Worlds Away

what the nomad brought home

Lamento della zingara

“Da due mesi o poco piu…” *

Summer’s green deception now unwinds itself with straw,
The daylight tips and tumbles in reverse,
And fireflies are fading where we fantasized we’d glow.
The grass we never set ablaze just cuts
Into my legs the imprint
Of a scene that never was,
The disconnected lines of names we hardly knew,
The lacerating echoes of our unborn shouts into the night,

And now,
While sterile sunlight spills its gold
Upon your back and turns
Its back
On me…
I wander sticky streets alone,
Instead of melting,
White-hot, liquid moon beneath
Your secret,
Silver tongue.



“Io non mi fidavo; era solo sesso. Ma il sesso e un’attitudine, come l’arte in genere. E forse l’ho capito. E sono qui. E scusa… ma se non urlo, muoio. Non so se sai…”
(“I wasn’t committing; it was only sex. But sex is an expression, a state of mind, like art in general. And maybe I’ve got it figured out. And here I am. And forgive me… but if I don’t shout this, it’ll kill me. I don’t know if you know…”)

Still not ready to return to WordPress, guys. I feel bad about being almost completely inactive, but it’s been a stressful sort of time. This isn’t quite the type of post I’d prefer to be dropping by to leave either (so gloomy!), but I’ve spent the last several days steeped in poetry and wracked by an Italian ballad I only somehow just discovered this week. It’s called “Imbranato” by Tiziano Ferro, and it’s been my soundtrack as I try to articulate some things that have been bugging me.




The title of my post is a tribute to the Italian ballad that gave voice to my unrest. It’s also something of a tribute to my own Italian heritage and my lifelong nickname, “zingarella.” The title evokes the dilemma that lies at the heart of this poem — there are pains attendant to being something of a “zingara.” My family began calling me “zingarella” (diminuitive form of “zingara” or “gypsy”) when I was very young. They had sensed, even then, my passion for the exotic. And the person I’ve become has lived up to her name. But gypsy travelers and free spirits move in transitory circles. And so a thousand laments are born of the way these sorts of people live and learn, love and lose.

So here I am with one of the poems I’ve been working on. It’s not “finished,” but the line from “Imbranato” about the passing months made me feel it was timely to post something now. Aside from tonight’s visit to WordPress, I’m not sure when I’ll be “back.” It’s difficult to stay away for so long, but it’s even more difficult to reconcile my love of writing and of the writing community with the less than poetic demands of my Ph.D. progress. Again, friends, I offer you my apologies and my sincerest hopes that we can be in touch again when I may finally make more of a lasting return. Peace and love to all of you.

July 31, 2010 Posted by | Memories, muse, Nostalgia, Poetry, Sex, Solitude, Time, Travel, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Origins

Rendida a tus huellas
Despertando entre tus cerros
Amamantada de tus susurros
Caminando con tus fantasmas
Maldiciendo a tus muros
Venerando a tus alturas
Respirando tus nubes
Sudando tus temblores
Y llorando tu sangre

nací.

 

No pretendo escribir poemas en castellano, el cual no es mi idioma nativo.  En castellano, falto el ritmo, la rima, y la fluidez suficientes para ser poeta.  Por eso, no piense en estas líneas como poema.  No más fue mi intento de comemorar esta fecha — que tiene gran significado en mi vida — con un par de versos que expresaran el amor y respeto muy profundos que llevo en mi corazón por una tierra distante.  El lugar que ahora sólo visito en mis sueños.  El lugar donde encontré, donde se clavó, y donde permanece mi alma.

Tal vez, quién sabe, allá la dejé vidas atrás….

January 4, 2009 Posted by | Español, Memories, muse, Nostalgia, Obsession, Travel, Wanderlust | , , , , | 6 Comments

Queens

This is who we are.
Our secret selves at bay,
Animal instincts tamed,
We walk as wolves sprung from the underbrush
Who bow their regal heads
Under spells never spoken.
The beast within us longs to lunge
To bite
To feast,
But instead, our eyes,
In fleeting glances on the street,
Avert to hide the savage self,
And so a thousand encounters never come to be.

In this festival of near-forgotten freedoms,
The darkness alight with neon life,
My pulse pounds with the memory of what never was.
And every breath I stole before this moment
Returns me to our animal intentions
As we play at human roles.

The words you long to say,
The miles you have challenged,
The locks that I have broken,
And the silent codes that save me
In the doorways,
By the train tracks,
On the corners,
Under streetlights,
Where I find myself reborn–
Dissolve here in the instant
That our bodies
Move apart.

