tijuanagringo  tj.poemas


Border  poet  line


poet line border

            three words  from  Tijuana

marching up

and down the page

                        on the street

scribbling in the

long      diagonal plaza

            daring yourself to double entendre

border line  poet    border poet  line

poet  border line    poet line  border

line border  poet    line poet  border

                                    etcetera quotidian combination

form     six ways    to    say it    from

            3 X 2      perm-mutations

with  more chances  of  hitting  the  big one

            one        in         six        every    day

than  any  stinking  lottery          lightning

striking here     or         there

on either side of our little

                        border  poet





your     pen       in  the

plaza  mouth   of

Sta. Cecilia

            detente  la  cabellaría – hold

your horses

where the first

            tourist wagons

used to turn      off        the old dirt road

up         from     the river

where     Junipero Serra  camped

            240      years ago

it’s grown         now

into the blighted booming downtown centro




                        and walk through    the    thrice-paved  plaza

sometime  called  Arguello  diagonal  street

            full  of

                                    re – construction

                        short-pants visitors

                               buying  tequila  T-shirts

on top of  the  latest  rehab


vision of yellow & red cement

with  accesory  vendor kiosks

from     four  painted  corners

petals  of the  Aztec      world   flower

                        aye - aye

it’s been rebuilt,            repainted, retouched

                 once            again

you  saw them         digging up the Earth herself

last    spring           examined the raw open trenches

like  some          versemongering  arqueolodiletante

standing   on   the prior paving from post-Vietnam

            look down  to  the gray concrete

layer inside the ground of

            early-30s  prohibition

and under that

            ye olde west dirt

            dry brown depth

upon ancient Sonora cobblestone



Santa Cecilia’s got a new dress shirt

laid down by summer cement workers

            on top of ragged autumn pants

until the diagonal block has become

one       long      swirling

two-headed   feather


from a scruffy

            eagle serpent head

pointing ex-palacio fangs

toward  IMAC  beak at

2nd   &   Constitución

from  where      their

newly bending body

turns all the way

down  its  pedestrian  street

inlaid with concrete skin

twisting in curves

            along the narrow

plaza block

towards the ear of corn

rattle tail

and  second  separate   head

pointing out new mariachi stage

beside  monster  aluminum arch

      towering            over

Aztec  world – flower  xochitl

in  red & yellow  plaza cement

where dancers beat their drums

every Sunday for tips






the        horses

of   your  pen


strike your match

                                                & scribble a cigarette

                                                            smoke this verse

                                                outside the cheap market

                                    on the corner of First street

beneath its fake aqueduct

in the shadow of Hotel Nelson

under  the  ten-storey  tall   millennium   arch

with giant hung-by-the-neck  video   scream

beaming propaganda  straight  up   Revolution  Avenue

            from  here

bent over new cement plaza

what already looks old

yellow-red paving stained

by gum, spit, candy, butts


you light this snake

cancer   taco   smoke

flash scratch struck

                        fire @ five cents the booklet

                        German shepherd pastor aleman

                        relampago brand dog grinning on

                                    his cardboard cover

                                                your one-in-six lightning

                                                border        line         poet


your inspiration

in  the   mouth  of

                        Santa  Cecilia

            patron saint of art and music

                                      mi  querida  santa

your mariachis wait

                                    for driveby clients

in  suits  of  crisp  black  cotton

shining   with   silver   buttons

calling   out   to   passing   cars

waving  their  instruments  at  the

ranchero  narco  pickups  or  vans

only  some  guy  with  a  good  job

taking  his  girl  out  for  a  serenade

        – ¿who can tell the difference any more? –

guitarrón     guitarra     trompeta    violin

            kiss their fingers with song         poet

these are   your inspiration   your  living  muse  men

            beginning  another  night  of bars     and    Mexican        snacks

                                    smell your  fresh tacos  and  spilt beer

with Charles Bukowski

at Tijuana cantina

in spirit  if  not

flesh          stop         wilderness        singing        beside

            and have a drink                       or                     three

                                    with         thee      and         me .

