Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was an intense guy.
We found him in some mom & pop Mexican place in San Antonio,
scribbling on a napkin, 
burning the place down wherever he parked his heart.

We paid for his breakfast.
Ginny let her shawl fall off one shoulder,
and the guy looked like he might slip right into her skin
and stay there, if he could have.

There is always something feminine about a man who can write;
something feminine, too, about a man who really adores women.
We sense it.
We're like birds who see our island and head for it without another thought.
I'm not saying he wasn't a man--
Ginny couldn't shut up about him, the rest of the trip,
like he had lit her, and she kept going off in spectacular colors.

The bluebonnets were out, in all the fields by the highway.
They only grow in Texas, and we stopped to stretch out in them,
drown in them
like a bunch of boho dolphins, sleek and weird,
gloriously out of our element.

When we got close to Dallas, we stopped in Waxahachie.
Ginny was asleep in the back, and Neruda stayed with her,
his arm around her like a mesquite branch across the early sun.
She was wearing red, and if you ask me,
he wanted to suck her like a strawberry, 
but was too protective of her Gypsy dreams to wake her.

At the washeteria, we scavenged empty soap jugs
and weaseled a last load out of them.
Federico Garcia Lorca was there, half sprawled across two plastic chairs,
high as a kite, his hair a mess, his mind a marvel of the age.
I kissed him as a sister would,
to get him to join us, and he did.
I kept close, whispering him my poems,
taking the wheel as we crossed north into Oklahoma.

You will find the right man, I told him,
even though he didn't speak English.
In Spanish, he told me I had already found the right woman,
but that she was hidden,
riding in the night-pocket of God's long sweater,
howling at the stars.

That was when I knew I liked Federico better,
though I was careful never to let Neruda see it.
Anyway, he had Ginny,
and we all had the white stripes going by beneath our wheels,
the warm southern air,
and our four heartbeats which came together for a while
in the unlikely, gorgeous perfection
of our uncommon common language.
__________
  
for Kerry's Pablo Neruda challenge at Real Toads. I don't like writing sonnets, so I hope that this will please, instead.

39 comments:

Heaven said...

What a story Shay ~ I love this part best:

and our four heartbeats which came together for a while
in the unlikely, gorgeous perfection
of our uncommon common language.

I must say though, I enjoy listening to Spanish poems, even though I don't understand them perfectly ~

Anonymous said...

I can see this smack-dab in the middle of a Cowboy Junkies album, and that is never a bad thing.

Rene Foran said...

I adored this. I want to stretch out and roll around in it :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have no quibble with the way in which inspiration for this poem reached you. If a reading of Neruda's sonnets showed you the way in, I'm glad of it, and over the moon as a reader of poetry to have got a chance to read such a magnificent thing of beauty as this is.

TexWisGirl said...

i felt like i was riding in the car with you.

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

I enjoy Neruda, Velarde, Pacheco, Miguel de Uno Muno, Spinoza, Ortega y Gasset, etc, etc. etc. (the etcetra's from King and I)
I find tat their writings/sonnets come from the thicker, darker, more passionate blood.

Nice story, though, mi amiga

LaTonya Baldwin said...

Babe, write the way you damn well please. This is wicked cool. Whew, gonna read it again. The rush is addictive.

Björn said...

What a marvelous story.. and rightly no Sonnet .. but it doesn't matter in my book... (I love to write sonnets) still a great read.

Mama Zen said...

This is so damn good I don't even know where to start!

hedgewitch said...

Consider this an echo of Mama Zen above; don't even know where to start--from the almost hidden, startling immediacy of the imagery to the graceful, born story-teller's unwinding of a perfect narrative, there is nothing to say about this poem of the heart except it is vintage, classic Fireblossom at the top of her form.

grapeling said...

Shay, I wish I could write like you. I'm glad that at the least, I can read and travel your thoughts. Wow. ~ M

Peggy said...

This is such a readable story! So well done. Glad to see you took this prompt in a different direction--makes it fun.

Loredana Donovan said...

I really enjoyed reading this and wonder if it is real or imagined as it sounds so authentic, with the characters coming to life ... I especially love the last stanza, harmoniously bringing it to a close :)

HermanTurnip said...

What a intrepid band of wayward travelers this group would have made. Would you possibly have room for one more on the bus?

