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Seán Mac Falls  Dec 2013
Galicia
Seán Mac Falls Dec 2013
Beyond the massif peaks of Europa,
Above the ancient pillars of Heracles
Where rain and ocean are weaving,
Lays a fabled kingdom born of waves
And noble strands, my beaten hearts
Haunting, the lost, lush sylvan lands
Of Galicia.
                   Where Incomparable, dark
Haired women, mythic, of Amazonian
Fairness, side the valleys and moors
Of soon forgotten dreams and secretive
Wolves slide amongst warmed runnings
Of the ram and moans of ewe, where
Way bountiful seas are over spilling,
In octopus and pearly gemmed shells,
The scalloped pilgrimages unfolding,
Where incense burns with under stars
Encased, the lost Atlantean temples
Of Egyptian sands and storied Gaels,
The clad forests of wandering Titans,

Where snow white beaches end forever
Unmapped in told footsteps, castaway,
As was the magi gift of treasured yards,
Enlightenments, of old and golden isles
Pearling the coasts, sailing the sweet airs
Crossing Iberian gates, to Elysian, eternal,
Galicia.
Seán Mac Falls  May 2013
Galicia
Seán Mac Falls May 2013
Beyond the massif peaks of Europa,
Above the ancient pillars of Heracles
Where rain and ocean are weaving,
Lays a fabled kingdom born of waves
And noble strands, my beaten hearts
Haunting, the lost, lush sylvan lands
Of Galicia.
                   Where Incomparable, dark
Haired women, mythic, of Amazonian
Fairness, side the valleys and moors
Of soon forgotten dreams and secretive
Wolves slide amongst warmed runnings
Of the ram and moans of ewe, where
Way bountiful seas are over spilling,
In octopus and pearly gemmed shells,
The scalloped pilgrimages unfolding,
Where incense burns with under stars
Encased, the lost Atlantean temples
Of Egyptian sands and storied Gaels,
The clad forests of wandering Titans,

Where snow white beaches end forever
Unmapped in told footsteps, castaway,
As was the magi gift of treasured yards,
Enlightenments, of old and golden isles
Pearling the coasts, sailing the sweet airs
Crossing Iberian gates, to Elysian, eternal,
Galicia.
Seán Mac Falls  Nov 2012
Galicia
Seán Mac Falls Nov 2012
Beyond the massif peaks of Europa,
Above the ancient pillars of Heracles
Where rain and ocean are weaving,
Lays a fabled kingdom born of waves
And noble strands, my beaten hearts
Haunting, the lost, lush sylvan lands
Of Galicia.
                   Where Incomparable, dark
Haired women, mythic, of Amazonian
Fairness, side the valleys and moors
Of soon forgotten dreams and secretive
Wolves slide amongst warmed runnings
Of the ram and moans of ewe, where
Way bountiful seas are over spilling,
In octopus and pearly gemmed shells,
The scalloped pilgrimages unfolding,
Where incense burns with under stars
Encased, the lost Atlantean temples
Of Egyptian sands and storied Gaels,
The clad forests of wandering Titans,

Where snow white beaches end forever
Unmapped in told footsteps, castaway,
As was the magi gift of treasured yards,
Enlightenments, of old and golden isles
Pearling the coasts, sailing the sweet airs
Crossing Iberian gates, to Elysian, eternal,
Galicia.
Seán Mac Falls  Aug 2012
Galicia
Seán Mac Falls Aug 2012
Beyond the massif peaks of Europa,
Above the ancient pillars of Heracles
Where rain and ocean are weaving,
Lays a fabled kingdom born of waves
And noble strands, my beaten hearts
Haunting, the lost, lush sylvan lands
Of Galicia.
                   Where Incomparable, dark 
Haired women, mythic, of Amazonian
Fairness, side the valleys and moors
Of soon forgotten dreams and secretive
Wolves slide amongst warmed runnings
Of the ram and moans of ewe, where
Way bountiful seas are over spilling,
In octopus and pearly gemmed shells,
The scalloped pilgrimages unfolding,
Where incense burns with under stars
Encased, the lost Atlantean temples
Of Egyptian sands and storied Gaels,
The clad forests of wandering Titans,

Where snow white beaches end forever
Unmapped in told footsteps, castaway,
As was the magi gift of treasured yards,
Enlightenments, of old and golden isles
Pearling the coasts, sailing the sweet airs 
Crossing Iberian gates, to Elysian, eternal,
Galicia.
Seán Mac Falls  Mar 2015
Galicia
Seán Mac Falls Mar 2015
.
Beyond the massif peaks of Europa,
Above the ancient pillars of Heracles
Where rain and ocean are weaving,
Lays a fabled kingdom born of waves
And noble strands, my beaten hearts
Haunting, the lost, lush sylvan lands
Of Galicia.
                   Where Incomparable, dark
Haired women, mythic, of Amazonian
Fairness, side the valleys and moors
Of soon forgotten dreams and secretive
Wolves slide amongst warmed runnings
Of the ram and moans of ewe, where
Way bountiful seas are over spilling,
In octopus and pearly gemmed shells,
The scalloped pilgrimages unfolding,
Where incense burns with under stars
Encased, the lost Atlantean temples
Of Egyptian sands and storied Gaels,
The clad forests of wandering Titans,

