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HUNDREDS OF WORDS... JANUARY 2014


Hairy tamale. Released in waves. Never see whales. Sandy feet. Stubbed toe. Shady hammocks. Sea. Crocodile stillness. Turtle trance. Iguana dance. Float by. In between skies. Hanging off bumper bars. Skinny moon. Melting sun.

Tortas. Tamales. Toilets. Tickets. Head wedged in head rests. Feet in aisles. Diagonal passenger. Holy bottled water. Damp seat. And pants. Fake names. For free Weefee. The stranger waving. On the corner. Leads way home. Cough phlegm. In coffee streets. Not my cup of tea.

Perform without paper permission. People permission persuades. Barefoot women. Walking in wool. Arms are racks. Can. On. String. Pet. Toy. Poi.


Clear mission. Unclear where. Follow intuition. Sunday morning streets. Mostly closed. Ask and suppose. Patrick Harris bus fares. Half price. Permit prohibits. Ignore law. They gather. They interact. And they tip. Curious human nature. Three buses and a boat away. Coco and corn. Mangoes entering season.

Magical mushrooms. Between river and sea. Mountains and horizons. Vultures and pelican possees. Shade and sun. Anchored to sand. Doze. Daze. Distant birds spiral smokily. Rigid plants dance. With the sea breeze. Soap operas. Drown out waves. Where bells don´t ring. Roosters do. Yesterday´s fishing net. Today´s chicken pen. Piggy backs across sand banks.


Pay a little less. Arrive a lot later. Wrinkly. Sun worn. Smiling waitresses. Still surprise. With corn creations. Planted. Cultivated. Harvested. Cooked. Served. By their hands. Don´t hammock haggle. Invited to bodega. A makeshift shack. In car park lot. Some one hour weaves. Others ten days.

Some woven while working. Others during free time. For my patience. Half price. Traditional market threads. Drying on clotheslines. In a church. Sit by ceremony. Shaman whispers prayers. Before candles. Saints. And fizzy drinks. Colourful wax spills. Chicken wait helplessly. Used first as healing instrument. Then sacrificial strangulation. And a shot of pox (posh).


Balaclava faces. Pass on bikes. We wait shivering. For late shuttle service.

While they pay make believe tax. I disappear searching make believe money. Passport stamped. In the clear.

Combie of gringoes. New Zealand sarcasm. German diplomacy. Australian silence. Chilean sleep.

Hairlip and lisp. Chauffer won´t stop. For watermelon.

Near border. Kiwi passport. Disappears below seats. Lost with a Joker. And a shoe. Drunk awakes at border. Face painted in texta. Reflection discovered in motorbike mirror. Not a tattooed terrorist.

From breathtaking view. Kid inhales plastic bag of glue. “Escobita”. A Guatemaltecan street performer. Shows us the ropes. Before departing.


Strong campesino necks. 25 kilos of cabbage. Strapped to forehead. See coin on pavement. Pick it up. And almost fall down. Children balancing logs on head. Walking up stairs. Bananas. Nuts. And mandarins. In buckets. Worn like hats.

Suitcase on schoolbus roof. Bus takes off. We´re hanging from ladder. Back door swings open. Three to a seat. Squeeze onto edge.

Big baby eyes. Stare. And reflect. Like lake below. Curious Guatemaltecans surround show. Many flee. When hat is passed. They watch without much laughter. Without much applause. But congratulate afterwards. “Calida”. Warm. Quality. Swerve home. Pay nightly rent. With coins.


Wild corners. Neighbor on bus. Fell into seat. Bumped her elbow. With her son. Hugged abreast. Are we a couple? Do we have kids? How do we protect ourselves? She enquires.

Tortilla chef. Married two years after courtship. Six children later. Finds names in books. Three years long enough. Children must come soon. When we´re elderly. Who will care for us?

Suitcase loose on boat roof. Forty minutes of wobbly stress. On tranquil lake. Sometimes gringos bring balloons. I brought circus. Walk up forest. Firewood walks down. Unload palm leaves. And get a ride home. Stick out thumb. And return.


Unpeel breakfast. On slack rope. Above market. In front of free cornea tests. From textile salesman´s truck. To municipal flagpole. Perform show. A small window. Illuminates dark room. While threads weave rainbows. And maté is shared. Find half a Quetzal. In a cavity. In a rock.

Before sun soaks schoolyard. Perform for kids. In a sunny lake. Soak. And farmers harvest onions. Down hidden cul de sacs. Women stitch. Sew. And weave. Balls and blouses. Birds and flowers. Three breeds of banana. Blended into beverage. Burp in bed.

No one will sit. Without shade. Nor seat. Applause will come. Unexpectedly.


