Don Juan Forever -- Canto The First

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
Who is Don Juan? A hero? A villain? A legend of the past? A heartthrob? A paragon of seduction? A man whose controversial relationships with women mirror those with society? This epic poem spanning four cantos follows Don Juan on his adventurous westward journey in the world of the 21st century.

Submitted: October 14, 2012

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Submitted: October 14, 2012

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This first edition published 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-9916790-0-3
Copyright 2012 Susanu. All rights reserved.
Website: www.donjuanforever.com
 
 
CANTO THE FIRST
 
 
There is a kind of moment, it is said,
  Both the apotheosis of pure bliss
And portent of a future bright ahead,
  Which, once it's lived, the one who lived will miss
It so, he'll chase it down till his deathbed.
  A thing as simply perfect as a kiss
Can start a search for the eternal truth,
But only if it's sanctified by youth.
 
 
This is a tale of youth that I'd relate,
  With facts of life and little fluff fantastic.
It's not quite picaresque, not quite sedate,
  Yet may at times come off as too bombastic,
Which I intend and hope to expiate,
  But know it's very often half-sarcastic!
If quirks in this pastiche you will allow,
Dear reader, I'll begin the story now.
 
 
On top a busy bridge one morn 'round ten,
  Dressed in a handsome suit with hand-sewn hems,
Don Juan stood, contemplating how and when
  To leave the place from which stagnation stems.
Around him, he saw multitudes of men
  And women who'd come there to see some gems,
A church, a prison, and a ferris wheel,
Which had to them a glorious appeal.
 
 
But their adventure was to him a bore.
  Although he had arrived not long ago,
Already his eyesight was rather sore
  Of constant dreariness and cloudy woe.
Or it perhaps had been the days of yore
  When all those boroughs he first got to know;
He could not tell. His memory was hazy,
Like morning's mist. Or maybe he was crazy?
 
 
To free his mind from all the fog surrounding,
  He thought to look for climes less overcast,
In cloudless skies and sunlight more abounding,
  Milieus fit for remembering the past,
Or at least for the present less confounding.
  The bright days of his youth, they wouldn't last,
Nor would their energy persist forever.
It was time to pursue a new endeavor.
 
 
I nearly chose to plunge 'in medias res'
  Because I'm eager to give a preview
Of this endeavor's story and the ways
  Of Juan, man of the Old World, not the New,
Yet drawn in by the New World's lustrous glaze.
  Along his path, will he adapt or rue
The -- but I'll tell you later; let us wait.
We have a poem whole to learn his fate.
 
 
Now, Juan yearned for the thrills of youth's blessed age,
  Some new adventures perilous at core.
The infinite he wanted to engage,
  Vault over it, and see yet even more.
Such journeys he was well prepared to stage,
  Since full of gold he had a hidden drawer,
That worthless metal made not so by dearth
Of understanding of intrinsic worth.
 
 
You may inquire with importunity
  Exactly how much gold sustained Juan's schemes.
Enough. Enough for Opportunity
  To offer him choice of prodigious dreams.
Enough to live with an immunity
  To worries of securing income streams.
Enough for life. Enough for an encore.
Yet nowhere near enough to not want more.
 
 
The infinite he dreamed about, it lay
  Downstream the flowing river, gently poured,
Into great Panthalassa stored away,
  That endless plain through which sprang up and soared
Earth's continents for Juan's eyes to survey.
  Some hidden secrets and more treasure hoard,
For him to come upon and to possess
Made up the world -- at least that was his guess.
 
 
A flight would have provided transportation
  To tropics sooner than his thoughts were through.
Instead, Juan opted for anticipation,
  A cruise ship, vessel with a dazzling view
Of dolphins, whales, and everything cetacean,
  The ocean waves, and the eternal blue.
A flight could not provide such a reward.
A few weeks passed and then he was aboard.
 
 
For many days on end, the landscape seen
  Was the horizon's line, which severed skies
From the eternal waters, stretched between
  Two planes, cerulean their seeming dyes,
Or, on some days, a light aquamarine.
  Against this backdrop, Juan did socialize
With fellow passengers, most well beyond
His years, thus of his youthful vigor fond.
 
 
At last, the cruise ship, having near traversed
  The ocean, it docked in a sunny port
Of beauty such that it promptly coerced
  Juan to remain in this island resort.
It was Bermuda, where the sea dispersed
  Sunbeams onto pink sand, which would exhort
One to abandon sentiments of cruises
And then not board with various excuses.
 
 
Therefore, the ship continued on its way,
  While Juan concerned himself with his new home.
He found a place for his extended stay,
  A room to rent on a cliff bathed in foam
By ocean's waters and wind's fickle play.
  This house, an ideal place from which to roam
The island of Bermuda, was owned by
A rich, old Briton keen on where to buy.
 
 
This landlord welcomed Juan to his abode,
  Providing drink and food and histories.
Fresh tender fish was served and white wine flowed,
  Over long talks of island mysteries.
This welcome and the ambiance, they bode
  Quite well for Juan -- they were good auguries
Of great experiences to soon come.
With these last thoughts, Juan did to sleep succumb.
 
