Neil Coppen

writings/ plays/ poetry/musings/travel journals and newspaper columns

Lung full of Fir Trees and Bellyfull of Butterflies


I recently read a newspaper article about a man named Artyom Sidorkin who two Sundays ago woke with terrible pain in his chest– a scratching, stabbing sensation just below his left nipple. Hours later, hacking clumps of blood and matter into a basin, his irate wife telephoned the local doc who suggested he be rushed to the hospital immediately.


Considering the symptoms :smoker, respiratory difficulty, vomiting blood, the doc correctly presumed it to be lung cancer.

There are, after all, no case studies or medical journals to assist one in diagnosing, let alone supposing, flora of and in the lung. Raising up Mr Sidorkins x- ray to the light, the elderly Doc set startled spectacles on a minute Christmas tree ,a jagged green star, nestled and nettled in the sanctuary of his patients lung.

Read the rest of this entry »

That it should come


Four years you sat in mom’s closet.
Behind the birthday soaps, hand creams and Christmas-card packs.

In a closet
In a packet
In a box with plastic engraving on the outside.

So tightly sealed that when it came to the hour
of your belated release
you would not budge. Read the rest of this entry »

posted under musings, poetry | 1 Comment »



Jesus jumped off my bathroom wall this morning. Cracked his sacred heart. Last night there was a police helly hovering over my head woke to the sound of chopper blades like a marathon runner’s heart a smugglers pulse at a particularly tenuous border crossing search light spotting something frantic through foliage and into windows of little sleeping suburbanites must be a fugitive from the westville prison he said rolling over back to sleep but I couldnt so lay awake counting butterflies with blades for wings while remembering how last week that truck carrying tons of sun flower oil on the freeway by my house caught fire sending neighbours breaking telephones and bending ears with news that revolutionaries had taken the local bridge. Hoards of us brave enough gathered on the bank to learn the actual cause but more I feel to feel the furnace on insensate skin. Mrs Jacobs banged her bible as flames that smelled of popcorn swirled around her head.The mouth of hell fell open but not one of us went in

posted under musings, poetry | No Comments »



He arrived when I was thirteen. I have a pen portrait of him in a journal marked November 1995. We picked him from a litter, a litter of eight. My siblings and I lined each puppy up and then retreated to the opposite end of the room, patting our thighs and beckoning them toward us. We were going to pick the first one that bounded over, at least that was the intention. The whole back wobbled over except Biggles. He sat forlon, his eyes downcast, morose and in a puddle of his own piss. He was named after the fictional world- war pilot but courageous he was not, so the name while sweet was a tad ironic. Read the rest of this entry »

posted under musings | 1 Comment »

Blame the burning man on the Moon


We could of course blame it all on the moon– this insanity. Last nights orb more ominous, potent, pregnant then ever. Such a force has been known to drive men to distraction, senses to senselessness, ocean’s into significant frenzy. Read the rest of this entry »

In Search Of San Pedros Keys (The Wiz of Hauncabamba ) Part 2


The maestro ushers me into the basement of his homestead. A cramped room with cattle hides carpeting the floor and a raised altar (messa) at its centre .The air is damp and overbearing with a mismatched array of fragrances. The Altar cluttered with a variety of swords and objects: icons of saints, sculptures, earthenware bowls, dice, sea shells , bottles containing herbs and variety of colourful concoctions. The wall papered with dog eared ID and family photos (left by past customers), spectate our negotiation.The Maestros stolid gaze gives me the Jitters, I have not the tongue or confidence to barter. I agree obsequiously to the 200 Soles fee and that settles it. The ceremony is to commence at nine and in the mean time I’m shown to the cavernous upstairs kitchen for a last supper.

