The woman in the box, A Morales

Tags: ALEJANDRO MORALES, Naples, CAMINO REAL, motor scooters, morning coffee, fallen angels, San Domenico Maggiore church, morning rush, Big Mac, Church Del Gesu
Content: CAMINO REAL 1:0 (2009): 53-69 The Woman in the Box ALEJANDRO MORALES 1 Mist veils Vesuvius rising from the Golf of Naples as cities scattered along the coast from Naples to Selerno listen to the cacophonic sounds of morning night subsides potions wear away fatigue sets in 2 a rush to unwanted sleep overcomes the frenzy gestures kisses sensations Skin Caresses smooth hard flesh human perfume eyes wide desperate pleasure a smile early at the height of treacherous momentary happiness Alejandro Morales is a Novelist and Professor of Chicano/LATINO STUDIES at the University of California, Irvine. 53
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3 the physical crash slides like a hundred pound weight from the top of the head to the bottoms of the feet slows down the fast jerky stuttering scooters and cars speed through packed Greek Roman Italian cobble stone dirty vias holding up an architectural palimpsest stone by stone building the walls of Athens Rome of modern Naples 4 swallows web the sky over uncollected garbage a bird's morning Song Between the beginning (always a beginning) and the computerized church bells ring call to an ancient tradition horns warn of the coming Naples comes speeding headlong 5 the morning rush congested streets, sinuses, and minds packed in the city still possible to imagine that it fits in the minds of its inhabitants the mere thought of Naples today the daily dull headache
ALEJANDRO MORALES the pain the measure of existence of happiness to Greek and Roman and Italian and foreign residents and the African vendors on La Via Toledo and the homeless at Napoli Centrale
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the carabiniere will clear out
their non-consequential non-bathed bodies
their infected unclean sores
`
their acrid smell
their clothing rags, bedding and empty bottles
alcohol splashing on stomach walls
depth of rememories
of recollecting better times
quickly fade with the rising heat and humidity
the desperation for another drop of booze
of dope of help of any kind for
non-existent disposable beings
7
Neapolitans walk right through The homeless's eyes hearts thoughts bodies Naples has a problem with garbage It collects in the designated areas It finds a home in unexpected places
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dodging trucks cars scooters people I cross Via A Diaz avoiding productive working bodies tip-toe around dog shit toward Via Monteol Iveto left to Piazza Del Gesu' Nuovo
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9 her short curled blond hair hangs above a child-like filthy face bad complexion large brown eyes blue red tattoos grace her arms her neck at the base of her back a pale pink secretive wound blossoms around the red ink a line to a light black blouse beige jeans under a pierced belly button look up to her pierced lip nose and eye-brow 10 in momentary peace and slumber warmed by scarves towels a few blankets two large dogs three puppies Naples woman lives in a five by five cardboard box the pride of Naples of Italy of the first world of the great cultural production of technically advanced modern globalized times Naples's brilliance Italy's youth 11 no jobs for Italy's youth globalizers only American rock movies clothes advertisements on street posters and billboards leading to
ALEJANDRO MORALES U.S. Air Force Naval N.A.T.O. bases tourists Big Mac hamburgers U.S. universities' and colleges' education abroad programs shitting stalls for the homeless dope addicts mentally disturbed unemployed fatally ill (wise move for the Italian politicos) comedy and pathos for the Italian anus to smile and crap ride the train to Pompeii watch the heroin addicts stumble on to argue with the conductor 12 the woman in the box stands outside pushes back her hair licks her fingers on her shit-stained left hand like licking chocolate she tongues her hands again and wipes her face sits on sacred steps the entrance gate to San Domenico Maggiore church with twenty more of Naples's finest young homeless institutionalized to the streets 13 they talk embrace laugh suffer the consequences 57
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overdoses of bad heroin alcohol ecstasy cocaine a bad blowjob gonorrhea of the mouth an infected fuck of syphilis AIDS gonorrhea TB whatever Naples offers whatever youthful orifice Naples's lovers convince to sell to poke 14 open a vein in the body in the city give them their pursued and praised rush to get it they lie fuck do fellatio beg steal get sodomized kill attend mass die pray for it 15 the woman in the box drug addict alcoholic diseased wonderfully crazed to the streets of Naples a perpetual party a forever high being alive watched dead people in hell being dead watching live people through hell
ALEJANDRO MORALES 16 I don't dare fall out of grace with the big mother guru who in her power high sees life and art through a narrow pipe my face does not fit in the opening at the other end I'm comfortable happy with that knowledge and / feeling 17 the woman in the box lunges speaks rapidly stands shouting gestures madly moves her hands furious breathes loud screams unintelligible words follows us weeps loudly we walk faster the woman in the box pursues us crosses busy Via Monteol Iveto she bolts in front of a screeching car 18 she jumps in front of us yells hysterically gasping life or death thrusts out her hands violently thumps her left index finger on her right palm screaming babble talk 59
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at the top of her lungs she foams at the mouth Silencio cane rabiosa! A shop keeper shouts at the woman in the box as we put distance between her and us 19 we the anointed war on terror the horror and beauty of globalization bathed with warm water soap and shampoo perfumed and powdered mascara polished nails hair spray lipstick a dash of aftershave deodorant in fine clothes titled 20 she still screams uncontrollably while Italians and Germans fuss over political movie stars for holocaust films on Scapponapoli directly to the obelisk of plagues triumphantly into the university to a lecture hall discourse to Italian lyceumites about writing and painting the Hispanic minority majority democracy/imperialism/Bush
