Boca de Tomatlan
From this cove the hills
swell up like old tumors,
straining with luxuriance,
tense with heat and damp
and pain of constant overreaching.
An iguana with a bad conscience
dashes down a tree and vanishes.
A bright orange flower offers
to sell herself to tourists.
A pelican bobs like a buoy.
Its ancient eyes assure
all who happen here,
“Have no fear. I, too,
am your heart’s likeness.”
Desert sun rains stillness over skulls and sentiment.
Heat falls resigned on cactus sage and slow as teeth.
On dry hills things scamper, run from themselves,
scaly feet push off hot earth, thoughts dance like water beads
in a frying pan.
Sun's glance blasts the bay, earth's abdomen rips open
revealing salt water fish savor sweets fine as filigree glass
but tender to the tongue when they embrace and differences dissolve.
Piledriver sun stamps a goldfoil nimbus about the brows
of shoeless bootblacks there.
Hotel sin Nombre
Dust on old shoe streets like mortician's rouge;
dust on deserted hillsides like mushroom spores
dormant for millenia.
No. 191A behind the cathedral --
grand entrance to a courtyard in ruins, one side only standing whole.
Thick jagged walls shattered in shock
at encroaching construction -- office cells --
an elephant on its knees in sight of gleaming glass --
revealing twenty foot high ceilings, antique dressers, cupboards spilling out of the rooms,
into hallways rich with murals, and flooring through which sight was clear two flights
The torn court was full of plants;
in the center an entire tree brilliant with birdsong;
masses of volcanic rock along the walls,
dark wood cases with bones, shells, trash,
all cunningly and randomly arranged as testimony of all orders.
Books, too, bound in leather, some: Dante, Wilkie Collins, medical texts, "The store used
them," the hotelero looks up, "the store that was up front -- they added in them --
bananas, beans, oranges, you know" -- sigh ripples widen at the back of his skull's
wall -- "ten years I'm here, and now it's going . . . "
He returns to the booklet in his lap
where Superman, bursting down a wall, lands again upon his feet.
The sea a profound green
which deep inside
reflects beyond tomorrow;
it reaches out
again and then again
toward its old love, the moon,
then spends itself in foam
upon the shore where crabs
without memory skitter blind.
Bahia de Banderas
One day we will
no longer sit like lords
on this bright beach
for long before the engine’s gone
from these incessant waves,
before sun’s glint on sea
has faded and blinked out,
before the arms of this broad bay
have wearied and collapsed,
and earth and air and water mixed
into some nameless stuff,
I see succeeding grandees
make this spot their throne.
Sunset Going Down Slow
Sunset clouds -- strewn purple sand
out of focus in forgetfulness --
poised on a ridgepole
between underside's doubt
and the march-time of the sinking sun.
This twilight sheds a benediction
even on averted eyes.
It tempers the air,
and shows the middle way.
The hills, which once thrust out and up proud flames,
have baked and worn and battered to caricature's profiles
of old intent. Purposes laid bare at last:
one threadbare hip with vertical striations
like dry longing lost or apple wrinkles;
chances budding now anew
in small and sudden cacti
and furtive bushes.
Another like goat horns
sour against supporting earth
envies the sky's deep frivolity it can't afford,
rolls unbalanced between,
a weighted die,
most red-souled of the lot,
Men’s Clubhouse in Chihuahua
Bar San Juan
unlike the barebones Tarahumara mountain cantina in Creel
(with weeping ceiling and soulful song to touch the heart direct)
is a real city longhouse cavern
with tricky frosted mirrors to avert the enemy
or surprise the sudden self,
neons winking hypnotism through the dark,
and a bouncing band of trumpets, violins, guitars,
with one saving trickster spirit bass
running contraries behind.
But the eikons! on the walls!
* Playboy pinups and
* heads of long-defeated deer grim under hemispheres of light
* prick and balls shaped bread hanging on the wall so proud and
* if that were not enough,
* a penis bottle opener (hardwood-carved)
* and a framed print with its 1940's Saturday Evening Post epiphany
hunters hanging out in camp, no thought of game,
must drop their beers and grab their guns,
when the deer or reality walks right in,
No such danger here:
all around the room embraces
smoke the blab of business ass-slapping
raucous noise rising to meet the music
and a boy sits
in the thick
with a Coke
as far as he possibly can.