 
His next day he began just as he would
  So many other days throughout that year.
Before the sunrise, up from sleep he stood,
  The house he exited then through the rear,
Ran to a nearby hill, where in a good
  Spot facing east, he waited for the sphere
From underneath the ocean floor to rise
And first rays through the low clouds to incise.
 
 
He stretched and breathed the fresh air deep inside
  And felt his skin warmed slowly by the sun,
Then guided to a dreamy beach his stride,
  Ran through pink sand, shirt already undone,
And he spent much time swimming with the tide.
  Once he did have enough of liquid fun,
He went on foot to search around the isle
For friends and things to do that matched his style.
 
 
He met one group of students from Brazil.
  With them he'd often climb deep water cliffs,
Or take the kayak down a narrow rill
  Into the ocean, among sailing skiffs.
Juan greatly relished larger waves, a thrill,
  For he'd adventure without care for ifs
Of some potential danger to avoid,
So far away from land, of fear devoid.
 
 
On one of these occasions, when Juan went
  Especially far out on a rough day,
His friends stayed back and questioned his intent
  Once he returned into the calmer bay:
"Are you on being swallowed out there bent?
  How were you not struck plainly with dismay?
The howling wind is swaying palm trees hard,
Yet you're out on the seas with disregard."
 
 
Juan laughed at what he heard and loudly said,
  "I had a dream some time ago, of waves,
Tsunamis, rising sky-high overhead.
  Though no wave ever in this way behaves,
A great one the other tsunamis led
  Towards us on a beach. We were the braves
Because we did not dash to safer spot.
We let the water crash, it was our lot.
 
 
"And as this clear blue water blanket fell,
  Instead of fluid chaos drowning us,
We did the water instantly dispel,
  Just leaving gentle drops on our skin, thus
A joy, a purifying, blessing spell.
  So, what I mean to say, without more fuss,
Is that I wanted to determine just
How closely life resembles dreams. Nonplussed?"
 
 
His friend's response was to give him a lift,
  Slight help out of the kayak onto land,
And then proceeded to plan fun to shift
  Talks to a different conversation brand.
There were events that night, time to be swift,
  Gain entry to the best, avoid the bland.
They rushed back into town through that pink sand,
So hot their feet just barely could withstand.
 
 
At times, Juan would into reflection slip.
  He would get on a white boat and sail right
Outside the port, away from any ship,
  To lie on board supine, upwards his sight.
A horn, a seagull's cry, were but a blip
  On Juan's perception, taking a respite
From stimulus in this most peaceful setting.
Of all except the sky he was forgetting.
 
 
A careful balance was, of blue and white,
  This setting that gave Juan a chance to muse.
The boat, the clouds, an airplane's trace in flight,
  These were the whitest whites against the blues:
The skies and sea, their tints enhanced by light.
  As he lay there, surrounded by those hues,
His mind on a wave with the boat adrift,
The future could unwrap its priceless gift.
 
 
On some cool days, after morning's routine,
  Juan would swim in the pool of a hotel
In place of other settings more marine.
  In there, he was a piece of a pastel
Of tourists gathered on a crowded scene.
  Loving the day, the island's clientèle,
On top a yellow wooden deck, looked out
At endless sapphire scenery about.
 
 
At such an instance at the pool-side jest,
  Juan's deep gaze fell upon a girl in pink.
He noticed her bikini hug her breast,
  Her lovely face, sunglasses and a drink,
And felt desire had to be expressed.
  Without giving himself more time to think,
He walked up to the girl and her small group
And all began to charm at one fell swoop.
 
 
Juan told her she was beautiful -- she blushed,
  And then he complimented her appearance,
To which her hair around the ear she brushed,
  Enjoying praise supplied with perseverance.
She thanked him, glanced submissively, and rushed
  To rid herself of any interference
From her three friends, whom she sent on their way,
So she could listen to what Juan would say.
 
 
Her name was Eva and was born in Maine,
  A beautiful young student, who'd come there
On a vacation from a life too plain.
  For her, such an adventurous a flair
As Juan's, sufficient was to entertain.
  This way commenced a vernal love affair.
The two would meet and spend their days together
And nights too, once they could not cut the tether.
 
 
The next day, they began to know each other
  While snorkeling in waters of a pure,
Atlantic azure color that was rather
  Matched with the sky. Such fun had an allure
For two young people liking one another.
  Eva revealed an attitude demure,
Enticing Juan to flood her with romance,
The gates to which he'd open at first chance.
 
 
The pair discovered how to scuba dive
  By taking diving lessons every day.
Their first submerged concern to stay alive
  To wonder at aquatic life gave way.
This capability to thus survive,
  To learn the different breathing and allay
Each other's fears through underwater hugs
Gave them a stronger high than any drugs.
 
