BACK TO EUROPA

 

Back to Europa

after a Christ's life:

July Fourth weekend

1971

to 2004 –

I probably flew

over Morrison

while he was dying in

Paris –

Athens to New York City ,

nonstop.

 

 

The clouds are

rolling in,

crawling up

the mountain,

breaking the

heat wave?

There has been

a heat wave

and it's 64 degrees F

at 10 am,

July 3, 2004 –

not bad,

if you can get it.

 

 

The internet café

in this village of Bubion

took a week's vacation

without telling anyone,

except for me,

after I inquired

during the first day

of stoppage,

knocking on the

ancient

wooden door

that must be

at least

200 years old.

At the café

resides the town's

neatest dog,

Nolo,

a friendly

perro

who followed me home

by scent

the first time

I met him.

 

 

Finches, sparrows

and other bug chasers

circle and dart

in the blue, blue sky:

I still haven't

seen an eagle or a hawk,

but the little birds

wake me

in the mornings.

 

 

My writing table

overlooks my patio

which overlooks

4,000 feet of mountains;

perhaps the best time

is at night,

two lights only

from two houses

on the mountain to the right,

no lights from no houses

on the mountain to the left,

but there is the smooth flow

of taillights

and headlights

on the Bubion to Pampaneira

mountain road –

reminding me of

mountain traffic on Crete ,

twisting, twisting, twisting –

I will stay right

where I am,

thank you,

except for walks

to Capileira,

it's 140 meters higher,

and cooler,

anyway.

 

 

I may desire

this heat

in the winter.

The steps to this

casita blanca

may be hard to

negotiate with snow –

they are difficult enough

now,

eclipsing the

Bubion to Capileira

trek

two days ago.

 

 

The clouds

are bringing

the smell

of roses and other

flowers,

or is that a

woman's perfume?

 

 

At 10:50 am

the clouds have

arrived en masse,

my head is

in the clouds,

mi cabeza esta

en las nubes.

 

 

Two mujeres

and one hombre –

they walked

three roads,

uphill.

Perhaps they were children

during the Civil War;

they left to

ecape Death,

and now,

Viejos,

return to their childhoods

amidst wild flores .

We speak apolitically,

“muy bonita flores ,”

I say.”

“Si,”

the oldest one says,

bunches of flowers in one hand.

The mountains here

are alive

in the day and night;

it is life

as many of us

left it

decades ago.

It is life

screaming

let me be seen,

screaming

cante jondo,

let me be seen.

 

 

Later,

the stars at night

look like lights

on the mountains,

but they are not lights

on the mountains,

they are stars

in the skies,

they look like lights,

but they are not,

they are

estrellas

en la noche.

 

 

From these mountains,

and the melting snows,

flows

the cleanest and

freshest and coldest

water,

and it is

everywhere,

everywhere:

at fountains

in villages and the country

where you can refresh

yourself on the hottest afternoon;

the tap water

is the best

since Salzburg,

and may be better.

I left the path

from Bubion to Pampaneira

in this Poqueira ravine,

pushing through blackberry bushes,

bloodying my knee on thorns,

to reach a

waterfall

beneath shade trees:

I had seen

the water in Bubion

rushing as fast

as I had ever seen.

Here, downstream,

it was a torrent –

the noise had

attracted me

to the spot.

 

 

Sitting on a rock

near the waterfall,

I watched and listened,

fascinated,

the roar

of the whitewater

was all that

could be heard.

The water also

brought coolness,

as it does in these mountains,

and I stayed there

for twenty minutes or longer.

I left carefully –

a wrong step

on the rocky slopes

surrounding the torrent

would have sent me into it.

 

 

The sparrows

continue

to talk and hop

and then I read

Kazantzakis speaking of

sparrows breaking

your heart.

 

 

It is still cool.

it began with a heat wave –

96 in the shade.

Now it is

cool

afternoons and evenings

and mornings –

your toes cold

on the tile floor.

 

 

Despues cuatro semanas,

I see my hawks, or eagles,

high overhead,

above my patio,

circling and hunting.

The next day

I see the pair again,

flying lower so I can

see

their white colors,

maybe they are the

Spanish Imperial Eagles

I have read about.

 

 

Radio Nacional Espana

Classical:

may be the best

classical station

I have heard

in my life

(and that includes you, KDIF,

back in San Francisco

in the old days

before

insufferable radio commercials

that station must now play,

if it still exists,

and you,

Radio France ).

