Vastelaovend (Wiel Rouland), Richard Blanco

 

Bij Carnaval (Vasteloavend)

 

Maastrichtse vastelaovendsposter door Famke Rousseau, 2020

 

Vastelaovend

Langsaam begint ’t bloud te kriebele,
dae sjoone tied is weier dao.
Dan viere veer drie daag vastelaovend
dat sjteit òs toch zoo nao.

Pekskes waere opgesjtreeke,
’t maske wurt nog ‘ns gepas.
Nog effe kieke in de sjpeigel
en dan begint de groote sjpas.

Drie daag maake veer òs laam,
me heurt zoo gout wie geine klaage.
Drie daag zònger òngerlinge sjtried,
me kènt weier get van-ein verdraage.

Doerde ’t daoròm mer get langer,
zoo’ne daag of driehònderdviefensestig.
Dan waor ’t laeve vööl aantrèkkelikker,
dan waor ’t alleney neit zoo lestig!

 

Wiel Rouland (1943 – 2018)
De Sint-Dionysiuskerk in Schinnen, de geboorteplaats van Wiel Rouland

 

De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

 

Moeder kiest producten

Ze krabt aan de sinaasappels en ruikt dan aan de schil,
perst een avocado net genoeg om de rijpheid te beoordelen,
polijst de McIntoshes op zoek naar kneuzingen.

Ze selecteert met verdikte handen, vingers
die zijn opgezwollen met geschiedenis rond het witte goud
van een trouwring die ze nu als weduwe draagt.

In tegenstelling tot de gearchiveerde foto’s van jonge, slanke vingers
gevangen rond zwart-witte oranjebloesem,
strekken haar gevlekte handen zich nu uit naar de kleuren.

Ik zie alle folklore van haar jeugd, de velden,
het fruit dat ze ooit zelf van de boom plukte,
de pezige wortels die ze uit de grond trok.

En nu, tussen de ingestorte dozen met yucca,
door afbrokkelende piramides van gouden mango’s,
beweegt ze zich met hetzelfde instinct en dezelfde vaardigheid.

Dit is hoe ze de dood en haar zoon overleeft,
door deze nederige plichten die nooit zullen veranderen,
door die leefgewoonten waardoor een leven een leven blijft.

Ze houdt rode druiven omhoog om me te vragen wat ik ervan denk
en wat ik ervan denk is dit, een nieuw gedicht over haar-
de druiven zien eruit als stoffige robijnen in haar handen,

wat ik zeg is dit: ze zien er mooi uit, heel mooi.

 

Vertaald door Frans Roumen

 

Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)

 

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 15e februari ook mijn blog van 15 februari 2019 en ook mijn blog van 15 februari 2015 deel 1 en eveneens deel 2.

Dolce far niente, John Ashbery, Richard Blanco, Stacie Cassarino, Silas Weir Mitchell

Dolce far niente

 

 
Nr. 512 door Roel Rolleman, 1982

 

The Painter

Sitting between the sea and the buildings
He enjoyed painting the sea’s portrait.
But just as children imagine a prayer
Is merely silence, he expected his subject
To rush up the sand, and, seizing a brush,
Plaster its own portrait on the canvas.

So there was never any paint on his canvas
Until the people who lived in the buildings
Put him to work: “Try using the brush
As a means to an end. Select, for a portrait,
Something less angry and large, and more subject
To a painter’s moods, or, perhaps, to a prayer.”

How could he explain to them his prayer
That nature, not art, might usurp the canvas?
He chose his wife for a new subject,
Making her vast, like ruined buildings,
As if, forgetting itself, the portrait
Had expressed itself without a brush.

Slightly encouraged, he dipped his brush
In the sea, murmuring a heartfelt prayer:
“My soul, when I paint this next portrait
Let it be you who wrecks the canvas.”
The news spread like wildfire through the buildings:
He had gone back to the sea for his subject.

Imagine a painter crucified by his subject!
Too exhausted even to lift his brush,
He provoked some artists leaning from the buildings
To malicious mirth: “We haven’t a prayer
Now, of putting ourselves on canvas,
Or getting the sea to sit for a portrait!”

