City of the Slow Kiss

Auguste Rodin's The Kiss, at the National Muse...

Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss, at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buenos Aires in the silver land
Dreaming couples hand in hand
On the sidewalk, dreaming stand
Face sucking face,
They race no race.

Body in body
Folded entwined –
Lip lipping lip,
Hip hard on hip,
Two in one embrace combined,
Passers-by pass –
Are given no mind.

In the land of silver there’s little to spare:
Lovers up early going nowhere –
Nowhere to go,
No privacy, so
They kiss, on their feet.
They kiss, bees that suck
This sip of oblivion,
This slow sweet nectar
Of loving attenuated,
This tango of tongues,
This kiss without end
This slow loving
Helps transcend
Hard living.

O La Boca, warm mouth
Swallow up
Regret and sorrow,
Forget tomorrow,
Tomorrow too will pass:

Look, that’s dew
Silvering the grass!

A Baby’s Bottom in Buenos Aires

View of the northern portion of Plaza Francia.I

I

The baby awakens and suckles. The man comes to consciousness in the quiet and dark of the bedroom and hears the regular soft sounds of his wife and his child. Suck, suck, swallow. A pause. Suck, suck, swallow; then the sound of a breath, a breath in two phases – a shorter one high in pitch and a slower one, deeper: the sounds of an ardent drinker and a sleepy feeder. The sounds of the flesh of his flesh.
The man leans on his arm and watches and sees something new. The baby has stopped in mid-suck. He looks up to his mother’s sleeping face and his mouth falls open. He smiles at her, then his arm reaches up and touches her face, plays with her hair. Milk spills from his smile. At the baby’s touch, the mother stirs and sees the smile, reaches for the camera of memory. She wants to capture this moment and to preserve it.
They arrived here in Buenos Aires the day before yesterday. They flew across the world and arrived, excited and anxious and dog tired. The father returning to the city of his birth, the mother with her chick to a  different nest. But the baby has not travelled at all. He is at home in this world which is his mother – his locality are her smells, the feel and the sound and the taste of her.
Father is up early, putting on his work suit, dressing and grooming himself fussily. He wants to present himself well for the  culture of vanity here.
He is dressed and ready early, anxious to make a start, to make a favourable impression. But he is anxious too about leaving. He wants to protect his wife and child: DON’T WEAR JEWELLERY IF YOU GO OUT, DON’T WEAR YOUR EXPENSIVE CLOTHES, DON’T TAKE THAT PRAM – WEAR THE BABY IN THE SLING, DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS, DON’T GO ON THE SUBWAY, DON’T TAKE ANY CAB ON THE STREET – CALL UP AND ORDER ON THE HOTEL PHONE….

The list of don’ts is long. The wife has heard them all before. The peso has fallen, the government has fallen, people are hungry, they have nothing, this isn’t Melbourne, people are desperate, you don’t understand. He’s right – she doesn’t. Continue reading