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Montjuich

Written by: Philip Levine | Biography
 "Hill of Jews," says one, 
named for a cemetery 
long gone.
"Hill of Jove," says another, and maybe Jove stalked here once or rests now where so many lie who felt God swell the earth and burn along the edges of their breath.
Almost seventy years since a troop of cavalry jingled up the silent road, dismounted, and loaded their rifles to deliver the fusillade into the small, soft body of Ferrer, who would not beg God's help.
Later, two carpenters came, carrying his pine coffin on their heads, two men out of movies not yet made, and near dark the body was unchained and fell a last time onto the stones.
Four soldiers carried the box, sweating and resting by turns, to where the fresh hole waited, and the world went back to sleep.
The sea, still dark as a blind eye, grumbles at dusk, the air deepens and a chill suddenly runs along my back.
I have come foolishly bearing red roses for all those whose blood spotted the cold floors of these cells.
If I could give a measure of my own for each endless moment of pain, well, what good would that do? You are asleep, brothers and sisters, and maybe that was all the God of this old hill could give you.
It wasn't he who filled your lungs with the power to raise your voices against stone, steel, animal, against the pain exploding in your own skulls, against the unbreakable walls of the State.
No, not he.
That was the gift only the dying could hand from one of you to the other, a gift like these roses I fling off into the night.
You chose no God but each other, head, belly, groin, heart, you chose the lonely road back down these hills empty handed, breath steaming in the cold March night, or worse, the wrong roads that led to black earth and the broken seed of your body.
The sea spreads below, still as dark and heavy as oil.
As I descend step by step a wind picks up and hums through the low trees along the way, like the heavens' last groan or a song being born.



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