Jun 29
poem, essay challenge: Heat
Yellow Sweater's picture

The Earth and the Sun

I fall asleep reading about duende, reading, radiating duende. That’s what Lorca’s poetry does: it causes my grandmother’s pitched voice to tremble with a terrible softness, like the moon liquified and stored in a jar. God, I’ve used the word duende, the second most sacred name, so many times lately. I’ve used it to explain everything that can’t be explained. I hope I haven't cheapened it with desire.

The begonias are burning, I’m imagining them burning. They are pinker than my sun singed skin, so pink they are almost red. For a moment I trick myself into believing that the Spanish street names are more than an echo, that the baked brown hills of Santa Barbara are the Andalusian mountains Lorca rhapsodies over. As I trot down to the dust strangled creek, I feel a piercing, euphoric scream rising in my chest: Seville to wound! Cordoba to die in! 

The cliff we’re perched upon could crumble at any moment, flinging us towards a sun that grows bigger each day. Duende, duende, duende! But what happens when there is nothing left for the sun to burn, nothing left except sun? I’ve thought a lot about death, but not annihilation. The distinction between the two states is a fundamental one. It’s a distinction that has fueled human passion for millennia. There is tension in death. And that tension remains until the last flower is blackened. We dance with the dirt we crumble into. But annihilation is monotonous. It’s God’s last weapon, last pure providence. It's a fire in which not even the demon Duende can survive.