Just One Peso

Her eyes were strangely familiar

sitting there on the sidewalk

hand and arm extended

Her face worn with age

I have seen her before

Her gesturing as if she wanted to eat

The sadness in her eyes

The small children around her

some sitting and staring

others giggling and playing

they did not look hungry

they did not look sad

but why were they on the street

Was it their grandmother who brought them there 

to make the appeal more meaningful

the children with their little purple

containers always asking

asking anyone who would listen

gesturing to anyone who passed by

one peso just one peso

At first I would shake my head

I would say no, I don't have a peso for you

But then the more I would look into their eyes

The more I saw my distant relatives

the more I thought about what

I really spend my pesos on

I decided I would carry as many pesos

as possible to give to them

I would look into their eyes and try to understand

I would share what was not mine anyway

one peso for a child, a grandmother

twenty pesos for a beer

eight-hundred pesos for a room

I began to know, to feel why they were on that street: to reach out; to remind us life is precious and for those who have nothing, life is all they have

And in the end, for all WE have

Just one peso is not to much to ask                  ea

************************************************************

Midnight Mystery

 

Drums beating

Incantations to Huitzilopochtli

Sounds of dancers

I looked outside

I saw nothing around del angel

Just hearing the whistling, the yelling

Those around me were asleep

Should I wake them

Let them share the sounds

It continued into the night

Calling for Tlatloc, Quetzalcoatl

Incantations to Aztec Gods

As the night grew older

The music eventually changed

At first I couldn't tell what it was

The trumpets, the tuba, the guitars, los gritos

Music of the streets

Of the Mexican people

But what was this?

Music from the distant past

Music from today's streets

My first night in Mexico

A mysterious experience

I will always wonder

The Moon and My Bike

 

It was late, I was drunk. I was planning to leave hours ago, but I wanted to talk, I wanted to laugh, but time ran out, I had to leave on my trusty bike.

 

The first stop was quick, a tumble, a crash, into a thicket of weeds. There I rested, the wind was cold, the earth was warm, I pulled on the still barren stems to cover myself, they warmed me, I slept. The cold wind woke me, my desire to get home drove me on. I continued my journey, down that moon lit pathway next to the river. The moon was oh so beautiful, so bright, so life giving, I prayed to the moon. Huffing and puffing, moaning, almost yelling, I felt the rush, the freedom, the danger, I was alone in the night, me, my bike, the path and the moon.

 

Then the crash, what a crash, was it a rock, a body, an animal, whatever it was it sent me flying. My beautiful silver ring flew off of my hand, my body hit the concrete with a thud, a roll, a scrape. I reached for the ring which was glistening in the moonlight, so beautiful, so bright. I could have died, but I didn’t. So far from home, so distant, the moon my only guide. My journey continued.

 

More aware of the danger of crashing, but not afraid of the night, not afraid of the dangers that lurked behind every tree, I continued, the moon being my guide. Another crash, this time into a lovely, soft bed of reeds. It felt good to lay there among the protecting plants that cushioned my fall, they were so welcoming.

 

The desire to continue, I could not stay, even though I wanted to, to lay among the reeds, to look at the moon, to rest, I had to go. Yet so far from home, the hills became steeper, the pull harder, the desire wavering. Could I make it, was I really going to make it? Up the hill, where was I? Houses? I was supposed to be on the trail, I didn’t want to see houses, the danger was greater, the police, were they going to see me and stop me, and punish me? I found the direction, with the help of the moon, I continued on, down dark streets, hiding from the police. Finally, reaching the familiar path, closer, closer to home, closer to safety, I couldn’t ride any longer, I had to walk, but the night was so beautiful, the moon so bright, I could have died, but I didn’t. 

 

ea, March, 1999

Pueblo/Pueblo Sister City Sculpture

in front of Memorial Hall, Pueblo, CO

ea

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Waiting for battle by Andrew Velez