gringo          poemas










P O E T     B O R D E R     L I N E


     poet line border
          three words  from  Tijuana 
     marching up
     and down the page
               on the street
     scribbling in the 
     long      diagonal  plaza
          daring yourself to double entendre
     border line  poet  -  border poet  line 
     poet  border line  -  poet line  border
     line border  poet  -  line poet  border
                    etcetera quotidian combination
     form      six ways    to      say it    from
          3 X 2        perm-mutations
     with  more chances  of  hitting  the  big one
          one   in  six  every     day
     than  any  stinking  lottery  lightning
     striking  here      or   there
     on either side of our little
               border    poet
                         line
     so
     So!
                         stop
     your      pen  in  the 
     plaza  mouth   of
     Sta. Cecilia
          detente  la  cabellaria - hold 
     your horses
     where the first
          tourist wagons
     used to turn   off  the old dirt road
     up    from      the river
     here
          on the flat space
     where       Junipero Serra  camped
          240  years ago
     it's grown     now
     into the blighted booming downtown centro
               where
     you
          turn
               and walk through    the    thrice-paved  plaza
          of Santa Cecilia
     sometime  called  Arguello  diagonal  street
                    full  of
               re - construction 
               short-pants visitors
                      buying  tequila  T-shirts
     on top    of  the  latest  rehab
          color-coded
     vision of yellow & red cement 
     with  accessory vendor kiosks
     from      four  painted  corners
     petals  of the  Aztec    world     flower
               aye - aye
     it's been rebuilt,  repainted, retouched
               once      again
     you  saw them         digging up the Earth herself
     last spring           examined the raw open trenches
     like some          versemongering  arqueolodilettante
     standing on      the prior paving from post-Vietnam
     looked down      to  the gray concrete 
     layer inside the ground of
          early-30s  prohibition
     and under that
          ye olde west dirt
          dry brown depth
     upon primeval Sonora cobblestone
     but 
               now
     Santa Cecilia's got a new dress shirt
     laid down by summer cement workers
          on top of ragged autumn pants
     until the diagonal block has become
     one  long      swirling 
     two-headed   feather
          coatl-snake
          from a scruffy
          eagle serpent head
          pointing ex-palacio fangs 
               toward  IMAC  beak at
               2nd   &   Constitucion
               from  where    their
               newly bending body 
               turns all the way 
          down  its  pedestrian  street
     inlaid with concrete skin
     twisting in curves
     along the narrow 
          plaza block
          towards the ear of corn
          rattle tail
          and  second  separate    head  
          pointing out new mariachi stage
          beside  monster  aluminum arch
          towering            over 
     Aztec  world - flower  xochitl
     in  red & yellow  plaza cement
     where dancers beat their drums
     every Sunday for tips
     and				
          you
     STOP
          poet
               hold 
     the  horses
     of   your  pen
                   to
     strike your match
                         & scribble a cigarette
                              smoke this verse
                         outside the cheap market
                    on the corner of First street
     beneath its fake aqueduct
     in the shadow of Hotel Nelson
     under  the  ten-storey  tall   millennium   arch
     with gigantic  hung-by-the-neck   video   scream
     beaming propaganda  straight  up   Revolution  Avenue
          from  here
     bent over new cement plaza
     what already looks old
     yellow-red paving stained
     by gum, spit, candy, butts
          here 
     you think of Pancho Morales' poems
     about  the skin  of this city
          and light this snake
          cancer   taco   smoke
          flash scratch struck 
               fire @ five cents the booklet
               German shepherd pastor aleman
               relampago brand dog grinning on
                    his cardboard cover
                         your one-in-six lightning
                         border        line         poet	
     matches
     your inspiration
     in  the   mouth  of
               Santa  Cecilia
          patron saint of art and music
                    ai  mi  querida  santa
     your mariachis wait       
                    for driveby clients
     in  suits of  crisp  black  cotton
     shining   with    silver   buttons
     calling   out  to   passing   cars
     waving  their instruments  at  the
     ranchero  narco  pickups  or  vans
     only  some  guy  with  a good  job
     taking  his  girl  out  for  a  serenade
               - who can tell the difference any more? -
     guitarron       guitarra     trompeta    violin
          kiss their fingers with song  poet
     these are   your inspiration   your  living  muse  men
          beginning  another  night  of bars     and    Mexican  snacks
                    smell your  fresh tacos  and  spilt beer 
     with Charles Bukowski 
          at Tijuana cantina 
          in spirit  if  not 
     flesh          stop         wilderness        singing        beside 
          and have a drink         or        three
                    with    thee      and          me .

