I took a solitary stroll around our neighbourhood in Bogota this afternoon (November 7, 2011). Each verse in this poem (and the photos I took!) is a reflection of the people I met and talked to on my walk.
The final stanza is based on my reactions upon my return.
50 years of violence makes this an order
But where is the violence on the streets of Bogota?
The Colombian people have learned from the mistakes of generations.
“Tranquilo!” says the uniformed security agent on every corner
We need peace to smoke our cigarettes and tell our jokes
And the people understand their presence
A city that feels safe within its security.
“Tranquilo!” says the citizen returning home.
Just wait while I unlock the gate to my house
The fence and barbed-wire which make violence obselete
Here is where we find our peace.
You must not disturb my resting place
And the dog on the street has been adopted by the neighbourhood
While the homeless man must fend for himself.
“Tranquilo!” says the pedestrian crossing the street
We must look in all directions before crossing
As the person on the corner avoids the danger
By signaling for the bus to pick her up.
We are coming through together
We have grown up together since the cradle
And we will live our lives together until the end.
“Tranquilo!” says the tourist to the cab driver
my plane will not leave for another hour
And I want to share this feeling for just a little while longer
Long live the people of Bogota!