I took my visiting friend Christine for a ride around the lake and into Michoacan to Petatan, a little town out on a peninsula that is home to dozens of fisheries and a few restaurants where the catch is about as fresh as it can get. Thousands of egrets, gulls, coots and black wing-tipped pelicans float and fly back and forth waiting for fish parts to be tossed into the water. In the restaurant we chose, the day’s special was blackened catfish and as you can see below, Christine enjoyed every moment of hers. A non-fish-lover, I opted for quesadillas and beans! (Please click on the first photo below to increase the size of all photos and to read the captions.)
When I strolled down to the market to buy a piece of fish,
I had no other shopping list. I had no further wish.
Except for some cilantro to stuff into its cavity,
I suffered from no other acquisitional depravity.
But on my way to aisles that simply dealt in fishes,
I stumbled upon vendors selling other tempting dishes.
I bought some chanterelles and then some green tomatoes,
some Michoacan peaches and fingerling potatoes.
I could not resist a table covered with such things
as necklaces and bracelets and pretty silver rings.
I tried on clogs and three-inch heels, then bought their matching purses.
I purchased four used mysteries and then a book of verses.
Baby diapers by the dozen, though I have no kids.
A set of second-hand cookery minus all their lids.
Thank God I found a shopping cart for sale just half way through
or how I would have managed, I have not the slightest clue.
I mounded up my bounty, then turned down the next aisle,
my eyes seeking out treasures, mile after mile.
So by the time I found the fish, my cart was out of room
unless I hung my salmon from the handle of the broom
that stuck way out in front of me like a chivalric lance
wedged in between my brand new Spanx and bras and underpants.
I bought two whole red salmon and suspended them out front,
then turned my shopping cart around to puff and pant and grunt
wheeling it uphill this time now that I had decided
that it was time to take my bounty to where I resided.
An hour later, out of breath, I’d slowed my former pace,
a small parade of alley cats preceding me in space.
Eying my bag of salmon, they leapt onto my cart.
I shooed them off my underwear. I fended off each dart.
I avoided their advances. I matched their yowls and hisses,
grabbed up the broom and battled those felines for my fishes.
While with the other hand I dialed animal control,
I fear my cart got out of hand and it commenced to roll
down the hill that I’d just climbed, shedding pans and Spanx
while cats made off with both my fish, not bothering with thanks.
The rest of all my bounty was lost in its descent.
I do not have a single clue where all my treasures went.
The broom, a silver ring and a new hat upon my head
were all I made it home with. The rest was forfeited.
The cart has a new owner who fills it full of cans.
My Spanx no doubt are holding in other chubby fans.
Those cats are lying somewhere, dozing and replete
from all that lovely salmon that I did not get to eat.
And I have learned my lesson. The next time I need fish
or any other foodstuffs to complete another dish,
I’ll simply dial the grocery store to have it all delivered.
When it comes to the tianguis, I’m freshly lily-livered!
*A tianguis is an open-air market or bazaar selling new and used goods as well as fresh produce, meat and fish that is traditionally held on certain market days in a town or city neighborhood in Mexico and Central America.
For the dVerse Poets prompt, “Market.”
This day, alas, has dawned so hot
I’ve no need to be where I’m not.
I want to spend it where I can
be exposed to ice and fan.
Though I’m in need of countless things:
foodstuffs, videos and rings,
a hairbrush, pens and other stuff,
I do not need them near enough
to venture out into this heat.
I’ll sit here in the catbird seat
at least until the sun goes down,
then venture out into the town.
Our prompt today is to write a poem based on another famous poem. The poem suggested is this one written by Cesar Vallejo and translated by Robert Bly:
Black Stone Lying On A White Stone
I will die in Paris, on a rainy day,
on some day I can already remember.
I will die in Paris–and I don’t step aside–
perhaps on a Thursday, as today is Thursday, in autumn.
It will be a Thursday, because today, Thursday,
setting down these lines, I have put my upper arm bones on
wrong, and never so much as today have I found myself
with all the road ahead of me, alone.
César Vallejo is dead. Everyone beat him
although he never does anything to them;
they beat him hard with a stick and hard also
with a rope. These are the witnesses:
the Thursdays, and the bones of my arms,
the solitude, and the rain, and the roads. . .
This is my version of Vallejo’s self-eulogy:
Slack One Lying On the Cobblestones
I will die in Mexico, on a zany day,
on some day when memory fails me.
I will die under the feet of a burro––as I don’t step aside––
perhaps on market day, as today is market day, in a fall.
It will be a market day because today, market day,
buying new shoes, I have put them on
the wrong feet, and never so much as today do I find myself
having problems negotiating all the cobblestones ahead of me, alone.
Remi is dead. That burro walked on her
although she never did anything to him;
he tromped her hard with his hooves and hard also
with his trailing rope. This is what was left:
her shopping bag, the bones of her dignity,
her bolillos, her new huaraches, and the road. . .
(Note: Remi is my preferred name to be called by friends, although few consent to do so.)