Manuel Grimaldi

The Flamenco Cajón: a Haibun

The gypsy. His long black hair and beard are silvered with age or work. He shows me an introduction to las bulerías. It is doce tiempo, or a 12 count. We speak Spanish, but to count in an Andalusian accent is best. To begin, beginning on the one—un, do, tré…quatro, cinco, sey…siete, ocho, nueve, dié…un do…un, do, tré—repeating, beating out the three, the six, the eight, the ten, the twelve. Time passes, it is eating inside of me, like a harbor light devouring ships, like a heartbeat drawing all life in, and pushing it back out with a flourish of a dancer’s body.  Then we translate bulerías to cajón, and the gypsy counsels: There comes a time that one cannot think of time, or else the rhythm dies. There is no choice. Leave measuring and calculation behind.  Then in concert with guitarists, hand clapping, singers, and the floor splintering taconéo of the dancers—heels smashing into wood, chopping down pliant cypress trees—there is a whispering now.

                                          forget the time, and
                                          time keeping and beating, oh
                                          the tree touches me.

Manuel Grimaldi is a Kentuckian by way of Jerez de la Frontera, Andalucía, Spain who enjoys writing haibun, tanka, gogyohka and free verse but mostly enjoys his children and friends.  

A Song for Manuel

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