The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.

Adrienne Rich

It was the summer of 2011 and we left to California. From Berkeley we drove to San Francisco, down route 1, past Monterrey, we got lost in the roads, we slept in motels that seem straight out of a film. From that trip a collection of poems came out. A diary, written while driving, in the back seat of the Dodge, as we advanced through the American roads Ángel Talián sketches our story like a map of the summer, a map of a private story wich aspired to become History. Later, in the spring of 2014, reading that diary made of poems, I attempt to recreare our story with maps. Maps of verse maps about our story. Maps of experience, what we lived, geographical but also emocional and intelectual.

ROADS (coda)

the grid painted with a set-square
that are the streets of San Francisco
a runaway tram
turned into a funfair attraction
the there’s-still-hope signs
on the red cables of the Golden Gate Bridge
the route 1 that goes down skirting the empty
coast
and the Pacific Ocean in a desperate blue
that cul-de-sac where we almost got trapped
suitable for a chasing Hollywood scene
the Carmel paths where we drove
at American-obese speed
the yellow meadows like a Spanish wheat field in Mariposa
and a poppy surviving in the middle of the afternoon
the giant sequoias skirting the very secondary
road
that led to Yosemite Valley and the 8 hours
we took to do 50 km
the beware-of-the-bears warnings
and the bears we didn’t see
the endless straight road that crosses the high noon in Death Valley
the 55 degrees under the shadow
and the air that burned the skin
the reflections on the road that were a glassy sea
the motel parking where we believed ourselves fugitives
and the old lady that took care of us that reminded me of the mother
of Bates the shower and the knife
Las Vegas risen in the middle of the dessert
the best tribute to Sodom ever to be done
Las Vegas Blvd. with the Bellagio the Caesar Palace the Flamingo the Mirage
the stretch of route 66 we drove through on our way to the Grand Canyon
and how we insisted in calling it The Mother Route
because Steinbeck had said so in The Grapes of Wrath
ourselves inside the car facing the Grand Canyon and the rain
that blurred our windscreen and the landscape
the returning roads that seemed different
though they were the same
the roads of our youth and the Dodge
whom we called Mae West
swallowing kilometres without a break
that summery light of held up time
that we will never be able to
bring back

el verano en california -

THE SUMMER IN CALIFORNIA

I leave San Francisco in my Dodge Charger SXT it’s the route 1 of CA
it’s the route 1 who could have known the Pacific ocean is blue.
We are not in a rush it’s the summer in California the beaches
deserted
the route 1 of CA has barely no traffic. We stop at each
bay to look at the ocean, the Pacific ocean is blue. Someone
mentions that the landscape reminds him of Cantabria.
California, Cantabria, catastrophe sea, sea of punishment.
I had never seen the Pacific, the water just-out-of-the-fridge cold.
Blue water just out of the fridge.
We stop in Pacifica, CA, route 1 there’s no one. No one and it’s Wednesday morning
no one goes to the beach on Wednesday morning in CA, Pacifica Bay, a sign
explains how to escape the current
you have to swim towards the sides it’s useless
to go against the Pacific Ocean, old bored lady
sitting in the door of her house waiting for a kid to be in her range, drag him in and
force him to swallow and swallow and
The route 1 in CA we look like conquistadors
we are on our way to Big Sur, no one stands in our way,
only an empty road that skirts the coast,
we go through Monterey, we don’t know the time, we don’t care, somebody shouts
we’re free
and the word free bounces like a pinball ball in every corner of the Dodge
finds the window, flies over the road the cliff the blue and disappears.
Somebody turns on the radio and a known song surprises us
we look at each other
nobody can believe it
the radio in CA plays our songs. Dusk
waits for us till we arrive to the beaches of Big Sur,
route 1,
the last surfers drain the light sitting on their boards waiting for the Big Wave
always alert
like sea gazelles.
We look at the blue.
I would have never imagined it.
Ocean Pacific blue Pacific ocean.
Blue water just out of the fridge.
I’d love to drink it all.


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