the light respires millenary breaths upon terracotta facades
it dances carrying earth
paints a stable glaze of aspiration and crianza upon
the souls of passersby
who move along as if carried upon a hedonistic puff of cigarette smoke
by whose subtle and sultry perfection
I am transfixed.
clouds and sky bequeath a staggering sense of contrast
upon those below who gaze with eyes upturned,
believing at long last to have identified God
which I call the buoyant and thick blue sky of summer on Fuencarral afternoons,
punctuated by a rebaño of flagrantly handsome clouds
and a deep sense of affection for the inferno
that fills the lungs of soñadores with heavy air and flighty caña desires.
time renounces its claim on marking action
instead bodies and tongues under sky tell of hours
spent in motley companies of those acquainted with their humanity
and staunch defenders of it
the hum of peopled plazas, buses zooming with a predetermined certainty—
movement and language
align and make of the streets a glorious, dynamic rhythm—
languid and yet firm with passion
with the heart of something I grasp at fervidly in the hot summer air
warmly wine-stained Rioja reveries
a lucid haze hanging over richly embodied terraces
where dreamers and lovers alike assemble
to feel what gods must feel
to walk upon promised firmament.
the Earth flows into the sky
and I begin to question the cardinal directions
which way to “up”
which way takes me back, so as to turn my back upon it,
which way forward into the heart of mystery
deeper into this languorous love
this sultry actuality of
losing myself is a practice in beauty
one to which I surrender myself voluptuously.
I pray in the curves of tanned backs
that, if but for a night,
help me understand what they do in the Sunday pews
of the cavernous iglesias strewn over this proud and rugged land.
my heart breaks and then somehow finds its way
among the metro stops,
stops that trace a new life vein
to and from
tattoo a new
my soul’s atmosphere.
I mourn in sunsets
spectacularly orange Debod paintings in a sky expiring
crying in labial light waves
rendering its last smile in that defiant menina way
before the calm, milky night supplants all that eyes
took in while the light played its savory notes upon the cityscape
—Spanish guitar in sunshine and urbanity.
I learn to love in concrete
but the city, oh,
how gloriously it remains to me.
People let you down,
but this conjunto
of edifices elevates being.
People close themselves,
infinitely like a lotus
too of infinite petals
to those who
Jenny Cascino – Fulbright to Spain 2017