My copies of García Lorca arrived yesterday in the mail. The title misleads a little, though I have hurried through a poem or two in translation. But it’s not the Spanish poet so much, or even Ginsberg in his supermarket—more the notion that a single poet could somehow disrupt the imposed order of things, that the goons who have declared themselves God’s chosen would drag him out in the middle of the night and kill him. García Lorca becomes a standard—something Neruda understood.
Love, both passionate and quiet, and justice—the sharing of the earth, seeing beauty in a single dandelion blossom, a beauty free for anyone with eyes, a child’s belly full, the warmth of an open fire, workers huddling around the flames in the darkness before daybreak, their hands stuffed in the pockets of their jackets—is the connection we have with the beginning of the world. You and I knew each other then, the poet says—from the beginning of the world. Try to remember, the poet urges.
So my books have arrived, and I have this imperative to market, to push—Bill Hicks whispers in my ear something about marketers being the spans of Satan. I give it a try and already feel disconnected from the poems I tried to write. This need to somehow be recognized which is beside the point—as if to be recognized is somehow the same as being loved which it is not.
Meanwhile, Donna is in Nicaragua, trying to help. She is more and more finding in the mountains where Sandino once carried out his insurrection a refuge from the insanity of what we have become here, a nation of greed and crumb snatchers. The ethics of I’ve got mine, you get yours. A land where the money changers have taken over the temple.
And I am writing these little poems, because these poems are who I am as much as anything.
On my desk, under the glass cover, directly in front of me, is a photograph of Barbara posing in front of the Monterey Boat works in Monterey, California, 1977. Our first California trip together. She is looking back at me, wearing shorts, her purse hung over her shoulder. We had driven her Datsun across the desert without air conditioning. We had stopped in San Angelo for me to meet her aunt Laverne—Laverne a beautician who once talked me into dying my eye lashes—this will make you so pretty, she said. Barbara looks back at me, then and now in the photograph. In a story we drive down the coast toward Big Sur and climb on of the hills along the coast. But that’s only in the story.
I sip my coffee. Take a breath. Take inventory of my fingers and toes. I am still alive, the poet says. But how much longer, Bob writes him, saying he will drive up to collect his copy of the book, neither of us know how long each of our narratives…