Departure to San Diego

Departure to San Diego written by Mario Bojórquez
Translated from the Spanish by Alejandra González Jiménez


The departure to San Diego
is at sunrise.

Ortiz asks us for white wine
while the line of cars grows longer.

The anxiety of losing the flight
is felt in the tense air.

The border patrol checks the passports
with careless attention
and drops mine without noticing.
“Thank you,” he tells us.
We asked that they return my passport
that fell in the sewer at dawn.

He turns on the lamp,
and I light my second delicado cigarette
like a dream vision,
and I notice again
the face of the first public relations officer.

“Your documents are incomplete;
it is not possible to authorize your passport.”

The telephone crusades,
the paperwork,
the copies,
the photos,
the originals.

“Are you sure I didn’t give it to you?”
he asks me
while I light a third delicate.

I turn on the television.
“Lowest temperature of seven degrees Celsius,”
the Spanish television girl announces on television.

“No you have it.”

Ortiz opens the door and closes it again.

“What do you mean
our suitcases have been checked in
all the way to Lisbon?”

Elizabeth is watching the island,
and by the force of the airplane’s wing,
we are closer to the bank of the Hudson.

The largest are the twin towers,
and that one is the Empire State.
The small islands are Ellis and the Liberty,
“with her sword on the right hand,”
says Kafka in his American novel.

Vito Andolini took the name of his town
when he emigrated.

On the screen appears a virtual map
of itineraries which reads New York.

All the signs in Newark are in English and Spanish,

and is really easy to get lost in Terminal C.

The monorail crosses across our astonished heads,

and they ask Elizabeth to turn on her manual camera.

I drink an Arizona and she orders the Mexican.

Terminal C is tobacco free.
There are powerful smoke detectors that
would take you to court where twenty-five hundred dollars is needed
for being considered a criminal act in St. Louis Missouri.

There are designated smoking glass cubicles
every sixty meters here.

There is also the option to go out to the street,
to breathe the air of Sandro Cohen, see Edgar,
the one who loves and says the “terencho” (coherent).

“New York is the city,” I tell Elizabeth,

“And Lisbon?” she asks.

E’ a cidade
and Tijuana-San Diego
according to Rafa Saavedra is the city.

In the desk they help us in Portuguese.
The young woman looks Mexican.

Little by little, the families get closer,
talking the language that I learned from don Paulo Goulart.

I make sure not to lose
the envelope
for the Lieutenant Colonel
in Cascais.

Alfonso is a mechanic in Chicago;
he’s been living here for fourteen years.

He loves tequila.
He buys three bottles
in the duty free.
That he will drink in his country house
at the Beiras en Figueira da Foz
en Vila Franca of Xira.

He tells me that Mexico
is a beautiful, large country,
and that the government is very corrupt.

I tell him that corruption is everywhere.

He tells me that vinho verde is good,
but he prefers the maduro alentejo,
and that superbock beer
is better than sage’s.

He says that with ten dollars
you can eat great food,
and that all the flights to Lisbon
are in the night
and you wake up there.

The flights back
are always in the morning.

He tells me that he does not know Pessoa,
and does not know who Saramago is.

He has heard about Luis Vas de Camões,
who was a soldier poet.

Those are the Sintra Mountains
and that is the tejo.

“Fasten your seatbelt,” he tells me.