Archives for posts with tag: Peru

peru licensed Pablo Borca
COVID Lockup in Lima
by Rose Mary Boehm

It’s quiet Sundays again. Our Presi
(and his band of braves) have decided
that we’ve had enough fun. Back to total lockup
on Sundays. Just heard the police giving someone
a hard time. The woman was walking her dog.
What, the poor dog can’t poop on Sundays?

So, today there are no cars, no dog barking,
no young voices laughing. I look out of the window
and the only living things are the palm trees
and the ever-increasing flock, colony, fleet,
parcel, or dissimulation of birds. The Pacific
is gently sighing its waves onto the pebble shore.
No witnesses.

But during the week it’s COVID entertainment.
And they are getting better. Bring a smile
to my face every time they pass. A trumpet,
a guitar, a drum and a singer. They make
their way along the boardwalks of Lima
to keep us locked-up folk smiling.
At first it hurt a bit. But they

must be practicing their craft. Every day
they keep the rhythm better, the singer
almost hits the right notes, the guitar
seems to be strumming with more confidence,
the trumpet no longer tortured.

Let me celebrate the bringers of cheer,
not wanting anything else but smiling faces
at the windows of the many high-rises along
the seafront. Every fifty meters or so
they stop to play Peruvian huaynos,
dances of happiness since Inca times.
I swear there once was a gaggle of police
in uniform who jumped and stomped
their hearts out.

PHOTO: Peruvian couple dancing Huayno, a traditional musical genre typical of the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and northern Chile. Photo by Pablo Borca, used by permission. 

peru licensed mark tucan

NOTE: Huayno is a genre of popular Peruvian Andean music and dance. It is especially common in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, but also present in Chile, and is practiced by a variety of ethnic groups, especially the Quechua people. The history of Huayno dates back to colonial Peru as a combination of traditional rural folk music and popular urban dance music. High-pitched vocals are accompanied by a variety of instruments, including quena (flute), harp, siku (panpipe), accordion, saxophone, charango, lute, violin, guitar, and mandolin. Some elements of huayno originate in the music of the pre-Columbian Andes, especially on the territory of the former Inca Empire. Huayno utilizes a distinctive rhythm in which the first beat is stressed and followed by two short beats.

PHOTO: A Quechuan man with traditional dress and drum (Peru, 2018). Photo by Mark Tucan, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am delighted to have this opportunity to write a poem in honor of the people here in Lima who have only one wish: to see the rest of us (especially the over-65s who are still in strict quarantine) stand at their windows and smile and clap. They are simple folk and could sure do with some money. But they do it from the goodness of their hearts. I find that very moving. At times even the police join in. Police have also in the past been driving slowly up and down the streets, windows open, playing happy music at full blast. You have to love the good intentions.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and Tangents, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, she’s a three-time winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections are From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey and Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back. Her latest full-length poetry manuscript, The Rain Girl, will be will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all good bookshops starting on September 10, 2020.   

izabela 23 licensed
by Robert Lima

I see myself climbing,
not the Matterhorn, not
Picos de Europa, not
Kilimanjaro, nor the
highest peak of all —
Mount Everest . . .

I see myself climbing
Huayna Picchu in Perú,
teat of the Inca world
with its milk of mist.

It is set higher than its
sister Machu Picchu and
offers aerial vistas of the river
Urubamba and the deep valleys.

I see myself climbing its
steep inclines, foot upon foot,
clinging to the rock face
as bits dislodge in karmic fall
into the waiting precipice.

I see myself climbing, fear and
tremor at each step of the steep
ascent, ever reaching higher
to attain the mountain’s sacred self.

PHOTO: At nearly nine thousand feet above sea level, Huayna Picchu (center) overlooks Machu Picchu, the so-called “Lost City of the Incas.” (Photo by Izabela 23, used by permission.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Huayna Picchu is a mountain in southern Peru that rises over Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca citadel. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and erected temples and terraces on the mountain ridge. The peak of Huayna Picchu is 8,835 ft above sea level, about 850 ft higher than Machu Picchu. (Source: Wikipedia.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Lima is a Cuban-born, award-winning poet, as well as an internationally recognized critic, bibliographer, playwright, and translator. As a Greenwich Village poet during the 1960s, he read at coffeehouses and other venues, co-edited Seventh Street. Poems of Les Deux Megots, introduced by Denise Levertov, and the second series of Judson Review. His 15 poetry collections include Celestials, Elementals, Sardinia/Sardegna, Ikons of the Past: Poetry of the Hispanic Americas, and Writers on My Watch (2020). Over 600 of his poems have appeared in print in the U.S. and abroad. Eleven of his poems have just appeared in Greek translation in Noima Magazine. Among his numerous critical studies are works on García Lorca, Valle-Inclán, Borges, Surrealism, folklore, dramatic literature, and translations of plays and poetry.

door 2
Lima, Peru, 29 April 2020, COVID-19 Lock-up
by Rose Mary Boehm

These bars surprised me when we bought
the flat. Hated living behind bars.
But most people in the days of the terror
lived behind bars, and soon they
made me feel safe
in Lima, the town of thieves.