Others declared it a self-portrait.
Finally all indications of a subject
Began to fade, leaving the canvas
Perfectly white. He put down the brush.
At once a howl, that was also a prayer,
Arose from the overcrowded buildings.

They tossed him, the portrait, from the tallest of the buildings;
And the sea devoured the canvas and the brush
As though his subject had decided to remain a prayer.

 

 
John Ashbery (28 juli 1927 – 3 september 2017)
De High Falls in Rochester, New York, de geboorteplaats van John Ashbery

 

De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

Until we could (Fragment)

I knew it then, in that room where we found
for the first time our eyes, and everything—
even the din and smoke of the city around us—
disappeared, leaving us alone as if we stood
the last two in the world left capable of love,
or as if two mirrors face-to-face with no end
to the light our eyes could bend into infinity.

I knew since I knew you—but we couldn’t..

I caught the sunlight pining through the shears,
traveling millions of dark miles simply to graze
your skin as I did that first dawn I studied you
sleeping beside me: Yes, I counted your eyelashes,
read your dreams like butterflies flitting underneath
your eyelids, ready to flutter into the room. Yes,
I praised you like a majestic creature my god forgot
to create, till that morning of you suddenly tamed
in my arms, first for me to see, name you mine.
Yes to the rise and fall of your body breathing,
your every exhale a breath I took in as my own
wanting to keep even the air between us as one.

Yes to all of you. Yes I knew, but still we couldn’t..

I taught you how to dance Salsa by looking
into my Caribbean eyes, you learned to speak
in my tongue, while teaching me how to catch
a snowflake in my palms and love the grey
clouds of your grey hometown. Our years began
collecting In glossy photos time-lining our lives
across shelves and walls glancing back at us:
Us embracing in some sunset, more captivated
by each other than the sky brushed plum and rose.
Us claiming some mountain that didn’t matter
as much our climbing it, together. Us leaning
against columns of ruins as ancient as our love
was new, or leaning into our dreams at a table
flickering candlelight in our full-mooned eyes.

 
Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)

 

De Amerkiaanse dichteres en schrijfster Stacie Cassarino werd geboren op 15 februari 1975 in Hartford, Connecticut. Zie ook alle tags voor Stacie Cassarino op dit blog.

In the Kitchen

It’s right before you drive away:
our limbs still warm with sleep,
coffee sputtering out, the north
wind, your hips pressing me
hard against the table. I like it hard
because I need to remember this.
I want to say harder. How we must
look to the road that’s gone,
to the splayed morning of cold
butter and inveterate greed.
Light comes and goes in the field.
Oranges in a bowl, garlic, radio.
In the story of us, no one wins.
Isolation is a new theme
someone says. By now
I’ve invented you. Most people
don’t like to touch dead things.
That’s what my friend tells me
when I find my fish on the floor.
It must have wanted an out.
Sometimes my desire scares me.
Sometimes I watch football
and think: four chances
is enough to get there. But
we don’t have helmets.
I want to say harder,
I can take it, but
there’s no proof I can.

 

Northwest

I admit, I am afraid of isolation,

and of the way the land breaks off here
into pieces,

and of the woman who says forever
moving her tongue along my skin
like she means it.

If I believe her, I will suffer.
If I don’t believe her, I will suffer.

Who has never wanted to be unneeding?

One year since I’ve seen the mountains
or had proof love could be enough.
The mind loves hope.

Dumb heart, come down from the walnut tree.
All the distance is ultimately a lie.

In Alaska, the heart was a fourteen-pound King.
In Seattle, she held a fishing pole to the sky.
She waited.

I will remember this version of me.
I will remember loganberry, fishscales, the future,
the letter that says:
love can sidewind.

Dear god, it is years since I’ve prayed.
I understand the birds are holy.
I understand the body leads us to love, or

this is one way of knowing the world.

 cassarino
Stacie Cassarino (Hartford, 15 februari 1975)

 

De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver en arts Silas Weir Mitchell werd geboren op 15 februari 1829 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, als zoon van de arts John Kearsley Mitchell. Zie ook alle tags voor Silas Weir Mitchell op dit blog.

