Two Poems

Pavement mosaic by Joan Miró (1971), La Rambla, Barcelona.

These poems were previously published in The Curvature of the Earth, by Gene Frumkin and  Alvaro Cardona-Hine, with a foreword by V. B. Price (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007). Used with the permission of Alvaro Cardona-Hine.

A native of Costa Rica, Alvaro Cardona-Hine has written thirty books of poetry, prose, and translation. He received grants from the NEA and the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a Bush Foundation Fellowship. Recently he received the Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts. Cardona-Hine is also a painter with a gallery in Truchas, New Mexico, where a show of his new work opened in October. His music has been performed in New York, Minneapolis, and Santa Fe, and by the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra.

How It Is

light in Spain speaks in softer tones
than the light in its heart
the streets of Madrid are full
of pedestrians in a hurry
to share their quotidian selves
at home or in cafés
after centuries of mistaken identities

a greater fervor apparent after midnight
lifts them above themselves
the old couples that so warmly
walk each other only death
will liberate them as butterflies
but I want them as they are
free only so far cranky with the world
a whiff of chocolate in their guarded words

and how will you have the young ones? over easy?
millions a fraction it seems away from comfort
while the hare flees ahead of the dogs
and that pool after rain that says—look at me—

anonymous and unanimous with beauty
they throw off their shoes at night
to crawl into pallets of dream and desire
snowy mountains quickly melting


Gaudi has taken over
even though he’s dead

his lizards ooze
from the walls of his cathedral
turn into taxis
and drive workers
to the barricades

the fevers of the Thirties
have not abated
a perpetual seagull
drunk on location
insists on baptizing

and now Miró has taken over
even though he’s gone

the colors dripping
off his canvasses
have exiled the actual sky
and the Mediterranean
to the French Riviera
where they sit in cafés
emigres a bit faded
plotting to return
and embroider
for the museums of the city