RNE broadcast

live

from the Bayreuth Festival

a week

of Wagner,

including The Ring,

in eight hour stretches

with intermissions.

RAI Italy and others

could only handle a

dos y media ora

piece.

The announcer

calls the audience,

“amigos.”

Si, nosotros

estamos

Amigos en Arte,

Amigos en Arte.

 

 

The coolness

went and came again,

August Fourth:

10:30 am – 66 degrees F.

August Fourth:

1:55 pm – 74 degrees F.

The light bursts into the eyes

each day here

from about

four pm to eight pm;

this light is intense.

This intense light

could kill.

 

 

I drank from the

grandparents' coffee cup

as I awoke today;

their nail-spike

stands on my mantle,

reminding me of

nails

I saw fashioned

in Oberwesel, Germany

at a Medieval festival

in 1986.

The nails are probably

from the same time:

the time of the ancient,

heavy dark doors

set into the

white plastered houses

throughout this village of

Bubion.

 

 

I am staying away from

Poqueira kid.

I wasn't here a week

when I saw a trailer

of too silent

brown and white

kid goats

going to market.

I will pass on the goat,

thank you.

Here

they pour extra virgin

olive oil on bread

as if the oil

were honey –

beautiful golden colored

olive oil

from Cordoba

where the Spanish heat

continues on this

sixth day of August –

far below these

Sierra Nevada mountains.

 

 

Last night I listened

to Thelonious

on the Bubion-bought

Philips micro stereo:

that early 1940s

Monk fits here:

the acoustics of this house,

and whatever else?

 

 

Soon I will return to the

Casa Lucia bodega

in Capileira,

where I found five-year old

Alpujarras oloroso vino

aging in huge barrels.

Next time

I will try

the Malaga Dulce –

they say Shakespeare

loved this wine.

 

 

Later,

I am sitting

beneath

the corn

and trees

with grasses bending

in a cool breeze,

listening to a

Ravel Quartet

on RNE.

 

 

They started

the fireworks

in Pampaneira

for Saint's Day

(in Pamplona

the annual July festival

is in honor of San Firmin) –

I saw the plumes

of smoke

rising

after hearing

what sounded like

cannon fire.

 

 

Those lines

on the distant mountains

are firebreaks

I learned,

not ancient roads –

extraterrestrial

or terrestrial.

 

 

A quarter hour later,

mas or meno,

I am still

watching

the grasses bend

near the plateau

where I have seen

wild boar and mountain goat

droppings.

I have to come here

some morning at three am

and see

what I see.

 

 

I am writing lines

on the trees'

shadows

on paper.

Otherwordly, it is.

Shadows on

lined paper

before coughing

punctuates Ravel.

 

 

A couple just

walked by,

rough looking

local country folks,

not tourists –

I give thanks.

I wrote 20 years

ago

we are all

tourists.

That assessment

is becoming

alarmingly true.

 

 

I just looked

down 100 feet

to three kid goats

and two adults,

grazing and resting.

The “baby goats”

as one menu

read,

look, and move, like

dogs or cats.

A regular

family outing

this is:

Beethoven would love them

and this bucolic scene.

Yes, I will try

to stay away

from kid goat.

 

 

The next day:

the ravine rattles

with bomb-like

fireworks –

these are not sky-pretty

delights:

these are thunderous

explosions.

They could be

the cannons of

King Philip IV

who reigned

when Spain

ruled Napoli ,

Sicilia and Milano.

 

 

So, thanks to Nikos,

I am back in Europa again.

Thanks to Nikos,

I am alive.

Nikos would love

these mountains.

I watch the sun set

behind the same mountain

every night,

the palomas blancas

then flying

from the church

to my roof.

 

 

I do owe my life

to Kazantzakis,

Helen.

He was a friend,

indeed.

I went to Crete ,

at my request,

because of your husband;

otherwise, I learned

after my asking,

it would have been

Vietnam,

where I would

have probably found

no bueno suerte.

 

 

I visited Nikos'

grave in Iraklion often

for two years:

“I hope for nothing,

I fear nothing,

I am free,”

is how the marker reads –

no mention of name

or date of birth or death.

These mountains

are like the mountains

that frame

his rocky burial ground.

Yassu, Nikos,

and,

Efkaristo.

When I feed

the sparrows,

I will thank you,

when I see

the Alpujarras Dance

that appears Cretan,

I will thank you,

for the rest

of my life,

wherever I may be,

let me remember

to thank you –

Yassu, Nikos,

and,

Efkaristo Parapoli.