ALEJANDRO MORALES freedom/imprisonment/Ashcroft money/poverty/immigration jobs/education/gangs and so forth at symposium's end to a bar and restaurant I trail behind always behind listening to the consecrated metaphysicians and their hegemonic banter 21 she stands on the steps of the Church Del Gesu' Nuovo light on her feet speaking loudly swirling in her mind high above the obelisk of Naples she dances pirouetting faster and faster she falls thousands of years into the arms of mystical, chemical bliss 22 she whirls madly men and women support her body prevent her from smashing her head on the Greek Roman stones nobody touches her body 61
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23 the high the rush that crazy girl one of the PhDs calls out see her held up by that weird man in the eye of the pack for a second I catch his eye he says to me these are my children they love me I hate them I want to kill them with pleasure or make them stars in porno movies 24 I take their children and sit on them feed them love substance and street survival skills they grow up sit next to me on these steps until they die 25 the man laughs at me grabs the woman in the box's short blond hair and slowly and proudly raises her stoned head for me to see an innocent child
ALEJANDRO MORALES a beautiful Italian catastrophe large full drops rain on her face spotting my linen shirt 26 crystal dirty water filters down one hundred meters below the city white foamy water gathers in underground streams nurture Greek Roman memories that rise to the modern surface float chest high at times rise to glide above the city streets 27 run directly into the reality of memory for micro-seconds momentarily astonished interrupted in their modern life made to participate in a living event from the past made to meet fellow ancient city dwellers while the memory moves others places in the city 63
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28 at times a person with facultad steps into a rememory and depending on their state experiences it calmly, sweetly or will scream at the unknown people she sees 29 three bananas and three apples early in the morning a cloud covers Vesuvius I take three apples and three bananas to the woman in the box she sleeps peacefully her fingers almost touch her lips like a child somebody's beautiful baby somebody's daughter I drop the bag of fruit between her And her young male companion 30 their heads and knees weave close in an open neutral space where fruit waits her dogs sleep lean tight against her a woman walks by shaking her head
31 a prayer I am sure a prayer for two Neapolitan fallen angels sleeping in a box I cut the strada dunk a croissant into my morning coffee 32 the strada now filled with morning people motor scooters cars and trucks smoke rubber garbage stench barking dongs obscenities 33 I came by hydrofoil from Sorrento to Naples outside the bay I look forward to the city a dark brown dirty curtain decorates the city like a brown silk ribbon war destruction
ALEJANDRO MORALES
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34 I board a train to Pompeii The white mold figures in the Orchard of the Fugitives pose in the position in which they died the woman in the box her companion her dogs Naples's present day catastrophe two young human beings pose like the dead fugitives of Pompeii 35 a famous cultural philosopher theorist states Naples has three obelisks dedicated to the natural and human caused disasters of the city the woman in the box is the twenty first century a new millennium monument to Naples 36 that night returning to my hotel I see the woman in the box on the steps of the Church of Del Gesu' Nuovo playing with three Young People
ALEJANDRO MORALES 37 in the morning I take three ham and cheese sandwiches and a quart of milk find the woman in the box with her companion and dogs in a deep tranquil sleep 38 the first time we saw the woman in the box I remember hearing one of the woman scholars say this poor girl has bearing she must come from a middle-class family the stench made the scholar quickly walk away 39 I study her face for a while I place the bag of sandwiches and the carton of milk between the posing monumental bodies that night the scholars dine on the sea shore walk in a bright happy restaurant 40 young people gather new scooters, Hondas, BMW motorcycles shiny new Mercedes-Benz VWs, Alfa Romeos well dressed 67
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young women beautiful the young men handsome they call out to each other confidently teasingly many walk hand in hand several couples kiss straddling their motorcycles 41 the emperor's children Naples's well to-do children of the Greek families out on the town one hundred meters below the modern city thousands of years ago Caesar's children kiss their parents go out to the Naples streets thousands of years ago fifty meters under the modern streets of Naples children's joy and laughter gather here in the bright restaurants with a view of the antediluvian dancing Bay of Naples 42 in the morning I pass by the obelisk dedicated to the plagues of 1616 that killed thousands of Neapolitans Renaissance Naples provided the answers in Art and Science to the known world
ALEJANDRO MORALES 43 twenty-first century Naples struggles to collect the trash and garbage that piles up in the city its buildings crumble ins monuments deteriorate overwhelmed overrun by tourists 44 Naples's beauty hidden in secret places between the woman in the box's body and her friend a tin pan filled with milk the ham and cheese sandwiches devoured by five happy dogs wagging their tails a puppy takes a puzzled look at me 45 hers is a new joy different happiness that I don't know in the New World I leave Naples early Sunday morning a cloud still covers Vesuvius Flying 35,000 feet over Winnipeg June 1, 2003 69

A Morales

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