This place

It is not easy to describe my childhood. Remote and strange, concern with the landscape of an alien world.

It is not raining though it rains frequently, most of the year. I remember fat raindrops lashing the rooftops, muddying the paths and cascading down murky windowpanes. How rapidly the grass grows, open fields of dense lush greenery and the great towering trees with sprawling canopies darkening whole areas of land. The sound of birds from every direction, sometimes shrill, at other times soft and comforting like the sound of the soft patter of dying rain on young leaves.

The family move along the path to the gentle swaying of tall grasses. The red dirt path is leading them to a house, some fifty feet away, perched on a plateau. They do not see what lies ahead of them. The sweet smell of damp earth mingling with the sharp tang of woodsmoke rises from the bushes catching their attention for a moment. Then they see it, a small snake laying across their path, thin and green, twisting its head in their direction, alert but frozen. They stop in their tracks, in shock at first, then two of the children move closer to the woman and grasp her by the arm, uttering cries of fear and disgust. A third child stands apart gazing silently at the snake. The woman quietens the children but remains standing unsure what to do. It is then that the quiet child steps forward, lifts her small leg and bring it down hard on the animal’s head. The woman and the other children jump back and scream in horror. Blood and ribbons of flesh falls from her shoes as she lifts her leg once more and grinds it into the dirt. ‘You devil,’ cries the woman, ‘what is the matter with you?’ The child’s face darkens but she does not look up at the woman, her eyes are fixed on the sight of her headless victim in its dying throes.

Angel

Painting in progress

The Ascend

There was a lot of blue
at first. It was the Mediterranean,
stripping me down,
throwing me off balance.
Then leaning out of the window
I was able to see the Red Mountain
creeping into the Atlantic.

The sky fell in the beams
of the headlights into the mouths
of cliffs on all sides.
It was a year for meeting strangers.
And then all at once
I wouldn’t see them anymore.

I was old and drifting
crawling through caves
in search of origins.

Above the cliff, the road dipped,
halfway down there was the pine forest
with juniper, an enormous terrain in black.
Everything moved. A nighthawk
plunged headlong into the speeding car.
The car, an orbiting axis
tilted the earth, flooding the road
ahead, a bloody scene
in a hurry, devouring the remains
of stars.

Star Gazing

I tried to imagine his exhilaration
on reaching the summit. His face
pinched from his exertions,
looking bravely into the camera
with an air of embarrassment
that seemed out of place on him,
so fragile, so passionate and yet hard
and unforgiving. He entered a forest,
walked along a river, scaled a mountain,
but perhaps he would have preferred to disappear,
would rather have been a mirage,
or a sweet love song, irresistible and haunting.
The sun was still hot. Black, glittery
trembling on the asphalt
on a packet of Amber Leaf.
I waited for him.
I had martyred him.
He wasn’t real. But he was there.