Chunks of raw flesh dangle from low hanging beams. An elederly woman with plaited hair sqauts beside a cauldron spinning thread. The reel invisible on its line seems to waft magically in and out of her hand. Potatoes, a sour chunk of cheese are placed before us and it is here that I meet my fellow pilgrims and patients: a leather faced and laconic Texan and his dolled up Peruvian bookie as well as another young Peruvian couple who have travelled from Piura to seek blessings for their family and sick child. When the Texan does mumble the semblance of a sentence, its to inform me that the Maestro healed his brother from a terminal illness a few years back and is a man of extraordinary powers.

After dinner we retire to a shared dorm. Anxiety alongside the Texans guttural snores, a lumpy mattress and blanket (so full of starch it feels as it were made of concrete) forbid me a moments rest.  I lie awake , tossing and turning, my imagination ticking into torturous over drive. The a rap on the door.

It is time.

The five of us shuffle into the ceremonial room to find the blanketed Maestro nestled into his throne adjacent to the Altar. I notice the Peruvian couples unloading packet fulls of items at his feet: Wallets, hand bags, kids school text books and array of family photographs. We take our place on the cow hide rugs and are handed our keys to the ancestors in the form of a cup of San Pedro. It is a bitter tasting substance that blazes through the body like a jug of tequila might. The lamps are blown out and Don Augustin is reduced to a voice sonorous and monotonous in the dark. His shaker, like the restless tail of a dessert snake underscoring his chanting. Every once and a while, and quite unexpectedly his voice rears up with- Abajo! (down) Abajo! (down) Abajo! (down) .Cautioning our wayward demons, as a owner might -a pack of over zealous and muddy pawed puppies.

A good two hours pass and despite feeling a deep and meditative drowsiness, I am yet to unlock the gate, see a hint of celestial light or converse with long lost grandfolks.

Then the thunk, thunk, thunk of muddy gum boots announce the arrival of the maestros three henchmen. From the light seeping through the cracks in above kitchen floor boards I can just make out their burly blanketed figures, apprentices is my guess. They step forward and beckon the five of us to rise. A sea shell full of tobacco liquid is placed in our hands and on the Maestros command we are made to inhale it through the nostrils. Its an acrid tasting tar like substance and similar (I would imagine-though I am yet to try) to taking an espresso shot up ones snozz.

This activity spins the room into brief hysteria. The lot of us reduced to a hacking, spluttering, coughing mess.  Abajo! (down) Abajo! (down) Abajo! (down) commands the Maestro. Abajo! Abajo! Abajo! respond his henchmen as the next sea shell arrives, then the next.

Shortly after this, one of the apprentices takes a hearty sip from a bottle of cheap perfume and then proceeds to spit the contents into each of our faces. A chaotic confusion, repugnant profusion of fragrances engulf us. This continues for some time until finally each of our outstretched hands are doused in the scents and we are made to run it over our faces and through our hair in an act of divine benediction and prayer

Still I feel nothing, no body drifting, atom splitting, cosmos cracking awe. Nothing except the steady increase of exhaustion and persistent fire in my sinus.

The Maestro now sets about consulting each of us individually. Spanish tones ping and pong in question and response. My limited grasp of the language does not permit me to grapple with the intricacies of their conversations, but from their post enthusing of Muchas Gracias´s Maestro, Muchas Gracias! I gather his divining was more then spot on. When my turn comes, the Texan reluctantly helps to translate. I’m told I am an escritor (writer) and there shall be prosperity and perhaps more travel ahead. Perfecto! Short, sweet and without any awful future anticipations.

It is at this point that I begin to imagine, rather pray we are crawling toward the finish line. Hopes no sooner dashed when one of the Maestros trusty Henchman decides he still has some unfinished business with me the my ol demons . He lugs me outside to undergo further perfume showers and then a final cleansing that involves an ominous looking baton-about the size of a baseball bat. It is an experience not dissimilar to being harassed at an air port security check though minus the ping.The baton running, back and forth, up and down my body, between my legs, over my head while he rants and raves, grunts and snorts. Abajo! Abajo! Abajo!

