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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

mexican home

on a trip to puerto nuevo
we stopped as we always did
at ortega’s
where the gringos ate lobster
and drank much beer
and bragged to their friends
that they’d been there

a place where somehow
we could feed our illusions
of living in the subtropics
on little or no money
coexist with
its indigenes
in the slow motion culture
our frenzied american minds
longed for

leaving the car
i saw a girl
pouring a great deal
of cheap shampoo
directly on her head
her long black hair
lathered up in a clump

her sopping pink shift
clinging to a little girl’s body
on the verge of womanhood
conspicuous garden hose
lain on the ground
running cold water in a river
down the lawnless yard

then she scooped up suds
in great handfuls
and applied them to her dress
and her arms
ingeniously and efficiently
laundering her clothes and her body
the sudsy whiteness
in contrast
with the brownness
of rounded plump face
and muddied feet

without worry
or shame
she stood in prosaic disregard
of the patrons’ comings and goings
at the busy tourista’s icon
next door
it was laundry
and hair washing day
after all

i felt akin to her
and gave her a name
dotie the brazen little Mexican girl
teaching me much
about audacity
taking care of one’s needs
can spurn our vanities
if we will let it

in a moment
dotie rinses herself
in a flood from the hose
then stands stiff
like a scarecrow
wet and shivering
arms wide to help her drip and drain
with the look of
a deep chill
on her face
in the shadow of her home
on a late afternoon in august


  1. Grand, just grand. I love how you single out the simplest of human moments to write about.

  2. Thank you kmr for your kind words. You have pegged me correctly. I find the simplest human elements keep me closest to the reality of life, which is where true poetry is.

  3. I agree with kmr and repeat my statement on the Old Woman in a Walker post!
    Its a great talent to capture the innocence of a moment like that or the stiffness and slow determination of the old woman.
    Go, Michael!