If you never sensed in your heart the holy solitude of a matador,
If you aren’t amazed by the trees from which corks are made,
Nor either the sounds and staccato hammering of gypsy flamenco,
Failing to make your blood flow like a flooding Amazon,
Then go search and discover the earth of life.
Dig in it, run it through your fingers,
Get down on your knees and smell it, taste it, sleep on it, it is one with your creator.
And question not the few grains that discolor your shirt,
They are the badges of your awakening.
For if you’ve never perceived the unfocused past revelries of El Cid (El Campeador)
Battling the Moors from castle to castle in the dusty haze of a long Iberian afternoon.
And you unthinkingly ignored Miles Davis’ blowing his woeful Soul of Spain.
While watching families picking olives under the hot Andalucia sun.
Then take time to turn around and see where you’ve been.
Can you recall in history where a handful of Conquistadors
Subdued thousands upon thousands of indigenous peoples.
Go to your bed dreaming of wine stomped by feminine feet in the granjas de Barcelona.
Stroke horseflesh and breathe-in the manly aroma of fine cured Cordoba saddles
Or slide your fingers over a pure silver hackamore or los estrebos.
It’s all faux beauty when you recall the horror of Civil War
Or Hemingway tossing green bottles in Pamplona bistros with his euroscum friends
Surely, you have mementos in your repertoire?
A T-shirt, a ticket stub, a cupie doll.
Wait…have you ever imagined the claustrophobic vigilance
Of the village churches shrouded with incense.
Or worse…the throbbing tension of gritty separation
Between gentry and peasants
Generals, citizens, comrades and clergy.
Granularity of descending hierarchy
This, in all its sadness and beauty, is Espana.
The pristine white villages of wind blown Tarifa
With their windmills, that grinds the sharp pods of grain.
And your feet can tap to their whoosh…whoosh…
My god… Tarifa is on any good map!
(who gets to travel there happenstance while, I must endure a nonporous wall of imagination?)
It’s there because for centuries long-tailed kites have surfed in clear blue skies
(where did I miss this as a child in a filthy apartment managed by the Klan)
And on some days, far off to the south, you can see Africa and its mountains
Siroccos foaming the skies from Sahara deserts and whence came the Moors
The sunsets and storm clouds framed in black scudding heavens
Abandoned houses without roofs, home to any whom would enter
(here I would rest as though in a palace)
And rotting faded blue fishing boats on the rocky beaches
(could I push one into the water and learn to feed myself)
All this near Tarifa.
By now you surely sense what this place must offer.
Wait again you vagabond…you have not finished…
(I was a runaway child not afraid of the dark)
You must go west to the open market of Cadiz or Malaga
If only to sense the cool airs from waters Atlanticio
Which sooth the swollen utters of grazing cattle.
(animals had love, food and shelter…many times I had none)
Where castanets click for your attention.
Proprietor’s harvest shouted out over narrow cobbled calles
By the deep-throated, (like four octaves of Yma Sumac ) "perfect-legato" voices of Portuguese vendors
More like Gregorian chants of the Inquisition
Even louder than the fishmonger,
Do not assail yourself …instead hurry…go…break your chains.
(I was frequently a run-away, always caught and returned...no questions asked)
Those noble sires of fruited loins would that we still dwell in Tarifa
Its odors of ancient spices lingering seductively in shops and homes
Like greetings from village chroniclers.
Then those chaotically stacked arco iris, in piled chests
And displayed arc-en-ciel mounds of fruits and garden growth.
Harlot birds with croak-like screeches and filthy pinions
Struggling to leap from their canvas prisons de Goya.
If you can’t imagine all this
It will never do to sit down with Don Quixote de la Mancha.
So say I… proconsul of Brittany.
And today the windmills have been replaced by turbines that go swhoosh…swhoosh…endlessly