The Nevermore

Tis the morning of the night before
and I wake to memories that never were.

Stillborn echoes of inchoate dreams
so certain once but now,

lost in the nevermore,

calling like the ache
of a phantom limb still dreaming
of being restored.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Christmas Eve, 2020, in the City in the Sky

It dawns in this city nestled high in the middle range of the Colombian Andes, always beautiful in diverse ways, whether brightly lit in amber rays of light or covered in low lying clouds or drizzling amidst chilly breezes, but always a shade of spring.

Holidays and special days always seem melancholy and nostalgic for me. As always I miss my sons and friends back in my other homes, Ocala and Charleston and New York and Fort Lauderdale and Charlotte and Miami, but I’m grateful for my friends and family here in Manizales. Christmas Eve, once a day of delightful anticipation, no matter how poor we then were, now a day for memories and reflections. And gratitude for the life I’ve been privileged to live, regardless of how often I’ve wallowed in self-pity.

The world seems awful today but it almost always has, with evil (purportedly lesser) in charge, evil setting us against each other, dividing friends and families in fruitless fights over which party will abuse, deceive and steal from us least, driving us to expend energies better spent in savoring the delight of those around us, in helping each other cope, in creating a more equitable and happy world instead of expecting someone to hand it to us on a holiday platter.

It’s been decades since I was comforted by our holiday myths, times when I believed that the Prince of Peace would soften our hearts and open our eyes, and his rotund emissary would bring the gifts I’d been promised while sitting in his lap in a crowded and happy shopping center, bills be damned. But still, hope that goodness is tangible and real survives somehow, just out of reach, as if we were in a nightmare from which we could not yet escape but already knew it for a dream and were fairly sure we’d soon wake.

A few friends will gather here tonight, seven of us, sharing food and drink and memories and aspirations. This will be a quite Christmas in the midst of a pandemic that may or may not be as serious as described but which is serious enough to require us all to take care. I’ll be thinking of Billy and Alex and Edward. I’ll be wondering what magic Candice and Paula have cooked up. And I’ll be imagining the delight that Rosey and Melissa will be feeling as they look at wrapped presents under beautifully decorated trees with mature Salome looking on indulgently; my sons, their wives and my grandchildren.

I’ll be remembering old Christmases when I was the child and my mother and stepfather and brother and sister reveled in that special day in small apartments in Miami, or Queens, or with my grandmother and aunts here in Manizales. Old Christmases when I was the father with my sons and their mother in Fort Lauderdale and Hendersonville and Belleview and Ocala, when Santa’s deer sometimes left hoof prints on our roofs, and when, whether we had plenty (usually) or very little (once) we were as happy as it was possible to be because we were together.

I’ll be wondering what the memories I make today will taste like in some future far away.

I’ve shared so much love with so many people across the years, my family and friends, lovers with whom I’ve lost touch and lovers who’ve always remained nearby (at least spiritually), my classmates and former students at the old Eastern Military Academy and my class mates and ever growing chain of brothers at the Citadel. My colleagues and former students at the several universities in Manizales with whom I’ve been involved during the past thirteen years as well as the civic leaders, journalists and artists with whom I’ve developed strong bonds. I’ve had and am having a wonderful life, one that even Jimmy Stewart and Satchmo, somewhere on the other side of the veil with many others I’ve loved and treasured, might find enviable.

I miss my mother and grandmother and Aunt Carola, who left too early, at least for my tastes, and Pop and my Uncle Pacho who were the first to go. And those of my classmates and friends who have gone on to join them. I’ll be thinking of them today too, and reliving memories, the best of presents when one stops to think about it, gifts that really keep on giving. Christmas, 2020, a terrible year in too many ways until we stop and remember those closest to us, and then, it really is a special time of year.

Merry Christmas to all, or Saturnalia, or Yule, or Chanukah or Festivus or Solstice (winter or spring depending on where you find yourself). May peace finally find a home among us, and equity and justice and tolerance and respect, and may honor and honesty prosper someday soon, at long last.

And may the legends and myths with which we seek comfort bring us together rather than split us apart.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Of Linus and Lucy: a sad almost love story

Lucy and Linus on a field of green, gazing at a goal post, wondering what it was that was about to happen.

Neither new for sure.  Perhaps they both had faith that this time it’d be different but, when crunch time came, Lucy couldn´t help herself, and Linus, already head over heels, once more found an empty space where he’d expected much more and fell head over heels some again.

Lucy, outwardly smirking, inwardly asked herself: “now why did I do that?  Again?  And how many times will it happen before I lose him for good?”

Linus was just sad and confused and befuddled, vowing not to keep falling for the same old trick, but knowing he would. 

At least for a while.

And they both wondered: what then?

And then “what then” happened. 

Unexpectedly albeit not inexplicably. 

And what might have been, what should have been, vanished in a puff.

Very much like that football so often had.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

A Secular Prayer out of Time

And he dreamt a strange dream, a powerful dream, a beautiful dream but at the same time, a very humble dream and interspersed within the dream where the sounds of pilgrims intoning the ohm, but not only the ohm but other ancestral sounds from before we became human, intoning the alpha and the omega and a multiverse without beginning or end, quanta becoming quantum and quanta again.

And he lay down his countenance and recalled that he was a part of the great whole, and being a part of the great whole, he was the great whole and the great whole was him, and that we were each part of the great whole and equally so from the most humble to the most mighty, but that too many among us had forgotten this great and primal verity, but it was so, is so and will be so, from before the beginning to until beyond eternity.

And she dreamt a strange dream, a powerful dream, a beautiful dream but at the same time, a very humble dream and interspersed within the dream where the sounds of pilgrims intoning the ohm, but not only the ohm but other ancestral sounds from before we became human, intoning the alpha and the omega and a multiverse without beginning or end, quanta becoming quantum and quanta again.