A Camp In Three Lights

Against the darkness sharply lined
Our still white tents gleamed overhead,
And dancing cones of shadow cast
When sudden flashed the camp-fire red,

Where fragrant hummed the moist swamp-spruce,
And tongues unknown the cedar spoke,
While half a century’s silent growth
Went up in cheery flame and smoke.

Pile on the logs! A flickering spire
Of ruby flame the birch-bark gives,
And as we track its leaping sparks,
Behold in heaven the North-light lives!

An arch of deep, supremest blue,
A band above of silver shade,
Where, like the frost-work’s crystal spears,
A thousand lances grow and fade,

Or shiver, touched with palest tints
Of pink and blue, and changing die,
Or toss in one triumphant blaze
Their golden banners up the sky,

With faint, quick, silken murmurings,
A noise as of an angel’s flight,
Heard like the whispers of a dream
Across the cool, clear Northern night.

Our pipes are out, the camp-fire fades,
The wild auroral ghost-lights die,
And stealing up the distant wood
The moon’s white spectre floats on high,

And, lingering, sets in awful light
A blackened pine-tree’s ghastly cross,
Then swiftly pays in silver white
The faded fire, the aurora’s loss.

 
Silas Weir Mitchell (15 februari 1829 – 4 januari 1914)

 

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 15e februari ook mijn blog van 15 februari 2018 en ook mijn blog van 15 februari 2015 deel 1 en eveneens deel 2.

Richard Blanco, Stacie Cassarino, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Wilhelm Jensen, Demetrius Vikelas, Tobias Amslinger

De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

Uit:For All of Us, One Today

“Days before our field trip to the science center, Mrs. Bermudez tells our class the sun is actually hundreds of times larger than the earth. We move around it. We’re nothing, zooming through dark space, she says, matter-of-factly, as if it didn’t matter that we were no longer the center of our own little worlds. We, with crayons in our hands coloring dittos of the sun and our nine planets. We, at our desks but also helplessly zooming through cold, empty space. I don’t want to believe her; the sun is the size of a sunflower, I insist. I draw lemon-yellow petals around it and color its center sienna brown. The first time I see a lion I am nine years old, my grandfather’s hands holding me back from the cage I want to open. I can still feel his grip and the lion’s eyes staring at me like tiny, amber planets behind bars, asking me to set him free. My first kiss was under the shade of moonlit palms in Janet Carballo’s backyard, exactly two days before the end of the school year. But I’m still feeling the powdery skin behind her earlobes, smelling her strawberry lip gloss and the orange blossoms in the air already thick with summer. I never saw a comet until I was twenty-four, cupped in the darkness of the Everglades and the arms of a man I loved. It was past midnight on a Sunday, I remember; I didn’t go to work the next day. I’m still sleeping with the mangroves and the ibis, under a masterpiece of stars. The comet’s tail a brushstroke of pure, genius light.
These are more than memories. They are what lives—and relives—inside our bodies, in every cell and heartbeat. The undiscovered DNA of our souls imprinted with the minute details of those eternal moments that change our lives, our stories, forever. Sometimes they’re subtle, sometimes dramatic, but we know nothing will ever be the same the instant we experience them. And quite often they are unexpected.
On the afternoon of December 12, while casually driving back to my home in Maine, I receive a phone call with the news that I have been chosen as inaugural poet. Bewildered, I first wonder if it could be some cruel joke a friend might be playing on me. You mean like Robert Frost? Like Maya Angelou? I ask, wanting confirmation that what I just heard is true. Yes. Yes, I’m told, as I keep driving down the interstate in a daze, trying to speak, trying to fathom what has just happened. But I know. My body knows it’s the most important moment of my life as a poet, a day by which I will mark the rest of my life, the day I learned that I will be named the fifth poet ever in our history to be US Inaugural Poet.

 
Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)
Hier bij de 2e inauguratie van president Obama in 2013

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Richard Blanco, Stacie Cassarino, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Wilhelm Jensen, Demetrius Vikelas, Tobias Amslinger”

Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Wilhelm Jensen, Demetrius Vikelas

De Amerikaanse dichter Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

Mother Picking Produce

She scratches the oranges then smells the peel,
presses an avocado just enough to judge its ripeness,
polishes the Macintoshes searching for bruises.

