Scenic Secrets
by g.l.bass
for Jeanie

Along narrow,
Brick sidewalks
Of Nueva Laredo,
Crowds of Tourists
Bargained weekend dollars.
Street peddlers
Race up and down,
In and around,
The single lane streets
Filled with two lanes
Of cars.
Indian women hold
Babies to their breast,
Crouch in sheltered corners
Out from hot sun.
Continue a way of life
Reserved for them,
Beg for pesos,
Pray for rain,
And believe God
Will save them
From further pain.
In the back of a
Crowded curio shop,
Amongst brass ‘junk’
Hand made lights,
And marble games,
I catch,
Over the shoulder
Of an intense salesman-
A young boy
And a young girl,
Their concentration
Beyond the 104 degree heat,
Piece chips of marble,
Chips of slate,
Into puzzles of
Biblical history.
Their art,
On this dust blown day,
A mystery of survival
Made in each piece of
Colored marble laid.

Hurricane nights,
Multicolored rings
Round a pale yellow moon,
A silhouette against a
Black sky,
Hidden amongst thin clouds
On this hot night
In June.
An old northern farmer
Once told me,
“When the sky’s horizon
Turns colors at the end of
The day
And rings round the moon,
The weather’s gonna’
Surprise us soon.”

In the distance-
The country’s
Captured a thunderstorm,
Black clouds
Gathered into
Massive heads
Arise out of
Shallow blue sky.
Swirls of canyon winds
Rush herds of thunderheads
‘Gainst hard rock bluffs,
Their very souls pushed
To torrents of rain,
Their voices ring,
Their voices ring
In the flashes of lightning.
The sun
Black rolls
Of cloud,
A giant red eye
Splits the seam
Of a dark gray sky.
A fire-gold flash
Down the sun’s side.
Pieces of a puzzle,
Wind, fire and rain,
A snapshot that will remain,
An instant of wonder
I may never see again.

The young American girl,
Her auburn hair held
By brown combs,
Her eyes as bright
As a flash of storm,
Yields to a moment of
Tug and pull,
A small boy,
Dirt and sweat pasted
“Cross his face,
Begs for pesos
Up and down the streets.
She struggles into her breast pocket,
Pulls 3 silver coins
And joins them into
The palm of his hand.
A moment of passion
In the life of the young woman.
The boy will forget
This instant of struggle and strife,
The young woman will remember
This secret
The rest of her life.

The “horse & buggy”
Driver winds and whips
His carriage through
These narrow street mazes.
He tells us as if
To persuade us,
“My city-
37 years I do
The horse & buggy
Along these streets.
Now she’s so poor.
Next week I turn 64.
I tell my wife,
‘I know not how to quit’
I do the horse & buggy
I know nothing more.”

You turn to me,
Your hair hung down
‘Cross the breast
Of your new wedding dress.
You smile small and shy.
The tailor pinches and pins
His sculpture
To fit a body so thin.
Your silhouette view,
Sends me back again-
All the roads we’ve
All the times
We’ve been through,
In this instant I wonder,
“Who’s this woman
So young,
So new.
How much more
Is there for me to
Learn about you?”

Pieces of a puzzle,
As if tiny fingers
Cut &paste
Each small moment,
Each bit
Time and place,
Into scenic secrets
Which dictate
Their own meaning
And their own space.
Who is to say,
On this hot summer’s day,
How each should fit
Into scenic moments
We’re destined
To live through.
We know,
When the fingers have
Fit them into their place,
They hold more meaning
Than the face
Of what is true.
Moments of life
We cling to,
Pieces of a puzzle,
Scenic secrets
Placed carefully
In an album
Of me,
About you,
A story
Of a story-teller,
The secrets
That are his tools-
Where he’s been,
And what
He’s been through.
A story held in the heart.
A story of a wedding dress,
A story neither of us
Shall ever forget.



Website Copyright Alannah K Ashlie 2005