And though we toe the fading line
Between the fairytale of civilization
And the enchanted forest of our own destructive drives,
I know where you come from
And you sense where I’ve been,
And one expectant look reveals that
Neither of us truly lives
In this world that falls away
Behind the shadows.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Travel, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aqlla

So you sing to me again
That hollow, interminable lament
Which tears me from my sleep
To shackle me with dreams.
You always find new tricks to bring me home —
This stubbornly devoted concubine
Who finds privilege in the humble shadow
Of your fiercely glacial air,
And lingers with surrendered reverence
Around your volatile, smoldering depths.
Yes, I recognize your invocation;
It’s a breath,
A regal salutation,
And a kiss.

But tell me, love —
Do you remember our game?
Do you remember
How I once melted in your embrace?
How completely I surrendered to the searing pain?
How obediently I waited
As the flames of passion threatened to destroy me?
How I believed that I would suffocate
Before you let me go?

Do you remember
How I branded myself,
Playing with fire
To cauterize your wounds?

I will return
With a torch
To clear the shadows of your long, tormented night.

Just, please —
Don’t burn me now.

 

*A mentor told me years ago that she thought I was an aqlla in another life.  Kind of a random thing to say, but I resurrect the idea here.  This title, from Quechua, is a play on numerous levels of meaning.  I’ll break some of them down, should you be curious:

Aqllana/Aqllay = to select/choose — This poem was inspired by an opportunity and the need to make a decison.

Aqlla = (lit.) chosen one

Aqlla = (historically) a bride of the sun.  The aqllacuna (pl.) were taken from their homes, having been singled out (hence “aqlla”) for a life of political and spiritual service to the Inca Empire.  This decision, externally imposed, was based on physical appearance, and one could not refuse to be an aqlla.  Furthermore, as the state appropriated an aqlla’s sexuality, she lived under perpetual surveillance.  Owned by the empire, she could be given as a concubine — or sacrificed — for the greater glory of the state and the higher interests of the people.  Stakes were high; an aqlla was not free, and “transgressions” of the flesh, as well as any sign of disrespect toward the men she was ordered to serve (service), were punishable by death.

In this poem, I refer to fire not only for its simultaneously destructive and purifying effects, but also because tending to a hallowed fire was one of an aqlla’s sacred responsibilities.

A little pre-Columbian trivia for you  😉

October 7, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Time, Travel, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vagabondage

I wasn’t so innocent when,
Sleeplessly rapt in the throes of
A virgin
Wanderlust,
I cried out to you
On instinct
From worlds away.

A shameless amateur
In the art of survival,
I confessed my desperate hunger
For the instant when you,
Laid bare of your own volition,
Would thrust me
Past the point of no return so that,
Indelibly marked by your tempestuous
Yesterday,
I could secure tomorrow’s consummate
Salvation.

Recklessly announcing my
Coming,
I pleaded that you impress upon
Your wide-eyed initiate
What only the chosen learn
And that you reveal that
Naked, primal self
I longed to know
With an abandon bordering on the
Predestined.

I came to you in the night,
A pilgrim unwittingly sacrificing
The flesh
To obtain transfiguration through
Your touch,
And you,
Wasting not a minute–
Though I fell damned by their abundance–
Anointed me with unbridled
Authenticity
As there in the fervor of my devotion,
You forced yourself
Ravenously into my
Soul.

Taken down by a spear you shot
Through centuries,
I was pinned
Like all the others who pray
In your bed
That with morning will
Come
Mercy.
Your brazen lust
Drove me to the edge
Of reason when,
Over and over,
You threw me
Breathless
To my knees
In a violent embrace that
My iron will
Refused to unbind.

My God,
You literally shook the ground
Beneath me!
And you rose to meet me at every
Unforgettable peak
Where you taught me
How hard
I could take it,
Satisfied
No less than I had asked for,
And provoked
Far more than I had ever expected.

My love, in truth,
It was not a novitiate but a mystic
Who designed the wager
Against her own self-preservation
That allowed you to
Find me inside,
Crush down upon me ever
Harder,
And press deeper

….Deeper!

Deeper….
Into my memory.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Sex, Travel, Uncategorized, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aventura

Quick!
The future is upon us,
But we can still escape
If we’re already leaving.
Hey, there’s no time to pack!
What do you need anyway?
Just throw on your favorite daydreams,
Cash in your finest scars,
Dig out that old map you left buried
In the back of your soul,
Grab all your lessons,
And sneak through the crack you still see at the window,
Or, hell, it’s all the same–
Just open the door, and swagger on out in triumph.
There’s more than this,
Wake up!

This isn’t child’s play;
The fairytale was that we needed a plan–
Preposterous.
And every itinerary we’ve designed? —
An option,
Not a sentence.
The exotic calls
To what was always there within,
And I’m making my break for the gate.