Where snow white beaches end forever
Unmapped in told footsteps, castaway,
As was the magi gift of treasured yards,
Enlightenments, of old and golden isles
Pearling the coasts, sailing the sweet airs
Crossing Iberian gates, to Elysian, eternal,
Galicia.
Victor D López Dec 2018
Unsung Heroes

Although I stand on the shoulders of giants,
I fail to see much farther than the bridge of my nose.
The fault in mine. The shame is mine.
For I am unworthy of you, my beloved dead.

Emilio (Maternal Grandfather)
Your crime was literacy,
And the possession of a social conscience,
That made you yearn to see your beloved Spain remain free,
And prevented you from suffering fascists lightly.

You did not bear arms,
For you abhorred all violence,
You did not incite rebellion, though you
Rebelled against the foreign and domestic enemies of freedom.

As best I can tell you were an idealist who,
In a time of darkness,
Clung passionately to the belief,
In the perfectibility of the human spirit.

You would not abide the lies the regional papers carried,
And translated news from American and British newspapers,
About the gathering storm,
Sharing the truth freely with all who would listen.

You gave speeches, and wrote speeches delivered by others, in support of a doomed
Republic collapsing under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption.
You were warned by friends of your imminent arrest and offered passage back to the U.S. or to
Buenos Aires where so many of your friends had already found refuge.

But they would not get your wife and nine children out,
And you refused to leave them to their fate.
They came for you, as always, in the middle of the night,
These cowards with stern faces hiding behind machine guns.

They took you prisoner, not for the first time, to the Castillo de San Anton,
A fortress by a most beautiful, tranquil bay,
Where they tore out your nails, one by one, and those their
Gentlest caresses while they asked you for names.

You endured, God knows what there, for months,
And were sentenced to be shot as a traitor at La Plaza de María Pita.
But the Republic had friends, even among the officers of the fascist forces,
And one of them opened your cell door on the eve of your execution.

You had contracted tuberculosis by then, yet, according to grandmother, you
Managed to swim miles across the bay in a moonless night, to safety in the home of
Another patriot who risked his life and the lives of his family to hide you in
His root cellar and made a trip of many miles on foot to find your wife.

He found your home and told your wife of your unexpected reprieve,
And asked her to send some clothing and some shoes to replace your ***** rags.
You eldest daughter, Maria, insisted on accompanying the stranger back on foot, taking
Clothing and what provisions she could quickly gather and carry to you.

From time to time you accepted the hospitality of an overnight stay
In the attic or hay loft of a
Republican sympathizer as these were not hard to
Find in the fiercely independent
Galicia under the yoke of one of its own. But mostly you lived in the woods, with active guerrillas for years.

You lived with all the comforts of a hunted animal with others who would not yield,
Your only crime consisted of being on the wrong side of a lost cause.
I hope it brought you some comfort to know you were on the right side of history.
It brought none to your wife and none to your youngest children.

As you paid the long penance for your conscience, once a month or so, after some
Time passed, you visited your wife and children. You were introduced to the little ones
As an uncle from afar. They did not know the bearded wild man who paid these visits
In the middle of the night and left wearing dad’s old, clean clothes.

The older ones, Maria, Josefa, Juan and Toñita, all in their teens, told the little ones
That their “uncle” brought news of their dad. The younger children, still wearing the
Frayed cloaks of their innocence, accepted this, not questioning why he stayed in
Mom’s room all night and was gone before they awoke the next morning.

Your grief at playing the part of a stranger in your own home, of not embracing your
Children on whom you doted, one and all, for their protection and yours, as there were
No shortage of fascists who tried to ply them with pastries and candy,
Seeking to use their innocence as a weapon against you.

Your parents were relatively wealthy business owners who farmed the sea but
Disowned you—perhaps for your politics, perhaps for choosing to emigrate and
Refusing to join the family business, or perhaps for marrying for love in New York City
A hard working girl beneath your social station in their eyes.

You lived just long enough to see Spain delivered from war,
Though not freed of her chains.
You were spared the war’s aftermath.
Your wife and children were not.

No books record your name. Most of those who knew you are dead.
Yet flowers have long perpetually appeared on your simple above-ground burial site in
Sada that holds your ashes, and those of your eldest son, Juan, and second-
Eldest daughter, Toñita, who died much younger than even you.

