San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende
Roof rainbow...San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Teen with spiky blue
tipped hair, sells me
my first marigolds, sees
my dragon tattoo, says

he wants one, wants to
go to Japan, learn
kung fu, his words,
desires, tumble out, he

is poor, makes maybe
40 pesos a day, maybe
he'll get the dragon
tattoo, his eyes freshly

crushed hope, is this
you uncle Ruben,
you who left the body at
twenty-one with so many

young man's desires, your
talents (entire violin concertos
by memory), your taboo
lovers in the 1930s Los Angeles

(other young men), your
passions, I imagine to
travel to Paris, Venice, Tokyo,
other wonders- I just

returned from Paris, whispered
your name upon seeing the
Eiffel Tower, and I know
I'll reach Venice, even

Tokyo, so for you, the
teen boy with spiky blue
hair, whispered wonders-
a piece of your spirit

always with me, secret
stories from your mother,
sister, the brilliant boy,
young man, burning with

taboo life, know I
embrace who you were,
who you longed to be,
who you may be. Now.

To mi tio, Ruben Villanueva
Dia de Los Muertos, 2010
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Life/death/life/death/life into the Sixth World...

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"Look long at what pleases you.
Look longer at what displeases you."
La Colette (French writer)

Outdoor cafe facing fountain,
light rain, students
without umbrellas laughing,
children dancing between

rain drops, gathering gold
leaves to wave like
flags, beautiful women
wearing boots, dark ponies,

one in skin tight, black
leather leggings, tiny skirt,
over the knee black leather
ponies, black leather jacket,

long purple feather earrings,
shiny black mane, galloping-
a man saunters toward the
fountain, laughing to himself,

turns, arms raised to
each rain drop, all black,
bright red shoes, he
leaps and turns, stealing

my smile, my gaze,
echo of Artaud, Anais
Nin, Colette, Proust, the
bright red shoes they wore,

the magic of this city on
his feet, he dances,
twirls, leaps, laughs,
arms raised for a moment-

I want to follow him,
photograph him, the bright
red shoes, his laughter,
but I let him go, the

magic of this city,
timeless sensuality, joy,
Colette's full mocking gaze,
her wonder, I see.
* * * *
Beautiful African man,
car next to me, me in a
tour bus, he in a sleek
suit, smiling up at me, such

charm, such confidence,
I look away, what I usually
do, then glance back,
he's still smiling, I

meet his gaze, smiling,
he blows me a kiss,
drives away, hey the
brothers in Paris are

fiiiiiine, no memories
of being strung up,
sold on the block,
castrated, the slavery

DNA, wow, I smile to
myself, that's what a
free African man feels like,
yet the black men of my

country slowly transforming
the sorrow, the poison,
as are my brown brothers,
into the joy, the confidence

to blow a kiss
to the human
of their choosing,
oh beauty oh beauty

oh beauty,
I blow you all
a kiss from
* * * *
Brown, black sisters, their
stilettos, knee high boots,
drum their stunning dance,
the street hums with

celebration, I hear Shange's
words in their passing, "I
found god in myself and I
loved her. I loved her

fiercely." Slavery, rape,
genocide, hatred, healed
oh healed in that strutting
confident walk, I murmur,

"Work it, sister, yeah
work it," smiling as they
strut by- low cut
black dress, black

nylons, stiletto heels,
gold hoop earrings,
gaze of a queen, a
Goddess, I'm staring,

look around, quick glance,
a few men. This morning, my
birth day, men waving at
me, smiling as I pass, why

aren't they gawking at this
20 something surreal beauty,
I wonder, I ask the man next
to me, our conversation (pretty

stunning himself, black
leather to his boots, small
diamond right ear)- "Why
aren't men falling off their

chairs with this kind of
beauty passing by..." I
pause, gather truth... "and
why are men flirting with me,

old enough to be her mother,"
(really grandmother, my
granddaughter 29 as is my
youngest son, I keep this

to myself), ah vanity, I
laugh, "in the USA she'd
have to hire armed guards."
He smiles, taking me in, "Here,

we love the ripened woman
and the ripened man, a
rarity, that integration of
wisdom and innocence. That

refusal to become bitter, I
hope to achieve that, and
this is why you write, no?"
"Yes," I laugh,

tears stinging my eyes,
yes, and he pours
me white wine from
his bottle, 11am-

"To the ripened woman,
to the ripened man,"
he smiles, and we drink
to that.

