I Want My War

  Dedicated to the survivors of Srebrenica   “The local soldiers didn’t even have a uniform. A lot of them were just kids fighting in their Converse and jeans. When they weren’t at the frontline I saw them surviving like the best animal, and every night they’d be gather around a burning car tyre trying…

The Belly of New York

We need to start talking about why you look Mexican. Being Maltese I am – we are – sufficiently mixed with Latinate blood to pass, especially with the right facial hair, for something resembling a Mexican. Buy, my daughter, why you have to look like an Aztec princess gazing down on a queue of sacrificial…

Doubt and Apostasy in Golgotha

  A golden-faced Christ looked down on me from the dome. His Byzantine face was sterner than the blonde countenance of the European Jew that gave us Christmas. Like some Andy Warhol print Jesus’ face has been replicated like rain-drops in a violent night sky. Growing up I have seen him in musicals, churches, key-chains,…

Epicurean Realism

  Ever since I was small I was fascinated by the big role little things played in people’s lives. Being an argumentative sort I always pitted imaginary battles in my heads: food vs. career; football vs. relationships; mementos vs. ambitions. Of course now that I’m older and presumably wiser I know it’s not a case…

A Home in the Mountains

        The plane flew over thousands of feet of emptiness. A dark ocean of nothingness. It’s nose was pointing to the clouded horizon; a million miles from home. It was the first time Alexander had left Europe. Everything was exciting for him: the popping ears; the fresh blue air of a new…

Venezuela Frozen

    The morning crawled slowly slowly up the garbage bag’s skin. In a red-tinted back street a garbage truck stands like a colossus. The boy wakes up and goes for breakfast, eating from the garbage truck’s ass. A cold morning wind blows in from the foaming sea. The boy shivers; until he hears his…

Venezuela: The Forgotten Crisis

  I recently put up a tweet, which I called ‘the fat blob and the dictator’, about Diego Armando Maradona’s latest flirtation with Venezuelan president Maduro. The once-legendary (although in many ways the inferior to Lionel Messi – apart from winning a world cup) Maradona is going to be hosting a television programme in Venezuela…

Numinous Childhood

From Childhood to Eternity Those eyes, still so fresh with the dew of youth, Will see things no poet’s pen could ever entrap; Noble Mexican tapestries, French vineyards of olden silk, Azure domains, verdant realms, celestial weaves, Waves without ships or men, races of a thousand hues, Greeks, Kurds, Quechuan and the ancestors of man….

Carnival of the Dead

Carnival of the Dead Today is the dawn of an old winter. Death, so friendly and chatty, descends Like a pregnant ash cloud to kiss the roofs of our mouths. A carnival of life mocks the dead, Their dancing further burying the black corpses Until their remains lie so far buried That we are allowed…

Inner Landscapes

Childhood   What world is this With so many blues? Birds fly like planes And houses Have balconies for faces. Olive trees Shake hands With palms. And beaches Drown with the tide. Oh mother, I don’t know!     The Pen   Like snow To a mountain, Or the cocktail To the man who screams…

The Andean Diaries

    Buenos Aires and the New World We have left Europe behind. Everything we know, all the crusades, the world wars, the feel of home, even the Mediterranean is behind us. And now we were somewhere new. An alien world that bears traces of where we come from. We don’t feel like travellers we…

The Origins of Travel: Grace Under Pressure

  We are often told that travel is freedom. It’s a romantic view of what is essentially leisurely migration. I don’t see it that way. Not anymore. Wanderlust: one of the most beautiful words in the English language (and typically of Germanic origins) is an evocative word that breathes mountain air and wistful breezes. But…