Don’t drag your feet.
Right here, right now
Is the chance to check your baggage.
Turn in who you’ve become.
Claim who you always were.
Come morning, the alarm clock will sound its victory call,
And again, you’ll only think the battle lost.
Stand your ground.
Surrender yourself.
And run with me.
Novelty is made of forever.
And it starts tonight.

I was inspired to write this immediately after a conversation with a dear friend who just returned from a year in Argentina, no less racked by wanderlust now than before she set out.  As we talked, scheming up all manner of ways to appease our inner nomads, my friend chuckled as she noted, “We’re such romantics!”  Well, I write this in honor of that sentiment, that dream, and that reality.
Aventura (Spanish) serves as multiple conjugations of the verb aventurar — “to venture,” but its cognate, “adventure,” is perhaps the most obvious translation, and it can carry connotations of amorous ventures as well.

May 16, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Travel, Wanderlust | , , , | 2 Comments

The Traveler

The eyes may be the window to the soul
But the voice is the ticket for its journey,
Drawing, only if we’re lucky, the most intrepid of travelers
Like an irresistible siren song
To explore those depths within us,
Devouring the landscape with their eyes,
Illuminating the ancient corridors of spirit with golden fingerprints,
And tearing through the wildest jungles with flashes of insight,
But never trying to tame, no, relishing
The primal beast they find so submlimely seated
Somewhere in the being–
Enthroned on instinct,
Enrobed in the sumptuous trappings of human feeling,
Crowned with the dazzling jewels of articulation,
And wielding the precious sceptre of literacy.

So, traveler, perhaps our eyes have not yet met–
This time, at least,
But let me take you on this accidental journey
To the depths of my soul
Where we both might be surprised to find
That the lines of self begin to blur
In the blinding brilliance of my naked sincerity
And the earthy essence of your raw crusade for truth
Where you go seeking something palpable
On the timeless, winding river of words.

It’s hard to define what inspired this poem about the art of expression; I was watching “Laura non c’e” (Nek’s duet with Cerena).  Maybe it was the timelessness of the setting in the video, Nek and his absent muse, the tortured artists running frantically through some underground labyrinth, the beautiful illumination of the dark corridors they explore, I’m not sure….This poem is about even more than I am sure how to express in prose, so check out the video if you’re curious; maybe the imagery will convey what I cannot.

  

January 21, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Wanderlust, Writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

Escape!

It’s summertime, and I’m feeling that familiar wanderlust. I put a list here about travel memories.  Feel free to add your own ideas!  I’m thinking of….

emerald mountains
train rides
stepping out your door into the Renaissance
houses of every color
vibrant gardens defiantly bursting out of their wrought-iron confines
sipping drinks with friends at a mellow cafe in Quito’s nightlife district
the simple pleasure of buying chocho salad
the Tuscan countryside
watching newborn llamas get introduced to their neighbors for the first time
cobblestone streets navigated by horse-drawn carriages
the future whispering through scattered coca leaves
knowing exactly where to go when you want steak, eggs, and rice at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning
watching from your post atop a bell tower as the dawn breaks over a stately, old city
ice-covered volcanoes on the horizon
being serenaded on Lake Titicaca under a sapphire sky
Christmas displays at St. Peter’s
waterfalls
waterfalls that are frozen
being able to browse through a shopping mall and people-watch while listening to the waves crash below you and feeling the ocean’s breeze warm your face
the sweet taste of the forbidden herbal mate, and its calming, medicinal smell
the sound of a language you don’t know
realizing that you could go anywhere in the country for $10
Florentine markets at night time
the crisp breeze blowing in from a historic harbor
the sound of panpipes driven by the beat of animal-skin drums
the excitement of finding yourself right next to a set of enormous chimes as they herald the birth of a new hour — on the arm of someone you love
cappucino and cannoli
a fresh, warm little yuca bun
knowing that you can find anything that you possibly could need right there on the street
the quaint sophistication of European cafes
the beautiful sight of the glowing Milky Way as it stretches itself over the glassy waters of an enormous, inland sea
ice cream in another country (It’s never the same!)
the exhilarating pain when you submerge yourself in a frigid mountain stream, immediately after a dip in a volcanic hot spring
sitting on a bench somewhere and contemplating all the history that has taken place around you
the fragrance of roses on the air
enjoying fried pork and beer in a cozy shop, while the flies tirelessly pursue one another in circles around the center of the room
and, most amazing of all, being able to share any of those things with someone special.

…..I suppose you’ve figured out by now that I’m feeling the urge to travel. Feel free to add your own haven to the list!

July 26, 2007 Posted by | Memories, Nostalgia, Travel, Wanderlust | 6 Comments