 
As soon as they had mastered skills of diving,
  All of the island's shores they did explore.
Immense new thrills they were each day deriving
  From the enthralling natural decor.
Bermuda was their own sandbox, both driving
  Each other crazy with feelings galore.
Their boundless energy lit up the world,
Into infatuation their hearts hurled.
 
 
Attraction had been there from the beginning,
  But into love for Juan was not cemented
Till their first bike ride ended with him skinning
  His upper right leg badly. This prevented
Juan from walking without the underpinning
  Of Eva's shoulder, which the girl presented
To help the injured Juan get into town,
While her sweet voice served to undo his frown.
 
 
She was most tender in her caring posture
  And so she did completely win Juan's favor,
By showing that besides good looks, soft texture,
  She also had a nurturing sweet flavor.
Once he recovered fully, as a gesture
  Of his appreciation deep, Juan gave her
A glinting gemstone cut in facet style,
Which she, in turn, rewarded with a smile.
 
 
"How beautiful," one night she said to him,
  By the dark pool, a dimly lit abyss.
Juan's quick response was, "Let us go and swim!"
  "Let's not," she said and leaned in for a kiss.
At this sight, Juan met her lips on a whim
  And they were both immersed in sudden bliss.
Few moments later they were in her room;
Juan's skin was shortly clothed in her perfume.
 
 
Thus Juan basked in the sweet delights of love.
  Her hotel room a second home became.
The seraphs' chamber and pleasures thereof,
  This was the hearth for passions set aflame.
Soft hair and skin the color of the dove
  Were memories of night's lovemaking game.
Two lovers tasted to their hearts' content
From the fresh fruits of joyful youth's intent.
 
 
As Eva reveled in her satisfaction,
  To which Juan quite consistently would add,
She felt no further need for lively action
  Outside her room as formerly she had
When she was working to create attraction.
  Her legs preferred in soft sheets to be clad,
Her rosy cheeks enjoyed Juan's naked shoulder,
And when he moved, her voice asked him to hold her.
 
 
In an electric circuit, the connection
  Of positive to negative will sway
The energy to flow in one direction.
  Such energy did also flow one way
Between them, but in matters of erection.
  Yet batteries through use in time decay
Without resistance or recharge design
And so did their potential thus decline.
 
 
Lethargic mornings came. In a cocoon
  Of comfort burrowed in the plushy pillows,
The lovers always stayed in bed past noon
  And slumbered by the sound of rolling billows.
Since time for dives was never opportune,
  They hid under a shell, like armadillos.
They would make love at night and then again
At half past noon, but at twilight abstain.
 
 
In time, the rhythm started feeling slow,
  Too slow for Juan, who grew uneasy at
How soothing was the bed. He felt like dough
  Prepared for baking and mixing with fat.
In order to break free from this plateau,
  He woke up Eva one morning to chat,
Just before daybreak, as he used to rise.
For a few moments, it was a reprise.
 
 
Along her cheek he ran his fingers lightly
  And then said, "Let us break our habit now,
For once awake before noon and act sprightly,
  No longer henceforth down to Aergia bow.
Although engaged in draining pleasures nightly,
  Such sluggish conduct we must disallow.
Let's watch the sunrise and swim in the ocean,
We've had too much of lazing, we need motion!"
 
 
A groggy Eva her head slowly lifted,
  Quite skeptical at such a need to rise
Because the moon since bedtime barely shifted,
  So she had this to say in her replies:
"I clearly see the clouds away have drifted,
  So you'll be met with an extreme surprise
When you await the break of dawn out there
And you are blinded by sun's awful flare.
 
 
"When there are clouds, the colors are delightful,
  But otherwise your retina you burn,
Scenario you too should find most frightful.
  Moreover, just before the sun's return,
The ocean is too cold. The place most rightful
  Turns out to be the bed for us. Concern
Yourself not with a bit of laziness,
We have had binges too of craziness.
 
 
"Besides, this is vacation, summertime!
  It is my right in my hotel to laze!
Since soon enough will the alarm clock chime
  For work and school, that wearisome a craze,
So there will be none of this sloth sublime.
  Once I go back to tedious old ways,
Our habits need not worry you like this.
Next week, no sunrise will you have to miss."
 
 
"Eva," Juan frowned, "Your words are colder than
  The frigid morning ocean you suppose.
I simply wanted an exciting plan
  For us today -- which you more than oppose.
You talk of our cherished relation's span
  In time and through such careless words expose
The possibility that once you leave,
You will me of yourself promptly relieve.
 
 
"I hope I'm wrong in my interpretation,
  Since which girl would I ever want but you?
What future could unfold for our relation
  But one in which the years our love renew
So we again enjoy its consummation?
  I'll breathe as long as we don't say adieu,
For we are of one flesh, so live as one:
When your heart beats, blood in my veins does run."
 
 
Now Eva sat up on the bed awake
  And in more serious a tone began:
"I did not mean just now to slam the brake;
  We had a few more sunny days to fan
The flames of passion in which we partake.
  You may delude yourself thinking we can
Continue our relationship beyond
Bermuda, but we cannot have that bond.
 