Aya   yankee  gringo

enough  Rubaiyat

kiss   your   own   fingers   border

poet   line

                                    and  touch the saint statue shoulder

                          ya  madrecita  mia    beloved  little  mother

                                    quiero tu bendición – give me your blessing

your protection from     government versus narco           please no more

police chiefs slaughtered                        with      Sunday bullets

driving the via rapida                                home from mass

no special agents           stuffed into        sedan trunks

no more traps for troubadors who die before

they      reach                Bombay

no    dawn coming up    like Kipling thunder   no            more

death squad      war of              kidnapped        silence

no  women  raped    and  mutilated  on  the hills of  Juárez

no  more  cars  driven  off  the  mountain cliffs of  la  Rumorosa

not  even  neighbors’ dogs  howling at gunshots in the night

and  no  power    who has barely          yet        been     felt

in          the        thousand years  of         m i l l e n n i a l

 terror   now being         born

no nuclear         jihad

                        bomb   blowing off       fortress  SanDiego

collateral  dust              cultural  damage            cross-contamination

smallpox  gas        dancing across          our drinking      fallout

border                line                 poet                  no

shades of  gray   federal soldiers    prowling   these paper streets

automatic pen  rifles   slung    over         their      shoulders

trading glances with       border  city       police   forces

no more   rams  horns   blowing  apocalypse

bullets outside drug money nightclubs

                        ackack ack  ack   ack    ack      ack       AK-47          

headlines  screaming  in             Spanish           


devoured          by        crocodiles

no, no, no, not tonight               no war

we must protect the weekend

                                    drinking tourists

with verse          poet  line  border

make love   not war  poetry whore

in that thrashing knot

there before the gay bar            no

                        that’s    only   the  plaza badges

beating     transvestites     who

dared to touch a man

right there .

oh shit – don’t look .


turn away little gringo girls and boys turn

away into mercado popular for smokes


tobacco, tobacco will keep them awake

eleven twelve thirteen bucks the carton


one-third the price of the other U.S. side

smuggle them across to sell on the street


pay for that other devil from hell itself

crystal rock cocaine methamphetamine


or something more sophisticated upscale

ecstasy and drug rape in drinking clubs


holy mother Santa Cecilia save me from their traps

only find my satisfaction in tequila, beer, smokes


no, my son, you must also take

up your cross and write poetry


Escribir, por ejemplo: 'La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos.'


like Neruda if you dare compartir

            his starry night where they tremble

                        blue      in          the                    distance

filthy beast  cigarettes

azure smoke coiling snake

like  Satan  assaulting heaven

un-rolled  into  verses  and  lines

                        less  than  two dollars  a pack

                        here in Mexico on a border zigurrat

                        c i  g   a     r       e           t             t                 e                   s

                        on this  farthest river corner  of  homeland prime

three thousand kilometers          before any pyramid

and they, no, we

                        can all still smoke

                        in restaurants and bars

                        café                  cantantes

from both sides             of the frontier

we can all write poetry

in this valley


Junipero Serra camped

                        240 years ago

on this same flat space

this page


the river


he wrote in his diary :

began this conquest

                        of California



                                                                        Español .  .   .

once upon a time in 1769

before this plaza                        was this place

he found

the land to be full of lovely fields where a

beautiful stream of good water was running

and we camped there, without approaching

the nearby Indian village.

It is a large piece of flat land a league

more or less from the sea – or so it seemed to

me.  The animals pastured greatly there and

ourselves, without any worries except to

reach San Diego tomorrow....


well, stranger gringo from a foreign land

some things have not changed

without any worries except

to  reach  San  Diego

t o m o r r o w


all the others     yes

            are       gone

replaced           drowned

under the new holy megalopolitan see

            where   your     lines





            cathedra           verse .









                                                             – November 2002 and March/May 2003.


tijuanagringo  tj.poemas

copyright 2003 Daniel Charles Thomas