The Weight of Caracas

When I gaze out of my window I see

The deep green of the Avila against the bright blue sky

Looming over the city, protecting it with its grandeur and strength

Sometimes it is on fire and looks more weak, less mighty

Sometimes it is brown, pleading and begging for rainfall

And at other times it is invisible with a cloud blanket hiding it

And sometimes, when I walk out of my door

Oh hang on, that’s right, I don’t.

The sunrises are phenomenal, the rainfalls breathtaking

Mostly I feel at peace and restful when I gaze out

The view is magical beyond belief.

But sometimes I feel sad, trapped and suffocated.

It is a beautiful, amazing sight

But I know only half of what is happening down there

I am in a self-protecting bubble from the other half

And sometimes, when I walk out of my door

Oh hang on, that’s right, I don’t.

When I drive out of our house I see

Political posters torn down on the street,

Other flying proudly in windows or on lampposts

I see rough and grubby Graffiti covered crumbling walls

Just waiting and wondering when someone can come and help

Rebuild them, care for them and make them stand tall

Holes in the roads with sticks and metal as markers

Drain covers with pointed raised tops tipped off their mark

And sometimes, when I walk out of my door

Oh hang on, that’s right, I don’t.

When we move around the city we see massive cars

Chugging up the country resources with every inch they move

Crawling along the pot-holed highways as the traffic comes to a halt

Kids and furniture piled on the back of the smallest bikes

None wearing helmets, some without lights, most without thought

All making their own lanes, darting under and overtaking in a rush

Grids in the same direction, cyclists overturning as the wheel gets stuck

National Guard with whistles stationed in positions to move cars forward

Bright orange cones marking the checkpoint where traffic needs to slow down

Mostly to ensure the safety of everyone

Sometimes just asking for a little more cash to help things along

Bikers under bridges sheltering from the rain

Filling two lanes so that the jam gets even bigger

Horns pounding, continuous, loud, uncaring

Strangers on the road side drinking Polar ice

Bellies hanging over their shorts

Deciding whether or not to bother to go to work today

We see litter and trash spilling and tumbling down the mountainside

Cluttering and destroying the greenery and vistas

We witness first-hand what a lack of education can do

What a country torn in two can become

And how bad decisions and lack of policy can destroy the beauty

When we break free of the city and head to the beach or mountains

The weight of Caracas is lifted, relief and comfort sets in

We revel in the beauty of the country and soak up the warmth

We walk and talk, breathe and relax, laugh out loud

We welcome the nature and the beauty

We welcome the comfort and the security again

We appreciate and value the access to resources, to choice

We can and do walk safely out of the door, and we smile.


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