10 Calle Jose Maria Pemán
Sometimes I think I could stay here
forever. Stay here, in this room?
someone asks, as if it were possible.
It’s not all bad, sunlight
on the curtains until five thirty. The days
will get longer. Which day is it?
A day like a day in February
in another room that is made
and unmade in the mirror.
A silent day passes
itself. Sunday without a word. Elsewhere,
people are having a latte.
Sometimes I wonder what will happen
to all of this. I cannot even imagine
the next day
with all of its decisions. I can't see your face
for all of the other faces in it.
Night tucks its edges
under the hills. These hills?
Do you let it
enter the room?
* * * * *
Once More to the Bar of Jesulín the Matador
How is it that his bulls preserve the longest days
of summer in the fields in their black eyes
fixed in their skulls, which are fixed to the wall,
just as sometimes I graze a hidden veldt
of memory where I had not seen you yet, then
suddenly did, and paused,
slate-eyed, slack-jawed, as if rendered still
and senseless by the southern wind?
* * * * *
A Visitor’s Guide to Andalucía
A journey by back-country bus and you’re there
among olive trees, hills rendered in lavender,
a burnt-out cinema, and teenagers
thieving bags from fruit stands on a dare
to be the last boy left in the village and declare
for the youth a new precedent to wear
track suits, facial tattoos, impractical hair.
Like everyone else, the elders stare
at pink-skinned guidis (with air fare
this cheap, of course the coasts are fair
game, so builders’ daughters tour like blue-blooded heirs)
and barter lotto tickets from wheel chairs
outside market stalls from coasts to foothills, where
it’s known how farmers made fascists disappear
with brandished scythes and sticks into thin air.
A breathtaking cliff. That's neither here
nor there, but word is passed down crystal clear
as bells issuing at mid-day from clock towers.
If you listen closely you can hear
over the din of every citizen, crowding in the town square.
* * * * *
You are hungry. You want
to ask for food
but don’t have the right
words. Everyone seems to know
exactly how to be. You try
to tell a story
about bread and a night bus
through desert. It’s
pathetic. Olives appear
as if out of pity. You are ashamed
and in another room, someone
eats pork with plum sauce
and whistles a song
you think you heard from a car
passing by through long fields,
thinking about a lover
orthe center of the universe.
* * * * *
Dear river, dark slick moving
near the orchard in a private light,
tell me about your emptiness.
Your waves are indistinct. I want to be
them, like waves of a cotton dress
in wind. Of nothing
but itself. Indifferent,
the dress and the woman are, by now,
nearly strangers while the air
slides between like guilt. Someone
inevitably gets up in August
to leave, appalled, and turns
to be washed by the sun. And then, more
than a private language
or the promise of a common sorrow
or happiness, I desire
the dress: unblemished, pure
as snow water.
Nick Bernard is no prisoner.
Published On: February 14, 2013
Permanent Location: http://www.forgetmagazine.com/130214b.htm