Your wife has joined you there, in a place where
Honor, goodness, decency, principle and a pure,
Broken heart,
Now rest in peace.
You can hear all six of my Unsung Heroes poems read by me in my podcasts at https://open.spotify.com/show/1zgnkuAIVJaQ0Gb6pOfQOH. (plus much more of my fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English and Spanish)
Mateuš Conrad Mar 2016
.english colonialism used to be passive-aggressive, english post-colonialism is a strange dynamic of former colonial nations playing the endgame of colonialism with non-affiliated nations of the british empire (affiliated by trade anyway, although not based upon origins of the ruling elite's extending arm), there's a hot topic in england between the irish and the polish, the irish are provoking the polish into racism so someone else can look smug with a pakistani friend on the london tube.

you know the amount of pain i see writing my father's
invoices of manual labour with the irish *****
apparently running
the show protecting northern
irish outputs of poetry and cigarette smuggling -
keeping us migrants "in check"?
god the loathing,
i try to improvise each invoice
with an excess knowledge
of the english tongue to break through,
but my sole considering comforter
is still death,
**** this *******, i rather die
than see my father's eyes eye me
hurtful hopeful of seeing my "bright new life"
when i was nearly murdered by
an egyptian school-friend / childhood friend
and later told: boy you better pretend you're
mad... boy my ***, your father is just
an x-ray technician... go back
to the northern africa of your
pretending to be a semite and build
another pyramid... *******, **** all of this,
days of casual pretentious squeaky clean
non-offensive poetry are over...
gentlemen - let's broaden our minds... swear a little
take up oaths with truth...
we were born to down a pint of concrete before
ireland was born, rushing out of pubs
when the call was made: concrete has arrived!
run, run run run! break legs and whatnot,
because in an irish pub talking to a homeless
person in akimbo giving him a cigarette
is cause for argument with an irish girl
trying to get, familiar;
unlike the sword, a stick has two ends...
you can smack someone with it,
but then someone can rebel and grasp the same
stick and smack you with it, for a suckling
taste of a kiss in memory of reprimanding manners.

- and i do remember the good stuff coming
out of h'america...
    i once owned a copy of blue valentine
by tom waits on c.d.: scratched that record
from over-playing it...
found a vinyl copy in the shop today...
splashed out a staggering £20 on it...
lucky for me the mp3 record comes free...
     £20 is a lot?
       well... better that £20 which played
in the background as i finished off decorating
the kitchen...
   rage 2 deluxe edition for ps4 -
      £44.99... so sure... i splashed out...
          thank god i'm not a gamer...
with games it's like with movies...
   notably? vikings season 1...
     i thought i could watch it a second time...
couldn't...
   a bit of a hit and miss...
    with games and movies...
      when the narrative gets exhausted...
and you're still honing in on the narrative
whether a passive spectstor or the role player
in the game...
but investing in an album?
       background background...
and an almost infinite array of the comeos
against the record...
   one cameo decorating a kitchen
another cameo finishing the day off with
some cider on a windowsill...
   but once upon: that's what h'america was
about... united we stand,
divided we fall... blah blah...
           and it looks like that right now...
the cultural export zenith peaked and it isn't
coming back...
   not for a while at least...
now we only look at not the united
         but the balkanized states of europe...
the states pulling at each other:
where once there was a cohesive collective
      export of pure cancan h'americana...
tom waits' blue valentine...
                          now i'll am getting
"culturally" is a bunch of vlogger content...
export of problems,
existential qualms without support on
existential pillars from continental thought
of 20th century europe...
   19th century doesn't count:
   not even nietzsche does: but kierkegaard
doesn't.

what are those lyrics from that vomito *****
song enemy of the state?
we shall send you, in ever increasing number:
ships, planes, tanks, guns: that is your purpose
and, our pledge
... (1941 state of the union speech
sample)

most americans are not aware that soon
the primary export of our national economy
won't be cars, or food, or microwaves.
instead we'll be exporting death.
instead will be exporting death.


   perhaps, once upon a time...
now the export is quiet different,
   at its cultural zenith of exported values...
it would seem h'america choked on
a bitter pill... h'america no longer provides
the sort of culture worth exporting,
notably in cinema in music...
                               in literature...

the behemoth lost all of its juggernaut
momentum... and stumbled into rehashing old
ideas... it's not plagiarizm as such:
more a plagiarizm ex per se...

norman davies: god's playground -
   1795 to the present:

the Belweder is a palace in Warsaw...
(belvedere: a beautiful view)
constructed in 1660 -
  the White House in Washington D.C.
constructed in circa 1796...
by god, what a similarity!

