Groucho Said It Best

you could be mistaking swollen catfish for
deflated football, commiserating about
Groucho Marx in a hot Texas border town

if the evens go north to south
and the odds go east to west
then I-2 is the end of the road

sits a big fat catfish dryin’ in the scrub
lookin’ just so like you could’a set ‘im
down in the water an’ he’d’a swam away

kickin’ up corn husks amid grasshoppers
on the frontage road with trailers draped
with sheriff candidates in tan galon hats

as Mendez Mobile Trailer Washout truck
circles the self-storage parking lot swish
swishin’ agua in the tank shimmers in the

eyes of parched truckers commiserating about Groucho: “here’s to our girlfriends and wives
… may they never find out about each other”

if the evens go north to swish swish swish
and the odds go east to west swish swish
then there will never be anything past I-2

35 North: Dallas Texas. Dollars Taxes.
Groucho said it best: littering tamale husks
plastic wrappers and catfish alike. whatever

it is
I’m against
it

Advertisements

Bottle Tree, Taqueria

IMG-20190113-WA0021
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?

IMG-20190113-WA0043 (1)

What Happened in El Paso

IMG_20190616_162336

The Texas-Mexico Border.

He said, “Mejor que haya un loco y no dos. Better only one crazy. That’s why I don’t argue.”

There is a longer version of Marty Robbins’ 1959 “El Paso”. In 1966 he wrote and recorded “Feleena (From El Paso)”, which tells the back story of the Mexican woman from the earlier song. It also tells us what happens after the narrator of “El Paso” fell dead with a kiss, shot through by the avengers of the rival whom he gunned down. It says this:

“Quickly she grabbed for, the six-gun that he wore
And screamin’ in anger and placin’ the gun to her breast
Bury us both deep and maybe we’ll find peace
And pullin’ the trigger, she fell ‘cross the dead cowboy’s chest.”

The man said, “Mejor que haya un loco y no dos.” I tapped my lips with my finger. I asked, “How do you… learn?”

I overheard a broad-shouldered man from a Nuevo Laredo maquiladora border factory speaking to a red-haired logistics coordinator in Laredo. “We work and we work and we work,” he said, leaning forward to her, “and when do we live?” She took his hand. “Now. Mejor que haya dos locos y no uno. Let’s live.”

Trabajamos y trabajamos. Until, like the cars lined up behind the international bridge, we go to shop and shop. But you wouldn’t know that, not from the New York Post: “Texas oasis of wealth and luxury thrives on trafficking near border”. Too conservative? Try the Texas Standard: “Corruption From Drug Money Is A ‘Subtle, Almost Invisible Thing’ In The Rio Grande Valley”.

The logistics coordinator asked the maquiladorista, “How much of this commercial paradise is dirty money? The Maseratis? The Rolexes?” There is no way to know. When the cartel boss can become a saint like Jesús Malverde, then how can you know? What are the maquiladoristas? Malinchistas? What of it when the narcotics feed more mouths than anything else? When the cartel protects more than the police? When the anti-cartel becomes the new cartel? And then you tell me where the line in the sand is supposed to be found.

The man said, “Mejor que haya un loco y no dos.” And I felt in that moment that he had me at gunpoint.

The worker from Nuevo Laredo shared an image on Facebook. It had photos of indigenous people from across the Americas, and below that it said:
Así son los americanos los demás son inmigrantes.
Thus are Americans, the others are immigrants.

“And where are you?” He couldn’t answer. “How does that help?” asked the logistics coordinator, “You think the white supremacist is unaware of the history? You think they haven’t been told a million times that they’re too white to be American? Not the calculated white supremacists in the boardrooms, I mean their proxies doing the labor for them, the proxies doing the labor and the racism for them.”

The man said, “Mejor que haya un loco y no dos.”

The worker from Nuevo Laredo quoted Benito Juárez:
“el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz”
“respect for the rights of others is peace”
But that did not apply to the situation.

There are laws of the hacienda
There are laws of the plantation

“AMLO? A Mexican Trump. Attacking journalists…”
“Maybe that’s what we need!”
“Every country on earth is acquiring one. Exaggerated national caricatures making a mockery of elected offices while pushing through the bitter pills that will keep the neo-liberal system alive.”

The man said, “Mejor que haya un loco y no dos. It was something my mother used to say. She said it when the men argued politics which never resulted in anything but an execution.” I asked, “But then how do you learn?” He promptly unfollowed and blocked me.

A hollow wind blows through me tonight. The Mexican Foreign Minister says he will sue my government for not protecting his fellow citizens. I ask you, though, who is accountable for not protecting you and I? Are we our government? Are we our government anymore?

And on I-35 from Dallas the assassin drove past the billboard advertising a Texas relocation agency for conservatives which reads: “California Too Late, Texas Still Great”. It reads: “”Mejor que haya un loco y no dos.”

“One little kiss and Feleena, goodbye.” What were you doing at Rosa’s Cantina? What were you doing out on the trail? Trabajamos y trabajamos. We work and we work. And when do we live?

Too often when it is too late.