After attending Saturday’s performance of process at the Blanton Auditorium, ACG patron Josep Rota shared this: The music, so evocative of process, flow, life, mystery and the syncretism of so many traditions, and the text so beautifully read by Matt and Néstor, with notions like how to wind a watch …or the hidden images of the tropics and my experience of being in Oaxaca just last month, combined with the serendipitous opportunity of hearing music by Hildegard von Bingen on KMFA as I was driving back home, all of that inspired me to sit down in front of my computer as soon as I got home and write a poem.

Josep has graciously allowed us to share it here:

How to Open a Door

Josep Rota

The mystery hides behind the closed door.

Death may be waiting there. Or love.

Or magic. Or nothing but the mundane.

What if I open the door and I see

Hildegard von Bingen standing there?

I would ask her so many questions

but not in the lingua ignota she invented.

I would ask why in the millennium

since she was born women have been

subjugated, dominated, rejected. Or why

the pope who named her Doctor of the Church

was deaf to her message and blind to her sex.

I know Hildegard is not there with her blue shawl,

but if her Ordo Virtutum is playing on the radio,

is she not there? I can hear her melismatic music

and angelic voices singing verses she composed.

Still, I hesitate to open the door.

If it’s closed, I can imagine the impossible,

butterflies making love to unicorns,

hourglasses with a cork keeping the sand

forever stuck in my happiest moment,

not allowing time to flow wickedly.

The sense of smell brings me back to the now.

I know all I have to do is turn the doorknob,

release the hatch and push the door open,

but I linger. The fictional does not move me;

what does is the real life that I live today

and your acts of love that flatter me,

like the smell of bread in the oven

or the aroma of coffee you brew for me.

It is not coffee harvested in plantations,

sold and mixed in bulk for bucks.

It’s coffee brewed from beans picked one by one

by the worn, soil-stained hands of a Zapotec farmer

whose ancestors farmed the same lands

since before the Spanish conquistadors arrived

and destroyed the world they knew.

It’s coffee from Miahuatlán, field of corn flowers,

from a family farm on the slopes of Cerro de la Pluma,

Feather Hill, where eagles used to come to lay their eggs

and pluck their own feathers to build their nests.

It’s coffee with hints of vanilla, chocolate, ancho,

cilantro, hierba santa, papalo, pipicha;

images of dahlias, passion flowers and orchids,

and memories of a time when the Zapotec were kings.

I know how to open the door to the dreams,

the ideas, the thoughts that inspire me

so that I can live the present fully.

But the first thing I will do is hug you,

touch your lips, caress you softly,

eat your bread, drink your coffee

understanding that the now is all we have