   polish emigration to the u.s.a.:
in social terms their educational and communal
organizations are less effective than those of
the ukranians,
   in political terms their problems
command less notice than those of the blacks,
chicans or amerindians...
in the vicious world of the american ethnic jungle,
the 'stupid and ignorant Pole' is a standard
stereotype... once the noble lord...
reasons no doubt exist: like the irish and
the sicilians... the greatest influx came from
Galicia containing a large number of
the 'wretched refuse': people so oppressed
by poverty and near-starvation:
supressed linguistically, religiously...
the instinct of mere survival...
accepted the most degrading forms of employment...
exploitation: 'industrial *******'...
they were the gangers of the great american
railway age...
a canadian textbook can be cited
(j. s. wordsworth, strangers within our gates,
toronto 1972):
'it is hard to think of the people of this
nationality other than in that vague class of
undesirable citizens' -
   very much like to today:
   to think of canadians being a people
beloning to the making of mankind -
    without the canadian concept of mankind
being: peoplekind...
even woodrow wilson (then) prof. at prince-ton
deemed the Poles to be 'inferior'.

- but who was to ever to keep grudges...
grand torino - the movie, starring and directed
by clint eastie-boy-sparking-wood...
waldermar kowalski... dumb pollack...
why do poles no integrate within a community
bias as such?
                   the proverb:
if you want to succeed within a framework
of immigration: steer away from your
fellow countrymen...

                     almost all other cultures that
come, but the host's nitty-picky:
oh look at our asian labradors...
why can't you lick our ***** like they can?
etc. one example out of the many...
some people, i guess: prefer to be in
the background...
post-colonial powers need tokens...
akin to a sadiq khan:
papa was an immigrant bus-driver -
quick step up from daddy being a bus driver
to the position of mayor of london...
browny points!

the english are smug like this:
you hear even today -
WE WON'T BE SORRY FOR OUR
FATHER'S AND FOREFATHER'S SINS...
not for our colonial past...
they say that consciously -
but subconsciously they are scoring
brownie points...
        i can't say they're doing this
unconsciously: since if they were:
there would be a unanimous concensus
and no: "diversity is our strength"
agenda...

             besides... you can't exactly
conquer an island...
the norman conquest of 1066? it wasn't really
a conquest: for a conquest to actually take
place you'd require the native population
to be displaced / replaced by the invading
force - akin to the saxon invasion...
'don't touch, their, women...
we don't breed with these people...
what sort of people would you think
that would breed? weak people... half people'
(king Cerdic from the film king arthur 2004)...
proof being?
when the normans invaded and "conquered"...
they simply replaced the ruling saxon elite...
hence? the domesday book...
the ruling elites were being replaced
and the new ruling elites wanted to have
an account of who they were going to rule...
it was less a conquest and more:
a change of guard... since...
            the locals were first investigated
and subsequently left to their own devices...
there was no conquest:
               as such...
                but you can get on with your
day-to-day life on an island with natural
fortifications (the ******* sea)...
and produce your little whizz-kids down
the years...
   but imagine being squeezed by:
prussia... russia, the ottomans,
                  the mongols...
                             the swedes...
                and subsequently by the austro-hungarians...
matka królów (the mother of kings),
i.e.: Elisabeth von Habsburg...

   in conclusion... oh to hell with the whole
"incel" label... you have to pay for something
in the end... why not skip the *******'s worth
of pleasantries: the dating masquerade
and not get into the nitty-gritty with a *******
in one smooth stroke of a count worth an hour?
no hard-on shyness that way...
no ****-teasing...
whatever is an erectile dysfunction outside
of the brothel... doesn't seem to bother
whittle wichy while in a brothel...
so go figure...
                and relating to the stories of incels...
hmm... maybe it's the fickle women...
last time i checked...
i picked up a thai bisexual in a park,
a random stranger...
                took her home,
some beer, some jazz...
                  ****** her in the garden...
        i don't even think it's the case of
"i can't get laid" with these incels...
     english women: nuns on the outside...
latex gimp suited **** black boot licking
*** fiends in the bedroom...
   the madonna-***** complex...
the only aspect of Freud that resonates with me...

you know what, never mind...
      i'm just happy i collect vinyls...
free mp3 copy to boot...
and instead of spending 40+ quid on a game
that will become exhausted after one sitting /
completion (these are not arcade games,
nor are they the "free" new wave of games,
the ones where you play "superior"
opponents with a handicap -
since you didn't pay any in-game updates,
patience is a virtue,
   and someone people invest real money
into these games, but are still **** at them,
plus, these new wave games never really end...
i'll be dead and i won't be able to finish them,
added bonus? there's no NPC dimension
to them, added strategy: with a complete loss
of narrative / story-telling, genius!)
plus... how much does a vinyl player cost?
you can get one for under 70 quid...
sometimes vinyl bargains: under a tenner...
this one though, for 20 quid...
1 vinyl worth 20 quid once every two months?
oh yeah... i really splashed out on this one!