She selects with hands that have thickened, fingers
that have swollen with history around the white gold
of a wedding ring she now wears as a widow.

Unlike the archived photos of young, slender digits
captive around black and white orange blossoms,
her spotted hands now reaching into the colors.

I see all the folklore of her childhood, the fields,
the fruit she once picked from the very tree,
the wiry roots she pulled out of the very ground.

And now, among the collapsed boxes of yucca,
through crumbling pyramids of golden mangos,
she moves with the same instinct and skill.

This is how she survives death and her son,
on these humble duties that will never change,
on those habits of living which keep a life a life.

She holds up red grapes to ask me what I think,
and what I think is this, a new poem about her-
the grapes look like dusty rubies in her hands,

what I say is this: they look sweet, very sweet.

 

Contemplations at the Virgin de la Caridad Cafetería, Inc.

Que será, el café of this holy, incorporated place,
the wild steam of scorched espresso cakes rising
like mirages from the aromatic waste, waving
over the coffee-glossed lips of these faces

assembled for a standing breakfast of nostalgia,
of tastes that swirl with the delicacy of memories
in these forty-cent cups of brown sugar histories,
in the swirling froth of café-con-leche, que será,

what have they seen that they cannot forget—
the broad-leaf waves of tabaco and plaintains
the clay dust of red and nameless mountains,
que será, that this morning I too am a speck;

I am the brilliant guitar of a tropical morning
speaking Spanish and ribboning through potions
of waist-high steam and green cane oceans,
que será, drums vanishing and returning,

the African gods that rule a rhythmic land
playing their music: bongó, bembé, conga;
que será, that cast the spells of this rumba,
this wild birthright, this tropical dance

with the palms of this exotic confusion;
que será, that I too should be a question,
que será, what have I seen, what do I know—
culture of café and loss, this place I call home.


Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Wilhelm Jensen, Demetrius Vikelas”

Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Wilhelm Jensen

De Amerikaanse dichter Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

Since Unfinished

I’ve been writing this since
the summer my grandfather
taught me how to hold a blade
of grass between my thumbs
and make it whistle, since
I first learned to make green
from blue and yellow, turned
paper into snowflakes, believed
a seashell echoed the sea,
and the sea had no end.

I’ve been writing this since
a sparrow flew into my class
and crashed into the window,
laid to rest on a bed of tissue
in a shoebox by the swings, since
the morning I first stood up
on the bathroom sink to watch
my father shave, since our eyes
met in that foggy mirror, since
the splinter my mother pulled
from my thumb, kissed my blood.

I’ve been writing this since
the woman I slept with the night
of my father’s wake, since
my grandmother first called me
a faggot and I said nothing, since
I forgave her and my body
pressed hard against Michael
on the dance floor at Twist, since
the years spent with a martini
and men I knew I couldn’t love.

I’ve been writing this since
the night I pulled off the road
at Big Sur and my eyes caught
the insanity of the stars, since
the months by the kitchen window
watching the snow come down
like fallout from a despair I had
no word for, since I stopped
searching for a name and found
myself tick-tock in a hammock
asking nothing of the sky.

I’ve been writing this since
spring, studying the tiny leaves
on the oaks dithering like moths,
contrast to the eon-old fieldstones
unveiled of snow, but forever
works-in-progress, since tonight
with the battled moon behind
the branches spying on the world—
same as it ever was—perfectly
unfinished, my glasses and pen
at rest again on the night table.

I’ve been writing this since
my eyes started seeing less,
my knees aching more, since
I began picking up twigs, feathers,
and pretty rocks for no reason
collecting on the porch where
I sit to read and watch the sunset
like my grandfather did everyday,
remembering him and how
to make a blade of grass whistle.

 
Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Wilhelm Jensen”

Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Demetrius Vikelas

De Amerikaanse dichter Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

El Florida Room

Not a study or a den, but El Florida
as my mother called it, a pretty name
for the room with the prettiest view
of the lipstick-red hibiscus puckered up
against the windows, the tepid breeze
laden with the brown-sugar scent
of loquats drifting in from the yard.

