Graphic Novel in the 1980s
The lamps of the boulevard are octopi
poking me with dirty light, the shy
lanterns on the alley are mainly broken,
the long sweeping curve from the shimmering glow
of the popcorn machine, the boys’ hair
smeared with lemon and sugar
from a lack of styling gel, his face
disappointed with the dullness
of Halley’s Comet, on sale
shabby Women Day’s tulips, a swollen
belly leads the next couple to the altar,
the pregnant bride might be in love,
a cellophane look dominates the cafés,
a pocket calculator, unfamiliar
in the milkman’s hands, winter
wished it hadn’t been born,
cold overdone fries wait for me at home,
and the sun will rise the next day
most likely the same.
“What do you seek with that dagger? Speak!”
The angry voice challenged him.
“To free the city from the tyrant!”
Red colors penetrate Malta’s winter.
Cactus blossoms, heather, and peppercorns
scatter among monumental white stones
and brightly painted porches; kbir and gravi,
the mighty fortress never despaired,
a rock and a boat, always hoping for peace
in the Mediterranean’s heart.
In Syracuse Pallas Athena shines
in the cathedral next to Our Lady.
Archimedes and Frederick the Great
haunt. The sea has belonged to Odysseus
ever since. Today border guards prevent
the waves from sending desert dust to land
the winds blow saltier, and we pretend
that we believe in Europe’s beginnings.
There are moments in time
when it pours in waves
and the picture becomes
distinct and clear:
captives, refugees, sects,
homeless, migrants, lonely ones.
But light ripens in our hearts
and brings brightness to the world.
It is the old age of darkness,
blind and dreaming,
not frantic but wise.
Is memory the aging of time?
Time superposes and interrupts
as a diffraction pattern of light.
Trapped in its interlaced outline
and afraid to talk quietly I scream.
I feel helpless with the pain of those
who search for paradise
and more helpless against water shortage.
Is there a superlative for helplessness?
I am the sieve that breaks the waves of time
and also the canvas on which they combine.
We are responsible for the long distance
from us to us, or you to me,
where time roams
until it self-destructs.