THE CITY

(Caracas)

I.

This other overcast morning

I hear two snaps echo

up the narrow streets

It is time to greet

the day

II.

Children in school uniforms

adults in work clothes

hurry down these narrow streets

On a patch of grass

near worn buildings

A man awakens

stretching thin limbs

upon his mattress of bare foam

A young girl, child in arms

looks back at a late-30s man

zipping his pants

He yells after her

Don’t come looking for me

Two grimed men examine

the contents of a dumpster

trash heaped at their feet

III.

Morning rush-hour

through the transfer

Line 2 to Line 1

People orderly walking quickly

under TVs showing ads

& the week’s horoscopes

Down stairs, up escalators orderly

await the next metro train

to arrive, open its doors

Orderly off, a bit of a shove on

Within silence devoid of

vendors or musicians

men offer seats to women

Zooming to a next station

orderly off, a bit of a shove on

a warning beep, doors slide shut

IV.

Through the crowded market streets

of Barrio El Cementerio

People walking in the road

taxi horns blowing

barely scraping past

Stalls of clothes, of fruit

& more clothes & yet more

V.

The afternoon rain

falls like every

afternoon

Business-clothed people

under gleaming black

umbrellas bustle

Business-clothed people

stand under awnings of

gleaming glass skyscrapers

SUV & BMW tires

sizzle on

wet pavement

VI.

Dusk falls

with sirens

throughout the city

This evening the boys

abandon the basketball hoop

set in a 55-gallon oil drum

in an alley of this barrio popular

Laughter, talking, music from homes

two teenage girls calling

to a friend below

echo down these narrow streets

Until the night

forces doors

to shut

PACIFIC EVENTIDE

Rose-pearl sea gleams

in this cloud-

fractured sunset

            I await the

            full moon to rise

            & beam upon

            that tranquilly

            rippling surface

to coolly burn

through the thick

quick-shifting sky

THAT FLOWER’S PERFUME

A starless sky

clouds this night

scented by golden trumpet

The music of a fountain

spilling its waters

channeled to a pond below

& the rushing river

below

A click of a gecko

or perhaps some night bird

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

With a starry dawn

a crescent moon

hangs over the narrow

valley’s wall

& that flower’s perfume

yet lingers in the air

BEACH MEDITATIONS

I.

At this hour of lowest tide

the fine white sand gleams like a desert

the deep aqua sea like a desert

duning then blowing

soft upon the shore

II.

I think of a friend’s message

I read swiftly this morn

Even we who go against the tide

of war, of politicians foaming with greed

& corruption … even now we

are pulled into silence are pulled along ….

Like this brown sand ripped from some depths

flowing swiftly to some depths far asea foaming

I walk across you to avoid your pull

III.

In a tidal pool now surrounded by black basalt boulders

gobies & blennies swim in schools

(such is the survival of the fittest)

A miniature glass lobster a phantom against

this white sand seeks my warmth

even after I depart its waters

IV.

Beneath a mangrove tree I spread my sarong

pausing to write these words

finches pecking amongst the leaves & twigs

before joining across the Spirit miles

Friends settled into Meditation

V.

Chilled by the breeze of a clouding day

I lose myself in another World proffered by a book

Suddenly I notice the silence left

behind by departed souls

I am alone upon this deserted stretch

of sand upon this desert isle

VI.

Only the constant roar of waves fierce

against the far shore of the point

of waves fierce against boulders

at the mouth of this cove

& the measured wash of water upon

the fine sand of this shore

VII.

I fall asleep wrapped in my shawl

listening to the lullaby

of green turtles rippling the in-coming tide

listening to that measured wash

the breeze chill, the sun clouded

VIII.

& am awakened by loud voices

settling in the sand a mere meter

from my mind

THINNING

This earth is flat & drying

            vegetation sparse, brittle-boughed trees

                        the sandy soil sterile

Thinning … thinning

Schoolchildren walk to their

            homes, small settlements strung

                        along the road

Thinning … thinning

Along the banks of a ribbon river

            are crazy-quilt plots, corn

                        now tassling, newly

            flooded paddies mirroring

the bleached sky

Thinning … thinning

& now-dried streambeds

            pools of deep-green waters

                        left behind by man-caused rains

            lime & raku beneath

the unrelenting sun

Thinning … thinning

On these winds of change

            dunes form crescents

                        across the desert plain

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 180 journals in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa; 12 chapbooks of poetry – including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017) and On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019); and 18 anthologies. She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. She travels through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at: www.facebook.com/lorrainecaputo.wanderer.

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