Dog barks. All night long. Scares off thieves. And dreams. Six in the morning. Security guard pokes head through window. To let us know. We should keep window closed. Before pants fall down. Tomato falls out. Pockets full of groceries. Where women wash clothes. I tred water and wave. Walk fence line. Between private. And public. Property.

Amidst school utensil list. Mongolian pencils. For mother of six. A burden. Hitchhike in police trucks. Handshakes without handcuffs. Pin drop down rocks. Water ushes up nose. Peeling trees. Volcanic views. Zig zag lake currents. Those without money. See everything free. Qui Bana.


Broken bearings. Drag. Don´t roll. Tuk Tuk mechanic grease. Rolls another day. Firewood drying. Café drying. Clothes drying. Tin roofs frying. Beside bleeping birds. And bus terminals. Drink a “Blanco”. Corn based soup. With beans bombed in.

There are many fruits. Found two new ones. Dig my fingers in. Scrape the inner skin under top teeth. And spit out the pips. Graze morning market. Man hoses yesterday down the gutter. Step on something squishy. Every price has discount. Milagros stitched a star on my pocket. I miraculously stitched a thank-you card for her. Untangle thread. Slack rope got arrested. For swinging.


Remote control washed up. Hot banana juice washed down. From office to office. Responsibility shirked. In that part of market. Where nobody goes. Sip green leafy soup. Then slurp it. Eat boiled vegetables. With hands. And tortillas. Both chef and meal. Nourish life.

Congratuled. Cheered. Encouraged. Patted on back. Slack attack witnesses. Scattered in market. Gratification. Where else but here.

Suffer. Sacrifice. Something. In return.

Rope released. On probation. Milagro´s smile. Bigger than thank-you.

Flowers in soup. Someone we met. Knows someone we know. Somehow. Under drizzle. Balance buckets on head. Old lady plays yo-yo. So not to fall asleep.


Since arrival. Across the street. Masses mourn. A popular soul. In wet shoes. And pantaloons. Play silly illusions. At short trafďŹ c light. In the chipi-chipi. Dinner. Rent. Paid within hours. By dashboard change. Shared through dark tinted windows. What once was an instant coffee jar. Now houses puriďŹ ed water. For hotel guests.

Mask nose with sleeve. From black exhaust pipe mess. Choose to play. In the middle. Money trades places. From cars. To hat. To rough begging hands. While light changes green. That breath out. From the belly. Says it all. Silently. Loud. And clear. Spend change. On cardomon candies.


For a hot water shower. Turn the tap. Slightly. Too much. Will result in luke warm. I will wash dishes. Before receiving fruit. In plastics bags. Or polystyrene plates.

While Renata showers. I perform for trafďŹ c. And pay for lunch.

With hot rice drinks. The table in front. Offers us their sweet bread.

After three drizzly days. The sun shone. In a vacant plaza. Perform for a surprise circle. Of hundreds.

Follow a procession. Three saints. On six shoulders. To a house. Where they gave us hot chocolate.

And then. The rain returned. And the people. In the plaza. Vanished.


Half past four. Half asleep. Eat mango. Then mandarin. Before hitting street. Newspapers on sale. Coffee too. While passengers doze. Kids clank repairs. Five people sit. In four seat rows. Both rear wheels. Banged and hissed. Chauffer jacked. Full bus up. Changed tires. Without budging a soul.

See faces. Seen in Mexico. Pass by. Dream-like. Reality woken. When they shouted out. Slide. Screech. And rattle. To Semuk Champey. Where ďŹ sh kiss. Or nibble. Toes.

Ruben is a boy. A travelling vegetable salesman. The burned out car. Flipped on its side. Was the lynching. Of thieves. By his towns people.


Before sun oods the intersection. Play for coins in the shadows. Change jingly pockets. For puffy paper notes. In bakery. Pack. Doubt. Move. Return. Doubt. Return. Move. Doubt. Pack.

The internet. Makes magical ideas. Seem closer than they appear. Like rear view mirrors. Plan. To travel. With Argentinian couple. In their combi van. To El Salvador. To save some money. Sleep in a bed. That´s for sale. In an antique store. That is closed. Tonight.

I seem to be. Mostly with strangers. And once acquainted. Strangely enough. Seem to be. With them less. In denim hammocks. Black bird whistles repertoire.


Shower with ants. Swept by my feet. Race into Temple IV. To view famous sunrise. Clouds and fog. Made the magical mystical. Befriend birdwatchers. Hunt with binoculars. Attack with eyes. Kill with identification. Confirmed in the book. Show off tucans. Social parrots. Hopping warblers. And hard to find trogons.

Slimey walls. Graffitied with love. Below a fern. We sheltered. As monkey threw their poo. From the canopy. Tarantula. In my palm. Crawled and crept. Towards my armpit.

Did the Mayans. Receive foreign visitors. In their heyday? In ancient ruins. A splendid way. To spend your pay. And your day. Playing.


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Hundreds of words... january