An idea came to me after that the best way to meet someone is to do so either while doing what you love or describing that and watching for a response.
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a cafe and you’ve managed to get directly in front of someone you want to meet and you don’t know what to say. I would simply talk about something that was important to me and see if they could relate or knew about what I was talking and were excited about it too.
So, a long time ago, nearly 1986, I watched an episode of Miami Vice, a cop show and in the show there was a poet, who was fleeing his country and seeking asylum in the United States and he wheeled himself on stage, where a lot of people were in the audience and he read a poem that was simple, but it really touched me. I love how the Latin American writers talk about war and injustice because corruption is rampant and they don’t seem to enjoy the same freedoms that we do. They are always the victims of dictatorships.
Anyway, when he began reading, I was immediately drawn:
“In the place where I came from the jungles were a jade wall
And the plains rolled like the sea
The mountains carried the wind on their shoulders…”
The poem goes on and the images are so graphic that I could see and feel them. The words were so simple, but they immediately brought me into myself and I could feel the injustice.
The poem goes on to say that what those in charge did not create they could still kill. They rolled out their armor and it rained. The horses sank in the mud and could not possess what they did not create. And so the poem was a metaphor for the spirit of the people, which no army could truly kill, because so long as the people lived, even in the hearts and minds of the dictators, human beings possess this spirit of truth and justice and that spirit mocks those who would be so presumptuous to think that they could kill even themselves, because they knew in their hearts of this truth and this justice. Say, for example, you kill me, the memory of this decision remains inside of you. The truth keeps coming back and it haunts the untrue. Reality for those who have lied to themselves is an uncomfortable place filled with the potholes of nervous ticks and bumps against it. And what is the worst for people who deny reality is that they are eventually taken out in a way that is horrific.
So, as I am reading this to the woman in front of me and she is thinking, being inside of herself, she becomes excited and wants to hear more.
“Well,” I say, “it was a show with two police officers, who fight crime in Miami and during that time a type of law called RICO – The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.” What the word “rico” means in Spanish is rich, an interesting and likely manufactured coincidence. The law made the police rich because they could confiscate the property of those who were found guilty and that property, fancy cars, money, houses, etc. were used by the police to appear like they were successful criminals to then arrest other criminals.
The effect was that these particular officers end up driving fancy cars and living in expensive houses, dressed well, and so the show was rather flamboyant and elitist.
In the one segment, Season 2, Episode 20, called both “Free Verse” and “Zero Solution,” there was this visiting professor (poet) from a South American country with a corrupt government and where all the people suffered and he was doing a poetry reading in an auditorium at a school.
It is 2016, 30 years later, and I have since written poems like his. I have been permanently influenced by art and literature. I was wondering if I could read you a poem like his and if you can tell me if you might be similarly influenced, affected to the deepest parts of your soul when I read it?
What does she say?
If she had said, “No,” I would have stopped and gone back to reading my magazine and waited for those within ear shot, perhaps a beautiful woman was there, who I also wanted to meet. Perhaps, I was simply talking to someone who was next to the woman I had wanted to meet to see if she listened silently or who left the room because she was bored. And maybe all this was lost because I was thinking there was some correlation of my need for beauty and that external beauty meant internal beauty and that what I was a really after? Just a one-night stand?
She said yes. The room became silent within ear shot. I read the poem and I watched my audience out of the corner of my eye. Some were uncomfortable, like I was bothering them, and some were listening intently. As soon as I stopped, I waited. It was silent. And then she started talking to me. She was enthused. We talked on and on and that was the beginning of our friendship and love for the beauty in the world and that we were capable of creating.