woman is a grand idea though...
    there is so much of woman i would be able
to love, if only the practicality of woman
wouldn't be associated...
alas: reality bites...
                       regrets...
                                  aged 33 and i feel as if...
i have managed a good enough sample
where both sexes can coexist within the confines
of me entertaining them:
as if they were to never meet and "preserve"
the "fate" of "humanity"...
      i'm pretty sure there are plenty of people
who have been bullied into this trap
associated with the otherwise "intelligent"
dodo mentality...
                          besides, i'm about to find out,
whether or not, they sell liter bottles of whiskey...
using my braille tally:

            ⠁ ⠃ ⠇ ⠧ ⠷ (⠿)
            1  2  3   4  5  (6)
             a  b  l   v  à  (é)

                        from what i drank yesterday
for that lullaby... i'm starting to supect that:
what they label as a liter... is actually more -

    if after ⠷⠻ ⠷⠻ (i.e. 50ml  20x) i'm not left
with an empty bottle... well then i'm not left
with an empty bottle.
Zampuzado en un banasto
Me tiene su Majestad,
En un callejón Noruega
Aprendiendo a gavilán.
Graduado de tinieblas
Pienso que me sacarán
Para ser noche de Invierno,
O en culto algún Madrigal.
Yo, que fui Norte de guros,
Enseñando a navegar
A las Godeñas en ansias,
A los buzos en afán,
Enmoheciendo mi vida
Vivo en esta oscuridad,
Monje de zaquizamíes,
Ermitaño de un desván.
Un abanico de culpas
Fue principio de mi mal;
Un letrado de lo caro,
Grullo de la puridad.
Dios perdone al Padre Esquerra,
Pues fue su Paternidad
Mi suegro más de seis años
En la cuexca de Alcalá,
En el mesón de la ofensa,
En el Palacio mortal,
En la casa de más cuartos
De toda la Cristiandad.
Allí me lloró la Guanta,
Cuando por la Salazar,
Desporqueroné dos almas
Camino de Brañigal.
Por la Quijano, doncella
De perversa honestidad,
Nos mojamos yo y Vicioso,
Sin metedores de paz.
En Sevilla el Árbol seco
Me prendió en el arenal,
Porque le afufé la vida
Al zaino de Santo Horcaz.
El zapatero de culpas
Luego me mandó calzar
Botinicos Vizcaínos,
Martillado el cordobán.
Todo cañón, todo ****,
Todo mandil jayán,
Y toda iza con greña,
Y cuantos saben fuñar,
Me lloraron soga a soga,
Con inmensa propiedad,
Porque llorar hilo a hilo
Es muy delgado llorar.
Porque me metí una noche
A Pascua de Navidad
Y libré todos los presos
Me mandaron cercenar.
Dos veces me han condenado
Los señores a trinchar,
Y la una el Maestresala
Tuvo aprestado sitial.
Los diez años de mi vida
Los he vivido hacia atrás,
Con más grillos que el Verano,
Cadenas que el Escorial.
Más Alcaides he tenido
Que el castillo de Milán,
Más guardas que Monumento,
Más hierros que el Alcorán,
Más sentencias que el Derecho,
Más causas que el no pagar,
Más autos que el día del Corpus,
Más registros que el Misal,
Más enemigos que el agua,
Más corchetes que un gabán,
Más soplos que lo caliente,
Más plumas que el tornear.
Bien se puede hallar persona
Más jarifa y más galán,
Empero más bien prendida
Yo dudo que se hallará.
Todo este mundo es prisiones,
Todo es cárcel y penar:
Los dineros están presos
En la bolsa donde están;
La cuba es cárcel del vino,
La troj es cárcel del pan,
La cáscara, de las frutas
Y la espina del rosal.
Las cercas y las murallas
Cárcel son de la ciudad;
El cuerpo es cárcel del Alma,
Y de la tierra la mar.
Del Mar es cárcel la orilla,
Y en el orden que hoy están,
Es un cielo de otro cielo
Una cárcel de cristal.
Del aire es cárcel el fuelle,
Y del fuego el pedernal;
Preso está el oro en la mina;
Preso el diamante en Ceilán.
En la hermosura y donaire
Presa está la libertad,
En la vergüenza los gustos,
Todo el valor en la paz.
Pues si todos están presos,
Sobre mi mucha lealtad
Llueva cárceles mi cielo
Diez años sin escampar.
Lloverlas puede si quiere
Con el peine y con mirar,
Y hacerme en su Peralvillo
Aljaba de la Hermandad.
Mas volviendo a los amigos,
Todos barridos están,
Los más se fueron en uvas
Y los menos en agraz.
Murió en Nápoles Zamora
Ahíto de pelear,
Lloró a cántaros su muerte
Eugenia la Escarramán.
Al Limosnero a Zaguirre
Le desjarretó el tragar:
Con el Limosnero pienso
Que se descuidó San Blas.
Mató a Francisco Jiménez
Con una aguja un rapaz,
Y murió muerte de sastre,
Sin tijeras ni dedal.
Después que el Padre Perea
Acarició a Satanás
Con el alma del corchete
Vaciada a lo Catalán,
A Roma se fue por todo,
En donde la enfermedad
Le ajustició en una cama,
Ahorrando de procesar.
Dios tenga en su santa gloria
A Bartolomé Román,
Que aun con Dios, si no le tiene,
Pienso que no querrá estar.
Con la grande polvareda,
Perdimos a Don Beltrán,
Y porque paró en Galicia,
Se teme que paró en mal.
Jeldre está en Torre Bermeja;
Mal aposentado está,
Que torre de tan mal pelo
A Judas puede guardar.
Ciento por ciento llevaron
Los Inocentes de Orgaz,
Peonzas que a puro azote
Hizo el bederre bailar.
Por pedigüeño en caminos,
El que llamándose Juan,
De noche, para las capas,
Se confirmaba en Tomás,
Hecho nadador de penca,
Desnudo fue la mitad,
Tocándole pasacalles
El músico de Quien tal...
Sólo vos habéis quedado,
¡Oh Cardoncha singular!,
Roído del Sepan cuántos...
Y mascado del varal.
Vos, Bernardo entre Franceses,
Y entre Españoles Roldán,
Cuya espada es un Galeno
Y una botica la faz,
Pujamiento de garnachas
Pienso que os ha de acabar,
Si el avizor y el calcorro
Algún remedio no dan.
A Micaela de Castro
Favoreced y amparad,
Que se come de Gabachos
Y no se sabe espulgar.
A las hembras de la caja,
Si con la expulsión fatal
La desventurada Corte
No ha acabado de enviudar,
Podéis dar mis encomiendas,
Que al fin es cosa de dar:
Besamanos a las niñas,
Saludes a las de edad.
En Vélez a dos de marzo,
Que por los putos de allá
No quiere volver las ancas,
Y no me parece mal.
Victor D López Dec 2018
Your husband died at 40, leaving you to raise seven children alone.
But not before your eldest, hardest working son, Juan, had
Drowned at sea in his late teens while working as a fisherman to help
You and your husband put food on the table.

