Walk by Darby Hudson, self published, 2017. Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia by Juan Garrido Salgado Blank Rune Press, 2016.
Walk by David Hudson is a small quaint book with deep thoughts and evocative ponderings about the act of ‘walking’. The pictures that accompany, these short but profound lines, are beautiful in their simplicity and innocence.
The first lines of the book postulate that not all humans walk the same way, we all have our own characteristic way of moving our feet, legs, body and arms when walking and as a result it is not difficult for us to recognise the individual walking style of the people close to us.
Hudson suggests that our spirit takes our bodies for a ride and that our bodies are our DNA in motion. The writer moves from the simple act of walking to more philosophical issues, he says:
When we meet someone for the first time and they walk towards you, you witness their vulnerability through the nakedness of space.
Can anyone own the Earth? The writer hypothesizes that when walking our bodies attempt the impossibility of owning the Earth; but if you swagger or do a rehearsed dance you awake in others a sense of sorrow. He says:
These are moves for an Earth unowned, a life unlived.
He also believes that sad lives are that of those who show their arrogance in their walk.
Hudson is absolutely right when he says that walking and conversing with a friend is one of the loveliest things and of course if you have a real friend who walks with you, you will never be alone.
The last words in this attractive book are:
If you want to summon the familiarity of your spirit all you have to do is walk the Earth even if it’s down the shops.
Great advice no doubt. Walking grounds you, walking can also be meditative and mindful, it can bring you close to nature and your spirit which no doubt will follow you. This is if you believe that we have one. Walk is a book with meaningful words and suggestive drawings plus an impeccable presentation.
Dialogue With Samuel Lafferte in Australia by Juan Garrido Salgado is a chapbook with eleven poems; two of these have been translated into Spanish from English or written in Spanish and translated into English.
Juan Garrido-Salgado was a political prisoner under the Pinochet regime; it is without doubt that his political activities and the fact that he was a prisoner have influenced the themes of his poetry. Garrido is many people in his poems, he is Lafferte, he is Ramon, he is the Mothers of the Desaparecidos, he tell us about the many who fought for an ideology and for freedom. His words present to the reader the struggles of the left, the dreams of the poet and words impregnated with pain and suffering, in Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia poignantly he says:
After the return
we walked together into the underground struggle
as twins childhood
as a fellow fighters
sharing the same prison and the same blood in the torture.
The poet reflects on the pain of those women: mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters whose loved one disappeared in Chile in the 70s. These women can dance the Chilean dance Cueca but in their eyes there is sadness, on their chest a photo of the loved ones and in their hands a white handkerchief as it is customary in this dance. He says poignantly:
Dance the rhythm of terror
dance with handkerchiefs of sadness
white as their absence
waving as the beloved name
turns the dance into two shadows
drumming the pavement of the tyrant
singing for justice.
Words, poems, books, music, are the fuel that move the poet, Garrido is no different, his poems tell the reader about books, about other poets, about that trip that all writers engage in. Although his style and grammar does not always fall within grammatical conventions his words deliver clear messages: whether he is on a trip to Granada or feeling nostalgic for his old typewriter. How many of us poured our souls on the keys of an Underwood? Garrido says in ‘My Old Typewriter’:
I no longer remember how many times it gave me joy of being a poem
on each key of the alphabet
I was a young man in love with his light
on the icy winter piece I saw die.
Now rests in my garden
writes poems to the wind, rain, sun and clouds kissing the moon.
Pinochet, the Chilean dictator caused a lot of damage to the people of his country, Garrido strongly reflects on the oppression, the torture, the questioning under duress. In ‘Soon the sun rose in September’, Santiago he says:
Soon the sun rose in September, Santiago
the underground struggle was home
the underground was the best cultivated garden
those fights never forget we shared fruit and pain
they were born that spring riddled
With those brave soldiers.
Traitorous, murderous Generals
Salvador Allende will be remembered,
in the struggle and victory forever.
The horrors of having been tortured is very tangible in the poet’s work, he does not adorn the reality, a reality that normally transforms individuals and leaves a sequelae of emotional and physical scars. The strength and valour of Garrido to be able to pour his emotions in his poetry is commendable. ‘Wounds’ is one of those poems that makes you breathe deep and question how one human can inflict such pain on another human. In part it reads:
They brought darkness into the room
beat and beat my flesh
they asked me so many questions.
I was in the secret house Borgoño
A place of open wounds and blood,
every night was long
with sharp words like daggers
with dark hands that beat my soul,
My name was just a shadow on their lips.
Garrido finishes the poem saying: “Masks of evil with ashes on their hands, they will live in my memory forever.” I have no doubt that an experience such as the one that the poet went through would be very difficult to forget. May his words inspire freedom and respect …
Dr Beatriz Copello
Dr Beatriz Copello, is a former member of NSW Writers Centre Management Committee, writes poetry, reviews, fiction and plays. Beatriz’s poetry has been published in literary journals such as Southerly and Australian Women’s Book Review and in many feminist publications. She has read her poetry at events organised by the Sydney Writers Festival, the NSW Writers Centre, the Multicultural Arts Alliance, Refugee Week Committee, Humboldt University (USA), Ubud (Bali) Writers Festival.
For information on where to purchase Walk go to http://www.darbyhudson.com/
Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia is available from Blank Rune Press. Contact them at https://blankrunebooks.wordpress.com/. Juan Garrido Salgado’s latest collection, Cuando Fui Clandestino/When I was Clandestine, is available from https://rochfordpress.com/rochford-press-bookshop/cuando-fui-clandestino-when-i-was-clandestine-by-juan-garrido-salgado/