Flamenco and Orchids



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Flamenco Rojo

I went to Longwood Gardens with my family on Saturday. They were featuring their orchid display and they were also kicking off the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco Festival with two shows performed by Pasión y Arte, a Flamenco dance company based in Philly.

We loved it all! Being in the conservatory is like being in a paradise, with the pond, and the water falls, and the vegetation. It was a relief to our core to see green, green grass.

With all of this beauty and art surrounding us, I couldn’t help but to be drawn to the people that converged at this one spot in the universe at the same time, and I thought how beautiful an unburdened human is. It must be the most beautiful thing there ever has been. I so wanted to converse with all of them. I got to share smiles with many: men, women, children, young, old; all walks of life. I even got to share smiles with some of the performers during their performance, as there was a deluge of natural light illuminating the entire audience. It is a giant greenhouse, so the performers were able to see the expressions on our faces.

I shared a moment with the singer as she was clapping “a compás”(with the beat) while I was trying to stay in unison with my clapping. For fear I would go off time while being watched I stopped my rhythmic attempt and left it back to the experts. Clapping a compás seems to be an art unto itself, and would be assigned only to the most competent.

To keep perfect rhythm with your fellow performers is something very intimate, very human, and it is an anchor to the soul. It is of God. Something unfailing.

As it was, we did end up meeting and conversing with a good number of people. One family had just received one of the family members back from the Dominican Republic where she had attended the wedding of the daughter of a good friend. She was not far from where my sister lives!

We were, hundreds of us, all uninitiated as a family, but a family of sorts none-the-less. We were all unique but in rhythm with one another. Enthralled. And I remembered my hope, and it became stronger.


Beyond by Juan Goico Alíx


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From Google Image Search

From Google Image Search


An enchanted evening, an evening of celebration that a thousand pretty women filled with splendor like a thousand roses brimming out of a basket. I inquired of a friend,

“Which invented love?”

And just like that, like one who searches out the finest flower, the most ardent in a grove. And as if a given, forever unlike a rumor, he said,

“This one”

And I looked to your eyes profoundly beautiful and suffered the stab of your look very deeply, and sensed you undulating from your feet to the hairs of your head, like a serpent, like an ocean’s wave.

And before your beauty my entire life became restless, and far from you I feel a sweet illusion. A desire that stuns me, as like a wound, I know not what bleeds from my heart

And I admire you while awake and while asleep I touch you, and I seek and seek immersed in obsession to see you. I am captive to the pursuit, like a divine madman out of breath. Going beyond life. Going beyond death

-Translated 04.12.2014

Original Spanish Below

Más Alla

Una noche encantada. Una noche de fiesta,

que mil mujeres lindas llenaban de esplendor,

como cuando mil rosas rebosan una cesta,

inquirí de un amigo: ¿cuál inventó el amor?


Y así como quien busca la más galana flor,

la más ardiente flor de una floresta,

como cosa sabida, jamás como un rumor,

me dijo: “Esta”.


Y te miré a los ojos profundamente bellos,

y sufrí tu mirada clavárseme muy honda,

y te sentí ondulante, de los pies a los cabellos,

así como una sierpe, así como una onda.


Y frente a tu belleza se me inquietó la vida,

y lejos de ti siento una dulce ilusión,

un afán que aturde y así, como una herida,

yo ne sé lo que sangra mi corazón…


Y te admiro despierto y dormido te toco,

y te busco y te busco en la inquietud de verte,

y me siento seguirte como un divino loco,

más alla de la vida, más alla de la muerte.

Your Eyes by Juan Goico Alíx

From Google Image Search

From Google Image Search

Gentle Eyes with the tranquility of still pools, with the pleasing stillness of lakes; eyes full of love deep and luxuriant, while full of pain are a balm, while bestowing anguish, bestow delight.

Deep eyes like dead seas, which impart life when open, and impart death when closed; eyes full of lament, eyes immense; black shining diamonds suspended over large purple petals.

Eyes residing in the pale-blue clouds of the setting sun, accustomed to gazing at landscapes, they are full of time and of distance; divine eyes enlightened, that in remembrance vaguely look at me as if I were wrapped by a fragrance.

Eyes undecipherable of the arcane, divine expressions of what is human, opened pharaonic vaults, dark eyes which have wept so much, under the night, like under a mantle, all sweet hope extinguished.

Eyes from a long-suffering heart, a fugitive of oblivion which hoists herself repeatedly to cry, two nights of the dead, dreadful, two mysterious tombs forgotten, suns blackened of their illumination.

Eyes undaunted from their purpose that have illuminated my path, evoking my youth to flower; beautiful dark eyes enigmatic that from a distance look at me, ecstatic, as if lauding something holy.

Beautiful eyes, somber, void of hate, void of love, before mine, containing the mystery of the heavenly luminaries; never had I seen them more deep nor more beautiful, beneath a black forest of hair. Beneath an outcropping of pale alabaster, your crest.