     Aya   yankee  gringo
     enough  Rubaiyat
     kiss   your   own   fingers   border 
     poet   line
                    and  touch the saint statue shoulder
               ai  ya  madrecita  mia  -  beloved  little  mother
                    quiero tu bendicion - give me your blessing
     your protection from     government versus narco  please no more
     police chiefs slaughtered          with      Sunday bullets
     driving the via rapida                home from mass
     no special agents   stuffed into   sedan trunks 
     no more traps for troubadors who die before 
          they reach          Bombay
     no    dawn coming up    like Kipling thunder   no more
     death squad    war of         kidnapped silence
     no  women  raped    and  mutilated  on  the hills of  Juarez
     no  more  cars  driven  off  the  mountain cliffs of  la Rumorosa
     not  even  neighbors' dogs  howling at gunshots in the night
     and   no  power    who has barely   yet  been     felt
     in   the  thousand years  of  m i l l e n n i a l
         terror    now being  born
     no nuclear     jihad
               bomb      blowing off    fortress  SanDiego
     collateral  dust         cultural  damage    cross-contamination
     smallpox  gas      dancing across  our drinking   fallout
     border           line         poet        no
     shades of  gray   federal soldiers    prowling   these paper streets 
     automatic pen  rifles   slung    over   their     shoulders
     scribbling glances with     border  city   police    forces     
     no more   rams  horns   blowing  apocalypse
     bullets outside drug money nightclubs    
               ackack ack  ack   ack    ack      ack       AK-47 
     headlines  screaming  in      Spanish 
     NARCO  BATALLION  DISAPPEARS
     devoured  by   crocodiles
     no, no, no, not tonight       no war
     we must protect the weekend 
                    drinking tourists
     with verse      poet  line  border
     make love   not war  poetry whore 
     in that thrashing knot
     there before the gay bar no
               that's    only   the  plaza badges
     beating       transvestites     who 
     dared to touch a man
     right there .
     oh shit - don't look .
      
     turn away little gringo girls and boys turn 
     away into MERCADO POPULAR for smokes
                              
     tobacco, tobacco will keep them awake
     eleven twelve thirteen bucks the carton
      
     one-third the price of the other U.S. side
     smuggle them across to sell on the street
      
     pay for that other devil from hell itself
     crystal rock cocaine methamphetamine
      
     or something more sophisticated upscale
     ecstasy and drug rape in drinking clubs
      
     holy mother Santa Cecilia save me from their traps
     only find my satisfaction in tequila, beer, smokes
      
     no, my son, you must also take 
     up your cross and write poetry
 
     Escribir, por ejemplo: "La noche esta estrellada,
     y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos." 
 
     like Neruda if you dare compartir
          his starry night where they tremble
               blue in   the       distance
     filthy beast  cigarettes
     azure smoke coiling snake
     like  Satan  assaulting heaven
     un-rolled  into  verses  and  lines
          less  than  two dollars  a pack
          here in Mexico on a border zigurrat
          ci g  a   r     e       t           t             e                 s
          on this  farthest river corner  of  homeland prime
     three thousand kilometers     before any pyramid
     and they, no, we
               can all still smoke
               in restaurants and bars
               cafe      cantantes
     from both sides     of the frontier
     we can all write poetry
     in this valley
     where
     Junipero Serra camped
               240 years ago
     on this same flat space 
     this page 
             above 
     the river
     where                           
     he wrote in his diary :
                         began this conquest
                         of California today
                              beyond Espanol .  .   . 
     once upon a time in 1769 
     before this plaza        was this place
     he found
                    the land to be full of lovely fields where a 
                    beautiful stream of good water was running 
                    and we camped there, without approaching 
                    the nearby Indian village. 
                    It is a large piece of flat land a league 
                    more or less from the sea - or so it seemed to 
                    me.  The animals pastured greatly there and 
                    ourselves, without any worries except to 
                    reach San Diego tomorrow.... 
      
     well, stranger gringo from a foreign land
     some things have not changed
     without any worries except
     to  reach  San  Diego 
     t o m o r r o w
     but 
     all the others      yes
          are  gone
     replaced  drowned
     under the new holy megalopolitan see
          where   your   lines
                         poet
                    border
               on
     ex
          cathedra  verse .
      











gringo          poemas
copyright 2002-2004 Daniel Charles Thomas