Innocent Replay Test

tempted by hot spirits
seduced by any number
of holey distractions
to pierce my sight whole
I insist on honing all corners cut
folding the edges back
on collapsing shelters

I got names
I got titles
with essential questions
making marks out of vapor

look past my beard grown grey
see through the rags that fall away
to expose my speeding skin
scripted in alien wrinkles

time ticks? time flees
time antes up my itches
just a notch worse every day

every flight is a failed escape
bracing for abrupt, final rise of land

Never Say Never Again


Forgot all that meant
anything to me

--forgot meaning

yet not managed
to forget me still



Estaciones sans Route

O saisons, ô châteaux,
Quelle âme est sans défauts?

-Arthur Rimbaud

sorda sed de sol
hambre muda de caricias

ciega omisión de senderos
para el sonámbulo

el río ha perdido los ojos

arrope mortal en las cuencas vacías

regando restos erguidos
que exhiben su acertijo
de lógica causa final
la lluvia bruja de mayo
resiste repartir encantos
por cosechar mano a mano
cada hechizo de noviembre



Stray Litter On the Beach

soy el perro que en la luna escarba una hoguera de signos
                                              -Pedro Casariego Córdoba 

(No reservations, just standing by
one crossroad turnoff too far
under a close grey hollow sky)

Dogs are lonely loud tonight
barking onshore overtime
at each & every passenger
as the failing light of day
shuts out in sudden fright

A roaring swell stops draining
into stagnant summer's ebb--
The waning moon refuses
thinning comforts in a drowning tide

Omega male against the seawall--
bottom pup will not yelp out
his single fear of life that ticks
down in his unsafe dune

O hold me warm O hold me cold
to sink in two
as a raging wave
breaks old reflection down



el verano acaba
circulando la cabeza
en picada

fértil secreto
que limpia su meta
de olvido

ya es hora
de sellar señales
en ceniza


Shadow Routed Folk

Your quaint country road
snakes unwinding through woods
leaving no not one
none of your troubles behind--
as they drag like a vintage
trailer on four hissing flat tires

Mark my word: mark it well:
trouble will spring ahead
-- stop you dead in your tracks
at each hard hairpin turn
staring pinholes into dim delusion
like a startled young doe
gleaming damp-bright but brittle
in the blinding headlights

Every crossroad & fork
will test your resolve
in a clutter of signs
that confuse all direction
with circles & arrows & pithy
commands that defy comprehension
yet demand full attention
in clear contradiction
with the long-cherished heart
of your harsh-hammered inner conviction

(Still you plunge on ahead
into thick tangled night
through the moon's dented swelling
& spilled orange wash
as it pools deep about
the fresh-felled oak scars...)


Menos Menso Trigo Entre Pajas

...Ich trink so lang, bis dir mein Herz erdunkelt,
so lange, bis Paris auf seiner Träne schwimmt...
--Paul Celan

SE BUSCA celda de incomodidad acogedora
y apropiada dimensión para el deseo que decae
-- el horizonte recogido al marco en pantalla
refleja la sombra contraluz de Oriente

(-- qué abundante y generosa es la evasión
que no reconoces por mi gran culpa)

El pequeño cuenta en Francés y crece
con los años, con el terror a la muerte

Te hablo, me dirijo a tí pero mis pies
no logran salvar la distancia
ni suenan mis palabras

Sin embargo continúo interpelándote
con señas de humo y de manos, de marcas
y medios que hunden su paraíso perdido de teorías

Los huesos de mis brazos se quiebran
por alcanzar tanto muerto extrañado

Hay tantas razones para aferrarse a la vida
como para querer rendirse y abandonarla
de un salto, de un tajo, de un rayo

(no es batalla desigual: la vida
nos cuesta la vida y en esa cuerda floja
triunfamos al rendirnos exhaustos)


Deep Ecology Thoughts


question the cat's instinct or deny
solitude's mirror in song?

who's the dummy, whose voice
is being thrown?

who dares texting rhyme
to nature's roaming hum?



Tiempo en el Tiempo: Weather in Time...


en blanco cada nueva ocasión:

no quiero acortar mis días, por el contrario
pretendo extender la condena más allá
de todo plazo mensurable, de cualquier horizonte
duradero: traduciendo en tiempo
indivisible-- ¿indefinido? el espacio más reducido
--el de la memoria que alcanza singularidad
contra toda dispersión
contra ningún pronóstico de racionalidad

los desechos del día (its remains)
son la locura del mismo (la folie)
:restos que me excluyen a grito sordo y ajeno

no tengo nada
¿vibrará este cadáver, a pesar del silencio infinito?


Ground Into Moonlight (--amStrand: August Awaits)

Break away from louder company before
hot wind dies down into stale air, to fall
back in my hammock on th hollow'd shore

At full sluggish tide a sea of oil gleams flat
under the blue half-moon, tangled fast
in branches hung with sickly shadow 

Aimless motion by any other name
would not rock you to sleep nor shake
me awake but nudge us lovingly o'er
the crumbling cliff's edge

I play catch-up at best & at worst
I second-guess my truest instincts false
to prop the mute fractured fort up
'round about the wary waiting child.

