Patching a Bridge to Climb into this Place of Fire, Dream, La Gente

for Lisa

to say it’s holy means
hands held toward the sun
corn lifts ancient stories
the hard stalk of cane sketches
men and women’s lines etching
eyes, markets like a heart held
high, dogs and cats holy too
they kneel to food, seeds, even
roasted scorpions, but you rejoice
fish out of water, sort of
Mexico of old, the new, the plastic

you are baptized again and again,
shadow and light, hues and colors
of fruit and vegetables, the walls
we touch, barricades against
flagging lives stuck in America
El Norte, where a plague of racists
leave smudge and oil skeletons behind

here you are happy, I can tell
even in the face of poverty, desiccated
horses, feral children, you are engaged
elixir is real, held in volcanic peaks
shadows, silver and clay, flower
and mescal, you come out
of metal shell

fold into the soft corn of women
push and pull kernels
you amaze people, engulfed
in the flow of things
broken down Mexico
pure soul in sounds
even under clouds of ozone
you find a new place
roots pulsate on cobble
reach any crack for soil

you are remade daily, there
each sun lifts new vision
scales drop from your eyes
you sew a thread of family
mounted on horse, in home
stitching time, mending history

oh you are free for a while
moments rejoiced in the riot
the carnival, the riot which is life
vida y Mexico, your sisters hold
court, await your return
as you sink into the ether
slowly realizing life is south
everything north is now dead

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Cuernavaca, Municipal Museum 

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.