Not a sunroom, but where the sun
both rose and set, all day the shadows
of banana trees fan-dancing across
the floor, and if it rained, it rained
the loudest, like marbles plunking
across the roof under constant threat
of coconuts ready to fall from the sky.

Not a sitting room, but El Florida where
I sat alone for hours with butterflies
frozen on the polyester curtains
and faces of Lladró figurines: sad angels,
clowns, and princesses with eyes glazed
blue and gray, gazing from behind
the glass doors of the wall cabinet.

Not a TV room, but where I watched
Creature Feature as a boy, clinging
to my brother, safe from vampires
in the same sofa where I fell in love
with Clint Eastwood and my Abuelo
watching westerns, or pitying women
crying in telenovelas with my Abuela.

Not a family room, but the room where
my father twirled his hair while listening
to 8-tracks of Elvis, and read Nietzsche
and Kant a few months before he died,
where my mother learned to dance alone
as she swept, and I learned Salsa pressed
against my Tía Julia’s enormous breasts.

At the edge of the city, in the company
of crickets, beside the empty clothesline,
telephone wires and the moon, tonight
my life is an old friend sitting with me 
not in the living room, but in the light
of El Florida, as quiet and necessary
as any star shining above it.

 
Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter, Demetrius Vikelas”

Dolce far niente (Ludwig August Frankl-Hochwart), Richard Blanco, Tobias Amslinger

Dolce far niente

 

 sir-william-quiller-orchardson
Dolce far niente door Sir William Quiller Orchardson, 1872

 

Dolce far niente

Alller Sorgen leicht entbunden,
Hingestreckt im weichen Moose,
Fliehen ungezählt die Stunden,
Gleich den Düften einer Rose.

Glühende Orangen hängen
Sonnenmüd vom Baum herunter,
Vögel singen mit Gesängen
Eingeschlafne Lüftchen munter.

Faul sich dehmnd schlingt die Rebe
Sich von Stamme hin zu Stamme,
In dem grünenden Gewebe
Kocht des Weines süße Flamme.

Und in heißer Sonnenhelle
Liegt des Meeres blaue Fläche,
Ohne Rauschen, selbst die Welle
Träge ist sie zum Gespräche.

Bläulich war der Himmelsbogen
Und nun ist er roth geworden,
Wolken kommen angezogen
Mit gemalten, bunten Borden.

Und es treten goldne Sterne
Ueber mir in dunkle Räume, —
Alle Bilder, nah und ferne,
Sind sie wirklich, sind sie Träume?

 

 
Ludwig August Frankl-Hochwart (3 februari 1810 – 12 maart 1894)
Portret door Leopold Pollack, 19e eeuw

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dolce far niente (Ludwig August Frankl-Hochwart), Richard Blanco, Tobias Amslinger”

Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter

De Amerikaanse dichter Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Richard Blanco was uitgenodigd om een gedicht voor te dragen tijdens de inaugurele rede van Barack Obama op 21 januari jongstleden. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Blanco op dit blog.

MAYBE

for Craig

Maybe it was the billboards promising
paradise, maybe those fifty-nine miles
with your hand in mine, maybe my sexy
roadster, the top down, maybe the wind
fingering your hair, sun on your thighs
and bare chest, maybe it was just the ride
over the sea split in two by the highway
to Key Largo, or the idea of Key Largo.
Maybe I was finally in the right place
at the right time with the right person.
Maybe there’d finally be a house, a dog
named Chu, a lawn to mow, neighbors,
dinner parties, and you forever obsessed
with crossword puzzles and Carl Young,
reading in the dark by the moonlight,
at my bedside every night. Maybe. Maybe
it was the clouds paused at the horizon,
the blinding fields of golden sawgrass,
the mangrove islands tangled, inseparable
as we might be. Maybe I should’ve said
something, promised you something,
asked you to stay a while, maybe.

