Inspired by Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems From the Japanese, I’ll tell part one of my México City visit in a similar form. I begin, however, with one from the Rexroth collection:
I have always known
That at last I would
Take this road, but yesterday
I did not know that it would be today.
-Narihira (9th century)
The Houston sunset from 10,000 feet
and I’m thinking about California fires
hoping my family out west is not in harm’s way.
More than twenty million people will soon be asleep.
But for now, they work, commute, buy groceries, plan dinner.
Not one person awaits my arrival.
I cancel my Airbnb because the house smells like cat and
wet dog. I can’t stop sneezing. The baño has an eerie red light.
Also, the bedroom door only barely opens.
Espresso at my favorite spots in Mexico City:
Cardinal Casa de Café, Quentín, Panadería Rosetta.
Everywhere I look, beauty and art.
I nearly bail on María and Skanda who plan to meet me
at Palacio de Bellas Artes. But I don’t, and what happens
will forever be on my list of most favorite things.
In your hands we entrust your spirit and
We are with the families of the telephone operators
who died here. Terremoto: 19 September 2017.
I take the Metro to historic downtown, wander and find
the tattoo shop, Sigue Sigue Sputnik. The artist, Trevore Valensuela,
decorates me with a wasp and red-tailed hawk.
I follow the smell of peaches to drooping flowers
and take them as a hint to keep looking for a place
to eat lunch. I soon find a divine (vegan) Japanese restaurant.
Bathroom artwork, text theme. What would you
do to me in the bathroom? I wonder if I am supposed
to fill it in? I don’t, because I can’t decide what to write.
I am alone. But this is not to be mistaken for lonely.
For the first time in a long, long time I feel handsome. Lean.
Everyday I write more of my novel. I fit in. I eat churros by myself.
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