Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Hurricane Javier

One of us is eating the other
While the gulls have lost their way
There are monsoons all around
Lifting cars off the roads
Shuttling cities to and fro
Tossing drug lords into trees
In the distance a baby wails
Along with the sour-coated wind
As the poorest of us float
Or swim
Or drown
Down a water gully without end
We heard it was coming
But not how hard
How fast
How sudden
Such is the news around here
A slow-motion bullet
Dragonflies will run the world
When everything finally dries out
Nothing really damaged
Nothing really changed

Stealing Baby Formula

Stealing baby formula
Is not as easy as you think
The aisles have eyes
The racks are cameras
The junk food is a caravan of spies
Stealing baby formula in a mercado
Is a ticket to a barred room
Separation anxiety
And revisiting motives
But the baby formula is there
And the baby is way over there
Where you left it
The clerk has a gun beneath the counter
The floor is slick with spilled soda
Leftover blood
And piss
The air spiced like tamales
Flood lights buzzing,
Flickering like alarms or Morse code
And still you do it
Stuff and run
Fast as a frightened gecko
Never turning back
Not sure if
The gunshots are real
Or imagined
Each twhack! a reminder that
You’re under constant attack
That you’ve at least
Made it this far

Beach Vendor

She is a hundred years old
Or sixty
A slow tortoise
Slogging down a tawny beach
With a hundred colors
Slung over her shoulders
Across her back
Tied in a jangly turban on her head
Gems and stones
Some fake some real
All them discovered and  
Threaded together
By weathered brown hands
One piece sold
Means a tortilla to eat
Two pieces a slight lunch
Three or four a miracle
Under parasols
And palm trees
The lazy lucky rich ones
Shoo her away
Time and time again
While the tortoise goes on
Her babies
And their babies
And their babies’ babies
Starving at home
Mewling for milk
Gasping for air
The sounds out of their mouth
Sheer as a frail scarf
A hiss
Almost as if they’re repeating
The same word over and over--
Silver, please?

Well Played

The boy is my son’s age
A sixth the size of him
But dark as bark
A skeleton really
Yet smiling
With the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen
“Senor, magic trick for Pesos?” he asks
I hand him two US dollars
Tell him to get on with it already
But nothing happens
“What the hell was that?” I ask
He trots across the sloped beach sand
Still grinning wide
Giving me two thumbs up
Back in the hotel room
I realize he’s filched my wallet somehow
And I wish he was here
To watch me smile back

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