Mexican Graffiti 2016


Yesterday I walked around with my friend in her neighborhood of “Guadalupe”.  Every year there is a project to paint new pieces on the walls of different houses or the long walls that surround schools, sports fields etc.  I had seen the finished products last year but I was very glad to have the opportunity to see some of the young artists in action.  They all were young!  Climbing up ladders, fumes, who knows!  So, here are a few examples.  You will notice one unfinished piece with a tiled image of the virgin of Guadalupe on the wall.  Can you see how this will be integrated into the finished picture.?  Watching the proceedings here was the householder, sitting in a lawn chair on the opposite shady side of the street.  She had requested that her house be  painted for a couple of years and finally it was her turn!  She was very happy and explained to us that she had no control or editorial privileges as to color or content of the painting.  Surely an act of faith and respect for artistic freedom.  I think what was produced on her walls was beautiful and I would have been very glad to have seen that on the side of my house.  Others were not so much to my taste but as she put it, that is the price of being an unbiased patron.

I think the Mexicans must celebrate the setting of the full moon.  A full platoon of the Mexican army advanced down a nearby Main Street banging many drums  at 5 am this morning.  They ended up in a soccer field nearby where they continued to ” practice” their music and to set off many firecrackers and fireworks.  After having been frightened out a deep morning sleep ( you know, the best kind) by the prospect of imminent invasion, I braved the gas heater and began this blessed Sunday.

You  will find other examples of graffiti without comment in the next post.



Another Kind of Winter



It is winter in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  The smell of this lemon when I scratched the peel was remarkable.  There were a few sweet smelling blossoms down at the base of this rather neglected plant.  What fragrance when I picked one. I have a lemon tree in a pot at home and someone is coming in twice a week to check on my house, be sure the alarm is working and water my little lemon tree and my other plants.  They sit patiently in my kitchen waiting for our few months of intense, hot and humid summer.

The plants you see live on a terrace on a little street in the town.  If it gets chilly at night in ” winter” at least they have almost constant sunshine during the day. How extreme our climate is in Montreal.  When I took a taxi to the airport on Tuesday morning at the ungodly hour of 4 am, a bitter wind shrieked a spiteful goodbye.  Our climate in my beloved hometown is so hostile that it affects our freedom to stroll around the streets as I did today in San Miguel.  There is no struggle here to overcome snow, ice, fatigue from trudging through slushy streets.

I know I’m in my honeymoon period now.  This town that is full of artists and writers has a sort of magic atmosphere.  There is a house in this town that is for sale.  My prudent self tells me to be careful.  After all, I love my hometown and write poems about it. I love people who live in my hometown.  Only trouble is, I write poems about San Miguel too.  Love, stay away from me so I don’t do something rash!

At the Supermarket


Yesterday I went to pick up a few vegetables.  I’m back on my vegetarian kick.  After the sugar overload of the holidays, I’m sure my pancreas will heave a sigh of relief.  As I puzzled over how to make the automatic cash accept the fact that I really, really wanted to buy a Savoy cabbage, I noticed two ladies at the next cash.  They were short, one had a rather delicate air, set off by a head of pale curly hair.  The other wore a hijab that closely covered her head.  Her plump and serious face stood out against the pale green head covering.  I had noticed them as I trundled around, gasping  at the prices of fresh produce.  The one with the curly hair seemed to be shepherding the other one around.  We ended up at the automatic cash side by side.  I always bring my own shopping bag and don’t always want to chat with the cashier.  I like the satisfying bleep when I scan my own stuff.  I like  arranging the things in my bag the way I want them.  I glanced over at the two ladies.  The one with the hijab was giggling a little as she peered at the screen and the other one was explaining how it worked.  It occurred to me at that moment that the obvious newcomer might be one of our Syrian refugees.  There was no way of knowing, of course.  There was something delighted and mystified in her way though that would not permit me to let the moment pass.  Our eyes met and she shrugged at her own bewilderment.  I could not resist a comment ( ah, familiar, my friends?).

” Funny, eh?  We do the work but we don’t get paid!”   She and her companion beamed and as I picked up my bag, the lady with the curly hair gave me a tiny wave.

I thought about them a lot yesterday.  Who was the lady in the green hijab who had never seen a self service cash?  What had she thought of our clean orderly supermarket and our vast parking lot, scoured by a gusty wind?  Who was her companion? Somehow they looked like sisters.  Just a little incident as I bought cabbage.




Fighting it, loving it, craving it

revelling in it

Dragged from it, longing for it

Sacrificing it,  forgetting it

cheating it, skipping it, missing it.

At last, in my old, big dream bed

Getting it.

Deep black velvet, a white veil,

purple dreams, grey sorrow,

morning sun yellow, midnight brown,

passion red satin, tattered rags,

innocent blue, guilty green

Dry mouth hangover, heart beat joy,

soaring satisfaction, hard work prize

cradle, crib, twin and queen

water bed, springs or foam

jail slab, guest room frill.

don’t you worry for no one will

escape that last great sleep.

Now close your eyes…not another peep.