You lost a daughter, too,
Toñita, also in her early teens, to illness.
Their kind, pure souls found
Their way back home much too soon.

Later in life you would lose two more sons to tragedy, Paco (Francisco),
An honest, hard working man whose purposeful penchant for shocking
Language belied a most gentle nature and a generous heart. He was electrocuted by
A faulty portable light while working around his pool.

And the apple of your eye, Sito (José), your last born and most loving son, who
Had inherited his father’s exceptional looks, social conscience, left of center
Politics, imposing presence, silver tongue, and bad, bad luck, died, falling
Under the wheels of a moving train, perhaps accidentally.

In a time of hopelessness and poverty, you would not be broken.
You rose every day hours before the dawn to sell fish at a stand.
And every afternoon you placed a huge wicker basket on your head and
Walked many, many miles to sell even more fish in other towns.

Money was tight, so you often took bartered goods in
Exchange for your fish, giving some to those most in need,
Who could trade nothing in return but their
Blessings and their gratitude.

You walked back home, late at night, through darkness or
Moonlit roads, carrying vegetables, eggs, and perhaps a
Rabbit or chicken in a large wicker basket on your strong head,
Walking straight, on varicose-veined legs, driven on by a sense of purpose.

During the worst famine during and after the Civil War, the chimney of your
Rented home overlooking the Port of Fontan, spewed forth black smoke every day.
Your hearth fire burned to to feed not just your children, but also your less
Fortunate neighbors, nourishing their bodies and their need for hope.

You were criticized by some when the worst had passed, after the war.
“Why work so hard, Remedios, and allow your young children to go to work
At too young an age? You sacrifice them and yourself for stupid pride when
Franco and foreign food aid provide free meals for the needy.”

“My children will never live off charity as long as my back is strong” was your Reply.
You resented your husband for putting politics above family and
Dragging you and your two daughters, from your safe, comfortable home at
Number 10 Perry Street near the Village to a Galicia without hope.

He chose to tilt at windmills, to the eternal glory of other foolish men,
And left you to silently fight the real, inglorious daily battle for survival alone.
Struggling with a bad heart, he worked diligently to promote a better, more just
Future while largely ignoring the practical reality of your painful present.

