Arriving in Mexico City

1 01 2013

This past week whirled by with the sights and sounds of shuffling feet, scrumptuous food, and new friends.

My partner and I arrived in Mexico City on the morning of Christmas. We popped out into the sunlight after catching the subway to the Zocalo center. Street performers dressed in what I assumed was traditional Aztec dress danced to drums and bells while smoke filled the air. After adjusting to the very crowded and chaotic scene, we oriented ourselves to Hostel Cathedral which was located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral at the heart of Zocalo plaza. After check in, we sauntered into the streets where Rock received a 10 minute massage from an old man with deep wrinkles who exclaimed the powers of his arnica rub. We entered the cathedral and listened to part of the Christmas mass admiring the 16th century architecture, golden altars, and excessive reliefs and overly ornate columns. Apparently this Cathedral is the oldest in Latin America and rests on the ruins of an old Aztec temple.

More meandering took us deeper into the throngs of Mexicans celebrating the holiday. An ice skating rink and snow mobile track were set up in the middle of the plaza and the surrounding buildings were adorned with massive garlands and illuminated holiday decorations. Police strolled the streets like cats and stray mangy dogs teetered by. We filled our bellies with tacos de pollo from a small taco shop before heading to bed.

The following day we headed to the National Museum of Art. The museum housed an incredible contemporary art wing where artist Alejandro Pintado juxtaposed bold colors and lines to transform traditional artists work including several religious pieces and many from Velasco. Also  works from Gaugin, Cezzane, Rodin, Seurat, Monet, Renoir, Lautrec, Diego Rivera, and Kahlo lined the sterile walls and pretended poverty did not exist outside . But street venders, disabled elderly, and child beggars lined the streets throughout most of the city.

Our next stop was at the Museum of Modern Art which was located near the Chapultec metro station. Navigating the subways in Mexico is incredibly easy and cheap–only 3 pesos (25 cents).An amazing collection of surrealist women artists filled the museum including Frida Kahlo. Near the Belles Ares metro station we found a cafe on Montalina Ave. where musicians and street performers clogged the streets. Some tortilla soup and nachos were had before jumping on a Turibus for a night tour of the city…..

A Slice of Night

17 10 2012

Persian patterns blurred by silent shuffling feet—an island of culture floats stationary on worn wooden boards. Bacon bits and an onion slice fall and add flavor to the carpet.

Jack flings himself against a leg. Small hands and thin arms cling unaware his mother is actually standing a couple noisy yards away. Twenty seconds later and awareness sets in. Jack distinguishes his mom who wipes the halo of bacon grease and barbecue sauce from the angelic and flushed face.

A moment of comfort settles unconsciously in the belly of Jack but then a rumble of restlessness rises through the three year olds’ body and now his head is burrowed in his sister’s back—framed by her two tangled barely braided pigtails.

They are the wild things—chasing, spinning, hiding, and clawing.

Occasionally a towering adult enters their spiraling vortex to pretend they are a child or to escape the monotony of social introductions. But then the children’s vortex spits out the adults and continues until the sparks of childish limbs and laughter consume the living room and the mother lists dull consequences and carries off the children into the cold dark night. 

Bodies shuffle and shift over the small Persian rug—conscious of steam, words, and hunger. A toothpick falls on the rug as it absorbs the bright light of the camera’s flash. The streaming screaming music stops. Glasses clink. The evening presses into the Persian rug as the distracted adults step into the cold dark night seeking life in smoke. Whiffs of burnt bacon fat hug the hungry as they puff pursuits of perversity into deep darkness. 

But dim celestial light prevents night from becoming the Persian rug.

The valley echoes of missed glances and children’s dances.

Choose the Chips

22 09 2012

Too many statistics

create mental static

a crunchy


of manipulated data


It may be better 

to chew on 

a Frito Lay.

a boy’s imagination

22 09 2012

“I have a pet wooly mammoth.”

“I have two pet wooly mammoths.”


Brief deep dark laughter.


“He sleeps in my frigerator.”

“He eats my pillow.”


Brief deep dark laughter.


Three hops forward

and one soft step back.


Brief deep dark laughter.

Waking with Weight

22 09 2012

The walking soul in so much excessive materialism sighs heavily—knowing Earth will slowly slip away with pills, bruises, and embarrassing weakness. If the soul of one infected with stereotypes and sadness could see beyond salty lashes, would her hand turn the brass knob of knowledge or fall limp beside the body?

