A Pulga in Alamo
What thoughts I had of you this afternoon,
Allen Ginsberg, as I strolled through the stalls
of la pulga in Alamo, thirsty for shade, a sip
of coke from a glass bottle, shopping for images
and inspiration, hoping for a glimpse of holiness
on the shine of a bruised tomato, in the penumbras
of split papayas. Who built this shrine to life
where abuelitas barter for cilantro plants
that bound from plastic manteca containers.
Nietos, palms outstretched for dulces smile
and their teeth shine silver. Fathers wear cowboy boots
and jeans, grip belt buckles, hold high their chins
while babies ride on their mother's hips
and toddler's grab a tia's hand, scream with songs
of pirated cds, as loud as Texas sun.
I found Neruda was there, in the nose
of the mutt,in the smell of burning mesquite
and carnitas. Whitman, too, was stroking
his beard in a mixture of bewilderment and awe
at the tiny leaves of grass, the struggle
to survive in spite of all these chancla'd feet.
Where have you wandered off to, Allen?
Which way did your lips take you?
Did you taste the aguas frescas yet?
The cantaloupe is sweet, a grocery boy's
kiss in spring. I'll follow the sound
of cumbias to where Charon's ferry
wrecked along the river's muddy banks,
just in time before he met that final destination
the gulf's frothing mouth of forgetfulness.
Eh. I want to play with this some more. I want to intermix more images of holiness, but I need to think about what holiness can look like, aside from a virgen figurine and a half-burnt candle.