Friday, May 28, 2004

Fuzzy Day and Romance - Oaxaca City

Today was Fuzzy Day at Gigante. A fuzzy purple muff surrounded the monitor in the bag check stand and a matching fuzzy, purple sleeve covered the long neck of the microphone used to broadcast shopping specials. In spite of the heat, all the cashiers were wearing fuzzy, red vests. I probably missed other fuzzy delights but we weren’t in the supermarket very long. The only reason we were there at all was that we went to the open-air market with Lolita. She goes every Tuesday and Friday. We also went with her last Friday. You have to get there early because things are picked over pretty fast. Lolita always throws in the Gigante for good measure and we just follow along. It’s a good system. In a mere hour and a half and a few pesos, she gets days worth of fruit and vegetables plus takes advantage of the store specials and is back home before it gets too hot. And again, the bus ride was delightful. Last week a blind, off-key musician passionately serenaded the bus for a block then took up a collection and disembarked. I think most people paid just happy to be rid of him. This week’s entertainment was a fat, middle-aged woman in high heals and white stretch pants that revealed the dimples in her meaty backside. Her blouse was the best part of the ensemble. It was a brilliant pink little number made of a flimsy, cheesecloth type material. It had a gathered scooped neck so its thin, soft folds lay obediently in the ravine between her very round, large breasts, frothed gaily around the rest of her but was sensibly anchored on the bottom by pink satin ribbon. It defined creamy romance.

I realize I risk being accused of racial stereotyping here but I'm going to say it anyway. As far as I can tell Mexicans love (among other things) martyrs, revolutions, holidays, parades, fireworks, clowns, glitz, glamour, food, drink and noise. But most of all, it seems they love romance. Or at least the teenagers do. That’s no surprise of course, but this is a Catholic country with old world values. Courtship is supposed to be governed by strict rules. The result is whenever they get away from scrutiny they nuzzle; to and from school, church and work, on every street, in every park, on bridges, benches, propped against trees, cars and walls, down alleys, at bus stops, on busses and highway dividers, in stores, restaurants and parking lots they are layered and twisted together, melted in their combined heat. I left out a lot of locations but you’d safe imagining them just about anywhere, entwined like creepers, cooing like doves, picking through each other eyebrows like monkeys. Sometimes I feel like chuckling lewdly and muttering, “Hey, get a room, for Christ’s sake and ours” but I don´t know Spanish well enough to sound cool and besides, I’m trying to act more mature these days. However, if you think mine is a heartless overreaction, come and see for yourself.

According to The Church, marriage is the only proper place for expression of such passion and consequently, wedding shops abound in Mexico. Some streets have several in a row. Mannequins wearing formal white, lace and bejeweled gowns, surrounded by their inert little bridesmaids, crowd the store windows, a testimony to The State of Holy Matrimony. Everyone knows that even The Virgin herself reveres The Bride. If a girl can’t be a saint or a nun, the next best thing is being a wife. In this light, the pink blouse is both promise and proof that, one way or another, you can have it all.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Roller Skate Skinny

I just stumbled on a great blog, Roller Skate Skinny. It´s fresh, honest, intelligent, real and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Do yourself a favor and check it out, oh and leave a comment. Everybody likes a nod of encouragement now and then and this girl certainly deserves one.

Sunday night

Still in Oaxaca. I´m in the process of getting some dental work done that I can´t afford in the states. Ever since we crossed the border, I´ve been working on a new poem called the Book of Images. It´s not done and will undoubtedly change ten thousand times more but tomorrow night I´m going to read a couple of excerpts from it at a write´s group that meets here once a month. I hear things differently when other people are listening.