 

SOMEWHERE TO PARIS

The sole cause of a man’s unhappiness
is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.
–Pascal, Pensées

The vias of Italy turn to memory with each turn
and clack of the train’s wheels, with every stitch
of track we leave behind, the duomos return again
to my imagination, already imagining Paris–
a fantasy of lights and marble that may end
when the train stops at Gare de l’Est and I step
into the daylight. In this space between cities,
between the dreamed and the dreaming, there is
no map–no legend, no ancient street names
or arrows to follow, no red dot assuring me:
you are here–and no place else. If I don’t know
where I am, then I am only these heartbeats,
my breaths, the mountains rising and falling
like a wave scrolling across the train’s window.
I am alone with the moon on its path, staring
like a blank page, shear and white as the snow
on the peaks echoing back its light. I am this
solitude, never more beautiful, the arc of space
I travel through for a few hours, touching
nothing and keeping nothing, with nothing
to deny the night, the dark pines pointing
to the stars, this life, always moving and still.

Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Richard Blanco, Elke Heidenreich, Chrystine Brouillet, Hans Kruppa, Douglas Hofstadter”

Richard Blanco

De Amerikaanse dichter Richard Blanco werd geboren op 15 februari 1968 in Madrid. Hij emigreerde naar Miami met zijn Cubaanse familie in ballingschap en werd daar opgevoed en opgeleid. Hij behaalde een bachelorgraad aan de Florida International University in de Civiele Techniek in 1991 en zijn Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 1997. De laatste studie volgde hij samen met de dichter Campbell McGrath. Vanaf 1999 reisde hij en leefde hij in Guatemala en Brazilië. Hij doceerde aan de Universiteit van Georgetown,aan de American University en de Central Connecticut State University. Hij onderzocht zijn Cubaanse erfgoed in zijn vroege werken en zijn rol als homoseksuele man in de Cubaans-Amerikaanse cultuur in “Looking for the Gulf Motel.” Zijn werk is verschenen in The Nation, Ploughshares, de Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly Review, New England Review en Zuid-Amerika Review. Blanco is lid van de online Letras Latinas Oral History Project archieven.

 

Looking for The Gulf Motel

Marco Island, Florida

There should be nothing here I don’t remember . . .

The Gulf Motel with mermaid lampposts
and ship’s wheel in the lobby should still be
rising out of the sand like a cake decoration.
My brother and I should still be pretending
we don’t know our parents, embarrassing us
as they roll the luggage cart past the front desk
loaded with our scruffy suitcases, two-dozen
loaves of Cuban bread, brown bags bulging
with enough mangos to last the entire week,
our espresso pot, the pressure cooker—and
a pork roast reeking garlic through the lobby.
All because we can’t afford to eat out, not even
on vacation, only two hours from our home
in Miami, but far enough away to be thrilled
by whiter sands on the west coast of Florida,
where I should still be for the first time watching
the sun set instead of rise over the ocean.

There should be nothing here I don’t remember . . .

My mother should still be in the kitchenette
of The Gulf Motel, her daisy sandals from Kmart
squeaking across the linoleum, still gorgeous
in her teal swimsuit and amber earrings
stirring a pot of arroz-con-pollo, adding sprinkles
of onion powder and dollops of tomato sauce.
My father should still be in a terrycloth jacket
smoking, clinking a glass of amber whiskey
in the sunset at the Gulf Motel, watching us
dive into the pool, two boys he’ll never see
grow into men who will be proud of him.

There should be nothing here I don’t remember . . .

My brother and I should still be playing Parcheesi,
my father should still be alive, slow dancing
with my mother on the sliding-glass balcony
of The Gulf Motel. No music, only the waves
keeping time, a song only their minds hear
ten-thousand nights back to their life in Cuba.
My mother’s face should still be resting against
his bare chest like the moon resting on the sea,
the stars should still be turning around them.

There should be nothing here I don’t remember . . .

My brother should still be thirteen, sneaking
rum in the bathroom, sculpting naked women
from sand. I should still be eight years old
dazzled by seashells and how many seconds
I hold my breath underwater—but I’m not.
I am thirty-eight, driving up Collier Boulevard,
looking for The Gulf Motel, for everything
that should still be, but isn’t. I want to blame
the condos, their shadows for ruining the beach
and my past, I want to chase the snowbirds away
with their tacky mansions and yachts, I want
to turn the golf courses back into mangroves,
I want to find The Gulf Motel exactly as it was
and pretend for a moment, nothing lost is lost.

Richard Blanco (Madrid, 15 februari 1968)