 
"We've had much fun, you're any girl's temptation,
  But this was just a crazy summer's fling,
A wild romance while we're both on vacation.
  Try not to let this realization sting,
I thought you understood the situation.
  To me I don't want you straining to cling,
For in America, my boyfriend waits.
I will return to him once in the States."
 
 
"Your boyfriend?" Juan recoiled. "Oh, but I swear,
  What will he make of us when he finds out?
That you'll go back to him though, you declare!"
  Frustrated, she said without slightest doubt:
"Of us he will not ever be aware!
  He has been clueless constantly throughout,
He never knew about the other times.
It matters not, since these are different climes.
 
 
"Of course I will go running back to him,
  My life with him is fine, I've a career.
We'll likely marry soon, which means a trim
  In these, my summer escapades so dear.
Yet I won't ditch my whole life on a whim
  For some illusion I engaged in here.
This was about adrenaline and rush.
You should know better, I am just a crush."
 
 
At hearing this, Juan held back all his speech.
  He looked around the room to try discern
His scattered clothes. He quickly picked up each
  One and then left. He would never return.
Surprisingly came to a halting screech
  Day and relationship and his concern.
The instinct that came first, to seek a friend,
He followed, so this state he could transcend.
 
 
The landlord, at the house by ocean's side,
  Concerned himself with simple gardening tasks
When Juan came one day, needing to confide.
  Just like in new found freedom a teen basks,
He eagerly explained he wouldn't bide
  His time, but leave at once. Then as one asks
A parent, Juan asked how 'twas best to choose
Which path to take in life and which to lose.
 
 
The landlord slowly stroked his long, white beard
  And said, "There are as many paths for you
As there are boats off of this island steered.
  You may embark on any one and do
Whatever you may please, conformed or weird.
  It really matters not what you pursue,
Nor what kind of a course in life you chart.
But from Bermuda why would you depart?"
 
 
Juan answered, "I will tell you why I leave.
  I thought of this on my catamaran:
More skillfully you could not interweave
  Things made by nature with those made by man
As all the things out here that I perceive
  Are woven in this terra firma span,
Whose fabled scenes have spread so far and wide,
That it's with visitors oversupplied.
 
 
"How this land would be better for our leisure
  Were there few people to disturb its calm
Because no one had heard of all its treasure!
  Work is the itch, vacation is the balm
For those who are too pampered here with pleasure.
  Some fortune teller, reader of the palm,
Must have of discontent to all foretold,
So they are here to thwart fortune tenfold.
 
 
"I'll illustrate just what I mean to say
  With a most disconcerting anecdote
About me parasailing in the bay.
  I and some group of tourists on a boat
Were taking turns to parachute away
  Sky high above the water, where we'd float
And see the islands in resplendent glory.
But wait! It gets more interesting the story.
 
 
"Among us was a teenage boy, a lad
  Quite visibly distraught by the strong force
Each of the speedboat's oscillations had.
  Fast driving on a jolting, sinuous course
By the boat's Captain Nonchalant like mad,
  Made worse the sickness of the boy. Perforce,
He leaned over the railing and set out
To violently vomit in a bout.
 
 
"I noticed then my shipmates briefly pay
  Attention with disgust and make a pun.
Their gaze averted, they glanced to survey
  Enjoyment somewhere else -- the boy to shun.
'Look at that yacht!' I heard one loudly say.
  'Is everyone having a lot of fun?'
Exclaimed the captain, with the same intent,
All duties to the boy to circumvent.
 
 
"Displeasing sights of vomit did not fit
  The pricey ecstasy of fun they bought.
Their first priority: not give one bit.
  It wasn't so much beauty tourists sought,
As pure amusement, of a kind befit
  Vacation photos. So the boy was naught
And no one cared or dared to comfort him.
Besides, it was good -- he was getting slim.
 
 
"When, finally, we all did disembark,
  With a now pallid face and weakened strut,
The boy walked off into the coming dark.
  That's when I thought this whole place seemed somewhat
Like a contrived ocean amusement park,
  Designed to cleverly attract a glut
Of women, men, and children and their money,
Who came to fun rides like the bees to honey.
 
 
"Until the last nook of the world is turned
  A stage for interactive tourist shows
And last extant pristine of forests burned
  By the exploiting thunder commerce throws,
All this prepackaged living shall be spurned
  By my soul, which for photos does not pose,
But seeks instead experiences more
Authentic on a different sunny shore."
 
 
To Juan thus did the old landlord reply:
  "My boy, you talk of tourists and their cares,
But I think that your haste from here to fly
  Is due to more unfortunate affairs
That you've had with a girl -- yes, I imply
  You are in pain. Lost love, the soul it tears.
So that you leave behind the loss, you run.
Your pretext blames the tourists and you're done.
 
 
"Don't fog me with some story of a lad
  Whose pain you should yourself have helped abate!
I see you, young man with a sketching pad,
  Outlining life's big picture and your fate.
Although your pencil does the graphite add
  Wherever hand and mind may vacillate,
I know same hand and mind do imitate
The canvases your peers perpetuate."
 
