Incident in the Gandhi bookshop café, Avenida Corrientes
They were all dying for her,
But they died bravely, they died well.
It was well done.
I was proud to join them.
We all went over the waterfall together.
We fell together.
The world fell together.
For a sacred moment it was all one,
And then she was gone.
Briefly she had sat there
Making notes to mark her progress
Through the labyrinths of Borges —
Something in her manner
Discouraged offers of help —
And then she looked at her watch.
Did she have a lover somewhere
Or perhaps a tango class?
Imagine being the maestro
Against whom she leans
In a tensile puente.
Deep breasted, long legged,
She was the kind of beauty
Who makes every poet
Wish he were a painter,
So as to say:
“Take off your clothes:
I need the essence of you.”
Old poets who try that
Get themselves arrested,
Whereas painters never fail,
Until the day they drop,
To score with the girl of fine family
And the perfect behind.
Having paid her bill,
She stood up and was swept away
On a wave of sighs
As we all shared the light in our eyes,
Our hearts bleeding,
Before going back to the books
We were writing and reading —
Back to the usual macho shit
Which is all there is
When you get down to it,
Out of the cloud
Into which the angel
Having blessed us once
With the holy presence
Of her good looks:
Into one sweet minute.
She was out of this world
And we are in it.
Now we must begin again.
Poor us. Poor men.
It was our tears.
Madagascar full-tilt boogie
The lemur that bit a piece out of my daughter
When she was a student here
By now is dead and gone,
But the island still has lemurs of every size.
A lemur not much bigger than a cicada
Swallows the cicada
As you just might park a Humvee in your hallway.
The cicada gets tons of time, on its way down,
To think “Sod this for a game of soldiers.”
Larger lemurs, aloft in the spiny forest,
After feet-first triple-jumps through the parched air,
Land on a booby-trapped branch without their pads
Being even slightly punctured.
It must be done by quick adjustments,
Unless the spines go in and out and leave
No wounds. But then where would be the point,
If that’s the phrase we want, of so many needles
Even being there? It would be as if, at Anzio,
Schu-mines had popped up only to serve coffee.
In this dried mud nothing pops up at all
Until it rains, and hey! It’s mating day.
A million brown frogs magically appear.
Then half the brown frogs suddenly turn yellow
To indicate their wholesale macho readiness
For a no-holds-barred mass fucking.
Brown females politely yawn while their admirers,
Having dished out Nature’s usual idea of passion
In less time than it takes to blow your nose,
Go back to being brown
Like the population of Rio after Mardi Gras.
You can’t leave out the dressing-up factor.
The chameleon, proceeding along a branch
Like the second act of The Family Reunion,
Reminds us of the bad year T.S. Eliot
Wore green powder on his face
When greeting guests for dinner.
The whole damned island is choc-a-bloc with shape-changers.
Have you noticed that sick parrot over there
Is wearing John Galliano’s face before last?
We should cut the poor bastard some slack.
Hitler, after all, started out as a dress designer
And never went near anti-Semitism
Until the critical failure
Of his first couture collection…
Don’t look now, but in the third fork from the top
Of the tree behind you is a lemur
Doing a fair imitation of Coco Chanel.
A bit too cute perhaps,
Like Audrey Tautou in the same role.
She’s coming down. She wants someone to pat her.