Monday, January 24, 2011

The Trash Collector--On the Poetry Bus

This week's Poetry Bus is from The Science Girl at Have Genes Will Travel. She prompts for a poem about things we like that others don't like.

The Souvenirs

In Guadalajara
I picked up trash:
wrappers from cakes,
cigarette packages,
coasters and matchbooks.

Before dawn I went alone
to a cathedral. I watched
a priest, resigned,
bless a penitente off his knees
then walked to our hotel.

We ordered big breakfasts.
Bank security had machine guns.
Once moneyed, we drove to
exclusive shops, refueling
at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

They took naps after lunch
While I looked at bakeries
and scraped curbs near cantinas.
I heard I was much woman
From men with red-veined eyes.

I drew pictures of buildings
Before returning to the hotel.
We drank whiskey, ate salted peanuts
and cut oranges on toothpicks.
Then to dinners I couldn't eat.

and drinks after dining every night.
One afternoon in the market,
I bought a bright blanket
And wore it like a shawl after dark.
The hotel staff laughed at me
When I went out to hear the singers.

I heard La Paloma. I asked for Jalisco,
for La Malaguena. A young man sat
To see if I wanted company.
I held my purse. In poor Spanish
I told him to move along.

I brought back trash
for souvenirs, now pressed like leaves
in a file cabinet. They thought
What a stranger. Who needs

"El Rey, cigarillos, clase A"?
at once familiar but odd
attractive enough to sell once
then common, with no value
crumpled record of lone adventures.

--Ann T. Hathaway

9 comments:

120 Socks said...

'crumpled record of lone adventures', very descriptive poem, sense of place and people.

NanU said...

These small, specific, souvenirs of travel say so much more about a place you visit than the things tourists are "supposed" to buy. A wonderful poem, Ann!

Momma Fargo said...

Very talented! Great poem!

suz said...

Like it!

Helen said...

I love your poem ... I've certainly carted home many a souvenir I never looked at again.

The Bug said...

I agree with Nan - souvenirs like this are more meaningful. And I like the tone of the poem - a story, but with style.

the observer said...

Ann T:
Good stuff!

Does it take a long time to do these? I think it would take me forever in the absence of a "bolt from the blue"!

The Observer

Ann T. said...

To Everyone,
Thanks for the positive feedback!

NanU, thanks for the opportunity. It was a great prompt.

Helen, LOL!!
Actually I use these things (eventually) in collages or whatever. In the meantime, they sit in files and represent Potential! Or some such idea like that!

Dear The Observer,
I guess I'm just getting bolts. Although I struggled with the Lichtenstein poem earlier this month--for sure.

Thanks everyone,
Ann T.

Dick said...

This is a wonderfully laconic account, almost journalistic in style, its poetry deriving from the string of cinematic images and their casual exoticism. A great piece. It put me in mind of the French poet Blaise Cendrars