“I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace,” Lorca said. The Fascists killed him for that and for being a queer poet. He was 38 when he was dragged into the hills of Granada, shot and buried in a grave with a couple anarchist bullfighters.
Here in Granada at our hostel, they are playing, “Here is the answer to a never ending story.” The whole place smells like food and wet earth; there are many plants and vines growing; it’s kind of a thick dusky smell in the air.
In the square while we drank sangria, they were playing “Welcome to the Hotel California,”
which ladies and gentleman has been vacant since before the Eagles penned the song.
The hostel is 800 years old and is all marble floors and walls with a courtyard in the middle with a small marble basin fountain. These fountains are in many courtyards. The older folks seem to just sit around the courtyards all day.
Stephen would love this place. It’s the kind of hostel which smells like food because someone is always cooking in the kitchen. The local beer is called Alhambra, it’s like suds but good suds when you’re out walking the town and you’re getting hot.
Part of the town is gypsy caves built into the hillside. We walked through the cave dwellings, past the gypsy flamenco bars, which were hollowed out caves inside but all white doors and windows outside. That’s probably the area where Lorca was shot.
The Alhambra, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain fell to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492, and they were ready for more conquests. The Muslims had given Jews special status and called them “People of the Book,” but when Alhambra fell to the Christians, the Jews had to leave the country or convert. Hundreds of thousands left. Many Muslims had converted, but the rumor was that Jews were crafty and many were only pretending to convert while still practicing their religion. Based on this suspicion, Isabella requested the Pope’s permission to found the Spanish inquisition. It lasted until Napoleon ended it in 1808 and was officially over in 1834.
Granada is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve even seen. The roads twist and turn through tall buildings. The sky is pieces of blue hanging between these buildings; the moon is a sliver over the palace of the Moors. Many Jews, gypsies and Moslems moved to the mountains, lived a cave life.
There is nothing more poetic and terrible than the skyscrapers’ battle with the heavens that cover them.
The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extra-human architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish.
In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.
From Echo Light
What We Do During War
Mornings more love. Breakfast then.
Cafe con leche. Trumpets in the street.
To mark passing soldiers. Geraniums.
Spain marching. Inside breakfast.
Jack’s legs around her in the afternoon
Sunlight washing his loins. She all red hair.
Strawberries by the bed. Cream in and out.
Emily was reserved and he had to break that.
The street full of geraniums.
Lorca’s blood spilled out onto the pavement.
The soldiers feet marched by. Emily heard a cry,
thought for a moment it was her own.
English papers would declare Lorca
dragged from his house and killed.
Masses of red geraniums grew over the street.
The sun very bright in Spain.