"I found god in myself
and I loved her.
I loved her fiercely."
Work it.
* * * *
Wearing my Santa Fe black
Panama hat, Paris morning,
men smile, blow me kisses,
the word chapeau I recognize,

they love my hat, where
else in the world do men
love your chapeau- elegant
older woman on Metro,

Dior glasses, Dior purse,
outfit, elegant cane,
meets my eyes, smiles with
approval, briefly...

The Pantheon, Voltaire's
bones are here, the
ones that held him up
to walk, write, love,

just his bones, yet
the glowing dust of
his bones, the one
who wrote, "Paradise is

where I am," is gone,
the bones don't speak,
his spirit, his words,
speak, and Colette, she's

not in the Pantheon with
all the honored men, she's
buried in the earth
she loved, become earth,

air, the sky we breathe,
flying things soar on
her breath, and Jim
Morrison sings harmony...

"Paradise is where we
are, paradise is where
we are, oh paradise
is always

is always
is always
where we are are are
par a dise we are..."
* * * *
Luxembourg Gardens,
a magical nymph pond,
sculptured fairies and
demons, grandmother trees

loosing leaves to be
come young in spring,
surrounded by arches of
trained ivy, sedate, spoiled

ducks in pond, a small
boy tosses a love letter
to the indifferent ducks,
he screams with delight

as they peck it once,
not food, swim on-
you grab a metal
chair, sit where you

wish to view the magic,
shadows, last Sun sings
to the fairies and demons...
Soon they'll be gone, you'll

be free to bathe, make love,
create beauty, chaos,
until they come with their
metal chairs

to witness
the magic
you weave
toward dawn.

I come closer to the
fountain, the large
faun/demon hovers
over the pool menacingly,

lovingly, below him
two lovers entwined,
making love for-ever, a
young couple sits next to

this beauty, warning, she
sits in his lap, laughing, he
holds her intimately, laughing,
they pay no attention to

the faun/demon, why
should they, this is the
moment to love, this perfect
moment. This garden.

I stumble on. My last
day. In Paris. This enchanted.
Pool. The faun/demon
(blesses me). He does.
* * * *
And I realize, for
once, I look longer
at what pleases,
the simple beauty

of love, I look
longer at what
pleases me, my last
day. In Paris.

Alma Luz Villanueva
October 2010

**Even when I was (very) poor, I always found ways to find joy/ecstasy, even if I had to steal it...may we steal it, bless it, share it, pass it on, the gift of JOY, to look longer at what pleases us, the simple beauty of love...
into the Sixth World.

Friday, September 17, 2010


"The soul's needs are governed by Coatlique, the Aztec Goddess of female self-sufficiency, who gives birth squatting and square on her feet. She teaches about the lone woman's life. She is a maker of babies, meaning new potential for life, but she is also a death mother who wears skulls on her skirt, and when she walks they sound like the rattles on a snake, for they are skull rattles, and because skull rattles sound like rain, through sympathetic resonance, they draw down rain for the earth. She is the protectoress of all lone women and so magia, so filled with powerful thoughts and ideas, they must live out at the edge of who-knows-where in order not to daze the village too much." From 'Women (and men) Who Run Con Los Lobos'...Dr. Estes

Every time I read this, I smile and then I laugh at the final sentence, 'in order not to daze the village too much.' During the years my kids were growing up (four in all), I used to wake up at 4am to write...sneak out to the kitchen, make coffee, light a candle, one good lamp for the writing on the kitchen table, and soft Native flute music. I used to feel like I was the only human being awake/alive in the entire world, and I loved it...that being so alone (the ancient meaning, root- 'all one'). And so 'all one' women and so magia, so filled with powerful thoughts and ideas, that's exactly how I felt in those early mornings, as though I were hiding from the village, and I was. For the sheer joy, in those hours, which also included the fear of having nothing to say, or saying something already said/written, or simply telling my own truth...but the joy was like an underground river that kept pulling me to the wide open ocean, that freedom. To stand at the shore 'all one,' to count the stars 'all one,' to witness the waxing, full, waning, new moon 'all one,' and to watch the pulse of Sun fill my eyes 'all one.' Writing each word, each line, each stanza (for poetry), each paragraph (for fiction), 'all one.' My only audience in those great hunger, great thirst to hear it all as clearly as possible, that music in my silent soul. The mute soul of my childhood that bore witness but didn't sing it out Coatlique dragged me from my dreaming bed most mornings, the sound of her skull rattles laughing as I protested, "Go away, maybe tomorrow." Her skulls whispered, "Who says you'll live until tomorrow, the only time is now," and she was right. I think every writer/poet is protected by this terrifyingly beautiful Goddess..."Who says you'll live until tomorrow, now." The one who brings the clouds, the thunder, the lightning...rain. All one. All one.

