a prose poem from april 2006

Aye aye sir I used to say to my daddy when I was a very little boy only three or four and I adored him putting his sailor cap on my head aye-aye sir before I grew up and realized what a broken-hearted secret drunk he was, my own rocket scientist who screwed me into existence in love with my mommy, what a frustrated artist who never embraced that terrible name of ARTIST yes who had sailed the south seas in war saved a man’s life became a decorated hero had his portrait painted and sold for a million dollars published on the magazine cover settled down to testing other people’s rocket work missiles to carry men into space and nuclear bombs onto distant targets instead of building his own sculpture from high-pressure hoses and stainless steel tubes no and drinking every night to forget until not even his own son would follow in his footsteps no I loved him desperately even when he broke my nose that drunken night and told me to suck him in the insanity of delirium tremens promptly forgot when he’d said turned away and pissed all over himself I could only pour whiskey on his ashes dropped at six mile bank we have no grave, others complained, my ownly hero soldier secret scholar father brother uncle cousin son lover husband friend Man come back in my dreams the other night struggling in a wheelchair to make his last appointment with the doctors who will torture him in hell forever I bend down Daddy Daddy it’s me oh yes he smiles, his body wasting away until he is only a face on the floor I pick up and carry under my arm toward the appointment nurse oh no no no I’ll never let them radiation chemotherapy me never never no no no not none never nope not no





drove to Tijuana yesterday

I drove to Tijuana yesterday. My mother rode with me. We went to see the woman to whom I pay rent. We went to pay my rent.

One day, perhaps, after my mother leaves this mortal life behind, I will move back to Tijuana, after the rest of the family and I get everything sorted out and settled.

For now, counting against that future (whose time still could be many years away – so healthy is my mother), well, it is worthwhile for me to continue to pay rent even though I don’t live there. It would be hard to find a place that I like as much as I like that place – you can see a video or two of it, from the days when Maria Teresa lived there – it would be hard to find such a place for the price I pay for it, or for another matter, it would be hard to find a landlady with whom I am on such good terms as I am, with the eminently reasonable, considerate, and loving, Señora E. de C.

My memory turns back to the time when Tere and I rented that place, twelve long years ago, in April 2004. At one moment, it feels like only yesterday, but then, at another, it feels almost a hundred years ago. Time is mysterious in that way, it flies and then it crawls.

When Tere moved away, after her heart attack, broken arm, and worsening diabetic crises, when she moved away to be with her large and devoted family in Nuevo Laredo, and in Texas across the river, I stepped forward and took over the rent payments in full (I had been sharing it with her before then). I was hoping that when she got better – if she got better – she could still have her home back here in Mexican California. But, after… after she died – a year later, much to all of our shock and disbelief – well, after that, then I decided to hang onto the place for a few months at least, and then… well, a few months have become a year, and now I just don’t want to let the place go.

The price is right, the location is right, and the landlady is a kindly, gracious, and considerate person. I could not do much better, no matter how hard I looked, and, in fact, I could do much worse. Much worse.