He filled you with children and built himself the cross upon which he was
Crucified, one word at a time, leaving you to pick up the pieces of his shattered
Idealism. But you survived, and thrived, without sacrificing your own strong
Principles or allowing your children to know hardships other than those of honest work.

And you never lost your sense of humor. You never took anything or
Anyone too seriously. When faced with the absurdity of life,
You chose to smile or laugh out loud. I saw you shed many tears of laughter,
But not once tears of pain, sorrow or regret. You would never be a victim.

You loved people. Yours was an irreverent sense of humor, full of gentle irony,
And wisdom. You loved to laugh at yourself and at others, especially pompous fools
Who often missed your great amusement at their expense, failing to understand your Dismissal, delivered always with a smile, a gentle voice and sparkling eyes.

Your cataracts and near sightedness made it difficult for you to read,
But you read voraciously nonetheless, and loved to write long letters to loved ones and friends. You were a wise old woman, the wisest and strongest I will ever know,
But one with the heart of a child and the soul of an angel.

You were the most sane, most rational, most well adjusted human being
I have ever known. You were mischievous, but incapable of malice.
You were adventurous, never afraid to try or to learn anything new.
You were fun-loving, interesting, kind, rambunctious, funny and smart as hell.

You would have been an early adopter of all modern technology, had you lived long
Enough, and would have loved playing—and working—with all of my electronic
Toys. You would have been a terror with a word processor, email, and social media
And would have loved my video games—and beaten me at every one of them.

We were great friends and playmates throughout most of my life.  You followed
Us here soon after we immigrated in 1967, leaving behind 20 other Grandchildren.
I never understood the full measure of that sacrifice, or the love that made it
Bearable for you. I do now. Too late. It is one of the greatest regrets of my life.

We played board games, cowboys and Indians, raced electric cars, flipped
Baseball cards and played thousands of hands of cards together. It never
Occurred to me that you were the least bit unusual in any way. I loved you
Dearly but never went far out of my way to show it. That too, I learned too late.

After moving to Buenos Aires, when mom had earned enough money to take
You and her younger brothers there, the quota system then in place made it
Impossible to send for your two youngest children, whose care you entrusted
Temporarily to your eldest married daughter, Maria.  

You wanted them with you. Knowing no better, you went to see Evita Peron for help.
Unsurprisingly, you could not get through her gatekeepers.  But you were
Nothing if not persistent. You knew she left early every morning for her office.
And you parked yourself there at 6:00 a.m., for many, many days by her driveway.  

Eventually, she had her driver stop and motioned for you to approach.
“Grandmother, why do you wave at me every morning when I leave for work?”
She asked. You explained about your children in Spain. She took pity and scribbled a
Pass on her card to admit you to her office the next day.

You met her there  and she assured you that a visa would be forthcoming;
When she learned that you made a living by cleaning homes and washing clothing,
She offered you a sewing machine and training to become a seamstress.
You thanked her but declined the offer.

“Give the sewing machine to another mother with no trade. My strong back and hands
Serve me well enough and I do just fine, as I have always done.”
Evita must have been impressed for she asked you to see her yet again when the
Children had arrived in Buenos Aires, giving you another pass. You said you would.

You kept your word, as always. And Evita granted you another brief audience,
Met your two youngest sons (José and Emilio) and shared hot chocolate and
Biscuits with the three of you. You disliked and always criticized Peron and the Peronistas,
But you never forgot Evita’s kindness and defended her all your life.

You were gone too quickly. I had not said “I love” you in years. I was too busy,
With school and other equally meaningless things to keep in touch. You
Passed away without my being there. Mom had to travel by herself to your
Bedside for an extended stay. The last time I wrote you I had sent you a picture.

It was from my law school graduation.
You carried it in your coat pocket before the stroke.
As always, you loved me, with all of my faults that made me
Unworthy of your love.

I knew the moment that you died. I awoke from a deep sleep to see a huge
White bird of human size atop my desk across from my bed. It opened huge
Wings and flew towards me and passed through me as I shuddered.
I knew then that you were gone. I cried, and prayed for you.

Mom called early the next day with the news that you had passed. She also
Told me much, much later that you had been in a coma for some time but that
You awoke, turned to her without recognizing her, and told her that you were going to
Visit your grandson in New York. Then you fell asleep for one last time.

I miss you every day.

[   To hear a YouTube reading of this poem in its entirety, you can visit the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX6w1Pwe7gI   ]
from Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems 2011, 2018
By the Spanish Arch
a few kind crusty folks
talk in the March sunlight.

Soft incantations of sweet trad
spill from a concertina, tin whistle
and fiddle, sloshing out an ambiance.

An old fella' makes a poor man's black velvet,
The ladies drink Estrella Galicia and San Miguel.
Another lad jokes: my grief counselor died last week

but he was so **** good I didn't care.