I bought a wonderful black and white likeness of Coatlique over thirty years ago in Merida, Mexico, on my honeymoon; also, a solitary woman/Goddess diving into the sea, surrounded by hungry looking fish. A dangerous dive. An enticing dive. The woman/Goddess had dark hair to her waist, flowing in the water, and she's adorned with Mayan symbols. The cloth print of Coatlique was fierce, uncompromising, as she squatted to give birth (yes, square on her feet), her powerful female body straining with effort, her face a grimace. Of pain. Strange joy. Every time I looked at her I thought, 'Yes, that's birth alright, that's how it is.' And though it was somewhat awe-ful to look at, it was also comforting. The truth. Of birth. The Diving Goddess would have to grow on me, as I didn't exactly know what to do with her, or what she wanted to do with me. But I longed to know. That hunger. That thirst. All one. All one.

Twenty-four years after my honeymoon in Merida, Isla Mujeres, Mexico City...the climb to the top of the Pyramid of The Sun, carrying the clay Quetzalcoatl flute I'd bought from the vendor before the climb, and playing shy notes to the blaze of Sun over my just-married head, my then husband beside me...getting drunk in Isla Mujeres, crawling and laughing in the sand...arriving in Merida at 2am, finding a coach with a single horse, the driver laughing at my request to take us for a ride, but he did it, took us for an eerie, empty-street, early morning ride...he should have been home in his warm bed, next to his sweet wife, his children dreaming in the next perhaps Coatlique whispered in his ear, "Who says you'll live until tomorrow, now." And so, twenty-four years later as my marriage to my then husband ended, my fourth child, ours together, went off to university, Coatlique sang in my ear, "Who says you'll live until tomorrow, now," and I moved alone (all one) to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I'd been my children's daily mother for (literally) forty years...from fifteen to Coatlique was really calling my poet/writer's bluff... 'All one, are you...' I was used to being surrounded by teenagers, their noise, their jokes, their general daily chaos, and being called 'dude' by my son's friends (it was a compliment)...many came to live with us for various personal, family reasons, so we often had one of his friends staying with us, or they gathered in the front room or his room, the sound of their uncensored laughter. Then they'd suit up to go surfing in the morning, the afternoon, sometimes at midnight on a full moon...they looked like mythical beings filing out the door in their various wetsuits, going out to meet La Madre Mar and what swam in her, the scary hungry fish (sharks). Once after a morning attack of a great white, the guys were suited up in the afternoon to go surfing...of course, I freaked out, "Are you all crazy!" My son, Jules, looked at me very calmly, "Mom, the sharks live in the ocean." He was right, off they went. I tried to memorize his back as he walked away...but he returned hours later so happy, so alive. All one. All one.

My second week in Santa Fe brought the most intense lightning storm I've ever experienced, and I'd experienced some whoppers in the Sierras, where I lived for five years...but this was non-stop lightning, as though the sky was being tested, as though the earth was being tested, and surely I was being tested. I'd never (ever) been so sad in my entire life...this didn't feel 'all one,' this felt terribly alone. No teenagers to listen to, worry about sharks, curfews, who's drinking, who's husband to fight with, make up with, breathe the same air entire life was 'all one.' I went out to the patio to watch the bone-jolting lighting, thunder, no rain yet...back to the couch to read, the room in darkness except for one small reading light over my head. I felt limp, sad, depressed, and wondered where the damn rain was and if the fucking lightning was ever going to stop, as in ever, that night...when I saw it. A perfect, tiny, glowing-white lightning bolt appeared in the darkness over my bare feet, and it quickly, smoothly sliced into my left energy I'd have to learn how to use, channel throughout my body without thinking I was having a fucking heart attack, which happened twice until I learned. To allow it. To allow it. To bring me. Rain.

