A legend of the high sierras:
On a certain night of the year
A traveller in a certain valley,
Empty of folk for centuries,
Happened on a footpath leading
Through an orchard of knobby trees
Into a village of Berber houses-
Lights behind their shuttered windows
Voices flickering like snakes.
Suddenly a tall, old man,
Levelling a brass-bound musket,
Stepped from the shadows....
Right. Stop there.
A whimsy fuelled by a bad conscience
Is all this is. There are no Moors
In the high sierras and haven’t been
Since their catholic majesties turfed them out
Almost five hundred years gone by.
Maybe the grief of the dispossessed
Pools in the valleys, maybe not,
But whimsy is the wrong way of treating
A tale as raw as this one is,
One that is going to be unresolved
For just as long as the tambourines
Get smacked for Christ and boys in madrassas
Bob their heads as they chant the Book.
11.VALLEE DE LOS CAIDOS
Doesn’t it bother you that we hate you?
Bother you that we think you’re stupid?
What the hell is all this about-
A church dug out of a bloody big rock
By prisoners of war who hated the job
And hated you and thought you were stupid?
Shouldn’t a church be built with love?
Pharaoh in spite of what you were taught
Wanted his pyramid built with consent
And paid his workmen bloody good wages.
Hate has filled your church with horror.
It looks and feels like an air-raid shelter.
It looks and feels like a secret bunker,
As full of dread as it’s full of corpses...
O you fascists,
Your brains are dull:
You thought is stiff,
Your path is straight,
But we, your enemies,
Move like snakes.
The secret is there is no secret.
What do men want? What do women want?
In comes Time
To sweep away the derelict flirts
With his besom broom. And what do they know?
Glitter and shadow.
It was so fine
To be looking down from the balcony.
Our men had reputations so
They muffled their faces.
And laughter: they are sinister
And damn attractive. Even the toothlessLaughter of crones is so damn attractive