Notes for a novel

The novel would have to include the poems I heard Edda Armas read at the Libreria Macondo in the Centro Comercial Chacaito, right off Boulevard Sabana Grande. Earlier that week, Isabel and I had bought cards with prayers to La Virgen de la Rosa Mistica, with her image on the flip side, rose in her chest, from a street vendor, one of the thousands of buhoneros that now crowd the sidewalks around the remaining outdoor cafes and restaurants, the mini-malls where I would go for internet connection, next to the plaza with domino and chess tables set up alongside benches under trees to watch the processions in & out of the subway entrance stairwells.

I've seen a photograph of Salvador Garmendia and Juan Sanchez Pelaez sitting at these outdoor cafe tables, taken probably sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Isabel and I, and the summer before Claudia & I, sat at one of these for beautifully cold Polares and juice, after having walked most of the day.

We also saw the shrine for the Virgen de la Rosa Mistica as we drove up to Jorge and Julieta's house and restaurant in Naiguata, on the Caribbean side of Monte Avila. It was a small, dark chapel built of rough stones and lit from the inside by dozens of candles, with incense and fresh flowers.

At the reading that evening, one of Edda Armas' verses spoke of her language/poetry "tribe" (which that night seemed to include all of us in the room). I rode the subway back to Caurimare after the reading, blessed and educated.

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