Dia de los Muertos: Conversations

There are the marigolds bunched to earth with flounces of amarillo, castanets on their sepals, dust narnaja on the garden fingers where little bones baille on headstones and sugar teeth are azul.  There are the sombreros negra laced with silver, pumpkin seed pearls bleached blanca, cinnamon and manzanas rojas.  There are the little bones turned of dust, noon or sunset, la noche y la mañana, little bones turned of dust.  They become the trickle that feeds stones and sheep with song.  When they laugh, the wind sighs and silences, sighs and silences like bells hung on a new moon when la bruja’s skirts flash past.
        The Lady of the Dead is dust and whispers to dust, telling them who sits with marigolds blossoming from their chests.  She loves the sighs and silences between fists and bowls of grain, how the grain plays armónica, y el perro thumps la pandereta, and all the little bones dance. 
        When did marigolds learn flamenco?  When did they don castanets?  When did I hear the little bones singing on their way to dust?  The child girl with ears as long as a truck has climbed up the ribs of the woman to hear what she heard at one.  And a smaller child, who nests inside, has climbed up the ladder of neck to hear the bells toll on.   
        I will hear them talking, one speck of bone to the next, and the next, and then they will turn to me, me with my azul teeth, me with my marigold skirts y camisas rojas, me with blossoms amarillos floating over this cabeza del azúcar where loco thoughts once curled, and we will dance, the way little bones dance, until we are singing water, dew on the bells of the moon.


Monday Shrimp at Vince’s with Alice

Tuesday, September 23, 2008,  5:12 a.m., Rosarito Beach,  Baja

 Yesterday Alice picked me up from Carolyn’s white hacienda with blue trim and uneven stone steps and brought me down to Rosarito.  Her home is alive with color, saturated reds and blues and this room where I sleep is celery green with sky-blue shelves.  There is a tall geisha on the far wall in a pink gown and she seems worked in pastels and there is a red backgrounded poster from the the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, dated 1966 gracing the wall on my right.  There are, everywhere, pieces of time placed for comfort and pleasure and it is all pleasing to me. 

We had lunch at Vince’s, a big open restaurant with a bar where Americans sat or ex-pats or retirees.  What I mean to say is folks of a mature age in bermuda shorts and loose shirts who move through their days comfortably clad.  We (Alice, Patria, and I) shared a shrimp cocktail delivered to the table in a tall glass like they used to serve ice cream floats in at the drug counter soda fountains back in the fifties and earlier.  And we shared “fish fingers,” breaded fish strips, enough to feed 3 or 4 hungry women.  From where we sat which was close to the middle of the room, the two rows of paintings hung high on the wall to the right, were brightly displayed – skeletal, Day of the Dead figures wearing sombreros or red dresses or various apparel as if fully fleshed and skinned and ‘gettin’ it on’ although clearly beyond life.  (I do admire the way the Mexican culture makes a party out of death.  To my way of thinking, it’s not that they grieve any less, it’s just that they embrace the whole nine yards of the cycle of living which can’t do other than include dying.)

They seem to have looked closely at the process and stayed close-up to it.  Writing this, I think of the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit we took in the day before yesterday in San Diego, of how closely she, Georgia, looked at the process of becoming, of being, and the “potential” of what may be generated as well as what passes from being.  It’s that very examination of living and how we go about it that I want to put my characters through in the Irene saga and the journey Rose Of Sharon makes to discovery, to potentials, both realized and passing by.