Back on the cow hide mat, and still the diligent Maestro holds vigil. In my state of exhaustion he sounds like Van Morrison grumbling the lyrics to ´Rave On John Donne´´. This I find strangely comforting. Rave on , Rave On, Rave on, Rave On through thy holy ghost etc……. It must be four in the morning and I can no longer withstand the drowsy velvet of his voice. I pass out, wake an hour later with face in the dirt and mouth full of mud.

The cocks are crowing throughout the valleys. Thick mists make for a diluted and eerie sun rise. That’s when I hear them, Oh God- The sound of skittish mules traipsing through the mud outside the room. Mules waiting to courier us to the remote and sacred lakes for the second half of the ceremony.

Will this interminable exorcism, tripless purging never end? I wish to cry out, but bite my tongue and prepare to mount my equally unenthusiastic ass.

All this time the inncesant tribunal of my inner monologue mocking : Ya,Ya pesky westerner, serves you right, you and your pseudo anthropological/ spiritualistic/ journalistic curiosities. Pah!

Okay, okay I repent: I just came along to have a good time and now I’m left wondering what in gods name I have gone and gotten himself into!

And so it is that our caravan of wonky donkeys and one somewhat (okay very reluctant) pilgrim begin their slippery and fated ascent for the Las Haringas or sacred lakes.


Letter from a Shipwrecked Sailor- Final thoughts for 2007


Fine place to be at the closing of the year- Haunchaco in Northern Peru. Spanish ballads aching from a beach bar stereo, beer bottle perspiring in the sunshine, the Pacific rolling on in. I’m levitating. Maybe its the bubbles on a empty stomach, maybe its not being on a twenty four hour bus, corn bites crammed between white bread for sustenance or freezing and soaked to the bone out on in the Andes.

The familiarity of a sea front, golden torsos, strutting chicas, tatty umbrellas. The delighted shrieks of bathers when toes first reach water. While I consider myself a proud son of the Indian (and to her will always owe allegiance) for now the Pacific and her frosty reception, will just have to do. I shall sit here and watch the sun sink on an old year, sit with my sea view, drink beer till my belly grows and I can call it hereditary. I shall make a toast, take a sip for each of those I love-I will be parralletic in no time.

I shall smoke cigarettes under the pretense I wont tomorrow. Make a resolution or two ,for the guilty pleasure of breaking them. Mull over moments that resurfaced on a four day trek in the Andes. Where so alone and stuck with old thoughts was I, that I was forced to excavate new ones. Something to take the mind off cumbersome back pack and blistering heels. Pain a sure way to pop creative boils. Considering that 90 percent of writing is the thinking of it, I have had ample time to re-wire, re-work, re think characters and stories. Characters previously destined to fill the mass grave of my aborted imaginings.

They must break free, live their own god damn lives. That or stay trapped (to taunt and torture) in this the limited cell of my corpus coliseum (whatever part of the brain it is that houses such maniacs). It seems that every one is in the habit of having babies at the moment. Hell, in 2008 I might just consider popping some puppies of my own. I am grateful for this time, this sea side sunset to offer up my final meditation /masturbation for 2007.

I had a surf earlier, took a step for the first time off the edge off the edge of this continent. Funny that- for this sensation- I call myself a surfer but must confess, for the moment I am more bobber, content to let the element free feet from rock, concrete, carpet or slipper.I’m drunk now, writing this in the final hours of 2007 . This letter, idea, essay will be ill formed, poorly put. Forgive me for ending the year with poor piece of writing, for this i can find no excuse except the beer.

I have rediscovered solitude and am beginning to learn that it is more of a distant relation then close companion to that which we know as loneliness.I have experienced both and more often then not confused the two (one need not go to the expense of purchasing a ticket to South America to enable such discovery) .It has been a book by Marquez ,not 100 Years Of Solitude but a journalistic account titled The Tale of a Shipwrecked Sailor which has assisted me in exploring this little revelation/tangent.

