Unusual March with Bobo

March with Bobo

The discarded oak leaves shone
as autumn’s fruits in the evergreen bush.
The rain pointed the way home and we followed,
I, on one end of the leash, and Bobo on the other.
Sometimes I led, sometimes I didn’t – but I was never the master.

The morning sun was sleeping in beneath an army throw.
The falling drops struck the pools that sprouted in the street
as a drunk drummer’s fingers rattling the parchment of a drum,
marking a stuttering rhythm of ungainly progress
for Bobo and I, walking back home under the pouring rain.

Victoria, November 1st of 2010


It’s about what you do, but also what you don’t.
It’s about what you touch, what you smell, what you linger on.
It’s about what you refrain from thinking,
About the nooks and crannies you avoid at home
(The new geography of your home,
filled with countries conquered by the absence,
now inaccessible to you).

It’s about the unwanted small freedoms you inherited from the pain:
Not taking him out when you wake up in the middle of the night,
Leaving the door of the basement open
without the fear of him falling down the stairs,
Leaving the door of the bedroom open – for the same reason,
Leaving the gate open without having him wonder out into the street,
Not cooking for him,
Not cleaning after him,
Not locking the living-room to protect the carpet,
Not having to mind his habit of finding himself tangled between your legs
–  or right behind you as you turn,
Not bringing up an extra breakfast every morning,
Not picking him up to go upstairs
on shutting the house for the night.
Such freedoms, I can do without

Most of all it is about the absence
His ubiquitous absence
A thick quicksand of an absence
A pervasive, invasive, all permeating absence
With an ineffable throat I cannot choke
An absence that leaves a bottomless hole
That I nevertheless try to fill
So I remember, I look at pictures and seek his presence,
Just out of the corner of my eye
As the hole gets bigger

Last People


Yesterday night I didn’t sleep a wink. I was continuously visited by poems. In the end I had to sit up and write them down… here is one of them:

They were the last people on earth
He found her in a cave, only ten days after the world ended
She was just a child.
For years he watched her grow in an empty world
In the end he took her, one night under the reddening sky
They had three children in quick succession
who perished within days of being born
She killed him in his sleep the night after the last one died
And then she sat and wept
And watched the sun eat the world

(there is a Spanish translation of this poem)

Oración (Prayer)

Translated by my dear, dear Ania – thanks!!!

May someone forgive the soldier
who followed orders with his eyes closed.
May someone forgive the General, the Coronel,
the Admiral, the Lieutenant Captain.
May someone forgive the man
Who sat at his table each night,
after paying with his obedience for
his parcel of daily power.
– his impeccable hands, his white bread
his wife, his children. And the blood hidden
in the pocket of his uniform
or the glove compartment of a Ford Falcon.
May someone forgive the policeman, the informant,
the specialist in suffering
the doctor’s accomplice and the hooligan,
the driver of cars and trucks
that transported so many to places without names,
the pilot, the crew
that sowed graves of water in the night.
May God be the one to forgive them:
that ineffable God they claimed to believe in,
or the victims, if they so choose.
But not justice, not history.
May they not be forgiven by the memory
of people, and above all, may they never
receive the gentle blessing
of living in peace with themselves.

Victoria, BC. January 4th, 2017

The view from outside

Or The Alienation of Our Mourning

There is a lie, a deceit perpetrated on our minds by our culture of visual images; of movies and TV as narrators of our reality, which affects our expectations about loving, relating to each other, working together and even, finally, even grieving.

The paradigm of our modern and stylized idea of mourning assumes the visual/cinematographic form of a sequence of “best of” moments flowing seamlessly through our minds.

The act of remembering is aestheticized and depurated – and in the process globalized by this model. In turn, we are expected to respond to these images in correspondingly predictable ways.

Being the power of mass media what it is, I can only imagine that some of us feel by now that such is the “right” way to transit our very real feelings of loss.

Such imposition upon our nature would do great violence to our true selves – although forcing ourselves into artificialities such as this one is by no means an exclusive sin of our century – not just because it replaces and voids the functions of other senses, or because it establishes an internal time and a single threaded flow essentially unnatural, but because it infallibly leave “us” outside of our own memories: the viewer – or at most the camera.

What is essential about us, as we pair in any kind of intense relationship is the sense of immersion in it. Most disassociations, which from time to time would allows us to view events and images from our life from outside ourselves, are by definition pathological. But we have invented an aesthetic way to resolve its narrative in the visual language that we created for our shows of light and magic, and it’s very success – as that of most of our successes of the imagination – made it into a virus.

We have changed by means of similar processes for millennia, on the wings of oral traditions, theater, literature, opera… but there is the small issue of the accelerated rate and momentum that seem to leave more often than not, the human out of “human change” in the changes our ever speeding
technological development are begetting as of late.

Of course, we also change when we relate to others. We multiply into the persons we create with each of our relations. Some are very strong and have a solid and independent existence: such as the one that without prior consultation chooses the paint color for the living room, or a piece of décor, for a couple that has lived in deep consubstantiation for many years. Other beings so borne – most of them, in fact – are very faint – ghostly: just a shared joke or the memory of a shared experience; yet they do ride with us for a few floors on the elevator.

Is the loss of these persons which we miss most dearly in our Hollywood laced mode of mourning. The fact that we are not just missing the person that died or left us, but the persons we made with that other being, the daily begotten children of our spirits, among which we lived and grew together.