The toughest guy on the street sells frilly pink socks for infant girls

 My neighbour doesn’t smoke weed anymore

 In the inky dawn a mariachi blows his trumpet across the sky

 It floats to the doorstep, where he now sniffs solvents, all night blank

 The same sad señora pushes her little pile of carnitas across the griddle with a spatula

 Day after day after day.

 People ask, “Why do you live there?”

 And say, “It’s so dangerous!”

 “Aren’t the rents high?”

 Sometimes make suggestions of supposedly more amiable neighbourhoods

 Where many foreigners live

 Or far-flung reaches of the District or Mexico State

 Where rents can be had for a pittance.

  Dank mattresses lie on shady corners, fraternal indigent homes

 Walk around to avoid the maguey stench and across to the peripheries of the Alameda

 Where old men have no wives but

 They have chess

 And a jaded Mick Jagger look-a-like

 Has cars to wash in a parking lot on Cuba Street

For coins that keep him out of the January cold.

I want to be immersed, engulfed, lost and found in swallowed anonymity

But usually I just say that I like it and that

The rents aren’t so bad in the centre of

The navel of the moon.


Peter W Davies

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