Meet me at the mirador. I’ll be there when the rain stops, looking for something I lost in the storm. Malleable men hustling tourists with swollen purses, jewelry-makers selling quartz crystals out of their rucksacks, en route to Bolivia, Argentinian lovers passing pipes before they blow on out of town. The artisan mats become confessionals: this is where wandering souls gather, says the craftsman, as the mangy street dogs curl up at his feet. Carved of wood and warm like copper, when he smiles sparks the world into action. He weaves the stars into jewelry but it isn’t enough, will never be enough. He stands against the rail, just a silhouette and then some, Inti’s mural staring back at him, with her button nose and book of chants, waving her boney finger back. He seeks to master the knots of the world so that he can tie it back together. I always ask too much, but teach me this, oh craftsman: teach me how to tie myself together again. He laughs and sings a song I will never forget, dancing away as the sun sets behind him.
Next I follow the music man. His songs feed him day-old bread and his ears pick up things I cannot. When we walk through the lamp-lit streets, his hands trace the mural walls and he tells me what they say: the stain of tragedy and dirty blood echo softly, infused in the paint. We drink boxed wine with the man who makes metal beasts, and we talk of death and how in three hundred years we will be reunited as dogs, but we wish, really, to be reunited as astronomical kings and queens—royal constellations. I want to meet again before then, I say. If we do, he says, we will meet as we did tonight, on a bench, in a city that neither of us belong to, and we will share other peoples’ stories. If we don’t, you will meet someone else the same way, and you will drink wine with them and speak of stars and dogs and it will never be a shame.
The Wolf House
In the wolf house there was a healer. Projections flashed on the wall behind her, casting her face in red, yellow, green, blue. She watched people and said, They move and sway and dance and jerk, and they don’t know why. They kiss as if thrown together by marionette strings, but who is the puppeteer? Then there are wolves and then there are machines...But my baby, he’s something else: he’s a map. A map with blank territory, so much terrain, and his face is the key, though I cannot read it. And you? What are you?” We swim in yellow, blue, red, watching the people around us in different masks. All the puppeteers, all the cartographers, pioneers and playwrights, will soon be unleashed down the alleys left to write and dismantle their own narratives.
I run rampant at last. Building fragile, towering things bound to break and shatter with the next tidal wave the next earthquake. I wish I could build better, for me and for you, wish I did not have to build a house that, at night I hold my breathe in, so that the foundation does not crumble and crush me in. I want a home tall enough to reach the moon and big enough to include you. I want and I devour and the world sings sad songs played by street-corner bluesmen. In the final moment of decay, a small child speaks words that demolish
And suddenly I want nothing more, I promise.
I want nothing more than to learn how to say these words back.
I would not need to build a thing, for those words would be my palace
if only I could speak them!
I haven’t much, I’ve a collection of sorts.
Kings and queens of the winding streets, they left me with these shards,
These broken things, and I wore them like a collar as I asked for direction. Which way to get lost at sea, which way to get found en la ciudad de perros románticos? It was not until you left that I unclasped the shards from around my neck, and realized they were to be worn as crown. Now I march into lost lands and let go of heavy hands. The meaningless I build shall be nothing less than beautiful for I built it for you, in order to replace those words I did not say.
Te echaré de menos.