In the account (a true story) a Colombian Sailor is tossed over board from his vessel into the Caribbean sea . Here he spends ten days adrift on a sinking raft, to fend of sharks, hunger and thirst until eventually washing up on shore to find himself declared a national hero. The similarities I have with this Sailor and his predicament are of course none. My cast away status being entirely self inflicted and savoured, my daily tribulation, incomparable to the horrors and struggles he faced drifting out over that indifferent expanse ( I have gone hungry but not yet had to feed off seagulls) Yet however desultory, adrift, lost I might have felt there is always a shore in sight, and if not in sight then just over the horizon.

Solitude then is a voluntary state, life with ones anchor optionally raised- bobbing, drifting call it what you will but loneliness, that is akin to days without water. A thirst with no end , a thirst that causes the sailor of Marquez’s story to sate and further exacerbate his need with salt water. There is wisdom in solitude (And yes self absorption, the danger of crawling entirely up ones own arse,as i might be doing now) but emptiness in loneliness. The sailor says he never feels lonely as long as he can remember there are people who refuse to bury him, refuse to think him dead until proven so. The minute he forgets this, these beacons- he hopes for a quick death.

Hope I have bundles of, solitude with an end in sight. A southern tip, sea side village on the East Coast (and west). Inhabited by people who I love, aspire to. A welcome end to wondering. I need not travel to escape then (like so many I meet) rather travel to return. And its not the cushy suburb, my six nippled staffie (who i miss terribly) that I long for. The generous space, who my folks- despite my ripe age- have housed me in and thus afford such a time away. Its not that, for quite content am I with cold shower, rusty springed bed, room enough to stack my books and tuna fish. Luxury for the moment is distance and draft enough to hang hiking socks without causing neighbours (or self for that matter) offense. It is the people, their quality, my tribe that populate such hope. People capable of solitude in their own spaces, capable of self criticism, who know how much to there is to know and fear knowledge for that very reason. People who see the world for the miraculous, tyrannical,mystical, mechanical, magical place it is. People like you.

I’m losing time, as I write the light is low , the waves all rolling and misty in the bay, dusk the brief respite before night, before morning, then boom a new day, year ,when we (some) rise with throbbing heads and wonder where it all went. So for brevity (and lights) sake, I shall be brief. May each day be a resolution.Know thyself , said (was it?) Thiresieus to Oedipus. I have only just started to re acquaint with my twin and it has been agreed, on this eve, that we might be able to work toward a common future (and even possibly grow to like one another)

There she goes, gathering up the last of her golden trail. Going… Going… Gone

Here’s to a year of other halves- in self and others

It is dark and can no longer see the page.

To solitude and never Loneliness

Now is Yesterday

Happy New year

much love

A shipwerecked sailor

bobbing an loving it

Revolt of Eggs and Cymbals


You might dread the endless scroll the meets your eyes when you open these entries. Why you might say, Get outside see the continent and stop trying to write about it. My reasons in this case are vaild (see below) also im downloading some travel pics (protection) and this takes most of a day with the donkey power of these archaic machines.

The trek I was hoping to take has been impossible to book due to festivities (annoyingly) halting the everyday clockwork of a functioning globe. My one day stop over in Hauraz has extended now to its fourth ,as I wait (in interminable limbo) for the gringos (im yet to see one) to recover from hangovers, crawl out the woodwork and book a spot to warrant the cost of porter and pack donkey.

Hauraz is not a pretty town, bar the imposing snow encrusted alps that encircles it. Strange then how I find myself with an intimate knowledge of its grim plan, uneventful alleys, ugly brown brick work. Only time can offer up an affinity for such a place. I trod its paths daily, mostly with little delight. This delay has furthermore meant I have succumbed (not all together reluctantly) to a spot of the old and all to familliar forms of daily routine.

