Small Town Station, 1918-1920
Me and dreams where futures bud
Not without strain, me again
and the irrefutable trial and error
of getting a life.
to freshen up the breath.
Shortcuts that head straight
to stations and pools of light. The blue
of columbine and the blue of jacaranda.
One bar is set lower, another higher.
Winds that swell the stratocumulus
and winds that sweep them away clumsy-like.
Stray cats and dead alleys
in the tiny center of town.
Sluggishness and couldn’tgiveadamnism.
Hmmm . . . how strange to leave (and not to leave).
Hustle-bustle and hush-hush.
Wrist movements and digging in the heels.
Twenty to, a quarter, ten.
Luggage on the platform and cigarette butts on the ground.
Moral values and security cameras. A whole
jumble of incandescent faces and consumer
goods (which I shouldn’t like to be called that).
And, some day, you and me.
East River, c. 1920-1923
The greatest influence
my reading of Siddartha
exercised on me
had much to do with rivers.
Ever since that moment
they acquired a meaning
most profound and symbolic.
For a while I’ve played with the edge
of knowing we live in a never-ending
dream. I refer to an urban dream jam-packed
with buildings, hydrocarbons, aromatic mint teas,
textile factories, tanneries, and a river
that reflects the essence of dusk and provokes
a weird effect, cathartic and liberating. The city
institutes laws and rivers are rebels that try their damndest
to break them (although they rarely get away with it).
Every river is a type
of dream that lies inside
a more global dream of life,
and flowing it resembles us:
descending from pretty far away
by fits and starts, it disseminates
and embodies the spirit
of what could have been.
Office at Night, 1940
They stayed at the office, at night, alone,
and the tense atmosphere
wherein they find themselves plunges them
into uncertainty. The workplace
is their habitat, the substitute
for their homes. Forces
them both (this is called not letting on).
Beyond the slightest doubt,
shyness has taken root in them.
After knocking off, their cares are less intense
and before long forgotten (Deo gratias).
Private people suffering in private places
or, better than places, in a warren
of white walls and functional furniture.
Disturbed when confronting the idea
of a night sky filled with stars, the man,
the atomized and lonely man,
clings to the messiness of his desk.
The woman, standing at the file cabinet,
fishes for documents or something-or-other.
Sure enough, said woman’s dreams
and the man’s scruples converge
in a chronic fiasco. Anxiety
invades her till she loses
every point of reference.
This is the closed circle
through which they sink
from spiritual withdrawal
to absolute, physical solitude.
Rocky Seashore, 1916-1919
Some twenty meters below,
the breaker lays bare the tidal currents
that whip the coastline
with waves remote-controlled
smashing against reefs
patches of rubble-coarsened beach
and sea-stacks that stand erect, like clenched fists,
offshore. Whoever descends there,
gingerly picking his steps, will bear witness--
from the privileged spot on the rockbed
amidst a mass of foamy curls--
to unique, soothing perspectives
where the hereafter and immediacy,
totality and nothing correspond.
Things start to vaporize,
an incommensurable plenitude
revives the senses inside out
and for the first time in your life
you aspire to unconditional love