And she lay down her countenance and recalled that she was a part of the great whole, and being a part of the great whole, she was the great whole and the great whole was her, and that we were each part of the great whole and equally so from the most humble to the most mighty, but that too many among us had forgotten this great and primal verity, but it was so, is so and will be so, from before the beginning to until beyond eternity.

And they dreamt a strange dream, a powerful dream, a beautiful dream but at the same time, a very humble dream and interspersed within the dream where the sounds of pilgrims intoning the ohm, but not only the ohm but other ancestral sounds from before we became human, intoning the alpha and the omega and a multiverse without beginning or end, quanta becoming quantum and quanta again.

And they lay down their countenance and recalled that they were a part of the great whole, and being a part of the great whole, they were the great whole and the great whole was them, and that we were each part of the great whole and equally so from the most humble to the most mighty, but that too many among us had forgotten this great and primal verity, but it was so, is so and will be so, from before the beginning to until beyond eternity.

And then the he-she-they awoke and a great sorrow was in their hearts for the dream they had lost and the dream was drawing away from them faster and faster and becoming smaller and smaller and more and more dim until it was just a memory and then an echo, and then just an echo of a memory, and then just a shadow and then, it was gone, as though it had never been, but it had been, it was and it would always be, whether they remembered it or not.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

All Hallows Eve as Seen from Differing Perspectives

Ephemerally ethereal gossamer wisps whisper in the wind,
echoes of lost shades and shadows
whimpering morosely in dank, dark, saturnine hollows. 

The last and deepest nightfall of a year
few seek to measure,
at least while living. 

For the departed, it may be different.

It may be sunrise on the first day,
the first hour,
the first instant of a new year,

slender rays of faded sunlight seeping in,
scents of faded flowers returning to life,
the sweetness of remembrances shared with those left behind.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution. Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Still Life Watercolors on a Now Late Afternoon

“It’s in the nature of immortality” he explained, “or more accurately, potential immortality”.

“One can still be killed by intervening incidents such as runaway trucks, bullets projected from firearms owned by jealous spouses, etc., but one doesn’t die from old age, or from most diseases, nor does one age beyond a point of full maturity, somewhat older than one might like but better than an awful lot of alternatives. But given the flows involved, it’s rather more like livestream than photographs. One tends to be unsatisfied with periodic meals, and periodic drinks, and periodic intimacy. One is sated only when they’re continuous, although sequentially. Not that being sated is essential, or even the norm, it’s just that satisfaction requires a bit more continuity, given the continuous nature of our existence.”

“Repetition is what really sucks”, he mumbled, a phrase seemingly coming from nowhere, although it’s one he interjected more and more as time streamed on.

Her look was odd, the expression hard to define; kind of like jaded incredulity faded by too many inexplicable realities. Nothing about him seemed to make sense, least of all his explanations (all too often couched in the plural or the indefinite person), but then again, they tended to be impossible to disprove. Only death would do that and it seemed he’d been around for a ludicrously long time. And he didn´t seem to age although he’d been verging on old for as long as she’d know him.

She seemed to be catching up to him and she’d been relatively young when they’d first met.

He was certainly far from infallible though, certainly as far as she was concerned. And omniscient? Forget about it. And certainly as far from omnipotent as everyone else.

“So” …, he sort of pleaded, “… can I have dessert now?”


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Thirty-Four

He hadn´t realized that thirty-four was old but perhaps she had.

She’d had her first two sons when she was not yet thirty and not yet thirty-two, but the third one had come when she was already thirty-four and that had made a difference, a rather large difference, indeed, all the difference.

She’d suddenly grown and had started on the path that leads to old. But neither he nor she had realized it. They’d thought it was a passing thing, that her body would soon be slender again, yet curved in all the right places, and that somehow, their old world would be back, and that their newest addition would fit right in, and they’d be the ideal family everyone believed them to be, and which they’d in fact been.

He’d not started to grow old yet then. Strange, he’d started earlier, and then, started later too, fighting off the changes that assailed them on all sides, the darkness that kept seeping in and nesting and brooding and breeding insidious offspring. Insidious but frequently disguised as friends and though the disguises were thin, they were thick enough, … unfortunately.

Thirty-four seemed a strange age then.

He’d been thirty-four when they’d met and she almost a decade younger, but he’d not been close to old. Immortality indeed still seemed not only possible but probable, all but certain, but then again, time was not as old as it would be either. Time ages too. And during that first decade she’d not aged at all, or matured. And while he’d not aged, perhaps he’d had to mature facing more and more unpleasant things, unfair things, unexpectedly expected things, and apparently, while he’d been able to protect her from them for a time, when they hit, they’d all hit at once. When she’d turned thirty-four.

Thirty-four. Strange. He’d always believed that twenty-five was the age at which things crystalized and coalesced in the women who’d impacted him. But perhaps at thirty-four things calcified. Time aged. The world shifted in its restless dreams and carelessly crushed hopes and expectations, and opened crevices through which alternate realities crept in. Unpleasant alternate realities.

Thirty-four, an age which neither the Nazarene nor the Macedonian attained, but then again, they were both men.

Thirty-four. Perhaps, in forty years or so, he’d have a chance to start a cycle once again, perhaps with someone who was still just thirty-three, about to turn thirty-four, and perhaps, then things would coalesce in different streams, singing different themes. “Perhaps” is such a fascinating word, full of the inchoate and perhaps of chaos too. Everything possible. Spring and late autumn walking together into winter.

Wishful dreams perhaps, but wishful dreams sometimes come true, just as youthful dreams are too often crushed.


© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.