The Old Buenos Aires’ Shoeshine Man

Pietro Grieco

 

When he shines shoes,
speaks and gestures watermarks in the air,
it is habitual that his hands
resemble dreams of dreams unfulfilled–
But, what customer knows or guesses
behind that smile what polishes and burnishes
the tough desires of his memory?

 

Now, unshaved for days
on the sunny sidewalk of Florida Street
he sleeps. Yes, he sleeps in his summer smile
wrapped by the golden light of the winter sun.

 

Who is going to ask him to shine shoes?
The million people that daily flows past.
How? He has an infinite dream…
In it he runs now!
Runs and jumps on a prairie,
following swallows and countryside doves,
blue doves
while drunken orange blossoms perfumes,
caress his hair.

 

Even if the wax melts, the flannels fly
and the brushes walk,     who?
But who can awaken him
from such exclusive chimeral treasure?

 

Sadly, I never knew his name

 

 

Pietro Grieco

 

 Pietro Grieco is Doctor of Divinity, has an OBD in Administration Sciences, and a Master of Arts in Literature and Writing.  He taught at the Buenos Aires University and Belgrano University in Argentina, and  at the California State University San Marcos, CA.  Mr. Grieco wrote academic essays, poetry and seven books. Some of his articles on spirituality have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. He resides with his wife Blanchette in Spain.

 

 

¿Qué sucede en este mundo? What Happens in this World

Pietro Grieco

 

¿Qué sucede en este mundo?

 

Las abejas están desapareciendo
Del aire de la primavera.

 

Los pájaros con el corazón
Quebrado caen del cielo.

 

Los peces de a miles salen del mar
Para depositar sus cuerpos clamando una
misericordia de ojos abiertos sobre las riberas.

 

¿Y los humanos? ¿Qué sucede con
Los humanos?
¿Te refieres a esos ciegos
cadáveres que caminan?

 

What happens in this world?

 

Bees are vanishing
From the air of spring.

 

Birds with broken hearts
are falling from the sky.

 

Fish are coming out of water
And deposit their bodies on the shore
Claiming mercy with big open eyes.

 

And what is going on with humans?
You mean those walking
Corpses who lost their eyes…

 

 

Pietro Grieco is Doctor of Divinity, has an OBD in Administration Sciences, and a Master of Arts in Literature and Writing.  He taught at the Buenos Aires University and Belgrano University in Argentina, and  at the California State University San Marcos, CA.  Mr. Grieco wrote academic essays, poetry and seven books. Some of his articles on spirituality have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

I HOPE NEVER TO RUN A BULLDOZER (IN MEMORY OF RACHEL CORRIE)

Pietro Grieco

 

Evocating a photo of Tiananmen Square,
An young teen-aged American girl faces a bulldozer
Sent to destroy homes and hopes
Of  Palestinian families

 

The animated film
Shows the Israeli bulldozer
Run down her body,
Slowly crushing her,
Bones mixing her
Blood with that ancient
Palestinian land,
Back and forth,
Back and forth he goes, mashing her
Into the earth and into history,
Because the driver
A patriot man,
A good zionist man
Wanted to be efficient,
Wanted to be sure of 
A work well done

 

Something happens
In my stomach,
Suddenly
All the history of the world
Runs through my veins and my guts
And I fear my temples are going to blow up–
It cannot be true   it is only a film, I say to myself
The Israelis know the Commandments and the Law
They went through infinite sufferings and the holocaust

 

It cannot be true they fear the ire of the Empire
And very easily they can be crushed too,
No, it cannot be true.

 

It is not true
No human being can crush
The body of an innocent girl
Claiming for justice
For human rights and for
Optimism in the world.

 

I know it is not true
No human being
Nor a good Jew
Can such action do.

 

I know it is not true
Because no apology
Will return her life
No prayer will restore
Our feeble hope
No reason will
Suffice our minds.

 

I know it is not true
The friends
The politicians
The judges
The senators
The representatives
The governments
The presidents
The ministers
Even the enemies
The press and all
The powerful of the world
Will act and slam their fist
Will cry with indignation
Will act at the unison
And stop the bulldozers of hate
Jump and save the innocent
With a biblical name

 

The scene wasn’t revised
And none came to save
Idealistic Rachel Corrie,

 

None is hoping to restore
Hope to my shattered hope.
I wish someone would come
And hope to hope with me,
Help to restore meaning
Mending small words:
Life, peace, Love

 

My neighbor, I remember his
Tears in disbelief, he who went
To work ideals in a kibbutz
But left when he could not
Do his biology work with
A machine gun. As these
Things can happen I hope
Never to run a bulldozer
Or watching TV news
Having peacefully
A miserable cup of tea

 

 

 

 

Pietro Grieco

please see Dr. Grieco’s complete bio on the Author’s page and additional works, SPRING ISSUE, 2011

 

 

 

 

The End of the World

Pietro Grieco

 

Golden letters engraved in wood
tell travelers they have reached
the end of the Pan-American Highway.
A tranquil landmark lucid as the sun
leaving me speechless and alone.
the end…  the abyss…  the end…
the waves…  hypnotizing the silent
loneliness of moss, soul and stones
receiving the beat of the surge
a mantra for iris and retina
perplexed unknown at the end
of the labyrinth of this world.
Facing a gray and frosted horizon
imagining an ephemeral continent
behind the feared Cape Horn
and the mariners graveyard
whitens my mind.
Steps in long decades
drove me
to the world’s end:
Tierra del Fuego.
Stunned in this Land of Fire akin
to an original Patagonian Ona Indian
wide eyed to flames dancing
under the Southern Cross at
aliens coming from Finisterre.

 

Moved
I closed my eyes.
Facing an invisible threshold
        the temptation was nearby to
                embrace the cross or steal the fire or
                jump and be swallowed by the whale
                sacrificing for something bigger than
myself bypassing the line of madness
                to live not by bread alone, be
or descend into the darkness of time
                losing my being in the transformation
                while this epiphany plays an arrested
                rhythm between this instant and eternity.

 

Stepping over the end
of a global universe,
end and beginning have
the same meaning as
the end of winter or the start of summer,
in a meaningful and futile
temptation we define
the end as a lucid revelation
                where not a bird sings
and we draw the line
where we break our dreams
and we step over our hearts
where we decide to pass on
                        and awaken the next day
                where an end seems to be
                        is never an end but
                        a new stone to step on
                        a new path to transcendence
                where  the best Victory of Samothrace
                        flies away from the furnace
                        of our burning chest.
The end of the universe is not a destiny.
The end of the universe is not a place.
It is only a location in our minds where
We step upon immanence for a new experience

 

My sight stirs
the same pebbles resembling
faithful dogs at my feet. Similar
to those mysteries of life
the same small miracles that
keep us going. Thus
the end of the universe is not a destiny.
The end of the universe is never a place
It is an act of imagination!

 

Breathe in
breathe out
Breathe in
breathe out.
The horn honks
Disrupting my reverie
The head turned toward the empty
bus for our return to Ushuaia
walking this clear tear of joy
like a simple speck of dust
I realized we are all part
of a poem
the universe is writing with us

 

Pietro Grieco – please see author’s bio on author’s page, and in additional works.