Sometimes there is a pleasant surprise in a world that is increasingly complex. I never expected the Berlin Wall to come down in 1989 nor did I ever imagine that Latvia, my parents’ homeland, would ever be independent again. Or that Nelson Mandela would be president of South Africa. Finding this article in The Guardian was also a pleasant surprise.
The year I spent in Medellin in the mid 1980’s could not have been more different. Here’s a poem I wrote about that time.
The Escobar Years
Cross Medellin square. Man in paddy wagon shouts. Out next morning, amigo, no problem I say. I make necklaces of seeds. and stumble home from cafés where beggars play guitars and men with open sores crawl the sidewalk, a procession straight from God. Slices of green mango served with shots of aguardiente, my only food. Gunshots at night, hide under table. Thick with age, these are my war stories.