Spain won the Eurocup last night. Good for them.  It's been forty years since Spain has won any major title in fútbol.  They played brilliantly. After a nice book group discussion (The Virgin Suicides-mixed reactions, I didn't like it) I went home, got Waldo, and went downstairs to watch the game at the chiringuito right below us. It was quite pleasant and I treated myself to a nice dish of baby squid. Wonderful. After the game Waldo and I took a stroll down the Paseo del Parque and it was pretty crazy–thousands and thousands of people out in the streets celebrating, honking horns, waving flags... I don't think Waldo enjoyed it too much so we came home pretty quickly. (In the photo, Luis Aragonés, the coach of the Spanish team. He goes out in glory.)


All the help I can get... (2)

Eva Castillejo is another person who helps me out here in the neighborhood. She cuts my hair and she's very good. (Even Mariza, the woman who cuts my hair in Carlisle, was very impressed.) Eva is kind and likes to talk while she's working. She always remembers the girls' names and asks about them. She's got a great sense of humor. She's from Córdoba, but that's not her fault. I don't know what else to say about Eva, it's not like I get my hair cut every week or anything, but it's nice to go get your hair cut where you know it's going to be done well and the person cutting your hair knows something about you.



Our neigh- borhood, la Malagueta, is really dirty. Aston- ishingly so, and it's quite discouraging how the situation never seems to get better. I just came back from a walk with Waldo. He doesn't mind the garbage- it's a veritable gold mine of treasures for him. It's not a question of clean-up: every night the cleaning crew sweeps the neighborhood, but it's never enough because there are so many people who just dump their shit wherever it pleases them. "Leave no trace"? A foreign concept. Literally. It's a shame. Malaga is such a wonderful city and has so much going for it. The miracle is that in spite of the garbage, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. The photo here is not from our neighborhood and it's not a typical situation. Nonetheless, it's not unfair-the general situation is atrocious.(Happy Birthday John!)


Where am I?

Malaga. Tired. I feel like a rodent. But my legions of readers have been bombarding me with emails, demanding a regular routine of posts. About 18,000 emails a day! Ok fans, don't freak out. The big news is Waldo made it to Malaga with me! I think he feels like a rodent too. We're going to bed.


Random photos

Last night Dan B. was here to help out with this poor performing 'old' iMac, and as I was taking a glance at the now faster computer this morning I came across some photo folders and browsed through one of them from 2005. So here's a photo from then, a dinner with the Hymans. I couldn't find a date and I'm not sure what the ocassion is, but I'm guessing it's Easter because it looks like we're eating lamb. In any case, it's a nice photo to have, as there've been so many of these great dinners with our dear friends.


Inevitable comparisons

Whenever I go back and forth between Carlisle and Malaga my brain can't avoid engaging in some comparative analysis, especially in the first few days after a trip. As usual, when I get to Carlisle I am struck by the lack of litter and the general sense of tidiness and order. The green lawns, the orderly way cars are parked, and the absence of grafitti contribute to this perception. Generally speaking I perceive these things with admiration, but beneath the surface lurks a sense of conformity and even submissiveness that is quite chilling and disheartening. It seems like nothing outside a very predictable routine happens here. And of course, there is almost no one outdoors. A community of cars.



Cristina graduated from Carlisle High School on Thursday evening. Congra- tulations, Cristina! The event was held indoors at the Kline Cemter because of the threat of showers, but of course it didn't rain. Cristina looked radiant in her white gown, Abuelo Daniel was there to mark the occasion. Daniela was rehearsing and couldn't be there. Cristina gets to relax for a week or so, then it's back to work at Piatto.


More good food

Yesterday a bunch of us got together for lunch in Pedregalejo. We ate at Mari Cuchi, one of the many restaurants right on the beach. I'm feeling too lazy right now to go over all the goodies, but I do want to mention the espetos de sardinas (again), because we're in June now and this is the best month for fresh sardines. Oh were they ever good! Very fresh sardines, sea salt, the embers of olive branches. That's it. Simple food. Oh my, and the concha fina, the delicious clams from these waters! They are eaten raw on the half-shell. Out of this world. It got quite chilly around 5 pm when we were finishing up, then it got warm again a couple of hours later. The weather in May was just crazy.  It's rained a great deal in most of Spain, but not here, where it's just been strange. Lots of work today and tomorrow, then it's home!


Two languages. Two me's?

Yesterday I was reading the paper and was sur- prised (and somewhat flattered) to see myself quoted in Pedro Aparicio's weekly article. He was discussing J. Soto's new collection of poetry and quoted the review I wrote for El Mundo. In any case, he seemed to like my description of one of the book's qualities as an espejismo vital. When I wrote that I new exactly what I was referring to and precisely what I meant to say. But a few minutes after reading Pedro's article I fund myself thinking in English. It occurred to me that I would be at a loss to express that same concept in English. A lively mirage? It doesn't sound right at all. I guess I could use a good bit of circumlocution and describe what I meant, but that wouldn't do very well. Just one little example of why translating one brief poem can take so darn long. (And this example doesn't even take into account all the attention that must be given to questions of rhythm, sometimes of rhyme and meter, metaphor, etc.) Do I think differently in Spanish than in English? No doubt there are some differences, since we think verbally. So when I'm thinking in Spanish I'm drawing on the Spanish dictionary in my brain, in many ways poorer than my English dictionary, but in some ways richer. And going back and forth, that is, drawing on both dictionaries simultaneously, is not as easy as it may seem. I do that some, of course, but it's a process that slows down my thinking and can often be an unwelcome interference. (OK, another off the cuff gloss of that expression: organic self-deceptions/revelations; not that it sounds much better, but to some degree it gets at what I was referring to: the poet's unavoidable tendency to express feelings and desires that he knows are partially artifice, yet are rhetorically necessary steps on the path to his poetic truth.) Perhaps the photo does a better job of exemplifying how a creative fiction can suggest a profound truth. This bronze in the center of Malaga is a homage to Rafael Pérez Estrada and it's based on one of his wonderful ink drawings. This imaginative hybrid ("Ave quiromántica") suggests many things; among them, peace, liberty, and friendship. So I guess looking for me in two different languages is fun. But maybe, after all is said and done, certain qualities of silence will turn out to be the most fruitful path.