡Ay!, Si no fuera pedirte tanto,
yo te pidiera vivir de hinojos,
mirando siempre tus tristes ojos:
ojos que tienen,
ojos que tienen sabor de llanto.
¡Ay!, Si no fuera pedirte tanto...

Letra: Alfredo Aguilar Alfaro / Música: Guty Cárdenas

On Return

Wash of light, on return. Simply the possibility of beginning again--that phrase, each time, a wonder. Make it new. Pound in London, Venice, New Jersey--St. Elizabeth's, yes. Always the return, as if our roots would grow into an impenetrable forest, thick from the inside (dense hedgery just behind 801 Michigan--1954 or so, pathway and burrow). The child's mind--everything possible, bewilderingly so? Reading Steinbeck, a few years later, other times, other places. Cannery Row--Monterey, an edge of the sea, opening onto gray-green swells...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Sister Rosetta Tharpe--I Hear Music in the Air. This morning, early, two doves--before the rain. Voices aligned, overlapping. Where one stops the other begins. Then a single voice. The sound distinct. Should there be two? A harmony of sorts--or a meaningfulness, in any case. Look into her face--the answer mirrored. Under eaves, tucked away--nest of sparrow, perhaps--small, dark bird with glittering eye--just behind the metal downspout outside Hearst. Precarious existence, no higher tha the hand. And yet we trust...


The one white spot--an after thought, perhaps--but understood. Bringing indecision to a conclusion. Humorous? Jaunty, rather--to the degree that a small whitish square can be jaunty. Like the stone that Baucis (or was it Philemon) tucked away under a wobbly table leg--unsteady before--to make her home acceptable to the gods. Divine guests, that is. Did they know them? Two travelers, a bit tired from the journey, in need of refreshment and a place to rest. Wine unending... The only one in the valley... Their roots entwined forever...woven...


Sound of the fado--Lisboa, a sleepy port, as if on the Mediterranean. But no, it's the open sea--L'Atalante. A kind of vision--the immediacy. Her hair, even before I might have known. Frizzy sometimes, in rain. Not so frequent, down there. In the twenties--mysterious sound. An unknown decade--prehistoric, even. The stories all seem to come later--Bert Gronberg and the bookshop, a gatherings of poets, someone sitting high up on a ladder--or was that the Gotham--from a photograph--Auden, I think--also up high, his perch, overlooking the rest. I'm looking at it now...Dame Edith Sitwell, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell. Horace Gregory, Stephen Spender. Tennessee Williams too.

She always preferred Tolstoy. We never quite got to the bottom of it. Something about the breadth--a social vision. An ongoing conversation. Or was that me?

Sea legs...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Early Spring

Possibilities of meaning--just that. A hope, a glimmer. Leaving out so much--or is it simply finding the right place to stop. Reticent--an appealing word. Makes sense, even in the ongoing rush of images and words. Not the route of apocalypse--rearing its head like some god of war--but more the gazelle, the earthworm, the butterfly...

Gentleness and accomodation--the LiJiang. Figures alongside a stream. Pale plum blossoms. Resilience, too...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Little Omie Wise

By the edge of the water, Adams Springs... Adamantly herself--and yet at the same time vulnerable. Anna Domino's reconstruction--a letter from Omie Wise to her aunt, morning of that day. Compelling, even with (or maybe because of) all the layers of the social history. That a girl expecting had to name the father--or risk losing her child to the state... A dangerous choice. But the form of the song itself is darker--not with this motivation on John Lewis' part. His act--more out of nowhere--and much more chilling.

Water spirit, descending. Harshness of the unknown land...a vast continent, faintly seen, even more faintly imagined. And yet, the local mountain air... Adams Springs, name itself, a coming forth, a beginning...