Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, September 26, 2021

When you think of cheese in Costa Rica, queso fresco comes first to mind. Queso fresco is found everywhere, in the markets and the ferias. It’s bland, rubbery, and insipid. We keep it on hand, as a dinnertime treat for the dogs. For ourselves, we have discovered several producers of excellent artisan cheeses, from fresh and soft to aged and hard, and even soft and ripened, as tasty and interesting as any in the world.

Our friend Ronald, who lives on the next ridge over from us, raises goats and makes goat cheese. This morning he delivered an order right to our doorstep, chèvre and an aged cheese he calls duro that has a hard crust and a creamy interior. Delicious!

Chèvre and two types of duro, the darker infused with wine

Ronald also makes flavored versions of chèvre, but as purists we prefer the plain. Yogurt, too, plain or flavored with fresh strawberries, blackberries or pineapple.

I have a new poem ready to share. This one was hard for me to write.

Some days

Some days anything
to keep hands, feet busy
to keep from the desk
sitting, thinking

what needs to be written
not yet ripened
not knowing the what
the how to be done

whole morning spent
hacking heliconias
making way for new growth
green shoots, bright blooms

drag the detritus
down to the pile
toss to the top 
to slowly mulch

uncover plants lost
deep in overgrowth
dug up, potted
place in the sun

boots grow heavy
jeans stain with mud
shirt soaks in sweat
called in for lunch

afterwards beat
path to the sofa
rest afternoon
not quite asleep

What do you say 
to a son to whom 
you never were father?

“I read what you wrote
liver inflamed
driving you blind.

"I’m so sorry.”

Words
so hollow
so little
so late.

“I love you.
Dad.”

Pura vida.

Credits: Photos by Irina

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, September 13, 2021

Today, a plethora of poetry.

A couple of bug poems, accompanied by photographs. Especially for you, Bryan!

First, caterpillars.

Juno silverspot caterpillars 

A black lump
teeming larvae
oozing over the patio
moving much faster 
than any one could alone

a rolling track 
of caterpillars
those on the ground crawling
at regular speed
those climbing their backs 
cover twice as much distance
those running on top
cruising faster yet
all swapping positions
each taking their turn 

quickly crossing 
expanse of tile
the roiling mass 
disappears into dense 
green growth of garden.

Next, a walking stick.

Giant spiny walking stick

At break of dawn
a twelve-inch stick
stuck to the screen
of the bedroom slider.

Feed in the night
phasmids rest the day
their disguise of twig
to keep them safe.

This one, three legs
but little matter
phasmids able
to regrow dropped parts. 

Most likely female 
no need for a mate
hatchlings like-sexed 
males rare to null.

The stick walking
off with the light.

I’ve been slowly working through a careful proofreading of the book of Rosibel Morera’s poems in the original Spanish accompanied by my translations into English, preparing for a future edition. Here’s one of my favorites, showing her more sensual side.

From the memory of my body 

Today there is barely a breeze
and
that
skirting 
slight
flagging
the air
its 
location 
to things

today
in absence of spilled fire
may remoteness burn us
may length of skin bring you 
because it is cold
animal warmth distant
I take you from the memory of my body
from its moist reliquaries 
and I make you 
come
prodigy
in my own flesh.

De la memoria de mi cuerpo

Hoy que es apenas la brisa
y
que 
bordeando 
leve 
señala
el aire
su
lugar
a las cosas
hoy
que no hay lumbre derramada 
lejanía que nos queme
largura de la piel que te traiga
porque está frío
el tibio animal
de la distancia
te tomo de la memoria de mi cuerpo 
de sus relicarios húmedos
y te hago
venir
prodigio
en carne propia.

Credits: Photos by Irina