In the mornings on my way to my preferred Desayundo (breakfast) haunt, to sip insipid coffee (still incentive enough to get me out of bed) and leaf through a novel or tinker on some half baked tale of my own, I greet the local street loon who now Ola Chico´s me like a long lost pal (and disturbingly resembles a Peruvian variation of Peter Machen). Then (in accordance with Santa Rosalind’s wishes) tip the toothless, down and out old duck, whose palm need no longer beg to recieve my morning tax. Time permitting (which there always is) I peruse the gaudy stained glass progress on a concrete cathedral (eye sore) being erected on the Plaza.

On to my acquaintance, the waitress, who no longer need squint blankly at my pronunciation of huevos de reveulots ( which comes out sounding more like and here I offer an English translation) the revolt of the eggs or revolting eggs- when they should be just plain scrambled).

A regular you see, whose nod and grin proves sufficient to send her on her way-. familiarity, allowing us to eschew further form of miscommunication and on my part - humiliation. The day drifts by in reading , then rummaging, sifting, excavating a head filed with tenacious but mostly loose fitting ideas. Ideas who always have the annoying little habit of turning out to be someone else’s. Reading Nobokov, is a depressing exercise and one that makes me want to give it all up-toss in the pen, towel or whatever object best signals the most brutal of defeats. What I might give (more then my front teeth) to come up with one, just one of that mans sentences. Would even be satisfied with the closing line -The End.

I walk the soggy alleys to water inspiration, pass the (by now) standard Peruvian street spectacles- shielded police bungling misfit kids into vans, copulating dogs and dilapidated rose gardens.I try to write in the evenings. Seeking out a local dive where meals are cheap and take ample time to arrive . A gringos solitude, no matter which restaurant, always drawing furtive and sympathetic glances from fellow diners.

Onto the lubricant of beer or wine, handy in liberating an reluctant wrist ( A wrist now hindered by what I might deem Nobokovian stage fright) .Always cigarettes. Ah cigarettes, nasty little comforts, companions,critters along the way, who which for the moment (and I assure you I have mediated, laboured long and hard over this) I cant seem to do without. What other beacon of a possible end might blaze through the night, reward me at the completion of those infernal bus trips-Trusty (pernicious) little soldiers tucked smug and patient in their silver foil.

In the evenings, when I cant seem to sleep and my spirit niggles with a mild ache(but never emptiness) I turn to the marching bands, for they play at all hours. Last night( bottle of wine in hand) rat to the rowdy pipers- I scuttled. Discovering them blithe to a persistent drizzle-clashing cymbals, pounding drums, honking horns .A music so discordant, unruly, rousing and repetitive- that it never fails to up lift. Sadly the turn out ammounted to a few funeral couples moping and shuffling over wet concrete. I joined them. A tall gangly white boy (who no matter where on this continent he travel-is his skull ever safe from connecting with low lying doorways) . As co- ordless and indifferent to his feet as the boy in the band with clumsy hands and out of synch cymbals .

Longing for these mountains, only they might rescue me now, salvage head from arse- a condition that has arisen with spending to much time with my self.

God bless the Homos (and tales of Bus Trip Festivities/Traversties)


Buses I have seen many the last few days, climbing from Cusco ( Memories of Mrs Piccua -unreal- swathed in her ancient mists) toward Lima. Buses, a mutual tomb from where drivers may ply (at full volume) his sadistic froms of Bony M torture .Feliz Navidad it is no more. In Peru its either Carols, aching Spanish Ballads or worse- the traditional pan pipe music, which reminds one of being stuck (as we once were) in an eternal elevator.