The adventure of light filled dreams taunts the dying like a cat and mouse game—only the cat knows she will die. Dreams’ materialization into reality is uncertain. This uncertainty overpowers the pale frame under the threadbare quilt. Outside the wind blows the Japanese Maple. For a second, morning shadows shade her head from July’s Arizona heat. If her daughter’s camera could capture her awakening, she fears seeing herself in this light.

Feeling the light and the pain is quite different from permanent and possibly public exposure—especially in the early moments of morning. The awakenings scare her more than deathly fatigue.

The screen door slams and soon Ally is kneading the quilt at her feet. The cat’s purr provides little solace as her claws tear the fragile cloth. Ally reminds her of possibilities and responsibilities she’s forsaken or rather such has abandoned her to an existence of an observer. Her daughter doesn’t understand. She knows Molly is there in their home but that is all. Unfortunately compassion is not genetic. Maybe it is for the best.

Now there is a hole in the quilt.

The Air Conditioner Man

22 09 2012

The air conditioner man ambled up the avenue carrying a worn metal case with an assortment of tools. Two more blocks and he would arrive at the front of the apartment building. After two presses of the cracked plastic doorbell he would unlatch the rusted metal and open the lift. In this time not a thought went through his head. Voices and mechanisms moved him but he did not process or care. He was the air conditioner man. Fixing and tinkering filled his time.

Rick was a mechanic of air comfort. The routine questions and polite introductions transitioned him to the window unit within five minutes of entering apartment 211. However another 11 minutes quickly passed. At this point, Rick would have identified the problem. Yet, the quiet thick stuffy air soothed his skin and calmed his heart today. Rick dreaded changing the air– filtering in cold lifeless drafts of sterility.

The spindly lady with white and gray streaked hair pretended to read a novel while sipping tea. Her shitsu sat at her feet. They appeared comfortable—too comfortable. On her Frigidaire fridge a few magnets and a calendar showed the lady lived a very orderly and ordinary life. Rick sighed as his eyes rested on a framed picture of a young boy with dark brown eyes. A grandson perhaps. Rick quickly felt disoriented. 35 minutes and he should be closing his tool box and shaking hands with the lady. But instead his heart was shaking. Scared it might shatter Rick forced his focus onto the beige box and wrote down the serial numbers sts104050 in his worn notebook. A part needed to be ordered and another visit scheduled. Another sigh.

Something of the air pressed against Rick begging not to be changed. Rick placed the cover on but caught his nail. Damn. A hang nail—such an annoying strip of skin. Snags. Apartment 211. Air. Breath. Rick could not pretend his son had been missing for two months. The weight of being and breathing returned.

Walletless Walter

15 09 2012

The man with the neon yellow utility vest walks hunchback down Patton Avenue. A walking stick tapping against the metal grates and birck bark leads him aimlessly. All he needs is stuffed in the thin plastic grocery bag. A stick, a bag, and feet. Eyes are not needed on this journey. Maybe the world’s injustice has blinded him or maybe he was spared from seeing dead sparrows and strangers’ frowns. The stick keeps time—tapping and ticking but never protecting.

Yesterday, under the bridge’s shadows his feet touched the other’s—actually crunched human bone before his mind realized reality. The whiff of whiskey and heavy decay told him to move his feet off and away. Again realizations are always slower than reality. Rancid breath and mocking laughter smacked his already scarred cheek as calloused hands stripped him of belt and being.

Later, crickets stopped chirping and walletless Walter walked on. Tapping and tapping—his heart was still beating. He smelled the river now—dead fish and sewage run off. He had a path. No more stumbles. His soul nor his stick could take much more. He thought the expectations of life lies like a landfill—a passive collection of rejections. Ahh. Such thoughts should remain in the heads of academics and poets—not one whose waist band is rolled up.

Tapping tapping. Silence. A precipice of decision. He grabs the moist hand introduces the world to him. Sirens scream light and sounds fill his sight. Fluorescents, lasers, and rays of white and red blind again but alas he has clean pants that fit and the water smells of fluoride and antiseptic. His stick is tapping elsewhere but tonight he will sleep in white sheets, white light, and white wonder. For tomorrow, he will choose to be blind again.