Archive for August, 2010

OLD AGE

Bones aching; frail memory. Troubles moving; pain in the joints.

Do I know who you are? Oh yes, I do. You are the kind man that brings me flowers; Sweets, and a little “mate” to soothe the soul. A good man that holds my hands; tells me how pretty I look today – in spite of my wrinkles, white hair & shaking hands.

Bones aching, names that fade away, dates that get lost; a sparrow singing on my window becomes the most precious sound ever heard.

Do I know who you are? Oh yes, I do. You’re the kind man that brings me a hot water bottle — to keep my feet warm, my blood circulating. A good man that always holds my hands and tells me how sweet my smile looks today – in spite of the wrinkles, white hair, trembling voice.

Bones aching, sounds & voices in my head; troubles walking; back pain.

Do I know who you are? Oh yes, I do. You’re the kind man that brings me a loving rose every morning And read good stories, like “The Little Prince” by the chimney.

I know who you are; A good man that holds my hands; tells me how beautiful my eyes look today – in spite the many wrinkles on my face, the heavy white hair on my head, falling, and my trembling hands that hold his, tight, always.

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Advertisements

Santiago

The path was lost under the shadows of tanks, concentration camps; torture calling her name, a friend’s body. Dust and silence covered the city. Hope agonized, frozen in the glacial ice of their shattered spirits. Alone, they wondered; surrounded only by the smokey chimneys of the working class barrios And the factories where Victor Jara used to sing. Fear was the middle name of the new rulers.

For a time the search was on; navigating tumultuous waters without destination. There was no rhythm, no songs; no compass to guide them. Death passed by and smiled. Los descamisados, The underclass, The underdogs; and, the intellectuals, for their fist time felt alone, dying thousands of times amidst the madness of machine-guns, black boots, the relentless screams of their companions.

Yes. There they were, blasting the national anthem day and night; shamelessly laughing our sorrows; parading incessantly the new world order; blindly embracing its darkness.

The lost tribe moved through nocturnal abysses fighting futile battles With the killers of the roses, The murderers of songs, The poet’s assassins. How do you fight an army when you have no guns?

Underground broadcasts, bring me the stencils, and let us fix the broken presses dammed! Use chalks on the streets, on the walls; glue hand written flyers on lampposts; pass the canister; resist! That’s how.

Awake in the middle of the night, holding the sweet hands of their lovers, they sat in circles listening to fairytales As if to recapture their lost innocence; cleanse their ideological naivete. The pale skins, unabated bones needed to feel again –see, touch, smell, be hugged; loved, unafraid. How to explain their despair; the opulence of the seemingly victorious? What to make of the rumors that some savior was coming down from the Andes to lead us to a new dawn?

Leaving the Promised Land wasn’t easy. And so it was that in search of hope the tribe travelled To unknown destinations, exotic names, unpronounceable words. Distance clouded their memories; they grew old.

The new geography becoming the alchemist of then and now; making the pain and the human losses left behind, A constant nightmare to process with therapists, employment counselors and social workers, they slowly became unabridged, once again whole.

Here they come to new shores; they are now in many places – A diaspora of flesh & bones, carrying a heavy luggage of ideas to rediscover. No more strangers who have settled new territories, they have blended; found new places to call home. Anew song they sing From time to time And remember

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

All of A Sudden

Overcast skies, rain was pouring hard. In the middle of a field, a solitary man was marking the seconds, minutes, and hours before he was to meet the dawn. The silence of the faithfully departed awaiting.

He has been counting the days for a long time, often hiding from the crowds. Looking for words to make sense of it all, painfully realizing he was being extinguished, paralyzed by fear – Was there blessings or rewards for such a journey of no return? Are these truly sacred grounds? In deep sadness, he stared at the sky and wondered.

Lord, the man said, listen carefully; this freedom doesn’t fit me, I cannot hold it in my hands. There’s nothing here, but empty fields, toxic clouds, and a darkness of doom. Sure your tears move me, and yes, I hear voices who counsel “follow your heart” – rest at the foot of the biggest mountains – but, what good would it do?

The man in the field figured this is only a passing moment; his deep sadness will dissipate after the rain, soaked by a broken earth, longing for a broken heart. Then he wonders – should he be blaming somebody? Was it his fault? Hers? Theirs? … What would he find were him to look deeper inside his own soul? Would he come to terms with his own mortality? Hear more voices calling for his name? Seductive songs for a bruised ego? Who knows.

No matter. There he is, laying on his bed, struggling to keep the monsters at bay, shivering; consumed by fear; wallowing in inexplicable tears, staring at the shadows, his, hers, theirs. Suddenly he felt suspended, out of place; floating, the world at his feet. How marvelous! He could touch the stars; become enraptured by the embrace of God, if there was one.

A door shuts tight. Hammering away, large nails crash bones. The undertaker has arrived. A word or two is said at the memorial service – few are there. Was he a decent man? An honorable man? Did it matter? Did anybody cared? He was a measured man, said the padre.

The praying is final.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

TU

– que tu boca contenga las palabras mas dulces del universo.

– que huelas a las fragancias mas delicadas de tu jardin.

– que la comida de ayer resulte el manjar mas exquisito de hoy.

– que los rios de primavera sean tus aguas para navegar plena, segura.

– que tus calidos ojos, todo lo bendigan, todo lo protejan, todo lo revelen.

– que la danza de tus pies descalzos, inspire la musa de mis ensuenos.

– que te invites al placer, acompanada de tus manos tibias y reposadas.

– que nada te resulte extrano, raro, fuera de lugar, desplazado.

