i heart LA (i heart neruda)

for a variety of reasons, i’ve been reading a lot of pablo neruda lately.  i sit at sbc, and browse through pages and pages of his poetry.  i forgot how much i love him, how immediately real his stuff is to me.  i don’t think i ever want to date anyone again who doesn’t get neruda at some meaningful level (hint hint, g-aunt!), even though i’ve only known three men who’ve loved (or even knew about) neruda, and none of them were significant others.


neruda also brings me back to a time where, if i was not happier, then at least i was more assured.  i’ve been reading neruda for… oh, 10 years now.  but he really brings me back to a couple years of my undergrad, to days in my various apartments, to hanging out in north campus and on ackerman steps and meeting people and doing all sorts of crazy ish…

ok fine.  i’ll admit it.   i’m being increasingly, sappily, grossly nostalgic these days.  i don’t know why, but for the past couple months now i’ve had this feeling… i just can’t wait to get back to california.  i love some of the other cities i’ve lived in and visited, but really… a (huge) piece of my heart is firmly rooted in socal, in the sound of the waves, the taste of the salty air, the feel of the sun on my skin.  recently i was watching an episode of entourage in which the boys have a meal at urth caffe on melrose and i swear i almost cried.  (unbelievable! what is happening to me?)

i miss the city.  like these days, “under the bridge” or “hotel california” can literally bring me to tears.  i deliberately stopped listening to songs by jarabe de palo or orishas because they bring me back to LA way too hard.  i miss the places i love, the beaches, the restaurants, my spots.  i even miss westwood and the crazy persians with their souped up porches and mink coats protesting on wilshire. i miss the mango house, banana boat, crazy marsha and veteran ave.  i miss santa monica and abbot kinney, culver and sunset, la cienega and inglewood.  and the food… god, the food!  i miss the food.

there’s so much to hate about LA, too much, really.  the traffic and congestion, the way the 405 and the 10 are never ever traveling faster than 20 mph, the image-conscious wannabe movie stars, the snobbery, the everyone-drives-a-leased-benz-but-acts-like-they-own-it, the nonexistent public transportation, the millions of azian peoplez and rice rockets and on and on and on… but dammit, i love LA.  i miss it like crazy. (so many songs come to mind right about now… how about, “i’ll be workin’ my way back to you, babe… with a burnin’ love inside…”)

people keep asking me whether or not i plan on returning, and i’ve always swayed back and forth, but these days i keep thinking, hell yeah.  everything in the past always seems simpler than it really was and acquires a veneer of happiness that was probably at least partially unreal.  but i miss those days.  i miss my peoples.  i miss my cousins.  i miss zymes and nancerina, z dub, ricardo, fletch, marisol and my bona fide sav… and yeah, these days, i even really miss inas, perhaps more so than i’d like to admit.

anyway.  this post was supposed to be about neruda, and only parenthetically about LA.  so  here’s some of my favorites.  i’m still waiting for the guy who will recite me neruda before i tell him about it…



Por qué es tan dura la dulzura
del corazón de la cereza?

Es porque tiene que morir
o porque tiene que seguir?


Cuando veo de nuevo el mar
el mar me ha visto o no me ha visto?

Por qué me preguntan las olas
lo mismo que yo les pregunto?

Y por qué golpean la roca
con tanto entusiasmo perdido?

No se cansan de repetir
su declaración a la arena?


Qué pesan más en la cintura,
los dolores o los recuerdos?

— from Libro de preguntas


Soneto LXXXI

Ya eres mía. Reposa con tu sueño en mi sueño.
Amor, dolor, trabajos, deben dormir ahora.
Gira la noche sobre sus invisibles ruedas
y junto a mí eres pura como el ámbar dormido.

Ninguna más, amor, dormirá con mis sueños.
Irás, iremos juntos por las aguas del tiempo.
Ninguna viajará por la sombra conmigo,
sólo tú, siempreviva, siempre sol, siempre luna.

Ya tus manos abrieron los puños delicados
y dejaron caer suaves signos sin rumbo,
tus ojos se cerraron como dos alas grises,

mientras yo sigo el agua que llevas y me lleva:
la noche, el mundo, el viento devanan su destino,
y ya no soy sin ti sino sólo tu sueño.


Soneto XVII

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan eñ fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

Cien sonetos de amor


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