In the Cathedral, GDL

     Inside the church the people sit or kneel in silence, or make the sign of the cross in the air before them, in the direction of the altar, which supposedly is built over a tomb containing the remains of former clergymen, including "the mummified heart of renowned Bishop Cabanas."
     I am silent as well, and filled with sadness. The ceiling is impossibly high, the art work overwhelming, everything is garish and holier than thou. I am disgusted, in awe, tearful, respectful, dwarfed. I watch as the devout file through at their leisure, asking of their god...what? I don't want to know.
     In the chapel next to the main church is the "Virgin of Innocence." I go to her, but find only her bones in a glass case. She was 12 years old. She is now nearly 2000. 2000 years in this glass case. I wonder if, like snow white, I might kiss her and wake her and wander the streets of Guadalajara with her on my arm. Through the plazas, the arches, the endless barrios, and out eventually into the hills. But then I think, what do the hills offer us that is more or less than the church she now rests in? What does life offer that is more than death? What could I do besides hold her in my arms as the wind slowly wore away at her, and left me by morning alone.
     I wonder instead if she should not kiss me, and bring me into the glass case with her, to watch as thousands of years of faces and prayers fail to move us.


Elevator Music VIII (para La Banda Oficial de Zapopan)

     PageBoy will be gathering material in Mexico for most of this month. While we continue doing so, please enjoy some music from the suave sounds of La Banda Oficial de Zapopan. Es muy rico!

Domingo En la Gloriata Chapalita

in the park La Banda Oficial
de Zapopan, all thirty some-odd
wind instruments under palms and
baroque gazebo, within the
lazing throngs of dressed up
señores y señoras, abuelos y abuelas,
across whom is pushed a refreshing
breeze by the storm north of town
(lie still dry hills,
                   bosque del pino triste)
en camisas blancas y pantalones negros,
around whom waltz women in
four inch heels with spinning girls
hanging on or laughing chased by
sus hermanos traviosos,
eating ice cream or drinking
jugo de caña or simply spilling both,
este Banda Oficial de Zapopan plays

(Frank Sinatra's Nuevo York Nuevo York!)

and I catch the old woman
sitting on the bench beside me
mouthing the words that are somewhere
in her youth, somewhere in her
dreams, somewhere once where
anything was possible
before she found herself here beside me
alone on the bench, seeing me
                              seeing her
                              she stops singing
and I am one more man who's
caused to end her lovely dreams


En la Terraza

Alejandro Carrillo Etienne

     Twenty things I've realized while discussing language, translation, and poetics with Mexican poet and translator Alejandro Carrillo Etienne on his terazza in Guadalajara, Jalisco evenings:

1) the more sources the better.
2) beware of those who subscribe to a single poetics.
3) the parrots in Guadalajara are very big and mostly green.
4) Ashbery's comment on Gertrude Stein's Stanzas in Meditation that they are a "hymn to possibility" somehow ceases neither to be beautiful, nor haunting.
5) double negatives are confusing in Spanish and in English, and generally not a good idea.
6) do not cross the street in Guadalajara with out looking both ways twice.
7) Mexican poetry is unfairly invisible to most estadounidenses.
8) languages create false borders.
9) Mexican beer is shit but it's better to drink than Mexican water.
10) write.
11) any style (form) is a style (form) of possibility.
12) content is not important.
13) form is not important.
14) citrus flowers in the evening can be overwhelming, it's okay.
15) form and content are everything.
16) chilis are a sacred fruit.
17) you know the music is there and that it will come to you, but you have to be ready for it, you have to do the work. (Philip Glass)
18) all schools in the americas should be bilingual, north and south, except in Portugal where they should be trilingual.
19) the more you read, the more you can draw from.
20) the moon is bigger and fuller in Mexico than it is in the U.S. - that's just true.