Grant Handgis ~ Author/Poet

February 1, 2015

from "Living On Dreams"

Switching titles

 

It is not so hot today

with the clouds partitioning the Mexican sun

from my sunburned skin

and the breeze through the apartment window tells

of a cooler night ahead

A Gringo without air conditioning

can this be?  spoken, silently

through their quizzical stares

as this Gringo makes way

along the stone features

and ancient paint, an apartment

meant for simpler cousins

and plainer folk

of Mazatlan

 

My few coins, and peso notes

share no magic from the North

yet possess some spirit

to command such attention of their

own, moving attending locals to

shinier smiles

and helpful words of assistance

from awkward attempts to speak their

tongue, yet were they to know

in my country

I am the server of others, the

one who knows the value

of a smile

             and helpful words to earn

a bonus, or a tip, as

means to eat each day

or pay the rent, no shame

in that

or leaving a few extra

centavos, or peso

or two

 

in thanks to a Gringo's

cousins, in a wondrous

place, where everything

is done with gusto

               and formal greetings

and even poor kin

are able to feel a troubled

world, from the other side

of the table.

Copyright 1998-2011

 

This happened to have been the second poem penned, not long after the first one on the beach. Dinner brought me to a sidewalk cafe called Gus Gus’. Think Paris sidewalk cafe with Parisians strolling about and Toulouse Lautrec at a table chatting with Paul Cezanne, sipping Absinthe. Apparently the waiters knew little of such concoctions so Kahlua had to do.

 

The gift for me had to do with perceiving the world from outside the confines of the daily affairs, the habitual life that creeps up through repetition, captivates us to see things as ordinary, mundane. After one has repeated something the thousand times, without any longer even paying attention to what we’re doing, it becomes mundane and boring. Just repeating expected responses. When your total vocabulary of a language consists of less than a hundred words and you are sitting in another country, nothing is normal, or predictable. That’s when you open up and come alive, perceive directly. Nothing is automatic. For a hopeful poet, this is magic.

 

 

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