Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gringo

oculto

This morning the man with missing teeth
told me to take a hose & drown los ocultos — rodents
(similar to gophers) that dig labyrinths
under the gardens, ruck up gravel, eat roots —
run a hose down the hole & drown them.

The waiter who always wants to help us
including ordering us tables from the furniture maker
because he can get them for what locals pay
instead of the price charged to gringos — what we are —
Our waiter is missing six or seven teeth in front on top.

The man who has worked this land for 25 years
(before that it was virgen, he says)
is missing four — top middle — I have difficulty
understanding what he says, but I fake it
he fakes it — we want to understand each other
why I saved the fox skeleton, how los ocultos
will go elsewhere once our garden grows.

Most women in town are missing teeth
accidents? decay? mens’ fists?
women in town shop, cook, clean house
raise children, ride bicycles — the men do nothing
to help in the home & are missing teeth.

Professional women from the city wear braces
the money they earn buys them braces
nor do they bear four or eight children
if any, they bear one or two, & hire a maid, a cook
help is cheap here & always missing teeth.

Even though I speak the language
correctly & with a passable accent
even if I were a young wife with small children
riding a battered one-speed bicycle to el mercado 
even if I already knew how to kill los ocultos
the locals would know me for a gringo
speak to me, want me to be a friend.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miss Vee


Welcome, Miss Vee, 
nth kitty in my cat parade 
beginning with early
Names-I-Forgot including
One-Green-One-Blue-Eye
not noticed sleeping 
behind a rear tire 
when Mom backed down
the driveway, also
that Careful-She-Bites
cat & dog Blackie
dispatched at the vet
though Mom claimed
they ran away, proceeding
to Siamese-purebreds 
Nefertiti & Tutankhamun, 
to Jacob born on a boat,
to M√ľnkin son of Titi 
whose only ever squirrel
misstepped a gutter
& fell on his head, 
to long-haired Jason 
bearing the Golden Fleece 
who survived a tar bath
by plucking out his coat, 
to Ooblek who disappeared, 
to cooktop-parked Bartholomew, 
to muscle-packing Mumbles 
also called Stripley on Steroids 
after a passing car
pitched him on his noggin,
to seven-toed Lobster Boy 
Only Six Inches Long 
but Plays the Zither
also called Fred, 
to soprano-toned Baba, 
to feral-born Akalina
featured on our coffee label.
Welcome, Miss Vee,
what will your story be?