Spanish Cemetery

“In Morocco you can get a haircut and a cutthroat shave for a few darahim, and that’s the tourist price with a tip included. On the coast of the Atlantic in a harbour town called Larache, the barber holds the blade deftly over men’s necks in leather chairs, the colonial doors open and palm trees reflected in the mirror, and an old TV on the wall reading the Koran. On the outskirts, where there are no sidewalks and families perch in the dirt waiting for buses, a mute young boy with his cap pulled over his face, not speaking or making eye contact, opens the gate to the Spanish cemetery where Jean Genet is buried at the top of the cliff. His signature is etched in a small block of white marble. After all his journeys wandering and stealing and being imprisoned and expelled from countries around Europe, this is where one of the century’s greatest writers finished up. The boy holds out his hand for a small donation and wanders away, looking down at the silver foam on the cliffs, the sun now setting. There are black birds in a tree with no leaves over the grave, and all the others are white and unmarked.” JD

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