CHRISTMAS IN A SUBURBAN AMERICAN WASTELAND

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Latin America – no, although the demographics are rapidly changing.  America – not according to Latin Americans.  Please do not appropriate what belongs to all. The United States.  The vast land to the north is a great lure for many.  I always thought and hoped that I would cross over by land into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California, pull up a stool at a dusty dive bar on the US side of the border and order a whiskey and a beer.  I later made a land crossing into the United States via a comparatively quiet Chihuahua/New Mexico border point (Palomas/Columbus).  However, my first excursion into the USA was a visa-run flight from Mexico City to Dallas, Texas on Christmas Eve 2011.  I spent a week in Texas, mostly in Austin but the first day (Christmas Day) I wandered around the area of the cheap hotel I was staying at on the outskirts of Dallas.  I added  to the following as each passing hour brought new impetus.  24 hours after arrival it was done.

I

Swoop in and down, austral path

To the corvine tarmac

Just to amble off, tunnel of bridge

Thumb in my prints

Or print in my thumbs (if you like)

Digitised digits, technologically ingrained

Pose for a snap of neutrality (on my part- theirs?)

And keep going on

II

Ineluctable second phase presents, passes

Zipper remains fastened

At the head of the track

Stationary locomotives do not lead carriages to derail

‘Welcome to the United States of America……………..Sir’

III

Then outside

Crisp American air

Oxygenous as ever- larynx accepts

‘You’re staying there?’

Inquire- stand, wait

Voice derisive, mocking in (beneath) contempt

Only- ‘You’ll see’

IV

Corridors up and down

Buckets catching drips, custodial drops

Derision otherwise unfounded, denigration scarcely (wholly un-:) deserved

Luxurious? – Ventured?

I am not an aristocrat

V

‘Twas in my mind

Because long it has been (first point of order)

Thought it’d be nearer

‘Más cerca’ to the Mexican fellahin

Just across- dusty boot kicks

And not in this suburban American wasteland

I acted despite, anyway (order called)

So, sour mash before me

And, to the parallel rights

Perchance, soldiers (off duty)

VI

Even from them (domain of Karzai, how sovereign?)

Little acts, daily acts

Barbed wire breach

They repeat (common parlance here)

Stupid, futile, stupid, futile

And so it is, the sum and parts

Decimals- too many noughts, fractions-improper

Making up the whole enormity-

Bellicose stupidity, bellicose futility

But is that any wonder?

VII

America is one great vast diner

America is a hamburger with perfectly melted cheese

America is apple pie – flaky, buttery crust

America is an endless fountain of streaming torrents of coffee

It’s all this

It’s none of this

It’s just a preamble anyway

VIII

Drift, wander, meander, oscillate, vacillate

Cuspate, teetering, brink

Final conscious thought, straw back camel

Darkness, Blankness

Nothing elapses temporal flow quite like…

IX

Miraculous man, ceded, yielded to the globe

Oh bearded one!

Rub some pumice- across your rough soles

Smooth duping, rejoice faithful souls!

X

Lobby time blues

Let’s make these times to remember (original plan)

How many fluids can the body secrete?  Eject?

Pleading his case, vomitus erasure, maid, renewal, please

Spousal entrance, surly times two

‘But yesterday they were knocking on our door at half past eight’

‘It’s already high noon!’

Son boy innocently bounces ball

Just to be Christmas crushed, put down to the size of a midget

Which is his height anyway

‘I’m not in the mood!’ (Curt father)

XI

He’s just there anyway, clueless, cerebral void

Like he’d been told to give up his turkey dinner

Forgo his pumpkin pie

To man that desk for the first time ever

And that’s all he seems to be able to do

(Physically man that desk)

XII

Strip malls, chain stores

Broadness, hugeness, spatial magnitude

Lionlike- traffic roars, Christmas dinners wait

Only Dulled by traffic light red

Scrawled cardboard empty voices cry instead

From ragged signs in ragged hands, ragged faces

‘Broke, hungry, out of supplies’

“Visions of a cheeseburger’ 

Another American face, zeitgeist anti(?)-zenith

XIII

Mart time is a dollar and eight for a steaming cup of pure dark joy

Fumbling for the eight, obstructive remnant peso coins

Pulling pennies from the veterans’ kitty – It’s okay, it’s Christmas

But some portion of a tin of beans absent

Lost from the larder of a man of Nam

Food off his plate (never to arrive)

XIV

Under a cold and bare tree

Steely sky of grey

A bowling alley sign looms, beckons

With dreams and illusions (delusions)

That I would roll up a score

Despite being a decade near off a scene I was never on.

XV

If you ask me how much it costs to see a film at a cinema in suburban America

I will say ‘one twenty-five’

One dollar and twenty-five measly pennies of cents

A vast refuge from the cold

So I requested the schedule to have the customer by my side say

‘There’s a number you can call’

‘But I’m already here’

The Ides of March

XVI

Rolled and rolled, slide-slid, vertical varnished planks

Abstract hope to muster two hundred up

So on and on, crippled wrist, callused thumb

For one eight one

Jesus

Fuck

Christ

Fuck

Mary-Christmas

Who cares?

 

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