Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birria in Mexicali

I don't know the address.
I can tell you how to get there.

Carlos and Michelle will call you at 9 in the morning.
They will pick you up in the red car.

The red car is playing music.
Jazz music.

The red car takes a left out of the side street.
Then five minutes later a right.

The zoo is on the left.
Then up the hill.

You will be in the old part of town.
Dust returning to dust there.

Up another hill.
They have a friend who may still work near here.

Another left and farther up.
Finally the last left.

Old block building.
Goat stew temple in the dust.

Opens at 6 am.
Closes at 1 pm.

Long tables with benches.
Birria and tortillas.

Order the medium bowl of goat stew.
Side of tortillas and coffee.

Comes to your table in 2 minutes.
Steaming hot.

Bowl of colima limes.
Bowl of cilantro and onions

Plate of tortillas covered in cloth.
Butter for them.

Nice salsa.
You will eat it all.

You will notice the mural on the wall.
The perspective is flawed.

The man in the brown hat looks familiar.
The girl in the plaza is walking away.

Everyone is walking away.
You will no longer look at the mural.

Carlos and Michelle will take you home.
In the red car with the jazz music.

Down the hill.
Past the zoo.

They will take a different route home.
You will get home.

Now you will recall the birria.
And you will not forget the man in the brown hat.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rick and Erica get a Big Brass Bed

It was the fall of 1969 or maybe 1970. It was one or the other. It was not both unless history repeats itself without bothering to let a person know. Well anyway the place was Iowa City. Rick and Erica were in need of a new bed.

Rick use to play in a blues band. Played a Hammond B3. Until it was stolen he said. Someone said he traded it for some dope. I don't really know. Anyway I gave him my harmonica. I could not play it anyway. That became his new instrument of choice. Rick was my roommate. We rented a place on Dubuque street from a guy from Burlington. The landlord would show up unannounced to inspect the place and would always accuse us of burning incense or cooking cabbage. Both of these acts were strictly prohibited in the lease.

Erica and her friend Pam lived nearby. Erica was from California. Her mother would send her a box of bagels and onion rolls from some Hollywood bakery. They would arrive every Monday morning by special delivery.

Well one night Rick and Erica broke their bed. I only vaguely recall the details but let's just say that due to the combined gravitational pull of Rick and Erica the bed collapsed. So they needed a new bed. Rick and Erica went to some second hand stores to look for the right one. They looked at several beds at several different stores. They found a nice big brass bed at a place about a mile away from the apartment. Now, none of us owned a pick-up truck or even a car. I take that back. Eddie had a VW bug. The second hand store wanted to charge $10 to deliver the bed. Rick was a real tightass and figured that the money was better spent on several cases of Bud.

So the only thing to do was push it down the street. It was a big brass bed and it had rollers. About twenty of us showed up to move the bed. It was your typical group of freaks. After taking the bed out of the store we reassembled it. Then Erica and her friend Pam made the bed. They put sheets, pillows and a big bed spread on it. I don't recall if they were a matched set. Rick and Erica climbed into the bed. Eddie had brought a case of Bud which he put under the covers. Rick and Erica each cracked open a Bud. We then pushed the big brass bed on rollers down the street.

I remember that it did not corner that well. Some of the freaks pushing the big brass bed on rollers were not much help. A few tried to hitch rides on the bed but Rick kicked them off. A couple of times the big brass bed on rollers got stuck in small potholes in the street. It took some extra muscle to get them out.

So about half way there a cop drives by. We explained what was going on. He escorted us the rest of the way with his light flashing. Did not even give us a ticket for failure to get a parade permit.

