TWO MEN IN MY LIFE*
For Abuelo Jandro (Don Alejandro F. Casuga+)
Calling it a day at the old Mercado,
do you remember me running to you
snivelling at the tail end of every race?
Kin of all sizes and wile would beat me
to all the coins in your trouser pockets
where you kept them as gold for the best,
really, the most agile and the fastest
hands, the greedy and the needy, but you
said you knew I was simply the slowest.
So you had the small pesetas for them,
but you always saved the peso de plata
for me near your heart: your chestpockets.
AN ARTISAN BY DAY
For Abuelo Jose (Don Jose Buenaventura+)
I would look at your fingers, abuelo, if you
were here crouched by my easel, my paint,
my oil, my bastidores. They are my fingers.
We hardly knew you, save that illustrados
from the city would look for you if they
needed the latest design in haberdashery.
Don Jose, make my shoulders look broad,
Don Jose, I need to appear commanding;
Don Jose, please look away from my wife.
Swarthy as your Basque roots, your eyes
blaze beyond your gaze; an artisan by day,
an artist and lover, abuelo de mis sueños.
--- ALBERT B. CASUGA