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Tony Grist

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Lorca [Aug. 6th, 2004|10:17 am]
Tony Grist
The Spanish can't agree on whether they should dig up Lorca or not. Oddly enough, it's his family- his nephews and nieces- who say "no". I can't think what their motives are, beyond not wanting to rock the boat. The Guardian article from which I'm drawing most of this information calls them "conservative." Hmmm.

Lorca was murdered by a fascist death squad in 1936 and his body thrown into a pit alongside those of a one-legged teacher and a couple of anarchist bull-fighters. Even in death a touch of the surreal. Of course, unless they dig him up, we can't be sure the story is true.

The guys who killed Lorca called themselves la escuadra negra- the black squadron. How bloody infantile these fascists are! One of the killers later boasted that he'd shot Lorca in the ass "because he was a poof."

H.G. Wells wrote to the authorities in Granada (as president of PEN) to ask what had become of his "distinguished colleague." Wells and Lorca- what an odd and unlikely conjunction. Ah, the republic of letters!

A couple of years ago I wrote a sequence of poems about Granada to accompany a set of photos my sister had taken. It's called "La Alpujarra". There was talk of an exhibition, but it hasn't happened yet. In the process of researching the project I got turned on by Lorca.

He flits in and out of the sequence. Here's one of his appearances.


They made a play of it
They made a ritual.
Invitations were issued to all of Spain.
The tiers were restless.
The green, green bones and the rusty shrouds,
Puppets in corduroy and leather,
The nightingales that fanned the air
Were restless

They drove him up in a black limousine,
Not to be buried.
He wore his pride like an overcoat,
He wore his love like a tilted fedora.
Minotaurs and majas applauded,
All were his creatures.
Cabbage roses of gored flesh,
This was the tribute.

They set him down at the cemetery gates
Not to be buried.
And if one asks where Lorca lies,
Show her the mist above the river,
Show her the road through the orchard dew,
Show her the crags of Andalucia.
They ruined him like a millionaire.
They scattered him to the crowd like silver.

The reference to "cemetery gates" is a nod to another version of the story which has him being executed (as over 2,000 people were) at Granada's municipal cemetery. I've let it stand- even though it's probably not accurate- because I don't think I can change it now without gutting the poem.

[User Picture]From: cybersofa
2004-08-06 03:29 am (UTC)
Hello, friend of huskyteer. I very much enjoyed your poem, especially the fedora, and have taken the liberty of befriending you.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-06 03:38 am (UTC)
Thank you. Posting poems makes me nervous. One is exposing so much. And now I am going to befriend you right back.:)
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[User Picture]From: cybersofa
2004-08-07 02:25 am (UTC)
My pleasure, and thanks back. Won't place too many demands upon your time, though I am expecting something mildly interesting later this month, or if not then next month definitely.

Yes, poetry must be the hardest thing ever to go public with. Knowing when it's finished, apart from anything else, I should think.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-07 12:56 pm (UTC)
Someone- I think it was Robert Graves- said, "a poem is never finished, only abandoned."
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-08-06 04:33 am (UTC)
I've read and re-read your poem--it's chilling and wonderful.

And I look forward to your posts: Your writing style sets up a pleasant hum in my head.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-06 06:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. It's been a long time since I last posted a poem. I suspect most people shy away from the appearance of verse- those broken up lines- but maybe I'm wrong. Also I'm kinda shy.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2004-08-06 07:20 am (UTC)
i like it. your images are very Lorca-like.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-06 09:03 am (UTC)
Thanks. I just went with Lorca and he took me to places I'd not have got to on my own
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