January 12, 2022
Since this link was set up, I haven’t ever felt like writing a Diary. Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Venezuela were quieter than they’ve ever been – quiet as noiseless because the few people partying are not letting off rockets, and quiet as solitary because so many friends are absent and the ones here are avoiding gatherings of more than a few.
But there was still good food, still the presents of hallacas, and our version of Christmas cake.
Between the rickety gate and the house door
hardly a path, a grassy slope
with stones and tree roots,
and in that small space of time
the press that was squeezing me dry
lets go its city grip
and air rushes to my skull,
juices filter to my organs and senses.
From the clearing overgrown now
by withered grass stems
I look for the branch of a low tree
where once I saw a miraculous quetzal.
It’s not there, of course,
but in its place the crimson bells
of canelita flowering out of season
proclaim the color of its breast.
Yesterday my neighbor’s pig escaped into my field/garden/wood. We share the space. The friends with me tried to chase him back into his pen, but only succeeded in making him run faster, and the dogs joined in the fun – they seemed to be friends of his. I called a more competent neighbor (the pig’s owner was away) and he easily roped him and brought him back. He looked at me pleadingly with his very human eyes, and I felt sad that he had to go back to his narrow enclosure – and worse that his fat pink balls between his fat pink buttocks will soon be cut off to prepare him to be pork.