In the middle of nowhere,
a dusty taco stand.
The hush of high desert chaparral,
the silhouette of a field hand
near where Cassady walked his last tie,
in the place where American cars go to die.
Rusted sculptures in vast lots,
trash rot borders,
vultures descend on dead dog carcasses,
pastoral expressions of the lurid and strange.
Low range storm clouds stacked against San Miguel,
10 hours from anywhere, it rests on an epicenter of quartz.
On a tin roof in a thunderstorm.
Modern signal fires in the distance of night sky,
vertical bolts and slanting rain.
Faces watch from under the arcaded frame.
Features illuminated in the interval of flashes,
police cars and further lightning.
Mariachi smoking in corners
with no one to play for,
like wax sculptures in cathedral candles
sealed under statuary.
The pews speak of vacancy,
while walls hold all the reverence and sorrow.
Through the highlands you follow
the satchel gathering,
wheels awash over roads,
between these arroyos
weave witness to a primitive sacrament.
Ramshackle transport to a tiny miracle,
the bus, like a slow procession.
Is it a funeral or a wedding?
All is seen in this setting,
hills green from seasonal rain,
the kind that sweeps tiny towns away,
leaving makeshift alters in their wake
like scars on the fertile landscape
carved into the curves of what nature misshapes.
The voluptuous land lay in waiting
for an azul sky to transform to an ancient lake,
for a barren land to become fields for maize.
Another morning disoriented.
It could be anywhere but it is Mexico.
See the dilapidated bell tower in the distance,
smell the fumes, hear exuberant tunes
from persistent stereos,
Mexico, a cheap hotel where anything goes.
Roaming the debauched streets
undistinguished from the other gringoes.
Going from town to town,
restaurant to bar, cab to club
to rub shoulders with your illusions.
Cash in a money belt, looking for a good deal.
What goes on here?
In this black market, meat market of the surreal?
Mexico, from the cracks in the wall of a dingy room,
you see whatever you choose,
a muddy river, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
One last impression
before your senses regroup.
Turning home, your mind muddled
but content, that is enough for now.