The tiny, glowing-white lightning bolt took me to Bali, a place I'd wanted to visit for over twenty years...and I went three weeks after '9/11', the bombing of the World Trade Center, the attack on my country. And of course, Bali is surrounded by the largest Muslim population in the world, but I'd bought my tickets, made reservations, almost six months before. When I arrived in San Francisco, from New Mexico, for my connection to Taiwan, then Bali, all my reservations had been cancelled...I was a pretty innocent traveler in those days and didn't know about checking flight status online, so there I was fighting, begging, fighting for my reservations, and I got them. A young Chinese guy became a computer whiz, fixed my reservations, and walked me to the gate, smiling, waving goodbye...the plane was boarding. Myself and a man were the only non-Asian passengers, so I was thoroughly scrutinized then allowed to blend in. I had three seats to myself to sit, stretch out and read, sleep, and the stewardesses were all truly beautiful and wonderful to behold as they bowed to us, the passengers. And the passengers bowed back, as did I from their example...namasate, The divinity in me sees the divinity in you.

After more fighting, begging, fighting, I finally landed in Bali, picked up at the Denpasar Airport by a young Balinese guy whose name translated to 'Love,' he told air conditioned van, the air outside was a thickness/heat I'd never felt, breathed. And the traffic was horrifying as two lanes became three, four, five, sometimes six, with entire families on one motorcycle, no helmets, the baby balanced on mom's lap...the people walking on the sides of the road with enormous bundles on their heads, people on bikes, families holding hands, pregnant women with swaying hips wrapped in rainbows...everyone apparently unafraid, fearless, as I kept wanting to scream, "Watch out, Love, watch out!" But I didn't, although I did keep saying things like "Ohmygod ohmygod you'vegottobekidding ohmygoddess"...Love just laughed, that wonderful Balinese laugh. "These people are fearless," I said to Love. "What does that mean, fearless?" Pause. "It means you're not afraid to die." He laughed louder, namasate. Days later, I ended up wandering around in the Ubud Temple, courtyard after courtyard, where it seemed many dancers and artists live...the engraved stone, winged, roaring beings over each arched doorway made me stop to bow my head slightly in greeting. Purple and white orchids trailed a tall, graceful, wooden statue of Saraswati, the Goddess of music and literature (of course), small ponds with small fish swam in them, beautiful flowers everywhere, and terrifying, carved, vividly painted, wooden, winged demons, so beautiful, in surprising places...there was actually a huge winged demon right over my bed at the hotel, had to get used to that and then I fell in love with it, kind of like the lightning, that crazy, dangerous energy that wants to kill you, heal you, kill you, heal you. I walked into a courtyard with an immense bird in a steel cage; the 'ankle' of the foot/claw/talons circled by a steel clamp. Owl, hawk, eagle, it was huge, whatever it was, it broke my heart, that hunter of the skies, to see it clamped, caged. I walked closer to the cage and the bird met my eyes, split red red fire in-human, a free thing caged. "Don't get too close," a woman's voice warned me, I turned to meet the same eyes. "He's my eagle, no problem." She offered me tea in her pavilion, to see her stunning amber jewelry, deep gold jewels with the captured sun at the center. I finally asked, "Why isn't the eagle free?" Her red red red fire eyes met mine, "What is freedom, madam?" She told me, very patiently, with no apology, she's a trance healer and that her eagle helps her heal, in dreams. "What is freedom, madam?" Is this the voice of this why I fought, begged, fought, traveled to Bali, to hear these words.

The one who brings the clouds, the thunder, the lightning...rain. With her skull rattles, rain. "Who says you'll live until tomorrow, now, now now now." And the diving Goddess, I came to learn was Ixchel, her island Isla Mujeres...the Goddess of childbirth, healing, ecstasy...she whispered in my ear (as I laughed, crawling on the sand), "One more child," and she taught me to dive even deeper, where the scary, hungry fish live, where the stories live at the bottom of the clear turquoise sea. Off the shores of Isla Mujeres, her home. The one who brings the clouds, the thunder, the lightning...rain. "What is freedom, madam?" Now now now now, into the Sixth World now...