 
"You old man, you!" Juan shouted out with laughter.
  "You can sense truth and lies and disaccord!
Yes, you are right, my choice to leave comes after
  Heartache, but feelings that I had toward
A certain girl, and which made me the dafter,
  Are tiny drops in torrents that afford
My sudden flight from this safe guided tour,
Which true reality tends to obscure."
 
 
"Dear Juan," said then the old man with a snort,
  "Though where you're going, you think life a peach,
There are worse tourist havens than this port.
  There are spoiled brats granted on Cancun's beach
License to trash and barf by the resort.
  You don't know how far human vices reach.
Bermuda's opulence makes it refined,
But if you go, may what you seek then find."
 
 
"I thank you for your kindness," Juan replied.
  "Accounts are balanced, I depart in days."
His rent was fully paid, it was implied.
  "Dominican Republic's sunny bays
Are where I'm headed next. A friend supplied
  Advice to go -- for less commercial ways,
Distinct from what I've been accustomed to.
I'll take my leave and bid farewell to you."
 
 
Arranging transportation was no feat
  Because Juan could at any time rely
On the Atlantic's bustling cruise ship fleet,
  Which, for the right amount, was his ally
In travel with the rest of the elite.
  Hitchhiker of the seas -- whom to supply
A trip south to the Caribbean isles,
Were ready all the cruise firms with their wiles!
 
 
So, off he was aboard a mammoth ship,
  Luxury liner -- high class attitude
Afforded by his bursting money clip,
  Which servants it kept filled with gratitude.
The sun was getting stronger with each dip
  Shown by the instruments of latitude,
Until its rays were so hot at midday,
That only Juan dared on the top deck stay.
 
 
To the Dominican they were quite near.
  Their scheduled sojourn there was just two days.
Not that Juan cared how long. It was a mere
  Taxi this ship for him -- on waterways.
So long as off its course it would not veer,
  He was content even with some delays.
In the Dominican he would remain
Indefinitely, though not bound by chain.
 
 
Yet half a day before scheduled arrival
  Came an announcement of news critical:
Due to armed conflict among factions rival
  And violence of source political,
This port of call was a threat to survival.
  Juan, after thought more analytical,
Made up his mind to reach the island though
The captain gave the order not to go.
 
 
Why should he, son of Ares, fear a bit
  Of violence in some struggle for power?
Another government to retrofit?
  Minimal change after a bullet shower!
Though by such bullets he could still get hit,
  He was no target, so he would not cower.
He spent an hour to think, devising how
To clandestinely leave, without kowtow.
 
 
That night, the ship was quite close to the land.
  Juan did not go to sleep. Instead, he sneaked
Onto a lower deck to get his hand
  On a lifeboat. He found them when he peeked
Through exit doors without fear of remand.
  With much excitement for the theft, Juan tweaked
The mechanism holding up a boat
To slowly lower it until afloat.
 
 
Down with the lowered motorboat went Juan
  And once outside the auditory range
Of the cruise ship, the engine he turned on
  To head westward to realms perhaps more strange.
Poor visibility hid him, but wan
  Lighting from land made it hard to arrange
A proper course towards his destination,
Completing his audacious sea migration.
 
 
Luck being on his side, he was not caught,
  Nor in some hellish vortex lost at sea,
But landed next day on a rocky spot.
  He took essentials in his pack, so he
Could in search of civilization trot.
  Upon a road he came with tired knee
Shortly before the setting of the sun
And some attempts at hitchhiking begun.
 
 
By a few passing cars he was ignored.
  Then in the dark, a sputtering truck stopped.
The driver yelled, inviting Juan to board.
  Into the back he nonchalantly hopped
And found himself, as the truck drove and roared,
  Among a group of local workers plopped.
They all spoke Spanish too -- Juan's mother tongue,
Reminder of his childhood days unsung.
 
 
The workers, cautious, watched as Juan unwound,
  Inquiring what country he was from,
How foolishly he ended up around
  That road at night, alone, like some lost bum,
And whether he was like them city-bound.
  Juan told a story, of how he had come
To the Dominican in his new quest:
Perfect the art of living with much zest.
 
 
As soon as Juan felt he should finish speaking,
  There was a letup in the conversation
And to the forefront came the ceaseless creaking
  Sound from the truck's rear axle shaft vibration.
Juan also noticed that the truck was reeking
  Of pungent fumes, inducing a sensation
Of nausea, as common with exhaust,
Which made his stomach feel a little tossed.
 
 
The faces of the workers were quite rough,
  As were their hands, unsmooth and unrefined,
Telling throughout the day they'd worked enough.
  And yet their eyes were those of decent kind,
In contrast with coarse shoulder, arm, and scruff,
  Or so they seemed to Juan when he defined
This world and new surroundings in his head,
So different from the island he had fled.
 
