Un norteamericano perdió la vida

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Un norteamericano perdió la vida

Tamaulipas.
A doctor, US citizen, killed
in his car while in line to cross
the river back to Texas after coming
to Reynosa to wish his family a Merry
Christmas. In line, where, on the US
side, you can’t fart without it being
clandestinely analyzed
4 ways from Thursday.

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

Then the dog starts barking.
It’s “the man”, you know, the one
you pay every Monday. The one who
would clearly be far too incompetent
to even protect Kansas from a tsunami.
Time to pay him his wage for
“protecting” your house. Then a pop,

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

and you wait to hear if the
helicopters come this time…

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

If they do then you avoid the
windows. Cartels may abduct you
on the street, but only Federales
can shoot you in your house.
Cartels can blow up the Walmart,
but only los tránsitos can take
a bribe or give a ticket for going
the wrong way
down an unmarked
one-way
road.

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

You may be between
the US and Mexico,
but that’s not the half of it.
You mostly only feel between
the state and the crime.
To be safe, you give both
their due. You pay for municipal
garbage collection that never
comes, and you pay the mule-drawn
garbage cart that actually does.
You pay for the police and you
pay for the “protection”. And
when the next one breaks in, both
Smith and Wesson are gonna
get their share.

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

A hushed rumor, a tremor. A gringo.
A gasp and fall that doesn’t splash
doesn’t upset the surface, doesn’t
wake the bloated Honduran family
face down in the water two days,
nor hydrate the Nicaraguan bones.
The news, it says it
the man with the live feed pointed
at the corpse on the road said it,
the Mexican mayor living in Texas and
the dead man’s family
on both sides of the river,
they all said it, too:

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

Un norteamericano perdió la vida

Salty Cross

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About an hour east of Salina Cruz
on the Pacific Gulf of Tehuantepec
down the peninsular that ends
at the mouth of the Laguna Superior
in about 650 square meters:
Santa María del Mar,
fourteen kilometers down the road
from San Mateo del Mar.

María, isolated, cut off,
no electricity, no fresh water,
no road out, no teachers in,
no police, no military;
The sadistic mateyanos
blocked the road, cut the
lines. Snip. Slap. Sizzle.
And a grito or a glare.
You could imagine either.

You could imagine Mateo sipping
on alternating currents,
corralling together trucks
full of Peñafiel and Bimbo,
Seguridad Regional. The
Apostle sat atop the
diverted riches of the
Virgin. And the sea, of course.

It’s an agrarian dispute.
A fight over salt fields.
A salty cross to bear,
the two saints of the sea,
the one with its hands ever
tightening, waiting for the
last quake, for the tide pools
to exhale, or for the maldito
mar to wash away the
bruises of brothers.

Bottle Tree, Taqueria

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San Antonio.

Some people know what tacos are, others know what bottle trees are. Some people go to Texas, others go to Hell.

Charlie Pride sings by the taqueria with the bottle tree: Is anybody goin’ to San Antone? You may all go to Hell.

The woman with the Spanish accent intones the words of Davy Crockett printed on a shirt: “You may all go to Hell, I’ll go to Texas.”

Upstairs in the antique mall there’s an original pressing of Riley Puckett, “Dear Old Dixieland”.

The Indian man wants to sell a hat. Resistol or Stetson. He wants to sell a boot or two. Justin or Ariat or something made in Mexico.

Then outside of the taqueria there is a bottle tree, although some folks wouldn’t know tacos and the rest wouldn’t know bottle trees.

So far from Africa, so close to Tenochtitlan. So many folks on their way to Hell. Is anybody goin’ to San Antone?

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