(Sept.'01- July '09)


For Hibbing's Age of Wicked

(Fragments for a Paternity Day Ballad -- apologies to Robert Milkwood Thomas)

From that very first morning
after I'd been well-spanked
I looked out to the tracks
quickly receding

From stormchild early warnings
I ran but by degrees
my feet too tight on soles
too loose for beating

I won't give up, you know I won't
I shouted at my elders
who rule the world in terror and in silence
I won't give up I will set sail
against the spiral raging in the balance

From earliest awakening
I stumble against rank
to bury my source back
into its gravel

We have no origins or seed
our sages all agree
there is no whole cloth
from which lives unravel

(I won't give up, you know I won't
I whispered at my schoolmates
who rule the world in terror and in silence
I won't give up I will set sail
against the spiral raging in the balance)

Remember O rememberer
your failures all in bloom
to press your sagging wrinkles
into towers

Remember O rememberer
some saving grace of youth
might yet scream stormy daybreak
into flowers

I won't give up, you know I won't!
I whimper at my comrades
who rule the world in terror and in silence
I won't give up I will set sail
against the spiral raging in the balance



Before Science-- a toss of the single die

' Un coup de dés n'abolira jamais le hasard'

O my buddies, buds of light
indefinite beyond the rising horizon--
how close are we to our outline's dissolution
in the final shore's tender collapse?

Will we stumble through full recognition
in the threshold time before
the void's absolute, unhinged embrace?

A coward's futile rehearsals
improvise a partner in the mirror
yet all action draws its arc & blade
over the shoulder, in shadowplay screens

I had dreams like muted echoes
that refuse to fade in the unmeasured west--
how far along this track might
they guard, nay, prod my passage?

What is left? What is done?
What is right? What is gone?

A Cada Paso Anticipado

Alquimia de incertidumbres:
ahora cuaja la fé sus ensayos
y marca un imposible recinto

Toda evasión se paga con dolor
de ausencias, las huellas de su ruta
no hacen senderos en la arena

Agota la mirada una última fuente
para sus fuerzas, fascinada...

¿Qué nos queda?
Ante el cálculo vacío, ¿qué
nos hiere de urgencia, perdido aún
todo peso y volumen significantes?

Hasta aquí traza la ciencia
su contacto de dudosa perspectiva
por un sendero en llamas

Antiguo miedo, un abrazo
y hacemos las paces al repetir
los ojos abiertos


Back on the Tarmac Again, or: Am I Born to Runway?

We have an expression in Puerto Rico I am not sure is local or old-country Castillian: 'Al que no quiera caldo, que le den tres tazas'-- which may be translated as, 'whoever wants no soup, gets three bowls full'.
After six years of resisting flying-- or postponing & cancelling already booked flights-- across the Atlantic; after I finally make it into Lisbon by sea; after I finally start feeling better & have my first day of three full meals enjoyed & digested, after a month exhausted by recurrent bouts of anxious colics & diarrhea, sometimes waking me from predawn sleep: I'm flying back to Puerto Rico for medical testing while holding on to a return flight back to Madrid by end of July, with feelings as mixed as a shaken, not stirred, dry Martini.
It all came to a head after calling home from my Lisbon hotel cubicle, at the worst possible time, during yet another spasm. Of course I pushed everybody's worry buttons, besides my own. Not my best idea. Now that I feel as if I could've held the course to Barcelona & tasted some outstanding small-producer natural & BioD wines at Slow Vitis (link to event program in Spanish) --tomorrow!!-- I half-regret my decision, but the whole mysterious workings of my emotional & physical health have been foregrounded so dramatically it feels like I'm getting an intense, in-my-face lesson in accepting & letting go. Trust. It's a bitch.


What's been going on, by way of backstory--

This is a current draft of my mission statement for my wine project in Mendoza:

AlTo RosSo is a personal wine project named to honor the memory of my late brother, Alberto Tomás Rodríguez Sobrino--

Alberto was an alcoholic who died in the late hours of May 21st, 2005, after being fatally shot in a confrontation with three officers of the Brevard Co. sheriff's office in Orlando, Florida.
Contradictory statements on the part of involved parties point to ambiguous circumstances which have never been fully explained.

AlTo RosSo proposes to make & market the wines that, in a better world, I would have wanted to share with my brother: subtle but deep natural wines, made to be part of a meal.

AlTo RosSo will dedicate all earnings, (apart from the strictest, minimal covering of costs) to a fund dedicated to a dual purpose: proactively, it will seek to match existing monies for the more effective training of law enforcement officers in non-lethal crisis management.
It also expects to be able to contribute in part to defray legal costs in cases where the use of lethal force is deemed egregious & excessive enough to warrant independent investigation of the exculpatory verdict of 'Justifiable Homicide'.

Funny, ha-ha, I'm still struggling with the Spanish version. It's a priority, as Hans Devloo agreed
to retail some of the Merlot I contracted at his B&B, Posada Cavieres, & I need to have a skeleton site with the brand registered as a domain name so he can print the URL on his labels.
Oh, & register as a not-for-profit whenever I get a break from medical testing in Puerto Rico.