****I have a tiny gold/glowing lightning bolt tattoo on my left foot, exactly where it sliced through- will show you if you ask, when we meet sometime. ****

Friday, August 27, 2010


"For a modern woman, the ulu, her knife, symbolizes her insight, her willingness and ability to cut away the superfluous, making clear endings and carving new beginnings. Her fire-making declares her ability to rise from failure, to create passion in her own behalf, to burn something to the ground if necessary. Her stone carvings (poetry, fiction, all embody her memory of her own wild consciousness, her union with the natural instinctual life." -Dr. Estes, 'Women (and men) Who Run Con Los Lobos'

I recently posted a photograph on FaceBook of my mother, Lydia, at 38, and myself at 10- she's wearing a fur(ish) coat from the second hand (but she's wearing it well), and I'm wearing a dress that my tia Ruth talked, begged, threatened me into wearing, with a sweater that had seashells on it. They came from a bag of clothing from our church, and I liked the seashells as they reminded me of the ocean I rode my bike to (tomboy to the bone) on my stolen bike. I wasn't going to get a bike any other way, so when I walked by the brand new looking bike on Guerrero (Warrior) street, the Mission, San Francisco, and it was still there ten minutes later, it was mine. To Golden Gate Park, Playland at The Beach, the piers to fish...

When I first saw this photo, I was literally shocked- I always thought I was 'bigger' than my mother at that time. I always thought I was Super Girl and it was my job to save her, so in my mind I was bigger...but the photo proves I only came to her shoulder. I was wearing a dress and she was dressed up in a fur coat because she was playing the piano for the Spanish Speaking Baptist Church on Capp Street, for the morning service. She was a classically trained pianist and she'd played for her father's (Pablo Villanueva) church in East Los Angeles. I remember waking up to the sound of Chopin when I was six years old, her favorite Moonlight Sonata. I would sneak up and watch her because the peace on her face was very rare, and she played the piano before work almost daily until the rented piano was taken away. I remember when they took it away...I wanted to kick the guys in the shins, but my grandmother, Jesus, hung onto me, my mother was crying. My grandmother, mi mamacita, a full blood Yaqui from Sonora, was my real mother, the one who raised me daily, taught me dreaming and to fight for myself. She gave me my first ulu...when I was five my uncle, her brother, was visiting from Mexico, a well known judge in Sonora, and very fat, enormous. He'd begin to sing a song/poem, "Luna, luna, come la tuna...Moon, moon, eat the fig..." and when he did I knew he was looking for me, to tickle me until I screamed and cried. She tried to stop him, telling him to leave me alone, taking me from him...but he continued, I heard him coming, "Luna, luna..." I ran for my tent under the wide table cloth of the dining room table, where my art supplies were, including my blunt baby scissors- when his huge, fat hand reached for me, I stabbed him, drawing blood. He yelled as I ran for mamacita, hiding behind her full skirt- "Give her to me!" he demanded. She refused, to give me to him, saying, "I told you to leave her alone, now you know." (All in Spanish, she never spoke English, ever.) I remember this moment, these words, the awful song, "Luna, Luna..." and I remember her body ever so slightly trembling with laughter, when he said, "She'll be a bruja like you." And he never touched me again...I remember the blood on his hand, the anger on his face. If she had given me to him, I wouldn't be who I am...instead, she gave me my first ulu and I still carry it, and I've used it many times.

In Don Miguel Ruiz' book, 'The Mastery of Love,' he writes..."The normal frequency of humans before domestication is to explore and to enjoy life; we are tuned to love. As children we don't have any definition of love as an abstract concept; we just live love. It's the way we are." (Then he writes about the child being hit for the first time.) "Your reaction might be fear; your reaction might be anger or being shy or just crying. But that reaction is already emotional poison, because the normal reaction before domestication is that your Daddy spanks you and you want to hit him back." When I read this, I fully realized the gift I was given that day mamacita refused to give me to him; she allowed that 'normal reaction' to live in me, my ulu. Later, when I would come in crying from the street that someone hit me, she'd toss me right back out with, "No te dejas...Do not allow it." And when I'd return, having fought back, victorious, I was rewarded with pan dulce, cafe con leche. She saw my life, that she would leave me soon, and that I would need a very sharp ulu.

