When Lorca was murdered
they had him turn around and look down
the steep mountainside at Granada far below.
Goodbye hometown. They shot him in the back as always,
also in the butt because he was gay. The powerful
rifles splintered him and later the family
picked u the pieces on the slope for burial.
What a rare bird. It was like shooting
the last blue heron on earth. There’s a sundial
there now. We drank a bottle Christine made
called Memoire. I choked on the wine
and tears. At some ages he was my favorite
poet who would make me moonstruck.
I walked along the Guadalquivir in Seville
and saw his perpetual shadow in the moving
water, the local gitano music constricting
and exploding the heart. Water kept carrying
this burden of musical shadow to the ocean.
In the Mediterranean I heard his voice on the water.
Jim Harrison, Dead Man’s Float
From the publisher’s Web site:
A “dead man’s float” is a survival technique used by swimmers during an exhausting journey. Reading and writing poems served as Jim Harrison’s dead man’s float while he gritted through the agonies and indignities of shingles and surgeries during the final years of his life. (Harrison died shortly after the book was released.) Throughout this heartbreaking and harrowing book—which the Los Angeles Times called “a flinty and psalmist look at mortality and wonder”—Harrison invoked fellow poets who suffered greater hardships and brutal deaths—Lorca, Machado, Mandelstam—and marveled at the beauty they created.