polka-dotted white shirt collar
in the rain, little black bits of
sulphur dioxide and nitrogen
oxide, liquid smog clears the
Andean air, never knew the
mountains were there before
storms of winter, when all
is pure again, I wait for the
micro (bus), slicked hair under
umbrella, leather jacket like
a Russian made man to hustle
on these Spanish speaking streets
in transit to work for finance
power company, electricity and me
daydreaming of Neruda in dirty drips
of sky just asking, why? why?
Manicured ladies in stilettos navigate ancient smooth
stoned pathways, corridors assembled during Roman times.
Smooth curves of their exposed skin pattern the night,
wafts of perfume mingle with the smell of grilled
octopus and cigarettes.
Some cling to tan wrinkled arms
of sugar daddies, men with white chest hairs
attached to fortunes drenched in cologne.
I never visit the island for Gucci or Fendi,
air-conditioned square shops of consumer luxury.
The purring cicadas surrounded by sea
are my siren song, blue water darkening as it journeys
to Tunisia. Pulsating, my calves quiver up and down steps
to Villa Jovis where Tiberius reigned supreme, decadently
tossing the unwanted off cliffs into the watery
chasm of time.
The ruins sit unaffected by sun’s sweat dripping
from my elbows. I rest in pine tree shadows, imagine when
Neruda was here, arranging verse in his head. Away from the glitz,
everything is as it was, as it is, ants, jasmine, laughter
of the old women who were born in Capri,
born by the sea.