So fucking fighting gambling drinking . . . the big 4, a sycamore to cross, and on into the wild. Where was I when the swans flew off to stay till after the spring rain stopped, when I abandoned this town? Had they flown south as I was returning west, and would I stay, or would they? I tabled what I had and she was flat on her back to take it in. Of such mementos my life is draped, around the neck of swans who have never returned, I hear, and the pond is dry. Water without its weight is sad to know only death awaits. So sad the water also goes. And water was what I could count on seeing rounding the path and entering the walkway leading to my fate.
It was Paola’s big 4, that’s his name for braggadocio after getting his face kicked in, nearly. One good eye and showing it only to the moon, crouched beside the stairs going down and out across the flourishing trees, the growing wildflowers, by the single river where the amazing turtle woke me from a wet dream and sent me out early, the rain drying under the immediately somber sunshine. Bad night, good days turning gray. I saw the swans were always white, but growing older they too turned gray. But I was young, mid-thirties, apogee’ng verses undermining form, nadir’ng my life, although I believed it would always be like this but I would make more money.
I receive a letter saying the swans are dead. I take it to the doctor, who tells me he believes what he does not know. For sure, I add, but he doesn’t hear the questionmark. If only I knew Spanish well enough to talk to him, here from Oaxaca after the storms, the floods, the political anguish. I would change the subject. There would be a woman appearing in the living room, her bright red fingernails flashing in the dark, and Manuela Roma would later say she must have been Hilda Gadea, Che’s first wife,: She was there, you know . . . I just don’t know if it was her for sure. And he would gracefully steer the conversation back to the swans of Massachusetts.
(9 October 2010)