venerdì 21 agosto 2015


After a long walk through downtown Hollywood,
Florida, past fashionable couples dining in
overpriced restaurants, past local redneck drunks
claiming territory at the Octopus sidewalk bar
and Kellyʼs Irish pub, past the pawn shop and
the strange G.D. Bazaar Ladies clothing and
misc shop with those two Felix the cat looking
clocks from the seventies with swinging tails and
shifting eyes hanging in the window, past the
hippie guy at the Mexican restaurant on the far
end of the strip, not really a hippie but more of a
hipster impersonating a hippie, who looks up at
me and says “Hi”, the only human so far to make
contact, a hippie/hipster at an empty Mexican
restaurant in south Florida, and Iʼm wearing my
Frida Khalo t-shirt and wonder if he recognizes
her, but I really canʼt stay here, or want to stop
here, so I give the guy a shy “Hi” back and turn
the corner fast, away from the trendy strip and
swirl of muzak and exotic fast food and $10
sparkly high heeled sandals, towards the end of
the strip, to the back street parallel to the train
tracks, and I walk north, past dozens of “for
rent” signs on dead businesses, “foreclosed”
properties, boarded up windows, just on the other
side of happening downtown, and I walk and
walk, and itʼs lonely and quiet, on the other side,
and I keep walking and end up at the old Publix
supermarket shopping plaza, across the street
from the new multi million dollar Young Circle
Arts Park, where tired parents watch their kids,
too many kids, play on the safe hi tech monkey
bars on the cushioned astro turf playground,
under the glowing red royal ponciana trees and
just beyond the the thick baobab trees but Iʼm
now at the Publix shopping plaza, just on the
other side, where the Haitian cab drivers hang
out, where the bus stops are, where the homeless
and druggies and beautiful freaks loiter in front
of the Walgreens and talk and share cigarettes
and ask for spare change, and finally, for the first
time during my whole afternoon journey I feel
some relief, much less sad and quite human and
connected as I watch two men argue and egg each
other on about something, I donʼt know what,
and they stare at each other, eye to eye, face to
face, sweaty nose to sweaty nose, and the moist
sun is setting behind them and an old man walks
out of the Publix with handfulls of plastic bags
and an androgynous boy in a pink shirt and tight
black stretch pants cruises by on rusty bicycle
and I start to cross the parking lot to leave and
the sun is still setting and a young couple in dirty
clothes sits on the ground in an embrace, against
the fancy new plastic but made to look antique
silver lamp post, and I cross the street between
backed up traffic and fumes, head back to my
momʼs condo, across from the golf course with
the expensive country club and a collapsing chain
link fence that keeps out the broken beer bottles
and dog shit and trash, just on the other side, and
I climb the stairs to my motherʼs condo instead
of taking the elevator which is not up to code
and breaks down often, but hasnʼt been replaced
because the building canʼt afford it, so they are
taking a chance, waiting until the city inspector
comes back and threatens to issue a fine, makes
them replace it and there are piles of dead bugs in
the stairwell, a lizard skeleton in the corner and
I enter unit 304 where my mom is stretched out
on the mauve chaise lounge that used to belong
to Doris Rothenberg, my partnerʼs mother, who
is dead, but my mother is very alive, lying on it,
watching her Venezuelan soap operas, so I give
her a kiss and go take a shower to wash away the
south Florida humidity, but I canʼt stop worrying
while I stand in the shower, I worry about my
mother falling in the shower with no one around
to help her, because we have been visiting her
girlfriends all week, all old widows living alone
just like my mom, the difference being that they
have daughters and grand daughters near them
that stop by on their lunch breaks everyday,
come by and install handles in the shower so
their mothers wonʼt fall down and they buy fancy
bath mats so their motherʼs wonʼt fall down, but
my motherʼs shower doesnʼt have any handles
and her bathmat is cheap and slippery, and I
imagine her falling down in the shower, helpless
and alone, so I feel sad again, thinking about
her death and the death of the Gulf Coast… oh
yeah… the Gulf Coast is dying, pelicans and
fisherman are dying, a whole culture is dying,
completely helpless and alone.

Terri Carrion

Terri Carrion è nata a New York da madre galiziana e padre cubano. Cresciuta a Los Angeles, ha conseguito un Master in Belle Arti presso la Florida International University di Miami. Ha progettato e curato la rivista letteraria Gulfstream. Ha insegnato inglese, scrittura creativa e poesia. Ha pubblicato poesie, racconti e saggi in riviste letterarie e antologie. Cofondatrice del movimento di poesia globale 100 Thousand Poets for Change, vive a Guerneville, in California, con il poeta suo compagno Michael Rothenberg e i suoi amati cani Chiqui e Ziggy.

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