Akimbo in a wheelbarrow in Copacabana
I am a gringo sober as a judge –
Grey-souled as my father who was a judge.
I am waiting for Fernando
To wheel me up and down the beach.
Fernando does not speak a word of English
Nor I of Portugese.
Fernando's forbears were slaves from Senegal.
Fernando is a free man, proudest of the proud.
Because Fernando believes that good manners
Are the highest grade of ethical behaviour –
That is an article of faith with Fernando –
I have requested that Fernando
Be my guide in Copacabana:
My guide, my governor, my master.
Every morning at seven o'clock after Mass
Fernando wheels me up and down the beach
At Copacabana in the silence of the dead;
Fernando is the silentest man in Copacabana
Just as I am the silentest man in Dublin.
Our climaxes are meeting and parting.
I rejoice in the remote way Fernando shakes my hand.
I rejoice in the comatose stars of Fernando's eyes.
I rejoice in the reticence of Fernando's laughter.
The only time Fernando breaks his silence
Is at the midpoint of our giro;
Fernando reveals to me his dream
Of emigrating to Phoenix, Arizona.
Fernando has a young wife and children.
He explains by means of his hands
And by two words – Phoenix, Arizona.
His hands with rhetorical ebullience exhort:
Phoenix, Arizona is the good life!