My truck broke down on me once while I was travelling through New Mexico in a tiny town called Cuba. This town was in the middle of nowhere. It litteraly had nothing to offer. While waiting for rescue, I slept in the bed of my truck in a gas station parking lot and watched the people of Cuba for four days. It was an interesting show...
The gods of Comic Wisdom shine helpless laughter
down upon little Cuba,
thickly nestled deep,
lonely in a New Mexico valley,
and in my broken woes,
I am relieved.
The desert mountains send down Semi Trucks,
thundering constant as a river,
to guard my troubled sleep,
stealing, foul spittoon captains, my quiet dreams.
Dappled darkness, a black woman in a pillow case,
heavy in her coal-black skin and sun-visor,
aggravates the senses of her curly haired caucasian companion,
slinking back to the tour bus,
dissatisfied with their stop en route to greater glories.
So the Circus of this impish town is revealed to me,
stinging tears, flooded country,
a soft spoiled lovers bed in a Mexican motel room
holds form against my naked figure,
a lonely image matching those on the disenchanted hanging television,
lost, and uncomfortable,
stilled and confident of heaven,
still the town's characters live their lot,
their trash-strewn lots,
and introduce themselves.
Henrietta and Georgette, teens of Fate,
play the only game in this heartless yellow valley they know,
destined to dullness,
they turn their car around for the 22nd time in the gas station parking lot,
my humble saddened home, limestone and all,
and head back to the other side of town.
False hopes ride along beside them,
a ritual, no doubt, that repeats itself every lonesome night,
O life's delusions, Fate's trap.
Daisies grow and die in the mountain crags,
unwanted and hidden from the sun,
these girls tease the strip with their young sexuality,
believing in an empty desert lie,
skipping childhood to adorn the painted eyebrows
of their ugly mothers,
and like the wind that stings,
they circle around for the 23rd time.
There's claustrophobia in the air,
something still very old and unchanging,
as here the world has moved on,
evident in the worn fingers, George, the old mechanic,
under the bull elk's dismembered head,
he struggles to understand his new computer while I wait,
not seeing, as I see, that they will never understand each other.
Something is eternally lost in the translation between fresh keys and old fingers.
He asks for my papers but I'd rather cry,
for this place, for myself, for George.
I am trapped within the confines of a larger snare,
the people come and go,
pollen scatters across the stony desert ground
by the beating wings of old crows,
stopping to refuel at the gas pumps
and to never know on what sacred land they tread.
Where are the old spirits who gave birth to these hills in silent whispers?
Where is the Director,
whose idea for this tragic play of twisted horror
was the spark that somehow stole the hearts of his cast,
like the dead spark plugs inside my truck's stalled engine?
O simple village, lost to no one's ways, on no path,
a stranger sleeps like a whore in your used bed,
and you dance for him.
Two old Reservationist greet me at the edge of town,
complimenting my dog and shaking hands,
in their lost eyes they ask something of me,
but I can't read the question and they disappear
in a dead mist of rain,
they were void of all things between happiness and sadness,
I know that much.
A last act happens in front of me,
perhaps seeks me out as its audience,
Jose' and Sherbert slink into the parking lot,
a combination of wild ideas that never amounted to anything,
high school children, bucks, they pleasure themselves in a red low rider.
Paul and Miguel follow suit through the story of my windshield,
Their brown truck lifted and a monster,
under the bright sleepless gas station lights they all meet,
distant brothers of the Union,
in foolish heat, so young, in need to burn something,
and only finding the gas in their rusting tanks.
The strip, their empty nightly route.
The Circus is in shambles,
broken bottles and heavy shame,
we all meet and greet in this valley,
but take away from each other - what?
God would have me here, wisdom and folly,
learn something from this place.
O tears that flow heavy in the desert mountains,
can you repair a divided people, a divided country?
Henriette and Georgette, brown bodied,
two young to decay,
tracing a lonely circle with their golden Maxima
from one vacant end of town and back,
like the muddy finger of Christ and the fallen stones.
It's not right that I should know these people thus,
my Penance, to sit and watch.
"A working class citizen is apt to see this country for what it's worth... A miasma of interlocking variations on differing demographics and geographies unlike any other inhabited space in the world. The American Dream. The rolling footloose hills and the upstanding Apache badlands where criminals cut bread with priests and the children of Hollywood. I am no different. Yet I am still brazen enough to think that the world is a playground built by the rugged hands of a hard-working man in order that my fantasies be materialized." -- P.P. Vonnersdale