Dear Pablo Neruda…

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


Querido Pablo,
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.

And poetry
I’ve never seen so many people in one place
for poetry!
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
unceremoniously pointing.
Humbling perspicacity —
his talent is not writing.
Dare I call myself a poet?
A lover?

He writes with green ink
and I, blue.
My desires have names
and colors
and a home,
however poorly constructed,
with two small windows
that look out at the world;
below, a kitchen.
Oh Pablo.


One response to “Dear Pablo Neruda…

  1. Certainly, Valparaiso is a magical city…
    Thank you for posting this beautiful poem!

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