From Europe

“Blurtso takes a trip” (XXII)

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What did I see
when I first stepped up
to Paris from the metro at Montmartre?

What moved
in the light among the shadows
in the columns of Saint Peter’s?

What whispered
in the light of Interlaken
when crossing the Brienzersee?

Why so many miles?

Why the discomfort
and tedious lines that thinned
until I was alone
on a rock shattering the Mediterranean?

Why so many conductors
recording the course of my name?

Why so much motion
when my hooves were content to remain slippered
and cuddled on the couch?

A donkey crossed a dirt road
behind a church in Segovia.
His hooves and snout
were the color of the land.
He was laden with stones,
and was completely content.

In Paris the sun
woke a jenny asleep
beneath a bridge on the Seine.
She was happy.
She had no place to go.
She stopped to ask questions
no one has time to ask.
She took me to see her friends
gathered on the bank,
and we laughed
and lamented the sadness of change.

From the gypsies in Venice
I expected to hear the same,
but they didn’t want to talk.
They offered to read my future,
and I offered to read theirs.

I wanted to see
how they all fit inside me.

I wanted to see
what my hooves had created
with different hopes and dreams.

I walked and I walked and I walked,
and did what the natives did.

I wonder what I have learned?

Was the answer spelled
in a pattern of bubbles
splashed on a sidewalk in Rome?

Was it whispered
in the song
of a fountain in Seville?

At times a voice will call.

It is an image or an echo
rising from a night in Namur,
lingering on a street in Siena,
or whistling in the wind at Cérbère.

And though I go home now,
a part of me still waits
at an interminable light in Madrid,
or continues in the rain,
stepping through the past
on the stones of Mycenae.

“Blurtso takes a trip” (XIX)

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The stone is clean now, and polished in the sun. And there is no sign of blood. But how many donkeys labored away their lives, hoof after hoof after hoof, to build this place?

“Blurtso takes a trip” (XVII)

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“Ce n’est que votre main, Madame, sur quoi j’ose poser,
gage d’amour certain, Madame, vos doigts de blanc satin.
Il faut m’en excuser, Madame, doo doo dee doo dee doo dee,
j’ai mis dans le baiser mon âme, doo doo dee doo dee doo dee.”
“Ma main?” dit-elle. “Mais, je n’ai pas de main.”

“Blurtso takes a trip” (XVI)

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What is it in Venice that makes us feel we have been transported in time? Is it the ancient buildings and bridges, the palaces with their frescoes and the moss-lined canals? Is it the smooth-worn stones or the fountains of the piazze? Is it the stillness of the water and the echoing barcarole? No, it is rather the simple sound of voices and footsteps, heard, as if for the first time, in a city without engines, in a civilized world before the automobile.