1989: Image and Reality

it’s 1989

i’ve become accustomed to the song

of cicadas in the patio

the nightly drop of avocados

morning’s race to get my share

before pirate rats taste them all; accustomed

to flipping fruit to find toothmarks in the hide

and never a glimpse of fur or tail.

 

i’ve grown used to the softness of air.

 

i’ve unlocked meso-american stylistics

as straightforward, vis tony

they mayan butcher’s profile. all art

is honest, as much as it can be.

and so, jesus the painter rages

some nights. some nights he loves sally

soft blonde california gal; some nights

he knows he wants to be her, oblivious

to privilege by which

she has a house to throw him out of.

 

i’ve become inured to the sidewalk

tss tss tss, how strange, i think

that knucklehead boy-men here

hiss like cicadas to telegraph lust

and i accept that here, for the first time ever

i am white.

 

maybe that is why the first maid –

the school insisting we hire house staff

it is the way it is done, we insult the community

if we don’t have house staff –

maybe that’s why she flipped out and quit

how could a white gringa like me

have the gall to paint and hang

an indigenous symbol. they take too much.

of course, when it happens

i’m told not to ask

none of my business, nothing to do

with me. since i don’t know where she lives

i cannot find her to ask; that, and

it never occurs to me at the time

that it might not be clear

i know who i am.

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