Calendars: All : October : November : December : January 2001

Tijuana Gringo

Michael Thomas

7 December 2000.

From: Premiación @ Ciudad Juarez

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8. Old Neighborhoods // 9. Centro Historico // 10. Premiación

8. [Old Neighborhoods]

Border heart Mexican megalopolis
neighborhood huddles jowl by wall
streets named for latin american republics.

Walk from Chamizal gate. Elva said
"hay partes..." parts of old Juárez still live.

Eleven a.m. Thursday block houses
wait quiet; residents gone work and school.

Neither poor nor rich. Apartments, homes, shops.
Tepeyac. Honduras. Hmos Escobar.

One corner bldg all red & white brick.
Un melting adobe @ 820.

Calle signs mounted on walls like horseback
guards at each intersection. Street poplars
trimmed practically two meters over
sidewalk; you pass under barely ducking.

"Eminently pedestrian," as planners say.

All that walk you imagine this Mexican
city, map in your head, not in your hand,

and the image for your experience –
only the sun may guide your shadow

west across the heart toward the heart;
it's true what Elva said – old Juárez lives

new. But then you see the gaps in those teeth.
Broken walls. Abandoned homes. Empty blocks.

9. [Centro Historico]

There are insurance bets and
the limits of time

to assure, and to ensure
your return another time
already again another coming back

2 = 3 . You shall guard the river future.

You, regent of sovereign state, decide your
turning path away from water this trip

feet go Ochoa, Gonzalez, Villa

16 Septiembre on 7 December

and never a trace of infamy

in 2000 nights of dreaming walk you
finally emerge at the oldest core.

It is broad noon, the weather delightful.

Downtown traffic roars lion cage frustration
at pedestrian streets filled with tiny booths.

Shoppers' paradise. Don't bring your car.
Be sure to visit the old misión

three hundred years shall reward you today
with wooden beam roof overhead and prayer

plazas full of mid-day gente
street preacher crying out loud

what is the meaning of navidad


santa rings his bell

the arches.

10. [premiación]
a gathering of los cultos
in the ghetto of humanidades

reminds you of Aldous Huxley
gassing the British Museum

wine, sandwiches, music, poetry, art make
speeches, play music, and you each read

two poems

they give you a beautiful plaque
and a cheque

the other poets are so good
you feel better to be chosen

but you miss her, want
her by your side

"did you translate that one?"
they ask.

No, my girlfriend did.


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Copyright 2001 Daniel Charles Thomas