Each year in Pamplona the bulls begin their slow descent down the narrow streets gaining speed nostrils flaring muscle and sinews taut they forge ahead a white wave preceding them in their mad dash and each year there is one, some years two who, by slip of foot or lapse of judgment meet the horns of the lead bull who in disgust snorts “this one is no Hemingway.”
First published in Defenestration ,Vol XVI Issue 2 August 2019
Last night the actors trod the boards carrying us on their backs. This wasn’t Pittsburgh but we believed it so. We’ve never been to the Hill but we walked its blighted streets. In the mirror we are white, but not last evening. He is five years dead but last night August Wilson escorted us to a place we had never imagined, and we were all too glad to visit.
She walks slowly, the streets she once knew well, so much changed by time and memory released into the fog. It is hard going back when back is no longer there, where the store you owned, a place where you spent countless hours is now a sandwich shop, and so many others gone altogether for modern brick, concrete and glass. Still there is a T-shirt which she will wear as a badge of what was, a play she will never forget, as I remember the park in Salt Lake City were mescaline and blotter acid made the maples float above the ground and we sat in the summer rain and imagined golden butterflies but that too is gone as are all of the coconuts that once filled this grove.
The snow began falling this morning the dry, almost greasy snow that defies the plows running up and down the streets, too shallow for the salters to begin. Cars slide to a stop, or nearly so, at the intersection, and you know it is merely a matter of time before two will simultaneously, and there will be a loud crunch of metal, gesticulating of hands, He would stay and watch, as he does auto racing, but the temperature has breached single digits, the wind has taken up winter’s challenge, and he knows only a fool would venture or stay out in this.
The great bronze kings of the Chosun Dynasty look down from Mount Namsan over the city, valleys of small homes, neatly tiled roofs over ramshackle walls, with small gardens clustered atop amid clothes drying racks and cars careening along narrow streets. The old woman wraps the pink towel around on her scalp like some garish bun and lifts the packages carefully bound balanced on her head and trudges slowly down the cobbled street to Namdaemun market. In It’aewon, the man bent, creaking, lifts the handle of the old cart and begins a slow shuffle up the alley straining against time and gravity. They look down from the mountain at the great South Gate and their hanboks weigh heavier with the fall of night while the Han flows on uncaring.