Gringo : TJ Poemas


in corners of the bankrupt border mall
plywood sheets and concrete staircases
lift up terrace smells from urine trash

no girls wander hustling customers
past mountains of empty cardboard glass

sprawling stucco abandoned plaster

no ecstasy outside gay nightclub
no laughter no scorn no sailor cash
on forgotten transvestite benches
behind the borderline bus station

streets lead with insidious intent
toward trench wars of stolen poetry
luring clients safely home to drink
in corners of this broken plaza wall
where no girls hustle now few birds sing

edited from foto taken by with permission thanks David

Images i.e. "words" stolen/homage from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (steets lead with insidious intent) and La Belle Dame Sans Merci (no birds sing) and maybe others I don't recognize yet.

No punctuation or capital letters.  Three lines, two lines, one line, four lines, five lines.  Almost every line composed of nine syllables.  Imperfect rhyme scheme.  These technical aspects give a false sense of security undermined by the theme, tone, and image of desolation.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York City and Washington D.C., and subsequent increased American fear of terror, followed by the outbreak of war in Afghanistan and Iraq "it's okay the football's on we attack today" have sent so many soldiers and sailors and marines away from San Diego County for imperial defense of the North American Republic that this has led to a decline in regular party tourists coming to Tijuana.

We are still waiting for those clients to come back and party party party.  It is all very sad, sometimes, unless you like emptiness and desolation.  "Gringo, can't you get your people to come back again?" -- they have been asking me with silent eyes looking up and down the empty streets as I walk by.  So I wrote a poem above in May 2003.  It was an intense labor -- I spent almost two weeks writing and rewriting and starting all over and going back to earlier drafts and I still am not sure whether it be "right" or "left enough" but well, it has aged in the cellar and it is now time to taste it better or worse your taste and critique makes it real beyond me ever can or may.  Meanwhile come on down and have a couple beers and some tacos, or maybe a real sitdown meal or go see a

Freeeee Margaritas for the ladies... 2 for 1 beers... come on in, take a look, gotta lot of pretty ladies (and men) dancing just for you, boys and girls....

Slowly, slowly, people are coming back.  But... there are still bargains and ripoffs galore waiting to be enjoyed and exposed.

To say nothing of the poetry.  Poetry of life itself on the edge of the edge at the edge by the end of this Earth.  Yeah.

TJ Poemas


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Copyright 2003 Daniel Charles Thomas