A certain editor of No Record Press has been reading up on his Pablo Neruda. Here’s a poem that might help him find the Neruda house in Valparaiso, Chile. (Valparaiso happens to be a magical city in and of itself…)
Encontrando la casa de Pablo Neruda
I haven’t read much of your poetry
except some bits translated by Bly
and I didn’t come to Valparaiso looking for you —
I was hoping for beaches and sunshine
and upon finding neither I heard of your house.
A frazzled but smart-looking woman told me
to take the funicular behind the blue building
and going up I got satori.
The bay! The colored houses on hills, stretching
on and on!
San Francisco has moved to Chile!
Cone of french fries in hand, I passed
thousands of touristy photos
my camera rendered useless.
I too could live here,
having found the cheap empanada joint
plenty of walks to take
views & repose up the funny escalator
and down: jammed streets bars with old men
drinking all day, faces like grapes becoming.
I’ve never seen so many people in one place
The spiritual journey has led to
a workshop of poetry —
what a marvelous idea.
But quiet —
the laureate is here
his full gut and throat
jiggling as he mixes a drink:
a Buddha, no less
Humbling perspicacity —
his talent is not writing.
Dare I call myself a poet?
He writes with green ink
and I, blue.
My desires have names
and a home,
however poorly constructed,
with two small windows
that look out at the world;
below, a kitchen.