I wish to own them like the night owns its bright stars, like the rivers own their fragile mirrors. I wish to kiss them, divine eyes which I admired that blue afternoon, when they were before mine.

-translated 2014.03.28

My Verse by Juan Goico Alíx

Small Tropical Bird from Phuket Thailand

Takes flight my musing, made an exhausted bird, to perch upon your hand, like upon a flower; its universe is your life, its sun your gaze, its foliage your head, your sadness its pain. Its chirping is your accent, your shoulders its mountains, your arms its pathways, its night your slumber, your lips are its fruit, its shade your eye lashes. A secret is your soul which it has not been able to hear.

It lives of your fragrances, for you are its Universe, and in your wanderings it flies by pure chance; its song carries the winged rhythm of my verse and its crystal-clear day is your ingenious rousing. Your hands are its roses, your dreams its madness, its delight your beauty, your youth is its April, your kisses are its breezes, your back its prairie, your hollowed hands its ivory cage.

Give it to drink your tears during your nocturnal hours.

Give it to drink your laughter during your precious days.

For you own your nights, and you own your dawning, like you own your youth and melancholy.

Run your hand over its plumage, make for it a nest made of roses, joining the two together; hands like cotton swaths, tender as bandaging, cruel for the “wait”, sad for the “farewell”

Takes flight my musing, like an exhausted bird, to perch upon your hands, like upon a flower; your life is its Universe, your gaze its sun, your soul its impossible, its youth your love

-Translated 2014.03.26 



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File:Poppies mayawildevuur.jpg

“I can’t wait!” You say.

Do you mean that it is too much to bear so you resign to time?

Or do you mean that you are really looking forward to it, making sure all is in place so that you will see their face?

You must mean that you can wait.

You must mean that you will wait,

So you are recieved in the best frame.

One made of poppies of purple, blue and of red flame.


21 Measures of Pain


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I  am sure I have tried to play Op.1 Part III No.1 by Mauro Giuliani (1780-1829), a hundred times and have yet to go through it without a misstep. This is a classical guitar piece that would be considered as challenging perhaps for an intermediate player. For the longest time I have considered myself of intermediate caliber, then I decided to record my playing. Let me tell you, I have heard that we are our own worst critic, but this little exercise really accentuates one’s mistakes! This piece has 21 measures and fits on one page, and only ventures to the third position but briefly. I spent a good two hours the other night, trying to work out the rough patches and the tempo and tone, and what I got is a super sore right hand that wants to cramp into a pretzel. And not one take worth documenting.

This has given me pause. I have owned this volume of sheet music for more than twenty years. Now I question my sessions with my instructor, back in the eighties. He checked off a good number of these pieces. These checks must have meant not,

“Well done my star student, you are ready for the next challenge”, but rather, “I’m tired of hearing you butcher Fernando Sor, lets move on to Carcassi”.

I honestly feel somewhat the fraud, passing myself off as a guitar player. This astounds me further when I witness a master playing a full length concerto in flawless manner. It is no secret masters are passionate about their art, which has driven them to forego many things in order to be the best. Practice, practice, practice! Not to be lauded. Not to entertain. Not to be world famous, or get the girl. The process was the end, not the means. The love of the instrument, of the composer, the art.

All of this is nothing new.

One that is plain in her duties is a Nurse Practitioner, I have had the privilege to work with. She spent twenty years as an E.R. Nurse. Twenty years dealing with coding patients and stretched resources. I have witnessed her spring into action when we have had compromised patients, BAM, BAM, BAM! She arranges for emergency transport, gets the patient oxygen, accesses a vein to start an IV well, draws the necessary labs to asses cardiac status and administers meds needed to stabilize the patient, all before the medics get there. The medics are grateful, the family is grateful, the staff is grateful! She is so focused that the Doctors get out of her way. Her response to that is, “That’s what you do. There are certain steps that you always perform under those situations, and after doing those steps over and over for twenty years you just do it without thinking. Sounds like an uninspired explanation. But when someone’s life is in the balance and you are part of that team, it is very, very inspiring!

Will I save someone’s life by playing 21 measures of guitar music well? No. But I may cause someone to be moved in some way, because I took responsibility for the passion I allege to have. And what I am learning about this great life, is that everything worth while can be learned, and in fact must be learned: Being a leader. Being a father. Being a friend, a husband. A worshiper of God. How to take an x-ray. How to stabilize a coding patient. How to love. It must be learned and then applied correctly, that we may call ourselves competent heart holders.

So I am going to nurse my hand another day, and then get back to Giuliani, so that I may, perhaps but for a moment, rescue you.



Staring at the sun

Disembarking headlong

Into a canyon

Taking the podium

With standing room only

Waiting for the gate to drop

Piercing the skin to the stop

Loitering the E train’s



Edge as the

Oncoming turbulence

Blows back your hair

Frequencies too much to bear

Because they prove

To be not enough



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