Exhuming Lorca's Remains and Franco's Ghosts

Click on the link below for this article  from TIME magazine

Exhuming Lorca's Remains and Franco's Ghosts

I wrote these two poems in memory of the Spanish Civil war.


Take my eyes,
these open wounds,
these schisms of desire.
They are not all they appear to be.

Take a scalpel to this mindset,
in this night and in this fog,
read my lips.
Climb inside
this common grave

into this open ditch,
into my gaping mouth.
Scream with me
in my nightmares.

The position of my hands
tells you whether I was alive or not,
when I was in the grave.

Everyone got the coup de grace of course;
a bullet in the back of the head.
I was young, the other old.

We were hugging each other
in the gardens of Spain
and our voices are not silenced yet.

copyrighted .This poem is taken from my second collection Siempre Siempre Siempre

Palores Publications March 2008 ISBN 978-0-9556682-5-8 £5.99

and also first appeared in Aesthetica Feb/March 2008 Issue 21


I drive through olive groves
burning in grey dust coloured air,
the dust covered air of my own passing,
through border and frontier.                                                                                     
Limited and limitlessness,
down narrow mountain tracks,
I am surrounded by surreal silence,
but for the odd bird.
In the corner of my eye
a donkey is scratching its ears.

Strong and clear, above I see
saw toothed mountains rage;
in their bold rough hewn geometry
lies a legacy of half-forgotten dreams,
thirsting for everlasting space
in history carried to the extreme;

in stuka bombing runs diving out of hell,
one by one, killing every mother’s son
        I na   I navigate this land in a frenzied search
of buried memories, so hard to understand.

Then, in the burning sun, comes
the sound of the machine guns;
first hot, then cold punctuate my skin,
and take possession of my soul                                         
to reveal memories merging from
choreographed war films;
with precise surgical skill
they make their choice; to-day who shall I kill ?

Such depth of human feeling
empties over me; my passion comes undone;
in time with Lorca and Picasso;
geniuses of Life, Love and Death,
the red angels, combatants for peace
somehow to be always on the losing side,

their words and images mingle in Spanish soil
exaggerating whatever the world chooses to neglect
then afterwards comes the enforced silence of the past;
el pacto de olvido,
the unwritten pact of forgetting,
when crimes pile up they become invisible,
the forgotten cries,
become the amnesia of dementia;
just more soldiers in the execution squad,
stealing our innocence.
Now comes the end of silence;
and the present law of Historic Memory.
It whispers secrets,
licking my tongue, out of oblivion,
unlocking the history of my nation,
to show it how to speak my name.

I am speaking my name now loud and clear
but is there anyone there who can hear ?
I come here to-day to learn the lesson,
the enabling act of no recrimination.

There is to be no malice or judgement,
just the truth;

that what makes men
monsters or creatures of compassion,
has as much to do with how and what we read into them,
as with what acts they make,
Spain make sure in your freedom
your re-discovered memories are not false ones.

Siempre Siempre Siempre

copyright Palores Publications £5.99

And here is a video tribute to Lorca in song
from Leonard Cohen

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