Coronavirus, and the bars are no longer
in place to keep out, but to keep in.
How many weeks has it been?
Too many, too few… It’ll be a while
yet. There are those who don’t believe.
Who defy the orders, authorities
who can be bought, too many who
drink, dance and make merry,
too many who die.

A conspiracy of death. The elderly, the young,
the black, the white, the gay, the poor, the evil,
the out of work, the workers,
and prisoners.

And we have become prisoners
of reason and of fear.
The front door opens,
the gateway to another world.
Trapped inside by nano aliens.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live in a country that was torn by what many people call a civil war, but what even more people want to call terrorism. It was a bad time, and there were indeed terrorists who blew up what they could, often indiscriminately. That’s what gave birth to the bars at doors, bars instead of fences, bars protecting windows. When we moved here from Europe, it was a bit of a shock, but the reasons were clear and I learned to live with them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: German-born, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and Tangents, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, She’s a three-time winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections are From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey and Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back. Her latest full-length poetry manuscript, The Rain Girl, will be published by Chaffinch Press in 2020. Visit her at

PassportPic What’s a Little Rain?
by G. Murray Thomas

I love train travel. In 1984 I got to ride what was then the highest elevation passenger train in the world, which runs from Lima, Peru up into the Andes. In five hours it zigzagged its way from sea level to a mountain pass at 15,000 feet, then down into a valley at the relatively sedate elevation of 10,000 feet. It passed through some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen, steep cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, the river rushing far below.

One dramatic scene was a long line of trucks standing idle, waiting…I was there in the middle of Peru’s rainy season. The only road into the mountains was washed out, and wouldn’t be repaired for months. And the trucks were just waiting for that.

That night it rained again. And the train’s tracks washed out.

I eventually found a bus company, which assured me they would get me to Lima. We spent all night wandering along narrow, snowy mountain roads in near pitch-black conditions. I had visions of “Peruvian Bus Plunge Kills 50,” and didn’t get much sleep.

At dawn the bus stopped, and they hustled us all off. Steep mountain cliffs surrounded us, and they began to walk us through a field of large boulders. They were walking us around the washed out portion of the road, along the rushing river, all in the half-light of a rising sun.

After two or three miles we emerged onto a usable road, and sat down to wait for another bus to come up from Lima and pick us up. Mission accomplished (sort of).

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This is my passport photo from this trip.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My trip to Peru in 1984 was at once the most exciting and rewarding and the most disaster-filled vacation I have ever taken. This is just one of the adventures I had.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: G. Murray Thomas has been an active part of the SoCal poetry scene for over 20 years. He currently edits a monthly listing of poetry events for, the source for information about SoCal poetry. He has published two books of poetry, My Kidney Just Arrived (Tebot Bach 2011) and Cows on the Freeway (iUniverse 1999). He is currently working on a collection of essays about his life as a music fan. Visit him at

by Rose Mary Boehm

When the dog’s front half disappeared
under a heap of soggy leaves, I kicked
away that mix of rotting vegetable matter
and saw it. Man, I smelled it. It made
curious humming noises and something like
the sound bubbles make when they burst.

Decomposition, they call it. When the dog
had calmed, we just stood there under the giant
ferns. From the nearest kapok hung a termite
nest like a tumorous growth as large as a backpack.

Flesh had again become part of the earth. No CSI
in Amazonia, no cell phone connection, no 911.
Man or beast, who cares.
Just matter to be reabsorbed.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In the rainforests of the Amazon and its tributaries, nature can’t be controlled. It gives and takes away. Here one understands that death and life will forever be united in their interdependence.

IMAGE: “Rain Forest, Peru” by Aidan Moran. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection published in 2011 in the UK, Tangents, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), was semi-finalist in the Naugatuck poetry contest 2012/13, and has been a finalist in several GR contests, winning it in October 2014.