Black Florentine - Buenos Aires, 9th of July, 2011 - Currency - Non Capisco Più Niente - Flowers - Mexican Samadhi
I don't pretend to know what they know
the darkened street, the grubby sale
the things they’ve had to do to survive
I don't intend to thrive on borrowed tales
of Victorian subterranean Baudelaire
transposed on African skin — Beware
Beware! His Nubian eyes, his Rasta hair!
to shock and excite the suburban tourists
in search of things they cannot know
All I can say is that I saw them in the park
furtive groups hiding from the carabinieri
and in the streets selling bangles and scarves
All I can say is that amid all the chaos
Darfur refugees and the endless murk of Congo
here in Florence I remain entirely in the dark
Buenos Aires, 9th of July, 2011
On the corner of Córdoba and the 9th of July
you can be forgiven for thinking that the world's a stable thing,
that sophistication and the wide boulevards of St. Germain and Fifth Avenue
will always lead to prosperity and art.
The Two Towers may fall, and Mordor may increase its holdings,
but Zurich and Buenos Aires will prevail.
Castro and the Taliban can do their worst,
but who wants to wear their baggy clothes
and preach their worn-out doctrines
when you can watch the women go by
on the corner of Córdoba and the 9th of July?
In the dust and ruin of the ancient civilizations
where entire economies collapse
and dirhams and rupees fall
into a treardrop pond of infinite zeros
the tourist rises from his cab
like the Canadian dollar
and strolls into the bazaar
Non Capisco Più Niente
When I was young and first began to travel,
I thought that one day, if I kept travelling
I'd become a polyglot.
But now, forty years later,
surrounded by the beauties of Campo de' Fiori,
I find that I'm not.
I thought that if I travelled widely
I'd encompass the world;
that its riches
and its deepest secrets would be unfurled
before my staggered eyes.
But now, forty countries later,
I just look at the girls.
think of these flowers
think of their perfect shapes
and their chaotic yearning
how they emerge from the centre
from the sap of life
from the roots and branches of time
how the purple swells outward into space
along a sidewalk of two thousand years
in Agrigento, Sicily
luxuriant, decadent, unbuttoning their buttons
popping from the sweet sad passion of blue and red
out from the green stem
like love blossoming on a perfect day
in dimensions unknown to us flowers mate
and open their beauty to every wandering Jack and Jill
who are so busy going up their hill
they forget to smell the roses
until their souls lift from the earth
and it's too late
Lord Shiva makes a Brief Visit to the Italian Coffee Company
in the Zócalo of Oaxaca City,
January 24, 2009.
What's there to do
but live in the present
with all its catalogues of history,
with all the things that brought us to where we are?
Here in the present. Nada mas.
But the present isn't a fixed point;
it's in constant motion, contracting and expanding.
All the molecules of history move around it
and take us from where we are
to somewhere else.
These points are simple and obvious.
But to get the hang of the moment,
to flow from moment to moment,
to get that easy balance between now and then and what's to come
requires an insight even the gods dream of.
Next: La Bellezza