James A. Hawley
Almuerzo en San Miguel
 
 
 Rain Dog watches the parade of Estonians & yahoos
Wobble by from his perch atop raspberry sherbet walls
 
Of the pharmacy & tiendas arrayed along the Rue
De la Fin de Siècle. One of a pair of twins
 
(The other being Pye-Dog) is considered the son
Of lightning: the twins themselves are known
 
As children of the sky, thigh-born kin of the moon’s
Light at dusk & are rumored to be buried near the edge
 
Of a turgid lake on a regular basis. Next up
A line of churrigueresque scuppers presented
 
As the nahualli of the more favored
Aztec gods: monkey, jaguar, coyotl;
 
Dog, snake, eagle, owl, coati & squirrel.
Some are carved with bared teeth, ears laid
 
Back against stone-grey skulls –
Foedus, pithekos, bhayate. Remnants of recent
 
Rains & last week’s blogs drip from the worn
& scoured mouths onto the sidewalks below
 
To the sound of a violin vibrato. Geckoes
Fardel or spiral on mottled ginkgoes
 
(But where are they?) & there must be some
Jacarandas hanging around somewhere, maybe
 
Standing next to the mimosas which reside
Cheek to jowl with half-full bottles of Modelo
 
& Carta Blanca on a white-clothed table
Where troubadors & anciennes remark
 
& quibble over the most fantastic menu
Ever offered south of the Rio Grande.
 
“Is this the prix fixe,” the Posologist asks.
“This is not a boxing ring,” & the mesero
 
Suggests, to start, a Conquestial sangria
Or perhaps a nice Wish-You-Were-Here white
 
Accompanied by the speciality of the house:
Sea grubs, sautéed in garlic & whine sauce con
 
Limón & aggravation. The chef would like
To recommend a tureen of flea bisque paired
 
With huachinango al paparazzi. We too have
A “Spectral Chicken of the House,” “Sliced Filet
 
Of Peas” & “Somersaults for the Queen,” or Forked
Lengua Ohuiotl. Tal vez messieur would prefer
 
The “Veal Tavernman,” “a nice gin fish”
Or “Youn’ Pigeon served in its own ectoplasm”
 
With a side of Inarticulate Jargon or Improbable
Argot, followed by a fine syllabub or two & a Cuerpo
 
Especial on the tracks to complete the meal.
“Too much ain’t enough!” the Texan ex-pat
 
Declaims as he raises his horseshoe to the sky
& fills it with Lone Star. Two Finnish
 
Visitors –goggled to ski & sled– have come
To view paintings of conquest & depredations
 
Muralled on the post office walls
In tinctures resembling adobe
 
Sanskrit, Akkadian sandstone & ziggurat
Blue. Of particular interest are the works
 
Of Miguel Antonio Martinez de Pocasangre 
& the outlying architecture which exhibits
 
“An exceptional example of the exchange between
European & Latin American cultures.” Tonight–
 
As advertised on posters plastered to the walls
Of the shoppes of artisans & phone poles– musica
 
De camera al fresco featuring gudok, nay, gusla
Orpharion & tambour with an Olmec interlude
 
& a Diné choir from Tucumcari, terpsichoric;
Euterpean. Then the rest appear. They wish
 
To join you & your out-of-town guests at the clean
White table well-lit by the glare of the Aztec sun
 
Along with the jugglers & the clowns. Their
Timing is impeccable. Foray & phlox
 
Abound as the tabletops wander off leaving
Behind their legs & white shrouds.




Notes to the Poem
 
 Lines 38-42: For the “menu” see Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947, p.291.
 
Lines 57- 58: For the complete citation, see http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/451