Margaret said...

My hair is blowing, I'm breathing in the bluebonnets and warm souther air, all with my new found friends... such a personal story that puts the reader in the back seat!

You break the rules so well, Shay :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

"...burning the place down wherever he parked his heart."

Loved this one from the very beginning.

Great job.

xo jj

Susie Clevenger said...

What a perfect story..."four heartbeats which came together for a while
in the unlikely, gorgeous perfection of our uncommon common language" multiply that by all who come here to read and you will find an untold number of heartbeats coming together.

Lolamouse said...

What a fantastical road trip!

Daryl said...

i love your long poems ..

Helen said...

YOU are a rebel ~~~ and we love it!!

G-Man said...

(Slugs down a shot of 1800/with a beer chaser)

Ahhhh... Shay? Muy Bueno!!!

Ella said...

I want to go on a road trip with you ;D
Love the enchantment n' wonder of what an evening with him would be like!

My favorite lines:
"The bluebonnets were out, in all the fields by the highway.
They only grow in Texas, and we stopped to stretch out in them,
drown in them
like a bunch of boho dolphins, sleek and weird,
gloriously out of our element."

Nothing better than to be gloriously out of one's element ;D

Anonymous said...

This natural flow of thought flows into a realm of natural jazz a unique music of desire.

Lynn said...

I love the line about the bluebonnets, too. Great read!

Anonymous said...

Stay outa Louisiana or I might just kidnap Neruda. This was fun! Much better than a sonnet.

Sara said...

As always, you create a wonderful tale in words. I loved these words,

"but that she was hidden,
riding in the night-pocket of God's long sweater,
howling at the stars."

That's a great line. Please, oh please, can I borrow your mind/creativity for awhile? Mine's gone missing, but yours is definitely making a statement. I love it:~) How do you do so well and for so long?

Cloudia said...

Admiration should be expressed!
We do love birds that make for our islands!


ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

brudberg said...

This is even better on a second read, I thought I recognized it and I still remember when I wrote to that prompt...

Love how you made this story as a feminine Kerouac version of "On the road"... I dig it

Herotomost said...

I am in love with this. From the first line to the last, this had a more sophisticated beat poet feel to it. A better written on the road, and the characters were like chocolate melting on my tongue. You have written a lot...a lot....a lot...of amazing things since I started reading you, but this could very well be my favorite.

Sherry Marr said...

Loved seeing Waxahachie show up in another poem. I hung on every word and line, especially loving "we're like birds who see our island and head for it without another thought", and the hidden woman, the right one, "riding in the night-pocket of God's long sweater, howling at the stars." Wow. No one tells a tale like you do.

grapeling said...

Again, in awe of your capacity to depict and evoke ~

Jim said...

Wonderful, Shay. So realistic, I was virtually riding there with you, dying after meeting Pablo. We stopped at his house in Santiago, Chile. It is now a museum. I liked your rundown on the fellow who writes poems. If I am up for reincarnation I will request to be a woman, a strong willed female.
..

Toni Spencer said...

I much prefer Lorca to Neruda. This poem is stellar. The bluebonnets and the two of you like dolphins or like birds in the sky blue of them. This is such a tale of a poem, a story of love desire and words. I awoke from my long nap to this treasure of a poem. Seeing Waxahachie in a poem is magic. UI agree with Sherry - the hidden woman. You could outwrite Neruda if you tried, if you dropped your principles and wrote sappy love stuff. But you come close to Lorca. You do kiss him like a sister and so he stays with you. The "birds who see our island and head for it without another thought". I love that line so very much.

Vivian Zems said...

Every once in a while I meet a poem that isn't all sweetness and light.
This is one of them. This is a poem that says 'shut up..I'm talking!'
What a road trip!

Thotpurge said...

Absolutely brilliant.. loved every line!

Old Egg said...

Did I like it? Yes I did for it is one the best poems I have read this year...well probably THE best but I don't want to look like I am sucking up to you. No, I didn't just like it, it was magnificent!

Marian said...

Love this journey. I hope Lorca was right.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I remembered this poem as soon as I started reading.. the way one remembers the opening paragraph of a favourite and iconic novel. My money is on Neruda, and you are so right about men who love women.. the metaphor of birds seeking the island is perfection.

Outlawyer said...

Wonderful. Thanks. k.