 
Their foreman looked Juan up and down and spoke,
  While offering a fragrant cigarette,
Which Juan did pocket for a later smoke.
  A necessary quick stop just to get
More gasoline, the boss had to invoke.
  He asked Juan to step out, an order met
With sudden skepticism, since they stopped
In some dark grove, where for gas no one shopped.
 
 
The eight of them surrounded Juan right there
  And asked him for his money or his life.
He thought they were his friends, but in a snare
  They'd caught him, ready to engage in strife.
Surprised, faced with dire strangeness, and aware
  Of tension that you could cut with a knife,
A crazy side of Juan took over fully,
A side that wouldn't give in to a bully.
 
 
With chemicals throughout Juan's body stirred,
  He thought, if there had been a question-mark
Over some underlying motives blurred
  By friendly talk, the answer was now stark.
The workers glared and all that could be heard
  Were sounds of night's lone creatures in the dark.
Now was a matter not whose arm was longest,
But of all men, whose stomach was the strongest.
 
 
Instead of showing any kind of fear,
  Juan took the cigarette and an old lighter
Out of his backpack, which he then threw clear
  Of the whole group, around him getting tighter.
His movements calm, ailed he did not appear.
  In fact, his face was even shining brighter,
With a slight smirk and focused eyes, as though
He had the upper hand, Thor's deadly blow.
 
 
With a James Dean allure, he slowly lit
  The cigarette and bid his time there, taking
Some puffs as deep as his lungs would permit.
  The whole way through, he fiercely had been making
Eye contact with the foreman, who was pit
  Against intrepid an opponent, shaking
The confidence the group had in their plan,
Though facing eight was just a single man.
 
 
His eyes locked with the boss, Juan called upon
  Their group to come out bravely and attack.
With threats alone, no money could be won.
  Also predicted Juan that in their crack
At fighting him, they will have then forgone
  At least one, if not two, whom he would whack,
Out of their group -- they'd die right on the spot
On which his cigarette he threw, still hot.
 
 
The workers turned their gaze towards their boss,
  Unsure how to react to what was said.
They were not quite prepared to come across
  A situation causing an odd dread
Mixed with respect at the determined toss
  Of a half cigarette on the grass bed.
As great Achilles awe must have inspired,
So these mere workers Juan's raw strength admired,
 
 
Who seemed to them now to be eight feet tall,
  While they measured no more than three or four.
The braver boss, less worried by a brawl,
  Walked slowly up to Juan and stood before
Him, staring deep into his eyes -- a wall
  Of firmness that he hardly could ignore.
Now, since for murder they all lacked sang-froid,
A flask of wine the boss took and employed
 
 
By handing it to Juan as peaceful sign
  Of friendship and of reconciliation.
Juan smelled and sipped on the sweet tasting wine,
  Assured of honorable transportation
By them who promised now to be benign.
  Juan, happy with the robbery's cessation,
Did acquiesce, given so late an hour.
Some other gang he might not overpower.
 
 
He wanted to be taken where the young
  Were gathered, yet away from tourist traps,
Preferably not where grenades were flung
  Or bombings caused the buildings to collapse.
But their accounts of violence that sprung
  In isolated regions over scraps
Assuaged anxiety of further fighting
And made this small Republic more inviting.
 
 
They dropped him off a bit before midnight
  At the edge of a beach -- this spot provided
A most magnificent, alluring sight:
  Scores of beautiful girls gracefully glided
Across the sand, embraced by arms wrapped tight
  Around their bodies, elegantly guided
By partners in seductive undulations
And idiosyncratic, soft gyrations.
 
 
The rhythm of Bachata played against
  Ecstatic laughter and the chattering
Of the young local crowds in mirth condensed
  Around bonfires and torches scattering
The firelight, surreally dispensed.
  To Juan, this was an image shattering
His expectations of the place he found,
A mesmerizing mix of sight and sound,
 
 
A striking, sensual a combination,
  Which let itself imprinted be forever
Onto Juan's mind, a limbic impregnation,
  A memory such that he could not sever.
But most responsible for his sensation
  Was dancing, learning which was an endeavor
Upon which Juan decided right away,
So in the sand he too with them could play.
 
 
He rented a new home next to the sea,
  The smallest one among a group of villas
Adjacent to the place he wished to be
  At night in this most dulcet of Antillas.
He had no further need to pay a fee
  To voyage on the ships of cruise flotillas;
Instead, he would make friends among the locals
Who also marveled at sweet beats and vocals.
 
 
It took him months his movement to refine
  By dancing every night on that same beach
In ways intoxicating, more than wine,
  Which each new partner was inclined to teach.
They would get in formation, in a line,
  To be the next whom Juan would reach
To wrap his arm around her rising torso,
And step in close -- that's when she'd say, of course, "Oh!"
 
 
His frame, his fingers, and his thighs, were points
  Of contact in between which she would melt
Or tense, according to his lead, her joints
  Responding to the rhythms that they felt.
(Bachata music never disappoints.)
  Her motions would expose a shape most svelte,
Enhanced by luscious snapping of her hips
And Juan's spontaneous, low, swooning dips.
 