Perhaps a year before this photo was taken, I had been living with my mother, Lydia, and her second husband...a violent man who drank...she was almost full term with my brother, and her screams woke me up. He was choking her and her screams were not only for herself but for the life she carried- I tried the glass paneled door but he'd locked it. In that moment, 'the wise voice' (that's always feminine, very soft) whispered, "If you don't do something, you will always remember this." And I knew he was going to kill her- so I put my fist through the glass, not a cut, opened the door. He was drunk and insane and her screams shielded me- I picked up his favorite, marble ash tray and brought it down over his head as he kneeled, strangling her. He fell and I remember hoping he was dead with all my heart, all of my intent- she ran to him, "Are you alright, are you alright...' His chest moved, breath. I gathered everything in one bag and left around midnight to catch the buses to my tia Ruth's house, the projects at Candlestick...but her place was always clean and I could sleep on the day bed. There were other times, once more after this...he came flying through our door on Christmas Eve and I perched on the couch next to the door, swooped down, knocking out a tooth with my fist. I ran out the door, came back with the police, he tried to press charges, and they laughed when they saw 'the culprit,' a skinny kid. And so, this is why I thought I was bigger than my mother, Lydia...why I thought I was Super Girl, my ulu.

I remember Lydia at her sister's wedding at the Spanish Speaking Baptist Church on Capp Street, the Mission, San Francisco, down to the basement for alcohol, no dancing... someone tuned in a ranchera on the radio and she grabbed someone's hat, threw it on the floor, laughing, and started to dance around it, and she did a grito, a loud one of sheer joy, I remember. They turned off the music, she stopped dancing, I saw tears fill her eyes but they didn't fall...instead, she laughed with her bright red lipstick mouth, and she danced out the door, her ulu. And I realize the ulu my mother, Lydia, gave me was that desire, that grito, that joy...Just one more dance. She left the body, transformed, at 93 this month of August, and although she wasn't my 'real mother' emotionally/spiritually as mi mamacita was, she was the one who carried me in her womb for nine months, and I imagined she must have danced many times as I floated in those waters, I remember. She became a medical secretary in her forties and she proudly worked for the Navy for years...playing the piano in the officer's lounge. She was a flirt, she was gifted (but not fully manifested...her composition prizes as a teen...her father died early, she had to leave college and work), she was a dancer, and she may have dropped her ulu but she always picked it up. Just one more dance, Lydia...just one more dance, Mom.

My grandmother, a Yaqui curandera/healer, Jesus, gave me my first ulu...her mother, Isidra (also a well known healer in Sonora), gave it to her...Jesus told me her step-father burned the bottom of her feet with live coals when she tried to run away after he beat her. Isidra saw her feet, heard the story, and threw him out. Mamacita said, "My mother married five times, each time a better man," Isidra's ulu. Mi tia Ruth gave me the gift of stories, many family stories that might have been lost...the story teller's ulu. My womb mother, Lydia, gave me her dancing ulu...mi mamacita gave me dreaming and poetry, my mother tongue, poetry. She read me poetry in Spanish and I memorized poetry for church recitals...I watched her dress entirely in black, her long, grey hair to her waist (usually up in a tight knot, under a hat), as she became Death and recited a long, wonderful poem in a voice that carried throughout the church without a microphone, that voice. Poetry.

I carry my ulu because of these three women, and it is sharp, silver, encrusted with rubies, like mi mamacita's favorite earrings, only earrings she ever wore, a gift from her only husband, Pablo. I know how to start a fire, good ones, blazing ones, small ones to cook a meal, fires to warm you through the winter, fires to warm your bones, fires to burn the lies, fires to illuminate beauty, fires to reach the stars, fires to sing around, fires to dance around...just one more dance, Lydia, mom...gracias gracias gracias por mi ulu, it's in my hand as I dance, for all of you. Into the Sixth World...

