Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A world apart...

Trappings of the Rio Grande Valley, NM
There are autos.
They scream about the traffic-pocked asphalt, scattering miniature sand dunes whence they came.
Drivers .. phones squawk that beautiful edifice of nearly five hundred years' history -- that syncretism – paying little attention to the mire of open range. Survivors pen obituaries – "in loving memory of" – but scornfully ignore the hoofed commodity, although her death was much slower, from lack of water and exposed bone.
There is a romantic sense of insignificance.
And the sage rustles when the wind calls. Storm clouds abruptly smother the sun, as if god finds some time to acknowledge this place . . . damningly shaking a lightning bolt finger.
Angels must live somewhere north, in the scrub pine forests. And hell must be somewhere south of Santa Fe. Purgatory is only significant to those riding the fence.
There is a disproportionate proneness to sociopathy.
Las aguas sucias del rio cannot carry it all away; it slows at conjunction with the arroyos of the flats. Somewhere in this unholy matrimony, poets find praise . . .
I smell sewage.
The green belt (a rarely exercised forethought) commands the floodwaters of the monsoon season – the blood of the Pueblo peoples, the tears of god herself. Yet, still, they fail to wash away what has been built here. Like a reflection of the night sky stored in sand, the day reveals stars of broken glass glistening. And the plastic syringe caps and torn t-shirt sleeves, knotted at an arm's circumference, act like satellites beaming the ailing condition to astute observers from more pleasant planets. But we quickly turn the channel.
There is a legacy of exploitation.
But is that any different than all the other legacies of written, or even human, history? The Spanish sought riches, their intentions slyly hidden behind a crucifix. Coronado did not find Eldorado. He found dolores. The Mexicans were preoccupied with maintaining their new state and unwilling to set aside the libertarian values with which Americans were quick to dispense with erections pointed toward the gold fields. The Hispanic era is no doubt visible.
And then came the bomb, in its simple package. No security door can keep the junkies contained to their huddled shanties. Like lions starved at the Coliseum, salivating for the Corinthians to be speared forward, an entire economy is so cast. The hungry war giants seek to rape these people (as the first Anglo-Americans defiled the Pueblo) at the consenting spear of national defense. And we, away on our greener planets, may gape our eyes, but we unclasped the lion's chain.
There is a sociological cost.
Neighbors lock their doors. The afternoon sun casts stripes across the stone floors, through bars to keep them in. A dozen cars clog the driveway, but they use stamps, not cash. Children learn the names of the uniformed police guarding the exits from the instituted program of indentured servitude. To graduate, they must evaluate a piece of paper. Nombre y apellido. Horas quieres trabajar. Usas drogas? They tear it to scraps, but can't get past their empty future here. Like the sage, they are destined to watch time pass from the roadside.
Everyone in the ergonomic chairs raised above the podium at city hall share names with everyone on staff. There is an ethics committee, but no one knows who sits on it. The newest policeman, who seems to be the only afforded expense, has been accused of gang rape in his teens, probably not a problem down at the station. It is a lesser demon . . . and it's not threatening outside of the closet. 
There is an awful simplicity.
Grasshoppers scurry into the shade of grass leaves as a car lazily meanders to the Wal-Mart, the northward destination of a weekend cruise that comes full circle from its apogee at the Sonic Burger. As the river wanders on a strictly southwestward path, so do the minds of the townspeople. The pine pole fences hide a truth. The adobe huts house another. The red ants mine mounds to mark their territory, while teenagers seek the same from the tips of aerosol spray cans. Lost in this desert, no spiritual sustenance abounds. 
[23 AUG 08]

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