Friday, October 31, 1986

2 in class freewrites

I am the star of the sea
Among the waves of the ocean,
longest night,
more than the day,
only sorrow parts the waves.
I am never alone.
Who but I walks the planets.

Son which burns the fire.
Among the stars of the night,
lost in the battle of planets,
more than the breeze
which parts the fire.

In class freewrites found in a teaching folder, no idea as to when—ca. 1986-87. Probably from my CAC grant at Mark West School as that's when I developed the lesson. Around Halloween, as it was in the Song of Amergin folder. Or it could've been around St. Patrick's Day.

Since I'm short of work from 1986, I'll file it there.
added 10/16

Friday, October 10, 1986

Mexico City after the Quake

The weekend of October 10, John and I steal away from the arts meeting in Pasadena to hear Jack Grapes and Rubén Martínez read at Venice Sculpture Gardens.

Our host, Rubén is distracted, shaken by the earthquake. He withdraws his last $500 out of the bank to fly to El Salvador, the latest earthquake was M7.9. His family, his grandparents—still no word. His parents tell him it's useless to go. But tonight he will leave for Mexico City and then onto El Salvador. I tell him to record the event, to be a journalist as well as a worker and a poet.

I'm reading an article by Rubén in a Santa Cruz paper edited by poet Stephen Kessler, called The Sun. They are repairing the Hotel Monte Carlo where DH Lawrence once lived. We ascend the circular stairway and visit each room with its purity of plaster and dust and paint.

The old church, now a library, leans heavily on the Hotel Monte Carlo. The nine-story parking garage is reduced to three stories. A building across the street is being torn down. Most of the buildings are being repaired. It's harder to see the effects of the earthquake now.

There's a new Zócalo along La Avenida Reforma where a huge high-rise hotel once stood. On the way to the House of Cambio to change our dollars into pesos, we step over healed cracks in the pavement. In some places the earth rose up several several inches. Other places had lateral motion. The curb along the Reforma is displaced by several inches.

Jorge's third story flat has huge cracks running through it, the metal window frames no longer fit. So we tie them close. Life continues.

Earthquakes – Mexico City is still recovering from the September 1985 quake. One year later, it's harder to see the damage. Sometimes I look up and see the torn buildings and I begin to cry. So much gray cement. Where does it all go?

El Salvador. Rubén removes the cement. There will be bodies beneath those ruins. Impromtu tombstones. I'm afraid to leave this article about the earthquakes behind in Mexico City. As if that could remove the damage. Sympathetic magic. So I take the newspaper back to the states.

We live on the San Andreas Fault. When there are earthquakes in Mexico and in El Salvador, Americans say there was so much damage because of the way buildings were constructed there, and laugh with a superior attitude.

Magnitude 7.4 what buildings can withstand that shock? How will San Francisco do any better when the big quake comes? They have no idea how bad the damage can be. When it comes, who will dig them out? Who will bury them?

October 10, 1986
added 9/17