Friday, August 6, 2010


The sound of a piercing flute announces the knife sharpener on the street, walking quickly, so when you hear the flute have your knives ready, your door unlatched, if you want to catch him walking by so quickly. The sound of a clanging 'dinner bell' announces the garbage truck, sometimes with blaring ranchera music you can dance to the truck with...the garbage guy always greeting me, "Guera!" 'Light skinned one,' I don't mind as long I'm not called 'gringa'...'pocha' is okay, meaning loosely, 'One of us from el otro lado, the other side,' he yells it, "Guuuuueeeeerrrrraaaaa," making me laugh. But most days the beautifully smiling boy from across the street comes running to my door for the bag of garbage, his ten pesos. The music from the gas tank truck, always the same, for those needing new gas tanks- my gas tank's filled by a truck with a smiling green dragon on its side...the truck pulls up, one of the guys runs in my door greeting me, I greeting him, to the roof where my large gas tank is...the guys on the ground wait with the long, black gas hose, while the one on the roof brings out his long rope...the first time I asked what he was doing, he answered in Spanish, "Practicing my lasso with those doggies," laughing. The guy on the street ties the black gas hose to the lasso and the guy on the roof brings it up gas tank is filled while he jokes about lassoing chickens. Everything is done by hand in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico... my hand to his hand, my hand to her hand...'Gracias,' 'De nada'... Fresh vegetables grown on some magical garden, so beautiful, the kind you tend to find in the 'health food stores' in the US for at least four times the price...I pick lettuce, corn, tomatoes, the most lovely broccoli it seems to be laughing, perfect mushrooms, and hand it to the young guy selling it on the street...he places the change directly into my hands, smiling. The chicken broiler next door, broiling pollitos above a tended fire, small onions, jalepenos roasting below, que sabor, what flavor...she always places some onions, jalepenos in my bag of pollitos... everything is placed in a plastic bag, even the FRESH salsa that's for free, tied off in a knot, and nothing spills miraculously. Next door to that pollitos is the immense pot of tamales, layered, all the different flavors...pollito, pork, vegetables, mango, guava...into the plastic bag, her hand to my hand, someone was up all night making these freshest of tamales. Flowers in buckets at the door, choose some for the table, senora, and I do, his hands to my, yellow, violet, white roses...
When I'm in Los Angeles teaching, I always wander to the Venice Boardwalk where people are trying to make that 'hand to hand' connection...maybe a little nutty but I love it, that desire to connect humanly hand to hand...isn't this why we write, us writers/poets, to connect hand to hand with 'perfect strangers,' in our time, in all time. How could I live without el Rumi, Neruda, Plath, Lorca, Colette, Hesse, Lessing and so many (many) tell the stories, write the poemas, pass them on hand to hand, mind to mind, dream to dream, time to time, life to fearless in your trembling before this great task, we're all scared (sacred) before it, but the point is, the challenge is, to do it anyway, you have no choice, as the rose has no choice, but to bloom its RED SELF OPEN LAUGHING... write your 'shitty first draft' (Anne Lamott's chapter, 'Bird by Bird'), but let the red rose bloom, open...dream with eyes open... every childhood secret, dream...
I don't know how to
I don't know how to
be born-
I only
I only
I only
know how
to live-
flash of hummingbird wing,
yellow butterfly slowly,
rose laughing open red,
cactus thorn dancing,
sunlight in love,
moonlight in love,
starlight in love,
rainbow in love,
with earth with earth with earth,
children dreaming their secrets,
grown-ups trying to remember secrets,

the only secret,
the only magic,
the only key,
the only dream,

is to live to live to
live like the rose
laughing open, weeping
open, red.

Laughing, weeping, laughing, open, living always living, hand to hand, wherever you are, into the Sixth World...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Terrible Sweetness

Terrible Sweetness

This morning I spread
mezquite honey from the
countryside of San Miguel,
right from the bees, no

processing, the small
jar filled with sweetness,
a hazy green jewel in

sunlight, while the Israelis
evict the Palestinians from
their family home, an old
Nazi murderer being counted

for his crimes against humanity,
yes humanity, while they arrest
protestors in Arizona for that
outrage ('show me your papers'),

so many stories of sorrow, I could
not read on today, not today, instead
I tasted the green jewel on my
tongue like a toddler, "I like this,

I want more, I want more
sweetness," I want to
follow the migration of
bees, butterflies, the hummingbird's

iridescent wing,
I want to memorize
beauty, I want
beauty to burn her self on

my eye lids, my irises,
I want beauty to stalk my
dreaming, I want her
to enfold me in her

terrible sweetness, I know
the endless work bees do
daily for this pleasure
on my tongue, I want

to imagine the green
jewel is their Cosmos,
the rising Sixth Sun
their God/dess as they create

this endless, this ecstasy,
this beauty, this terrible
sweetness for.
Us. All.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 31 Julio 2010

Today some teens came by the house asking for some pesos to 'cross the border...el otro lado'... teens are lucky to make 100 pesos in a day washing cars, that's under $10usd, which drives them to el otro lado. I gave them 100 pesos, what I had on my kitchen counter, they were so happy, they were so happy, it breaks my heart. I only hope they use it for some tacitos on the streets, a few coca colas, and not to make that death-dealing journey/attempt to reach 'the other side.' Keep them safe, Ixchel...that they may live into the Sixth World.