Gringo : Poems


Taxis sweep to the corner
disgorge their passengers .

Street vendors pass under
sweet burdens crying

un dollar diez pesos el packete .

Half a block away men wait
before Madonna's strip bar .

Blind beggar on this corner
leans close to warn you

be careful, señor, aquí hay ladrones

like London, Paris, New York, Madrid,
you've hit the big time, Tijuana, when

- here there be thieves -

might be written on street
corner edges of old maps .

This is terra incognita of your soul
- write it down, poet - if you dare

record that hidden threat where
crowded evening scurries past

running from work, office, shop,
cantina, store, hotel, factory, bar

where everyday self just wants to go
home                              home to
safer land beyond police spotlights

promised paradise far from bar door
yanking - jalando - at sidewalk clients

come on in take a look gotta lotta
pretty women dancing just for you !

But no. No siren call. You
don't go in, street scribbler,

and won't go home, either .

You insist on measuring
the land from outside, like

Cortés spying out secrets

paper and pen vulture
perched on taxi bench

beside TELNOR pay phone
where one then another

native places their calls to a third
and equally unknown world .

Gringo : Poems

Copyright 2002 Daniel Charles Thomas