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Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Border



The same dream badpennyish in its persistence,
returning once or twice a decade, thirty years now:
the dark quiet sea along the sandy shores of Veracruz
where the exhausted gulf flings itself on the beach
with a flash of scales, heaving up like a suicidal fish
viewed without interest by loose aggregations of
false hidalgos, who, stripped to the waist,
conduct idle and fractious dialogues beneath

File:Tlacotalpan 2.jpg

the moonlit palms, pausing now and then to duel
with knives. Bodies flop to the sand, a sound unheard
but by the beach crabs scuttling upon their night rounds.
Beyond, smoke partially obscures a bridge of timbers
from beneath which a group of vagrants emerges
to put on a show for the rich: The Beggar's Opera.
A local pimp plays a highwayman in filthy
scarlet coat and muddied boots, daubing
his lips every few minutes from a small opium
cache kept discreetly in a wooden cigarette box.

On The Road by raworth.

Tinny brass strains accent the desultory action,
lent a dissonant lilt by offkey string chords,
searching the shadows of the overarching piers
one makes out dimly the source of this raucous noise,
the musicians a band of ruffians in severe and formal
dark suits, their eyesockets hollowed out,
their movements jerking and mechanical,


demented schizoid ragdolls armed
with dented trumpets, clarinet, guitar,
concertina, violin, instruments they wield
more like weapons, bickering among themselves
even as they play, and with bloodshot glances
threatening as well to attack the audience
at any time. Leaving the show behind one wanders


through semi-deserted narrow streets of long
low buildings, gradually losing one's way in
a labyrinth of turnings and returnings, coming
finally to stand under the shelter of an arcade;
suspended skyways crisscross the night beyond,
vanishing into gray-brown obscurity;
above, a hazy neon image blinking on and off
signals Frontera Frontera Frontera...

Lanchas tipicas de la ciudad de Tuxpan, Veracruz: photo by Pacomexico, 2008
Tlacotalpan, Veracruz: photo by Atuszka, 2007
On the road, Mexico (22.11.09): photo by Tom Raworth, 2009
Tlacotalpan, Veracruz: photo by Hajor, 2002
Coatepec, Veracruz: photo by Bernardo García Alonso, 1993
Blue Moon (Buenos Aires): photo by blmurch, 1.1.10


Anonymous said...

complete and utter devastating beauty: miraculous.

and yes: the vultures
flutter: rapid variation of signal

aerodynamic free vibration
grounds jet aircrafts
but your beaming birds know better

now, excuse me, i need to go back for more of those words you left here.

Melissa said...

the labyrinth of turnings and returnings
is the obscurity I long for, a blue moon winking

human being said...


this dream
a rainbow of images and metaphors
is a death wish
not putting an end to everything
to say, now all is finished

it's a yearning
to leave behind the present
and walk into
another presence

summoning the will
to pass through
the border


J said...

loose aggregations of
false hidalgos

Muy bien. Ah yess I'm acquainted with those vatos.

Mr. Clark--after checking a bit of material online, I note that you,like Dorn, were one of the few who opposed the Guru crew, back in boulderberg. Wild.

We were a bit late to the par-tay (like mid 80s), but...what kicks eh--at one point Rinpoche whatever had Merwin or something, and his schicksa strip, and screw in front of a crowd of beatskis?? Heh heh. And other phunn stuff. Was that little insufferable born-again xtian Kirby O. involved?? (now trying to peddle his Corso connections, like 24-7). Kirby O., former boodhist c**ksucker and beat-poet wannabe, now preachin' the gospel...

I saw that crazy broad Waldmann around B-town on occasion (tho' I grant she--and even beatskis--did not lack courage of a sort). She was a walking argument against the petite-boojwah counterculture.

TC said...

Thank you everyone.

I am now walking into another presence as I head for the Border.

Once in a blue moon.

(No, J, I think KO was not a participant in but a later rubbernecker upon those notorious fleshtivities.)

J said...

OK (scuzi the scandal-mongering).

Was Silliman in B-town as well? Looks awfully familiar--or I'm mistaking him for a transient on the b-mall or something. Either way, he's down with the boobooists.

leigh tuplin said...

Again Tom, images abound to sit in and walk/run with. Like getting lost in the treasured side streets of an unfamiliar city. Wonderful.

~otto~ said...

What a journey you took me on. "where the exhausted gulf flings itself on the beach" oh yes. And I once had a suicidal fish. Found it dried up behind a dresser.

human being said...


the important thing is that once in a blue moon is not never...

Tom... you were on my mind when writing something here: (at the bottom of the comments)

just wanted to thank you once more...

TC said...


Not sure what picture you are looking at, but my guess would be that RS is probably not in it.


Yes, that's exactly the feeling I had with this one -- lost. Though those vacant side streets were perhaps less treasured than menacing. An obscure labyrinth of turnings and returnings, as the always sensitive Melissa so perfectly puts it. (Later I thought of the film Touch of Evil.)


That's the kind of discovery I too find myself making, all too often. There are times when it feels all of this too long life is forgotten, dried up, abandoned and probably wedged behind the dresser. Some nights I feel I can almost smell it.


That quantum entanglement may be forever. One hopes so, at any rate.

gamefaced said...

very yes.