 
The one who had taught Juan the most
  Was a young man named Rafael, the best
Bachata dancer (though he'd never boast),
  Who into mentor turned at Juan's request.
He very often acted as the host
  Of the felicitous nightly beach fest,
Along with his young wife, the brightest star
That firmament of beauties had, by far.
 
 
Like most, he worked in hospitality,
  Since catering to tourist whims was there
An issue first of practicality,
  Of income trickling from the millionaire.
But juxtaposed against formality
  Of job and servile duties that ensnare,
Were Rafael's talents, not once upstaged,
Bewitching all around him, all engaged.
 
 
His foremost burning passion, baseball playing
  Was interrupted and abandoned when
A shoulder injury, the heart dismaying,
  Caused too much pain for him to play again.
This sad event led to his rhythmic swaying,
  Bachata dancing, newer fire within,
Replacing his old passion with one yet
More powerful, erasing all regret.
 
 
First, Rafael let himself be immersed
  In the melodious Bachata tunes,
Until he felt them on ground he traversed.
  Then came the social dances by the moon's
Soft light. He moved in patterns unrehearsed,
  Some dances thus becoming the cocoons
For loving feelings to develop rife
Between him and his dazzling future wife.
 
 
Experiences Rafael imparted
  Helped Juan fine-tune a flowing, smooth technique.
At the end of each song, the girls all darted
  To Juan, drawn in by his handsome physique,
Knowing the next dance would have surely started
  A romance characterized by mystique.
But though he had abundance of attention,
Juan tried not to release the sexual tension.
 
 
He shared his joy in dance with everyone,
  As if he held a torch burning with fire
And so to light a thousand more he'd run
  From torch to torch, before his would expire.
A dance, a hug, and all magic was done,
  Save for a deep impulse to reacquire
Juan's warm embrace and fleeting feeling left
By his breath near her cheek, now so bereft.
 
 
Perhaps he had too many choices, all
  Quite equal in their beauty and their fame.
This plenitude of options at his call
  Left him faced with a paradox, the same
The ass of Buridan did once befall.
  How easier for a man to proclaim
His pick of destiny when he's presented
With but few options -- he will be contented!
 
 
Instead of choosing one to bed and love,
  When dancing late at night had somewhat lulled,
Juan would direct his piercing gaze above.
  Having climbed up a hill or tree, he mulled
In quietude over the patterns of
  The stars, topologies that often dulled
The other instincts, earthly, of the flesh.
His fascination was with heaven's mesh.
 
 
Up there, much like the ancients saw reflected
  The world below into a starry mirror,
He too, the ancient for the man projected
  Three thousand years from now, or maybe nearer,
To be up in the palm tree as affected,
  Would seek conceptual forms fairly clearer
Than boundless chaos without order, meaning,
Or points into oblivion careening.
 
 
He first tried to discern a spiral formed
  In logarithmic pattern by the stars,
To which the chambered nautilus conformed,
  As well as top-viewed spiral stairway bars,
And even hurricanes that sometimes stormed
  That island, overturning boats and cars.
The shapes of nature, universal in
Their presence, were found without and within.
 
 
He then saw fractals, Mandelbrot, in leafs
  Surrounding him and points of light up high.
Isosceles triangles formed motifs
  On palm tree trunks, as in the dotted sky.
The parallax made stars seem like reliefs,
  Since concepts of a covering dome belie
A structure of dimensions three (or more)
In which Earth surely must be at the core.
 
 
His friends, reacting to his fascination,
  Called him, in jest, 'el hijo de la luna'
Because his own secluded night location,
  The palm tree that he climbed, was 'una cuna',
From where he'd stare up at the moon's rotation,
  Which hovered tranquil over a laguna,
Through smoky clouds, mysteriously scant,
A sight to captivate and to enchant.
 
 
But Juan took all their teasing jokes in stride.
  And after all, he was respected by
His peers, not least because he checked his pride.
  Besides, there were much bigger fish to fry:
From east to west, there was a nationwide
  Buzz of a concert that made women cry
With much excitement at the thought of seeing
A great performance, wonder guaranteeing.
 
 
World-famous, the Bachata Lord would come
  To sing in Santo Domingo for just
One night full of requinto and the drum.
  Attendance at this concert was a must
For all, including Juan, ready to strum
  The heart strings of young women. To adjust
Perceptions of those who cannot relate,
It was like Elvis at discounted rate.
 
 
Juan purchased tickets for all in advance,
  Arriving in the capital at noon
With Rafael and friends, thrilled at the chance
  To witness the Lord's sole performance soon.
The evening would then end in sultry dance,
  A party and an economic boon,
Since tourists were expected here to flock
In droves, the rum to drink and traffic block.
 
 
The stadium was packed -- for dance too tight.
  Their seats, among the best, offered clear view
Of everything on stage, each prop and light.
  First came the warm up act, meant to imbue
The crowd with energy, a concert rite.
  And when that act was done, they hailed the cue
For magic to commence. The lights turned weak
And silence fell, as though a priest would speak.
 
