Friday, December 24, 2010

A Sky Full of Dust above Mexico

wind blows where I listeth . . .
follow these feet down dream alley . . .

There’s the bridge connecting Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s
separate apartments above Puerto Vallarta.
Married twice, you’d think they loved such a habit, but admire
all you wish the way they could not help but want
to throw away the gift Shakespeare would have sent across the ocean
to draw him to the Globe, where she would follow
or lead, what’s the difference, he’s dead,
and after I read aloud my triptych
a guy comes up to me, says, You sound like that actor,
what’s his name? . . . I don’t know the answer, he looks back and finds
the name he’s looking for behind his back;
a compliment the most gracious ever though he didn’t know, nor did she.

Do the fishermen of San Blas still push out their boats with nets aboard
before first light? Do the mosquitoes swarm the same?
A woman alone bearing on her head a bowl of guava fruit
walks barefoot the dusty highway shoulder between some town
whose name I never knew and another I’ve forgotten . . .
No need to commend her beauty, her eyes were dark, her clothes soaked
with sweat, nothing more to be done than keep on walking home
though I wanted to stop the car and let her know
this drifting gringo didn’t want her to drop the guava
or the bowl. Yet I was no more than I was, nor was she,
nor were we all, any of us who followed that narrow road.
Shall we turn east toward Patzcuaro, lovely that first time, comparable
to what it may be now, or was before day closed its curtain,
and on to Morelia, ah, to recline in the plaza of an evening,
calmly walk the shadows half in the light
and love upstairs.

And turning back, Mazatlan like going home abandoned in a rush
nowhere, yet making new all I see a third time,
Matilda in her robe and slippers walking her girls by the sea wall,
Mama Muche serving smoked marlin before sundown . . .
I’ll shed these years, go look back or remember
if I knew how to bring you back to life
or otherwise resurrect you, beloved Mexico,
mother who never understood a word nor I anything but her smile
and now dying like a wounded bird and if I caught you in my arms
would you lift your wings when I threw you aloft
and go where the wind blows
such souls with no secrets but those you see and all out in the open
where a last shade of humanity spins a compass,
takes a reading by chance, where you swoop and thread the air.

If Mexico is dying, I wish I knew how to bring your dead back to life
and lift you up to where I found you and remember how the music
wove a little shape you called the abandon in your feet dancing back
phrasing I proposed to marry the happily ever after you murmured.

(22/24 December 2010)

copyright 2010 by Floyce Alexander

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