Monday, August 24, 2009

Conquistador at Times Square - Eric Gamalinda

It takes a while to sink in,
the fact that you’ve reached a stopping point
possibly for good, like those mariners
shouting tierra! In relief
and disbelief.

Imagine how it must have seemed
like paradise, no matter if some details
fell short of expectations: the jungle
sick with malaria, the natives
hostile, not willing

to part with their gold. Once
you wanted to live like that, footloose
in uncharted territory,
averse to arrivals and departure
unless they were your own.

At the N & R stop at Times Square,
A busker is singing her heart out,
singing, Funny but sometimes
life can be beautiful
. She has no name,
she is a voice so pure and wounded

nobody notices how poor she really is,
and commuters edge closer but this is
as far as they go, the way
they lean out over the tracks
to peer into the empty tunnel.

This is a scene so common you think of it
as home. Sometimes it hits you
without warning, the possibility
of irrational joy,
and all you have to do

is open yourself the way she leaves
her guitar case open, an open palm
of frayed blue satin.
Even the conquistadors,
sick with scurvy,

must have wanted only for the journey
to end, the comfort
of immobility. You want to be
like the singer in the subway,
taking people’s money

and breaking people’s hearts.
The train drowns her voice,
you hop in and when the doors close
she is still singing, but all you hear
is the sound of yourself

moving away.

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