Sunday, March 20, 2016

chester giles writes

the caves at portimão (day off)

the last two days were grey
and i was stuck at work in the kitchen
but still warm enough to just wear a vest
       even with the rain

and i thought about the caves all along the shore line

and wanted to be inside them

i got a little drunk in the bar by myself

        looking swedish
because tomorrow, today (now as i write this)
 was my day off.

it was still grey when i woke but by two the sun had won out 

so i took the train to the next town
 watching the shore line and the marshes and the farms
feeling like a tourist

i walked around the streets

taking photographs of the buildings as they fell apart
and looked inside the shops at the outlet
 at the mall
 at the shopping precinct

so clean and modern;

the sound the radio and people like they were in an aquarium.

i bought some hash and got a ride with a portuguese

one of the guys who stop their car in traffic and say
 "hey, you english?
he needed the gas money
and we drove fast the 5k to town
listening to gypsy music too loud
 out of time cymbals
crashing before and then after the beat
  crashing so hard
the buildings and the roads and his ancient car falling apart in the sun.

i ate well

and walked along the beach smoking a cigar
looking at the people and their skin

all you could hear was the atlantic

the caves had holes in their ceilings and people had painted
 "om" signs and peace symbols
and scratched their names into the walls.

everything was yellowing ochre orange except the grey atlantic

and the pale blue flint skies

i found one cave

no body inside it
no marks
no paint
a full ceiling

i sat in there a little while then went home

  all my things full of sand


  1. Portimão is an important city in the Faro district of Barlavento Algarvio (the western Algarve) in southern Portugal. For centuries the area was the homeland of the
    Cynetes, who seem to have been closely tied to the Celts and Tartessos. Around 550 BCE the Carthaginians founded Portis Hanibalis, which became a Roman port until the 5th century CE. Then it was occupied by the Visigoths, followed by the Moors. During the reign of Afonso III the area was conquered by the Knights of the Order of Santiago and forcibly integrated into the new kingdom of Portugal.

  2. "Gypsy music" is the style of East European music played elsewhere in Europe. It is usually of Hungarian, Romanian, or Russian (including Cossack) origin, but melodies from Czech, Bulgarian, and other sources may also be used. However, the original folk music is enriched by its ornamentation; sometimes it is so embellished that the original melody hardly can be recognized. The transformation is apparent even when playing one tone: A long note is not simply played but is either approached by an elaborate ornament, or it "slides" towards the tone, or it is reached by a number of short notes in a bouncing effect. The music is mainly instrumental and usually performed by strings, especially violins, except in the Romanian variant where the naï (panflute) is the main instrument. The accompaniment is usually a double bass and a cimbalom, which has a playing surface strung with steel strings which are hammered with two beaters. A kontras is a 2nd violin, which plays two-string harmonies which are then embellished by a bratsche (viola); in fast movements, the bratische enhances the rhythm by playing the after-beat, creating the typical gypsy-style rhythm called "estam." Like jazz, it is not the combination of instruments that determines "gypsy style," but its characteristic performance, especially in its use of rhythmic variations in the melody: just too early, or just too late. In faster rhythms this produces a bouncing effect and adds to the impression of improvisation.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?