Lisboa, what's been going on--

Big mistake to assume Princess Cruises would have some kind of robust wireless broadband on their ships. Could never connect to Skype on their wi-fi service.

My GI tract troubles exploded into crisis a couple of days after my arrival in Mendoza-- as if my mild irritable bowel syndrome had gone ballistic, waking me up middle of the night with anxiety near panic, colics & diarrhoea.
Was stupid & too casual about following some natural medicine prescriptions, got a little better, a little worse, in the end better enough again to let myself get talked into not cancelling my Transatlantic cruise, as I was ready to do.
Managed the nine days at sea on a strict diet & one glass of wine with my meals. (OK, OK, & Fernet-Branca well-diluted in seltzer after dinner)
It was good to digest some food & take solid craps after three weeks of having nearly everything flush out of me only minimally processed!
It also helped in no small way there was a Chinese traditional medicine practitioner on board with an accurate & attentive touch for acupuncture therapy. Thank you, Tamara!

...Then I took a chance on some quiche here at Hotel Ibis-- something like a Euro-MacHotel chain for business meetings-- & my near-permanent intercostal back spasm is screaming-squeezing heart-pumping hard.
This actually gives me hope my friend Leandro & Dr. Whatsis in Maipú are right & it's gallbladder trouble, rather than the worst of my anxiety-fueled fears, which focus on pancreatic trouble-- although my gallbladder showed up plain & clean in a dinky little sonogram I had done.

Sleeping on Argentino NSAID Oxadisten, aspirin, & Valerian root. I guess I'll fly home when I start running out. Hoping against hope I can find the energy & painkillers to make it to Slow Vitis in Barcelona this weekend. Hope dies last.


Terminal Pródigo

buscar la cura tal vez
perdido el estricto norte
puede aún dar con salud

como halla justa palabra
la coincidental etiqueta
de mercader o poeta

si es el hombre lo que hace
¿desconocerá por ajeno
al que otra cosa ejecuta?

cada respuesta es añico
sin medida para armar
crucigramas de respuesta

queda el papelón quizás
de un obligado libreto
a duras penas sentido

(la más clara voluntad
-- error o facilidad--
ejerce resistencia pura)



Slow Writing: Winey Wanderlust Conflicts

Das Wort, von dem du Abschied nahmst, heisst dich am Tor wilkommen,
und was dich hat hier gestreift hat, Halm und Herz und Blume,
ist längst dor Gast und streift dich nimmermehr.

Paul Celan, Die Feste Burg

...You see, I will unhesitatingly-- shamelessly!-- admit I'm the wrong man for the job. Perfectionist & detail oriented, it takes me too long to figure out what I feel, think, or truly care about under a given set of circumstances-- much longer still to manage passably coherent statements about whatever does eventually-- or suddenly, surprisingly, ganz plötzlich!-- arouse my passion--
So I pad my damp trench with books, papers, & souvenirs to pace in muffled shadow & hold the fort for sudden death, crouching down to restlessly nap in the leaky, crumbling modernist nightmare my Mama Pajama's dream house became on Dr.Dad's strict budget: thirty-five thousand 1971 dollars, with endless interest paid over & over by the heart's flowering stalk.
I toast recent losses & save the empty bottles after taking the occasional tasting note.

Among significant deaths around the year's Winter turn-- Harold Pinter, Bettie Page, local expat restaurateur Joe Rao & producer, actor, media entrepreneur Tommy Muñiz, -- I am most recently & personally in mourning these days for Daniel Nagrin, an insufficiently recognised force of American dance. He was one of the inspirations I was at once too proud & too insecure to become a student of...
Somewhat uncharacteristically, the big impression he made on me was not as a dancer, but with his own adaptation of 'The Fall' by Albert Camus staged as a monologue. I had only recently moved to New York, & it was former high school classmate Héctor Huyke who urged me to go see the piece with him...
It seems Mr. Nagrin died the very day after I went through this:

I spent a sleepless, restless night in cabin 9 at the Riverside Campgound in Big Sur, breathing deep, trying to relax, shutting my eyes against the grey dawn that crept over the steep, burnt-out slopes of the Santa Lucia Range on December 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents. An overhwelming sense of failure washed over me. The suggestion came to mind there was absolutely nothing left for it but to buckle up into my rental & drive off one of the unprotected hairpin turns at speed, drawing a final arc into the darkly glimmering Pacific below. My life had already pretty much fallen off a cliff, why not make a statement of literalizing the emotion? A voice in my head rehearsed the line, 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished' over & over as I tossed & turned, anxiety building with the pressure to act...

The upshot of it was I'd spent something like my year's expenses (near 10,000 bucks or so, if you must know) on ten weeks knocking about California, achieving absolutely nothing of what I'd set out to do.
(...no inexpensive, uncomplicated way to bring back to Puerto Rico any of the wine I've accumulated through my participation in Crushpad projects or visits to wineries...more worryingly, no ground gained in my search for an importing partner for the 150 plus cases of Argentinian wine I made a handshake deal with Alberto Cecchin on, no label or logo design, nothing, nothing...)

(--à suivre...)