Sunday, September 26, 2010

For A Duro

For a duro you got a night out of the wind.
(A duro was a five-peseta coin bearing
 Franco's profile, the hooked nose tipped
 upward as though he anlone recieved
 the breath of God. Back in '65
only he did recieve the breath of God.)
For a duro you could lie down in the hallway
of the Hotel Splendide in your Sunday suit,
sleep under the lights, and rise in time
to bless the Son's first coming. For a duro
you could have a coffee and a plain roll
that would shatter like glass. For a duro
you could have it all, the cars, the women,
the seven-course meal and a sea view,
with the waitress bending your check
to ask reverently, "More butter?" for a duro
I bought a pack of Antillanas gave one
to the only traveller in the deserted terminal,
a soldier in uniform. When he bowed
to receive a light I saw the milky nape,
unlined. He must still be there, waiting.
The hotel is gone, the building remains,
a pet hospital and animal refectory
overseen by Senior Esteban Ganz arrayed
for work this mornig in white coat,
dark tie, and soiled sneakers. Modestly
 he shows me three lobo pups, pintos,
saved from slaughter, the striped feral cats
pacing the big cage like tigers, the toucan
levelled by an unknown virus but now
alert and preening. Riotous colors:
reds, greens, and illuminated golds
suitable banners proclaiming inter-
galactic peace  the moment it arrives.

Philip Levine

This poem was very hard to relate to. I interpret it to be showing a time period in Spain or Mexico which was very dark. I researched what a duro was and the explanation was that of a surrency used when Spain joined the Latin Monetary Union in 1869. By the words in this poem it sounded like this time in history was very dark and poor. Levine says "for a duro you got a night out of the wind". When I think about this line I get the impression that not many people lived in luxury and lots were poor, almost like the Great Depression in America. The poem was also talking about an "animal refectory" I researched this term as well. The word refectory came to be defined as a dining hall in a church or monestary. There is a new meaning to the poem that has come to veiw, I believe now that the author is talking about politicians or leaders as animals- "the toucan levelled by an unknown virus but now alert and preening. Riotous collors: reds, greens, and illuminated golds." The use of the word riotous gave away a new meaning to me showing me what he thinks of the government and forms of leaders as animals with viruses spreading everywhere. Obviously this was a very dark time in history for Spain; filled with the poor and rebellious leaders.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I'm not sure. I saw it more as remembering a simpler, less expensive time. It could be a dark time now though to prompt these memories?