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EL REY DE TACOS - Prosepoem Journal/Diary

Pat pat pat goes the masa (corn dough) in the hand, in the hands. Creak squish the little tortilla press squeezes one flat between sheets of wax paper. Peel plop ssss gets laid on the grill. Pat pat squeek plop and a sister joins her ssss. After a moment, touch and turn.

Mamas and their daughters have been doing this for five thousand years. People were eating tortillas when the Spanish came to call the bread "tortilla." Aztecs called it "tlaxcalli" and also ate tamales and tomatl and chocolatl and aguacatl and guajalotl - all of which the conquerors from another world now "discovered" and ate and ate and ate and ate.

The tortilla press made from metal is new to this ancient civilization mixed into Spain. Mexico had no iron or steel or aluminum. Only gold and silver - yum yum Europe drool and kill. Some copper hatchets. Lots of pretty copper hatchets. No bronze. No steel. No guns. No cannons. No suits of shining metal armor with feathered helmets like only the gods wore, like Cortés wore. No smallpox. No measles. No syphilis.

No steel blades to stab, slash, cut, chop, slice, stab stab stab, let them feel the cut of our swords, disembowel, decapitate, chop chop, arm, leg, neck, ah pity all that waste of blood and death, holy blood of life, spilled without any sacred dance or prayer, which should feed the sun, feed the gods, feed the holy universe that all may live and breathe and live again another day, another world, another sun.

I went out for tacos last night after eleven o'clock on Second Street (Calle Benito Juárez) between F and G just next door to a liquor store, se llama esa taqueria El Rey (the King). The señor was grilling meat and chopping it with a shiny, sharp steel knife. The señora was making fresh tortillas at the moment I arrived. Of course they were speaking Spanish, but pat pat pat went the masa in her hand.




from 2 August 2001


TJ Poemas

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