Wednesday, November 27, 1985

Baja Journal, Horseflesh prose, dream images,11/27/1985


Sometimes when you asleep in my arms, my hand strokes your face. I imagine it to be denuded of flesh and bleached white by weather. My fingers explore your eyesockets, and draw the vague hollows of your skull, rejoice in the alabaster sculpture of jawline where your mustache crawling across teeth is a more recent dream.

I imagine the Bavarian forests and Alsatian horse traders to explain the color of your eyes. I wonder if traces of the Neanderthal could be found hidden in that Cro-Magnon suture of your skull. Somewhere near the brown line which an ancestor gave you, your eyebrows, the traces of hair on your ears, along with the drum of your skull or the wrinkle gray folds of matter, the future and the past lie hidden.

At dinner we share tortuga steak and pick seeds from the tree of fortune—after a fight. Only later, do I realize vagaries of the free of fortune, el Árbol de la Fortuna offers both good and bad luck.

Last night under the nearly full moon, in the small village, we passed a hanged man, or, a replica of a hanged man. I assume it was from the tree of life? Surely not the real thing. And I think of not of death, or the thievery of a murder, but of the fool—as in the tarot cards, the fool hanging by one foot.

We make wild love after dinner, perhaps it's from the guilt of eating turtle steak. Or our first fight under the full moon. The family next-door ceases their snoring, as we rise and fall in reptilian splendor into the night, under that full moon.

Making my way to the bathroom, I was startled by the faces of the family next-door. Their eyes were dark without sight.

This cold dust bleaches the bones. This wild moon eats the night. A quivering child's voice begging, drowning his baby sorrow in tears, he weeps for the return of the sun.

A lone car honks its horn. This village had never heard such things a decade ago, before there was a road here. Mulegé kept to itself. And now it's modern with satellite discs, and hot water showers or heated by ocotillo and mesquite. A prison, and tourists.

The transplanted tongue of Spanish begins to slip in and undermine the native tongues. I wonder what languages were once spoken at this oasis? The old mission is more like a stone-age castle than a church.

At the plaza where we sleep, there are sand drifts, like water currents on the thick floor, the Mexican tourist blankets are thick with soap. This is a land of precious water—even at the oasis. A school of tarpon, or tortora, swim in the dammed river, huge faint shadows of green beneath the pools.

The unlucky cockroaches are squashed by guests visiting el baño, the bathroom. The rest of the tribe are hidden within the plumbing. It's utter squalor. But after a day of touring the streets of Mulegé, it seems like home.

I begin to notice different things: how this yard is cleaner than the others, and how the earth is so close to us here. The sand in our bed is waiting to fill our eyes while we sleep. Who's to say the sandman isn't Father Death after all?

You turn towards me in sleep and pull my hips toward you, still snoring, your even breath, at the base of my neck.

Each day, from the dowry of my turquoise necklace, I give a piece of the sky back. Each time you tell me of your love for me, I think there is as much future in the sky and in the stars, than this necklace hung around the neck of a woman, as old as as time. A turquoise noose around her neck, on her birthday,as the desert sand tries to bury us.

During the night, you told me that I spoke of wedding bells, and I said Buy them back.

We are wedded to ourselves, after all. I dreamed my grandmother, fragile as paper, she was helpless and I cradled her in my arms. At that moment I realized that I am also my grandmother.

November 27,1985
Full moon in Mulegé, Baja California
added 2/18, slightly revised for clarity
This first draft of HORSEFLESH was was written in the dark, or in the moonlight, while I was half asleep.

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