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I was going to start with the obvious…

Nothing makes sense anymore.

But that wouldn’t take us far,

wouldn’t pull us up or,


“mas alla,”

as they say in Spanish…

no real translation possible,

but the closest being:


I’ve gone back into books:

into Galeano, Latin America’s modern Hafiz;

into Mary Oliver, with whom I feel such kinship;

even into fiction…

And yet, at some point, I stopped

looking for answers.

Started trying to just be,

to accept what was—is—

without feeling like that meant defeat.

And who can help with that?

All around there are private dioramas of pain:

the eyes of the Cuban musicians in the bar in Spanish Harlem

as they play “Chan Chan”

instead of timba, or a symphony, or both,

or something we don’t have a name for yet.

The African immigrants in Liberty’s shadow

selling handbags and watches out of boxes

and briefcases.

Who talks to them?

Who listens?

There’s so much hurt.
Disappointment all the time.

But that’s obvious,


because after that,

there’s this:

at the end,

it won’t matter at all.

It will matter everything.

We’ll still be saying




-for Gary


6 responses »

  1. Wow, Julie. “Mas alla” – so intense. This is haunting and beautiful.

  2. beautiful Julie.
    me quedo pensando en las imágenes del músico cubano detrás de la espesa atmosfera de “chan chan” y los inmigrantes bajo la sombra de la “libertad”.

  3. My favorite line: “no real translation possible.” Ain’t it the truth…

    I grew up on some Mary Oliver. Glad to hear you’re keeping it real.


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