 
A uniform, blue light, its source behind
  A thin, silk curtain, like a wall on stage,
Revealed a tall man's silhouette to bind
  A spell to hold the crowd entranced. A mage
Whose body started moving to a kind
  Of primitive drum beat -- this did engage
The audience right from the very start.
Now all he had to do was sing the part.
 
 
A few Bachata chords were added on
  And silhouettes of couples, left and right,
Danced in a style borrowed from Reggaeton
  Until the thin veil fell, the stage alight,
The Lord advancing, confident to don
  A slick, side-dipped beret and suit all white.
The music slowly building up, he raised
The microphone -- his lips it gently grazed.
 
 
What happened next cannot be told -- just felt.
  The Lord began to sing. His voice was smooth,
Like tender, feminine caresses melt
  Upon your skin on touch to warm and soothe.
Though he looked masculine, his singing dealt
  In charming, boyish pitch and tone. His smooth
Voice, slightly melancholic in expression,
Would leave a moving, lingering impression.
 
 
When his first words were sung, the female fans
  Were penetrated by those notes. Their chests
Were flooded with warm tingling at the man's
  Melodic flow, sensation which from breasts
Down to the knees a pleasing distance spans
  And the capacity to not swoon tests.
Each note he sent forth on a wave of sound
To kiss the faithful cheeks a passage found.
 
 
The concert took sufficiently long time
  To stir the spirits of all present there
Through music and performances sublime.
  The merry friends were then directed where
The venue was for late night dancing prime,
  A banquet hall, a real Bachata lair.
Well lit and large, the hall was meant for dance,
Not drinking, though it had a bar -- by chance.
 
 
Also by chance, Juan happened by the bar
  To make an offering out of his wallet,
A modest one, to Bacchus, from afar,
  And send it up to heaven from his palate.
When all the vodka, pleasure of the tsar,
  Or rather, vapors of it in a ballot
Juan cast for Bacchus, to Olympus rose,
That's when good Rafael did interpose,
 
 
Who held a girl by hand, a smile to wow,
  Ebullient in her attitude and style,
And begged Juan to get rid of her somehow,
  To get her off his weary hands awhile,
Dispatch her on some northbound arctic scow,
  Use any method, any wicked guile
That would prohibit her again to pester
Him there that night -- or better yet, arrest her!
 
 
She would not let him breathe, not in, nor out,
  But keep insisting on more playful dancing,
As though he were the rain after a drought.
  Incessant talking and her bubbly prancing
Around him in an orbital fixed route
  Prevented him from properly romancing
His wife, who, though accepting of appeal
He had to other girls, annoyed would feel.
 
 
Because Juan understood this problem well,
  When Rafael left, Juan tried to convince
The girl that all her dancing needs he'd quell.
  Her wandering dark eyes searched for her prince
(Perhaps even her nose, employed to smell),
  When of her boyfriend she remembered, since
She saw him by an open window dwell,
So she excused herself and bid farewell.
 
 
Juan noticed her departing much too sprightly
  And thus suspected she had thoughts improper.
He searched for Rafael, to whom politely
  He would have to explain he could not stop her.
Juan found his friend outside, embracing tightly
  His wife. He loved her and he'd never swap her
For any other woman, far or near.
Thus Rafael did whisper in her ear.
 
 
To let them intimately talk alone,
  Juan was about to leave, but Rafael
Saw how Juan stumbled on a craggy stone
  And laughing, called him over with a yell.
Embarrassed lightly at his presence known,
  He sat with them and from a plastic shell
Took out some fresh Dominican cigars
To help the three of them discuss the stars.
 
 
Juan started to philosophize and said
  He wondered if the nebulae and suns
Are on the fabric of spacetime just led
  In measured steps of cosmic dance, which runs
For pleasure and amusement overhead
  As it does here for all Earth's human sons,
The happiest diversion from a course
Without a destination, of no source.
 
 
Or maybe there's a purpose to the flow,
  An aim at a more meaningful construction,
That destiny will in the end bestow
  Upon the universe as its production.
Analogously, Juan's life could outgrow
  Stark hedonism and youth's joy in destruction,
Vacations and escapism debased,
Yet driving for development embraced.
 
 
Repeating what had Aristotle said
  More eloquently long ago, who claimed
That it would be absurd if all we bled
  And suffered in our efforts were just aimed
At some amusement, like a child, instead
  Of work more serious, not to be shamed,
Juan argued joy is not the end of life,
But just a better way to get through strife.
 
 
He felt that all he lacked was contribution
  To his society, deficiency
To which he had been seeking a solution.
  His life was marked there by sufficiency:
Great weather and dance as an institution;
  Yet all the tropical efficiency
Still led him to surmise those were, no doubt,
The sidelines to a game he would sit out.
 
 
Juan's words made Rafael think of his cousin,
  Named Luke, in the U.S. born, raised, and made,
Whom he had met just once, about a dozen
  Years back when a surprise visit he paid,
A great example of a man who wasn't
  Just sitting on the sidelines, but who


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