I have plenty time to sit and ponder and mostly read. Sit through the stink of road side lunches lingering in collective 28 hour farts. Sweaty socks stewing in stagnant boots .Films, at full volume and all through the night. Rot of the B´st grade. Rippling 80´s Van Damme fok em ups and worse still (poorly dubbed) Lindsay Lonhan movies. Often trips without a break (and when the bus loo is broken the bladder too must wait). Blood, lung, patience screaming for a tobacco fix. Navigating my retarted knowledge of Spanish with fellow passengers over delays wrought by land slides. To Lima- oh Lima. The horror they warned. (Just a big stinky city in many ways like our own) The Lonely Planet recommends a gay friendly hostel. Having trodden the heteronormative road, my ear providing the sounding board to one to many yobo tales of pussy and Bangkok brothels (The couples generally sweet but mostly of the hen pecked husband, winging totalitarian wife variety - living their precious independence before stretch marks, cribs and car pools claim their days) I check in. Gay friendly I discover simply means a gratis bar of soap, towel and toilet paper (very welcome for someone who has been drying himself with a ripped sheet and reaching for the nearest strip of newspaper). A spacious renovated old mansion with an ample supply of excellent literature to peruse in the book exchange and a Vanity Fair in the bog. hahahahha. God bless the homos! Lima is in full festive swing. Black and White Bing Crosby movies on the telly. Spin doors swallowing late night shoppers and forget full lovers. Stations crammed with families heading home for the holidays. Families that gather beneath a single roof to do what it is that festive folk of the world do- drink, fight, love, forget, gossip, reminisce. Southern continents similar in their nostalgia for a white that will never fall. Celebrating a child that ( Tracy Chapmans words) might never come, if he came at all. I see it (Lima) in passing, another bus this time, nine hours to Hauraz. Here I sit at the front of the bus on the top story. Inches away from a panovision windscreen. Sweeping through the city, like a low flying pigeon, high enough to note the fire juggling, flik flakking street kids. The slums and villas. A desolate desert coast subsiding into a cormorant infested pacific.

Christmas I am ambivalent (though i wouldn't say cynical) toward. I light a candle, hang a dusty string of tinsel in my room. I remember the quantity of wondrous people at home whose company I shall not enjoy on this particular day. As for New year - I dread it more. A memorial, notch of my failings, rapid age, wasted hours. This I intend to resolve (or rather forget) by spending it out in the Cordelia Blanca Mountain range . A series of Andean glaciers-no doubt a wonder beneath this mighty moon of ours. Better I think then meeting a bastard headache in the morning.

Of course there are more appealing stories to tell then of Busses, but I lack imagination and strength beyond this ,my immediate.

Christmas I am ambivalent (though i wouldn’t say cynical) toward. I light a candle, hang a dusty string of tinsel in my room. I remember the quantity of wondrous people at home whose company I shall not enjoy on this particular day. As for New year - I dread it more. A memorial, notch of my failings, rapid age, wasted hours. This I intend to resolve (or rather forget) by spending it out in the Cordelia Blanca Mountain range . A series of Andean glaciers-no doubt a wonder beneath this mighty moon of ours. Better I think then meeting a bastard headache in the morning. Of course there are more appealing stories, observations to tell then of South American Busses, but for now I lack imagination and strength beyond the immediate.

Peru (part 1) Pageant of the Bizaare


Funny morning, stepped out of my hostel room only to be nearly trampled by two deranged llamas bolting down the cobbled streets, one frisky for a little Sunday loving I’m sure. They are peculiar, tragic looking creatures, cross breads between the oddest star wars creature and cutesy early morning toddlers TV show host.

It is pouring where I am, everytime I try to take a stroll to view some of the famed outlying ruins, down it comes. There is an advantage in that rain supposedly means less tourists, hence off season ( though there are still enough here in Cuzco to fill Disneyland ten times over). I understand why the rain might perturb the masses for it is hardly little drizzle but rather torrential walloping, balls to the wall bucketing, which makes me a little unprepared for the four day trek ahead to the heights of Machu Picchu. I am eschewing the trampled but legendary Inca trail, for its exorbitant costs and muchos populous of gringo, and taking a trail, cheaper and quieter (though apparently as beautiful.)