– que mi espiritu sea el hogar que te cobije, cuando no haya alberge.

– que tus labios recorran mi piel hasta quedar sin aliento.

– que pronuncies mi nombre cuando el alma esta sola.

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB Canada

Miedo de Caer / Fear of Falling

How do you feel about her? Went I pronounce her name I shiver inside.

Que sientes por ella? Cuando pronuncio su nombre me estremesco.

Her body? Went I imagine her naked lying beside me I tremble.

Y su cuerpo? Cuando la imagino tendida desnuda a mi lado, tiemblo.

And her lips? Went I kiss her I disappear; “here” does not exist.

Y sus labios? Cuando la beso, desaparesco; el “aqui” no existe.

Her touch? Nothing but a burning flame that shakes me to the bones.

Y su tacto? Una llama ardiente que me sacude hasta los huesos.

Her voice? The soothing sounds of love calling, weaving; weaving me.

Y su voz? El sonido suave del amor que me llama, tejiendo; tejiendome.

And her eyes? The vastness of undiscovered oceans, they swallow me.

Y sus ojos? La inmensidad de oceanos aun por descubrir; me tragan.

Her mind? Formidable intellect, repository of wisdom and secrets.

Y su mente? Intelecto formidable, repositorio de sabiduria y secretos.

Do you love herWhen I pronounce her name I shiver inside, afraid.

La amas? Cuando pronuncio su nombre me estremesco, tengo miedo.

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Nothing Else

A new year is about to begin. Amidst the noise of fireworks, the celebrations of what’s to come, the interminable chattering of certain classes; the usual endless list of pundits prognosticating this & that, often missing the large canvass of our resolve + the classic procrastinating resolutions; the calendar of the past 12 months reveals interesting stories about the state I/we are in.

For example, we remember long conversations with friends and foes about the politics of change; our spirited the imagination for a moment suspended with pillars of hope. We review completed projects, others pending funding, or at least, some level of enthusiasm to make it happen.

The calendar speaks of funerals attended; ongoing dialogues with loved ones about unfulfilled expectations – of course, of reflective moments of solitude; some unfinished business. When I double check my recent itinerary I see gaps, holes, empty spaces, double entendres, convivial closures, missed opportunities and, disturbingly, seductive entrapments lingering in the shadows, waiting for a resolution; any.

Remember that biting commentary by your supervisor at work? Or the paternalistic look from some of your co-workers for wearing the wrong clothing’ brands? Who’s that sad person for crying out loud? And what about the pompous remark by your oversized boss about the need to synergize, maximize profitability? – Do as I tell you and your Rolex is coming by the next quarter!

Indeed. One can also remember the sweet scent of love passing through and being unable to grasp it; too busy reading the last memo from head office, or trying to make sense of a lengthy report that give you only number, frozen statistics, but no whys? Did you see her look? Noticed her body, full of sensuous contours? The delicate movement of her hands? What about those big & wide Mediterranean dark eyes suggesting a night of unremitting passion and mystery? Yes, I said, who’s that Goddess descending upon us with such charm?

The tragic death of a dear friend flashes by; he wanted to disappear, blend in – he killed himself instead. The blessed internet almanac tells us of bloody war, earthquakes, famine, and drought, dead soldiers in an untamed land; the rightfully departed, a planet burning; way too many people hurting. The year also tells a story about what’s missing in one’s life, what wasn’t accomplished; ideas that went nowhere; the diminishing stamina of one’s aging, surgical wards, litigations, pending divorces, and negotiations concluded painless, even laughingly.

Light shines once more over pointless troubling existential dilemmas; does God actually listen at all? We comment on the many illuminating acts of kindness, the generosity of an estranger; the successful food drive; the failings of some manufactured “celebrity.” Someone said that the New Year offers the possibility of surprise; to some, of healing & closure, of listening and following their hearts. For others, the New Year becomes a prophecy foretold – no point in trying anything original. A successful friend of mine suggests we should commit ourselves to using our brains more frequently; become less gullible! She yells from the corner. I bow in agreement.

While the vuvuzelas offer a moment of respite and strange fascination, others will try to recast the past in a futile exercise to recapture a wondrous time long gone. Many yearn for something anew, refreshingly moving, pedestrian, even. I am one of them. Tomorrow I’ll be looking for something utterly engaging. A new compass. At its core, it must be authentic, less fearful – aiming at removing the numbness that surrounds me. Truth be told; nothing else would do.

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Faro & Ancla

Te miro. No te conosco. En algun momento dijistes amarme. Que lo nuestro era duradero. Me haces falta. Me alucino, vienes y vas, sin un porque o un hasta pronto. En una pena negra me dejas. No estas. Te busco; no te encuentro. Eres una sombria aparicion. No te reconosco. Maldito jarabe de mala cepa! Eso fuistes. Agua podrida; putrida acides, viles pantanos.

El placer de golpearme con anocheceres de pesadilla fue tuyo. Me ahogastes en sedas ensangrentadas. Sin palabras, te vas, me abandonas. Tu herida me duele, todavia; un decenio mas viejo. Hoy, me saturas de amarguras.

Quisiera detestarte y sin embargo no siento nada. El abandono es completo; tu victoria absoluta; tu partida, irremediable. El ancla de mis abrazos mas dulces, deplorablemente perdida. En un invierno negro espero la primavera para que ilumine mis ojos asombrados. Amor eterno, dicen. La rabia? Quizas.

En los pasillos volvere a verte. No me llores; buscame en los baules de tu memoria. Todo se repite, como el eco de tus suspiros. Sin faro ni ancla navego, solo.

__________________

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)