Friday, September 10, 2010

poem of the day 09.10.10

the poetry of the mexican day laborers

the poetry of the mexican day laborers
comes through a dusty window that has holes
in the screen
it comes in with summer flies hiding from the autumn wind
as i’m drinking wine at 9:30 in the morning
pretending that i have no place to go
in order to make a dollar

the poetry of the mexican day laborers
is like a jazz scat
they talk in bluesy staccato
banging old hammers against crumbling steps
backing up ancient trucks with corroded engines
and bald tires

they’re polluting the dull silence
fixing the unfixable house, hanging gloomily
across the black street
while i’m trying to get the goddamned radio to work
to ease my soul
before i commit the average man’s suicide

the poetry of the mexican day laborers
is rough like the cancer of a whiskey throat
its black market bootleg music
the clatter of a battalion of woodpeckers
the noise of a week that has yet to sputter and die

i watch the mexican day laborers
through my half open window
i eat the flies and sip on my wine
thinking that i having something over them
by doing this
by drinking wine before 10 a.m.
on a lost thursday in good ol’ america

i feel like a border guard
with a shaky finger on the trigger
but i am just a fat white fool in a wine stained t-shirt
that covers my white belly and my blackened heart

i feel like
the poetry of the mexican day laborers
is too much for me
its happiness too depressing for the new york times
it is the verse of the good man toiling for nothing
but a one way ticket home
it is the sun finally burning out
and the moon wearing out its welcome

it is the laugher of the kind idiot soul
with nothing left to lose
shakespeare with his pants down
and kris marlowe trying to find his good eye
walt whitman given the 14th amendment on his death bed
in order to wipe his ass

the poetry of the mexican day laborers
is a gross distortion of the truth

i can’t listen to it anymore

so i close the window
shut off the radio
sit on a green couch in an orange room
and pour myself another wine

my soul the soul of a common house fly
swimming slowly up the crusted rim
of the cracked and aged glass.


Anonymous said...

I live on the edges of Tampa within a large Mexican labor community. You described them so well. Where others look sideways, I look dead on and just smile.. they live with joy..
another well written piece and your closing stanza is one of tose memorable ones..
You never miss the mark.. I might need to slip you te tequila worm and see if you can not write a good poem.:-)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

This is a beauty, brother.

John Grochalski said...

Lynne...thank you, but i have plenty on bad least that's what the poetry journals keep telling me.
i was actually inspired by one of your poems on gutter eloquence, and today's poem (9/11/10) comes from that inspiration. always, it means a lot. and i forgot to thank you on your blog for that great 19 issa poem disection the other day. great stuff...of course BPL doesn't have the book in question.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Of course ... there is a real balance and strength to this poem ...

Looks like NYPL did get it ... its "ADV Request" whatever that means.


Pat Tillett said...

Great one.
This was a great description of what I've seen and heard also.
I'm really glad I stumbled upon your blog. Good stuff...