Obsidian’s Edge 6

10:00 am
Dark is her Shop

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1

I buy two liters of white mescal,
cheap and rough,
without the second brewing:
fire water, not smooth.

Two liters:
she sells them in
an old Coke bottle
she’ll seal with cellophane,
and a rubber band.

Six worms I buy.
Bedraggled fighters
dragging smoky trails
as they plummet
through a yellow sea.

2

In the shop next door
I buy poinsettias.
When I get home,
I put them in a vase
and watch them watching me.

Red poinsettias:
bloodstains scratching
a white-washed wall.

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Misshapen gems
in a ceramic prison,
their beauty
breaks me down:
decimated words,
worlds
born from mescal.

3

The eyes I see
are not eyes
because I see them:
they are eyes because

… twin brown ovals …

they watch me
as they float in a liquid mirror
within the upraised glass.

4

Outside,
beyond the balcony,
sun blood melts
like sealing wax.

The bougainvillea
strains sharp stains
through a lonesome
slice of sunlight
giving birth to
flamboyán and tulipán.

5

My lemon tree
leans over to listen.
Glistening pearls of dew
embellish its morning throat.
Christmas decorations
these postage stamp songbirds
thronging each twitching branch.

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Butterflies,
winged flakes of archaic paint,
flutter from temple walls
leaving them barren and bare.

Church towers,
strong when terra firma shakes,
quiver insubstantial.

Mescal melts the morning:
a quiver of shimmering air.

 

Obsidian’s Edge 5

Obsidian’s Edge 5

9:00 am
Mescal and Memory

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1

Frail old men
huddled under hand-woven blankets
sipping their morning mescal:
each face
a note book seamed with memories.

Crab apples
hastening to autumnal crispness,
their wrinkled faces,
their minds ready to tramp
the snow of today’s blank page.

Unwieldy limbs
bursting back to bloom,
flower by unyielding flower,
they squat in the square
beneath blossoming trees.

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2

Códice
characters lifted from the pages
of their pre-Columbian chronicles
and Mickey-Moused on modern walls:

Ocho Venado
framed on a restaurant menu,
Cuáthemoc
recalled on a hunded peso bill.

Cuáthemoc
has forgotten how to walk
on the burned, broken feet
that Cortés held to the fire.

Ocho Venado,
a king in his own right,
bows and bobs to tourists
in the restaurant that bears his name.

3

Colibri,
an errant, feathered knight,
whirs his wings and charges
at the sun’s twin windmills:
sun-dog ear-rings
tethered to a golden flower.

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4

Sweet flutter-by of yesterday’s butterfly:
Mescal

fragments the memory
holding it bitter between tooth and tongue.

Obsidian’s Edge 3

7:00 am
Breakfast

1

Yesterday,
I sacrificed a chicken.

Unborn,
it lay within its calcium cocoon,
dormant,
a volcano sleeping deep beneath thick snow.

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Tap, tap, tap,
the silver spoon bounced
off the hairless shell:
a sudden crack,
a spurt of orange blood.

Today,
I tap with my silver hammer
on the grateful grapefruit’s paper skull.

Silence.
No movement
within the honeyed
comb of pith and cell.

2

High in the church tower,
a hammer blow falls on an echoing anvil:
the cracked bell lurches into life.

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 Rooster crows his thick rich cocoa rico:
blackened torsos of fire-roasted beans.

3

Squeezed orange, racked by the inquisition,
its pale yellow robe spent and exhausted;
wasted disc of a worn-out, decadent moon.

4

  Naturaleza muerta:
the orange expires on the table.

Still sticky its carcass,
its life blood is a sacrifice:
thick, rich, golden liquid,
as fierce and sweet as
sunshine on a branch.

5

   Tabled motion:
my hand reaches out.
Arthritic fingers clasp,
but cannot hold
the golden glass.

6

The tequila’s wrinkled worm
tickles my fancy.

Grasshoppers
fried in garlic
no longer make me squirm.

7

Two Tigers
rage in my head.

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They crave mescal
at this hour of the day.