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


Louise 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