18 SEPTEMBER 1994
1. All that is born can disappear.
How on a boiling day a low bench
receives shade from seven olive trees.
How one’s bottom goes clammy in contact
with massive and age-old stone.
How the tramontana breaks the sea’s plane
and through penetrating light of a lazy sun
picks up and twirls the water’s surface
in hurricanes yellow, blue, ochre, sand, water.
Vertigo can dissolve, directionless.
Swallows that dive like bats do
along the steep cliff behind the bench
where the path winds its way through three bays
but still points only to France.
2. Nothing dies willingly in Port Bou.
The girl from Aragon on the beach
takes her skirt off and lopes like an antilope
through the surf while her leather bag
holds a writing case with ironwork,
She’s here only for this Sunday
that is like a nameless history.
An empty pedestal on a steel plateau.
Front garden of desolate customs post.
A rock that almost slides into the sea.
Give it designations colourblind
play of tramontana, wind as strong
as lofty mountains, makes you shiver in the sun.
3. All that is born can disappear.
The free provision of penicillin
and morphine. In the old pension room
two beds stand between a wall
of disease. You and I, who is the male one?
What is being a male? The scraping
of a blade across an inflamed throat,
how it feels to be shaved
one last time, for a party
you won’t attend. Or how
a child laughing throws sand
at the sun. Falling and no
shame till you rise again.
4. All that is not born can also disappear.
Sand, roots, helm grass, tracks that never
ran here. The inhabitants who gaze after
the traveller but do not give his description.
Their gait still disturbed after the building
of a monument. Now, as the tramontana
licks at your body and picks up you and your glasses,
carries them along. Where the passage brings
the churchyard to the edge of the abyss above the surf.
Details of it only the short-sighted can find.
How it got here? Fifty years ago. To for-
get such a thing is barbaric. Even the defacing
of an artwork is a cultural expression.
I did this. Unscrupulous. Today. Date.