Friday, January 22, 2016

Contacts and Layers, Dinner at Cancun Cafe

           “Autoethnography, transculturation, critique, collaboration, bilingualism, mediation, parody, denunciation, imaginary dialogue, vernacular expression -- these are some of the literate arts of the contact zone. Miscomprehension, incomprehension, dead letters, unread masterpieces, absolute heterogeneity of meaning -- these are some of the perils of writing in the contact zone.”

                                                                      —Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone”

Uxmal, I have never visited you. I have not seen first hand your stone pyramids and palaces, nor have I heard near you the whoosh of Yucatecan nor smelled the spicy depths of achiote, a seed that seasons the food of your people. It not only imparts flavor to the meals people eat near you, known also as annatto or bixa it once colored people to make them attractive, to make them social. 

Though you stand stolidly in Yucatan a monument to a once and maybe, your name escaped and I found it on a gray, smoggy, Salt Lake January in a brick building, near the city’s center, with federalist doors and windows. You were in a place called Cancun, as if the resort on the opposite side of Yucatan where blue waters and gleaming, tall hotels meet, where pyramids from Chichen Itza, not you, stand out on the wall.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Desert Sun

Fourth Grade, the old Zach White School, Upper Valley, El Paso, Texas. 

Bored and not happy, this tall and thin eight year old, turning nine, did not know what to do or how to do.  

The school work was easy.  It seldom grabbed my attention. P.E. or any period of recreation terrified. I did not fit. At least in class the terror subsided and I could lose myself in some book, all the while listening to the teacher, a very intense dark-haired man, Mr. Jacobs, who was thin as a Texas dawn. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Fat Drop

I just fell. 

Afterwards, I felt old and helpless. Especially when two twenty-something young men rushed to help me get up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Food So Treacherous

“You won’t like that” insisted the fifty-ish woman in a heavy Chinese accent just after I had ordered the Tiger Skin Peppers.  

“Why won’t I like it?  What is it?”

“Green peppers fried with many vinegars.  You won’t like it.  Perhaps you like the Tofu with Mixed Vegetables.”

Like a little boy I found myself getting stubborn.  “No.  I want the Tiger Skin Peppers.”

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Licensing of Wind

July 2003

The wind started blowing, lifting grit and spinning it into odd shapes in the air before thrusting it against walls and skin. Normally August is the month of winds, but it started in July.  Everyone is talking about it.   The wind makes it feel cold, cold and gritty.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Empanada and Ice Cream

July 2003
We waited.  Knotted around our belongings we huddled against the crowds pouring through the open aired bus station like an end of vacation flood.  Monday morning  all the kids in Bolivia have to be back in school after their winter vacation and we threw ourselves into the current in order to get back to La Paz.  JoaquĆ­n and I had come down early Saturday morning to afternoon the station was heavily congested and every company’s desk had a thick crowd clamoring around it. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monuments in the Valley

July 2003

The city nestled around us like a great big hen beneath the mountains that form this valley.  They circled it, making a three dimensional wall that bends and folds but always keeps the valley locked in like a very large nest.