A motley crew, good-natured and friendly,
Drawn to session like moths to a flame;
Always I wonder whether I belong.

"I think in his heart Frodo is still in love with the Shire:
The woods, the fields…little rivers. I'm old Gandalf.
I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it"
Lines Fourteen to Sixteen from The Lord of The Rings.
Victor D López Dec 2018
They also came for you in the middle of the night,
But found that you had gone to Buenos Aires.
The Guardia Civil questioned your wife in her home,
Surrounded by your four young children, in loud but respectful tones.

They waved their machine guns about for a while,
But left no visible scars on your children,
Or on your young wife, whom you
Left behind to raise them alone.

You had been a big fish in a little pond,
A successful entrepreneur who made a very good living,
By buying cattle to be raised by those too poor
To buy their own who would raise them for you.

They would graze them, use them to pull their plows
And sell their milk, or use it to feed their too numerous children.  
When they were ready for sale, you would take them to market,
Obtain a fair price for them, and equally split the gains with those who raised them.

All in all, it was a good system that gave you relative wealth,
And gave the poor the means to feed their families and themselves.
You reputation for unwavering honesty and fair dealing made many
Want to raise cattle for you, and many more sought you out to settle disputes.

On matters of contracts and disputed land boundaries your word was law.
The powerless and the powerful trusted your judgment equally and sought you out
To settle their disputes. Your judgment was always accepted as final because
Your fairness and integrity were beyond question. “If Manuel says it, it is so.”

You would honor a bad deal based on a handshake and would rather lose a
Fortune than break your word, even when dealing with those far less honorable
Than yourself. For you a man was only as good as his word, and you knew that the
Greatest legacy you could leave your children was an unsullied name.  

You were frugal beyond need or reason, perhaps because you did not
Want to flaunt your relative wealth when so many had nothing.
It would have offended your social conscience and belied your politics.
Your one extravagance was a great steed, on which no expense was spared.

Though thoughtful, eloquent and soft-spoken, you were not shy about
Sharing your views and took quiet pride in the fact that others listened
When you spoke.  You were an ardent believer in the young republic and
Left of center in your views. When the war came, you were an easy target.

There was no time to take your entire family out of the country, and
You simply had too much to lose—a significant capital ******* in land and
Livestock. So you decided to go to Argentina, having been in the U.S. while
You were single and preferring self exile in a country with a familiar language.

Your wife and children would be fine, sheltered by your capital and by
The good will you had earned. And you were largely right.
Despite your wife’s inexperience, she continued with your business, with the
Help of your son who had both your eye for buying livestock and your good name.

Long years after you had gone, your teenaged son could buy all the cattle he
Wanted at any regional fair on credit, with just a handshake, simply because
He was your son. And for many years, complete strangers would step up offering a
Stern warning to those they believed were trying to cheat your son at the fairs.

“E o fillo do Café.” (He is the son of the Café, a nickname earned by a
Distant relative for to his habit of offering coffee to anyone who visited his
Office at a time when coffee was a luxury). That was enough to stop anyone
Seeking to gain an unfair advantage from dad’s youth and inexperience.

Once in Buenos Aires, though, you were a small fish in a very big pond,
Or, more accurately, a fish on dry land; nobody was impressed by your name,
Your pedigree, your reputation or your way of doing business. You were probably
Mocked for your Galician accent and few listened or cared when you spoke.

You lived in a small room that shared a patio with a little schoolhouse.
You worked nights as a watchman, and tried to sleep during the day while
Children played noisily next door. You made little money since your trade was
Useless in a modern city where trust was a highly devalued currency.

You were an anachronistic curiosity. And you could not return home.
When your son followed you there, he must have broken your heart;
You had expected that he would run your business until your return; but he
Quit school, tired of being called roxo (red) by his military instructors.

It must have been excruciatingly difficult for you.  Dad never got your pain.
Ironically, I think I do, but much too late. Eventually you returned to Spain to
A wife who had faithfully raised your children alone for more than ten years and was
No longer predisposed to unquestioningly view your will as her duty.

Doubtless, you could no more understand that than dad could understand
You. Too much Pain. Too many dreams deferred, mourned, buried and forgotten.
You returned to your beloved Galicia when it was clear you would not be
Persecuted after Generalisimo Franco had mellowed into a relatively benign tyrant.

People were no longer found shot or beaten to death in ditches by the
Side of the road. So you returned home to live out the remainder of your
Days out of place, a caricature of your former self, resting on the brittle,
Crumbling laurels of your pre Civil War self, not broken, but forever bent.

You found a world very different from the one you had built through your
Decency, cunning, and entrepreneurship. And you learned to look around
Before speaking your mind, and spent your remaining days reined in far more
Closely than your old steed, and with no polished silver bit to bite upon.
from Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems (C) 2011, 2018

— The End —