Our Attempt

Our Attempt
Para mi amigo, Mucio

by Sloan Davis

“I went off, my fists in my torn pockets;
My coat too was becoming ideal” – Arthur Rimbaud.

When I joined you
                             in Oaxaca
              I ran away from what
I thought was drudgery—
              a woman who wanted
                            to settle down
                                           waiting tables
a six-month-old son with pale blue eyes

You and I
               we lived above a cement garage
                             ate camarones con frijoles
                             y tortillas
                             drank cervezas
                             con limón

I learned a little Spanish
               pero no mucho

We met two Austrian women
                                           who spoke four languages
            Climbed foothills
                           de la Sierra Madre del Sur
            stayed up all night
                           bebiendo tequila

We looked down on rooftops
              sang over crosses of small churches
                                            a sea of adobe
                             Our voices cracked
                                                          the rising sun

In Mitla
                                           the city of the dead
                           I haggled a tough-skinned woman
            calloused fingers and grey eyes
                           pagué doce pesos
                                           and had me an Aztec shirt

We took pictures
                             amongst ruins
your long, black hair
                             flowed like silk lava
smooth over the shoulder
                             whoever stole that camera
enjoyed those photos

But Mucio
                             I could not stay
                                            the pull home
that little boy
                             his mother
                                            with the same eyes
                                                           grew inside me like blue agave

I left you under the border
                                            surrounded by Latin jazz

I hear you’re in Chiapas now
                             a dangerous, rebellious land
                                            your own rebellion
                            working with stones
shaping jewels, sewing necklaces

Have you lost your pretentiousness yet?
                                                          You were trying so hard
                             but please
save a little

Been reading Rimbaud—
                              remember our attempt
                                            at the bohemian
                              up in Albany
                              kicked out of bars
our attempt
to understand women
our attempt
to write, draw, paint

We ended up
only dreaming
               just dreams
pero muchacho
they were great dreams

And Rimbaud, he would have understood
Lungs screaming on Madison Avenue—
               I walked under the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal;
              Oh!  Oh! what brilliant loves I dreamed of!

do your ears burn?
centinela de Puebla
               dream hermano