Tales from Four Cities.

KATHMANDU: BUDDHA TRANCE.

Gyrating, pulsating rhythms
from stores, restaurants and bars
echo the collective chaos in
the streets of Thamel.
Enticing … pushing … egging on
passersby and pedestrians who
dance and wander up and down
ever-crowded streets and alleyways;
Continuously sidestepping
the endless stream of
taxis, rickshaws and peddlers.
Everyone is forever on the
lookout for personal contact and
the first economic gain of the day.
The exoticism of spirituality
blended with indigenous capitalism
encaptures even the most
unwitting novice almost
immediately upon arrival.
Religious shrines interspersed
among beggars and sellers
of Thangkas, books, Tiger balsam,
clothing, jewelry, teas, Internet services
and remnants from the Hippie era.
Kathmandu is a living organism —
always expanding and contracting,
like a vagabond lotus blossom
navigating with both aimlessness and intent
on a rushing mountain stream.
It is the modern trance of Buddha …
welcoming the uninitiated with
open arms, and yet constantly
confirming that life is not so easy for
those without prior experience.

“Namaste! Where are you from?!!”

(from “Rapture: endings of space and time”, 2007)

rapture-book-cover

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PARANOID
DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT BEING FOLLOWED!
(East Village, New York City — 1987)

As the crowd pushes me upward
from the darkness of the underground,
a mild panic begins to rush
through my veins yielding
torrents of sweat that race
uncontrollably over my
forehead and chest.
With just moments to spare,
I hasten to tear off my tie,
roll up my shirt-sleeves, and
complete my disguise with
the darkest of shades and
the meanest of scowls.
At the surface, my head begins to
reel at the stench and sight of
unwashed urchins and broad-smiling
ne’er-do-wells with extended
palms seeking tokens, cigarettes
and loose change.
My already shortened nerves are
obliterated by the blasts of
Buick-sized radios carried by
junkies and peddlers of items
discarded by me the week before.
Looking about with hesitancy and
anticipation — I shriek and recoil
in horror and disbelief:
the punks, thieves, beggars and
schizoids are chasing me now!
… Boom — Chiga-Boom,
Chiga-Boom-CHIga-Boom-CHIGA BOOM!
Once home — saturated by disgust
and relief — I retire to the
tv-room with scotch and soda,
and eagerly await the new report
concerning those who were
not so lucky.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, 2005)

Collected poems and stories

SEE VINTAGE PHOTOS FROM OLD NEW YORK (including the 12 years that I lived there) HERE!

EL ÚLTIMO TANGO (EN BUENOS AIRES).

Las reglas más importantes
con respecto a la vida
nos fueron reveladas unos momentos
antes del amanecer en
una de las grandes avenidas
que siempre están en discordia
con la lógica de las cosas útiles:
el vino joven …
el sexo promiscuo …
las compras compulsivas
y quizás … el ir a la iglesia
en un día de trabajo.
Nos reconocemos en los
sueños vivos capturados en
las pinturas de Goya y El Bosco.
Y allí, bailamos nuestro último tango;
lenta …
y religiosamente …
y huimos de la memoria exacta
a la sombra de nuestras
últimas
indiscreciones.

(from “Three-legged Waltz”, 2006)

Three-legged Waltz

MARSEILLE … ouah, quel beau mec ! oh là là là là là là !

une chaude journée d’été à marseille,
sans souci …
oh là là là là là là !
il a remarqué mon regard
il a l’air en colère
il vient vers moi
il demande une cigarette
nous allons à mon hôtel
il me quitte
une heure plus tard, satisfait
le lendemain, je le remarque dans la rue à nouveau
et il a toujours l’air en colère
pour certains,
une vie avec le sida est une vie gâchée
ils n’ont rien à apprendre,
et rien à contester …
et ils ont surtout engendré la haine
envers le monde
et envers eux-mêmes
… ouah, quel beau mec !
oh là là là là là là !

(from “JISEI, 2013)

jiseilarge

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