To be honest the whole Machu Picchu thing has given me a knot in my stomach and cramp in my wallet. Of course its majestic and of such fame for a reason but it also means the yobos and touts, the whinging poms, dope pests (mi amigo, mi amigo), hiked prices and petty thefts. The Gringo trail I have mostly treaded since Chile is often like this- all sights of importance, of wonder but a hustle and bustle nevertheless. Familiar faces as hard as one tries to escape seem to revisit along the way (Americans, their current state of nationalist insecurity -the worst) . Thus it can feel like travelling in a big unintentional pack. They are nice people but not the type I would relinquish my solitude for, forge friendships with a significant future in mind (that is excluding my French brother Marc- who I hitch hiked with for some time around the mountains of Northern Argentina.) On saying this I do not make an extended effort to meet people (there are of course gems out there)- I am here for an essence and theirs remains too similar to my own- spoilt first world fodder hungry for third world wonder.

After I finish with Cuzco and the ruins, I will be stepping off the trail, heading through the North of Peru, to where it all gets a little grittier, I am contemplating spending a few hallucagenic filled nights with the IncanBuenos Aries, reinvented my understanding and perception of the city. How exciting to think what Marquez might do in his home town. healers in some distant mountain range, figure it might be a fitting way to see, or distort? the new year in. You know take a peep into the extended yawn of my suburban sub conscious. Three months makes things tight, especially considering my hearts desire is with Columbia and thus far there has been a entire continent between us. I long for nothing more then to seek out some one horse town, with rocking chair, preferably wobbly fan stirring a thick stew of equatorial heat. To drink beer in the sun and read the ten Marquez novels (that I lug about in my Alexandria Library of a back pack). Literature of the region so much more valuable then paint by numbers, bray like sheep guide books- bibles we tend to abide all too slavishly by. The Argentine writer Borges, in the small amount I read in

I’m reading voraciously, Theroux´s -Mosquito Coast to which I have only come to now, is a cracking read, great for passing hours on arduous buses. Dante’s Inferno- delicious, timeless, torturous and pretty god damn terrifying. Dickens ´Hard Times´ universal to any city one might visit in the world. Jonathan Swifts ´Tale of the Tub´- affirming himself as the funniest, bleakest and most brilliant satirist there is- again the bulls eye to his barb-Religion (which seems to be the recurring thread to my education here). It is easy to feel lonely, but then I remember my purpose, the wisdom held in these novels, the people of importance, back home, the road ahead

I was really low the other night, lurking the shady streets of Puno, thinking those Gringos were right when they warned me of it being a non event of a town. Then a firework, a rocket exploded inches from my face, then another and another. Kerouac says pop and the world goes AWWWWWWW - and so it did, before a 60 piece marching bad struck up their triumphant tune. At the front came the Virgin Mary born on the shoulders of panting worshippers then the town mayor pursued by troupe of sycophants. A pack of blue Incan looking demons with protruding tongues, a gang of Boys in oversized Gorilla Suits, Behind them, girls and women in brightly coloured skirts, twisting from one side to the next, whirling like sequenced spinning tops. Then another marching band, more dancers, confetti and fireworks. So it went on and on, blazing up the night and I grew tearful at its sight, its sound,this pageant of the bizarre.

Nothing unites the world, elates the spirit quite like a parade. Pity the gutters, beggars and cripples submerged beneath that tide of euphoria. All reality, momentarily buoyed away and streets where minutes ago were hurried and harrowed are at once swept with jubilation.

I felt elated, levitating, I danced with the crowds, to that insistent beat. A delirious fool, desperate for it to never end, following the spectacle from one Plaza to the next until I could no more. Till I had to bid it farewell, let it pass, round its final corner and die as a distant summer storm might out over the Durban sea.

The rain has subsided, Outside the cobbled streets of Cusco have been washed clean . Ruins i should think fit for a little exploration

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »