Tag Archives: Homage to Latin American Magic Realism

Attributed to Borges

   Attributed to Borges
( No particular afternoon or evening)
I was known there once
I was known there,
at that Cantina
down in the Old Quarter,
the one frequented by peddlers
and grifters and those 
bohemians seeking solace 
and redemption in anonymity;
the anonymity of failure
a failure at once heroic and 
the tapas were always just so,
and the beauty of the wines
defied the logic inherent
in their price,
just as space and time itself
defied the logic inherent 
in that Cantina;
the one on the Old Quarter
where I was once known.

Requiem For A Fighter

Chico Torres
practitioner of the pugilistic arts,
was considered by his employers
the “Men” from Reno, Nevada
as the best light heavyweight
prospect of his generation;
Chico would’ve gone on to challenge
the renowned Hagler and Hearns
and like them had his glory,
become beatified and transcendent
in the hearts of his compatriots,
but the moon crossing Sagittarius
made such a moment inauspicious;
repeated adrenalin-thrusted blows
spurting fountains of scarlet
the viscerality of their acute pain
of bone on bone on bone
sending Chico and his compatriots’ dreams
crashing down down into canvass oblivion;
his brain torn
slashed kidneys bleeding
and oxygen failing,
for Chico Torres,
the moment of glory
had already passed.

Brief Notes on a Suicide Foretold

When you wave goodbye to the World,

for the last time,

don’t tell them that you’ll never be back;

It only makes the world sad

to hear such things,makes it feel

sadder than it already is;

So when you do wave goodbye,

goodbye, goodbye, forever and anon,

don’t tell them anything except

that you’re looking forward to some

time away and having a great time,

and that you’ll write.

A Mexican Interlude

The town,
its labyrinthine streets
shrouded in cordite
machine-gunned bodies
drape over the fountain,
their sangre lending
a certain hyperbole
to an otherwise
lacklustre afternoon;
The guns’ kinetic burlesque
unrehearsed and inevitable,
exhausted their lives
of possibility;
leaving them mime artists
now without animation,
residue of others’
ulterior motives,
counters spent in
an inexplicable game
where primeval forces
rigorously determine
the fate of unfortunates
and the market price
of certain produce.

Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional,
glamorous epitome of the Jazz Age
now a faded dowager in
her declining years;
riddled with labyrinthine corridors
arteries where no lifeblood flows;
Room 4-2-6 where Dexter Stevenson
a contemporary of John Steinbeck’s
who disputed the authorship of “Cannery Row”
claiming a similar manuscript and title
lodged in Paris in ’39,now long ago;
Room 3-1-5 where Steinhoffer,
distinguished doctor of medicine
originally from Klagenfurt
glowers in exile and
cannot return home due to
some administrative requirement
that he be detained and questioned
about his work at Dachau in 1944;
Elsewhere,black and white
portraitures annotate mildewed walls
fading to a natural sepia,
there the one with Cary Grant
and Marlene Dietrich
on their way to Rio,
or was it Havana?
and there,sailor-hatted,bare chested
the great Hemingway himself,
though he never deigned
to shake Dexter Stevenson’s hand;
And in the rundown lobby,
a receptionist stares into space.

Writer in Exile

Dexter Stevenson
lime green ascot
and redundant cigarette holder,
never shook Hemingway’s hand;
never came to write the
great American novel,
never realised the fecund
potential of his literary dreams,
instead he was anthologised
in limited circulation magazines
from Baffin Island to Crete;
After the War,
a solitary screenplay was
optioned but never produced,
he had known the people
who had known the people
on the lot at R.K.O.;
They had Joseph Cotten
or was it Van Heflin,
test for the part
of George Meredith,
dissolute foreign correspondent
contemplating suicide,
John Huston was interested in
directing but made,
” Treasure of the Sierra Madre ” instead;
Dexter Stevenson’s prolonged sojourn
at the Hotel Nacional caused
much embarrassment in later years
for the proprietor and guest alike;
the raison d’etre for the hospitality
had since passed away into legend,
no-one now remembers Stevenson’s
deserted clifftop assignation with
that victim of the pill-bottle
her infamous golden locks
her winsome ” pooh pooh pah dooh ”
something he didn’t get away from;
Here deep in the labyrinth,
D.S. finally got away
from himself.

The Statue

The city of Concepcion,

its physical parameters circum-

scribed by conjectural development,

its identity arrived at through

an intricate labyrinth of

historically determined steps;

At its heart the dominant

Plaza of the Conquistadors

abutted by an inspiring

Madre de Dios Cathedral,

lending a certain gravitas to

an otherwise lacklustre civic space;

And in the Plaza’s geometric centre,

a benignly neglected equestrian

statue of Concepcion’s Founder,

the breastplated and intensely proud

The Duke Juan Aguila-Alvarez;

the barely legible inscription

at the base of ” A.D.1543 ”

obscured by an injudicious

accretion of plentiful guano

nourishing for agrarian soil,

but not for civic masonry.

Maria Alvarez :Scenes from an Undistinguished Life

Maria Alvarez embroidered her
life with meticulous detail,
consistent in her affectations
she accumulated the outward
appearance of savoir-faire;
her aspirations,unfulfilled
and unfulfillable,lent their
careless trajectory to her life;
whenever vicissitudes threatened,
a laconic smile and something
of hubris at the corner of the mouth
would sustain her amid the disillusionment;
such was the order of her life
until the careless trajectory
of a point three-two bullet
bisected her spouse’s slumbering frame,
setting her free from the borrowed melancholy
in which she had sought refuge
from joy,uncertainty and herself.

Maria Alvarez : ( The Spanish version )

(Translated by Marlena Abadcastello of
the Cervantes Institute,Manchester)

Maria Alvarez bordo su vida
con cuidadosas puntadas;
constante en su afectacion
acummulo la aparencia
externa del savoir-faire;
sus aspiraciones nunca cumplidas
y sin poder cumplirse,prestaron
una trayectoria indiferente a su vida;
cuando la amenazaban vicisitudes.
Una sonrise laconica y algo de
orgullo en el recoveco de su boca
la sostenian en medio de toda su desilusion:
asi transcurria su vida
hasta que la trayectoria indiferente
de una punto tres du dos balas
disecciono en dos su cuerpo durmiente de esposa,
liberandola de su melancolia prestada
en la cual habia buscado refugio
de la alegria,inseguridad y de si misma.


An Empty Evening & Other Concerns

Of all your books in the library,
there is now one that
you’ll never read again,
nor reacquaint yourself with
the travails of its hero on whom
you copied your life
as a palimpsest;
Of all the faces
outside in the crowded plaza,
there is now one that
you’ll never see again,
either in the bright day time
nor in the evening as once
upon an enchanted one
when you first saw her;
There is amongst all of the
labyrinthine streets of the city
one you’ll never traverse again
that once led you into that wider world;
And in the morning to come,
your mirror will be expecting you,
in vain.