Well that was a long time ago. Rick died about fifteen years ago out in Denver. When he wasn't running some scam or other he was a professional sports gambler. Erica moved back to California and does not have to have her bagles and onion rolls delivered by special delivery anymore.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Black Backpack

This guy walked into the office today. He's on disabilty. He is always walking by here. Sometimes he stops by and talks. Talks for a few minutes and leaves. Sometimes asks for money. A buck or sometimes just a quarter. He walks everywhere. Use to have a car. An 83 maroon Bonneville. Somebody gave it to him. But he had to sell it. Said he he got $100 for it. I don't think so. Anyway he walks in here and asks me if I ever buy artwork. I said sometimes. Almost never. I am broke. He said have you ever heard of a heechee. I said no. He unzipped his black backpack. Took a red nylon jacket out and laid it on a chair. Then he pulled the heechee out. There was some braided leather, beads, feather and an eagle claw. The leather braids were in a kind of double loop that intertwined. He said that during some kind of ceremony that he goes to across the river on the Rez the loops become seperated without anyone doing anything. Kind of a spiritual thing he said. He said it was a good thing. But it could be used in a bad way. But if you did it you would pay in the end. If you know what I mean. I said you can't sell that. It must mean something to you. He said it was only a material thing. I said yes that is right. Only a thing. He said he had to have $40 for the heechee. I said I was broke. He said well can you give me 50 cents. I gave it to him. He put the heechee and the red nylon jacket back in the black backpack. He said he had to go. He did not want to be late for the lunch at the mission. He said if he was late the other guys would eat all of the apple pie.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Maggots Feasting

So we are here.
In this place of excess and greed.
In this time of hope and fear.

I speak of apples.
The core has been rotting.
The maggots have been feasting.
And now the skin is cracking.
Puss is oozing out.
Soon this apple will be dried out.
What will happen to the seeds?

Capital. Labor. Production. Solidarity. Empty. Justice. Essential. Means. Empires. Markets. Lost.

Words like seeds.
Seeds like words.

And the maggots have been feasting.

Accumulation of wealth through the use of capital, credit, technology and modern management...I sing of thee...

And the maggots have been feasting.

The trickle down the rich man's leg and the poor can lick my shiny black boots theory of wealth accumulation...I sing of thee...

And the maggots have been feasting.

Neoconman's endless wars to make the world safe for market expansion and "free" trade...I sing of thee...

And the maggots have been feasting.

I speak of capital.
Bloated and stretched.
Bubbles bursting.
Smell of old farts lingering.
Blaming consumers for not consuming.
Markets shrinking now.
Rich eating the rich.

So we are here.
In this place of excess and greed.
In this time of hope and fear.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Are They Gone Yet?

I want to know.
Are they gone yet?
I want to know.

These guys have been hanging around a long time.
Just when you think it is safe to go outside...
There they are.

Maybe they will never go away.
I think they will be with us forever.
They breed in the dark places.

They tell big stories about the terrors out there.
They want more want more weapons.
They want more prison cells.

They worship capital and sleep with her sister fraud.
They enslave in manners open and invisible.
They split us and try to crush us.

No, they are not gone.
They are waiting.
They breed in the dark places.

Friday, December 05, 2008

How To Eat a Pupusa

To eat a pupusa you have to have a pupusa.
First find a pupusaria.
You could make your own.
Or a friend could make you some.

That lady up the street.
Up on Court street.
She makes them in her house and sells them.
My wife calls her sobrina.
But she is not her niece.
They were born with the same last name.
But different countries.
Mexico and El Salvador.

Pupusas are from El Salvador.
You might not be going there soon.
And you don't know where the neice lives.
You have to find a pupusaria.

They are usually small places.
In Latino parts of town.
They usually do not advertise.
Just window signs announcing "Pupusas".

You could ask around.
You could drive around.
Keeping looking.
Don't stop.
Follow your nose.
Good food comes to those whose nostrils are open to the world.

Ok, you found a pupusaria.
You walk in.
Maybe they have a waitress.
Maybe you have to go to the counter to order.

Maybe the menu is in Spanish.
Maybe English.
Maybe both.

Look for pupusaa.

Then you have options.

They will have queso.
But the cheese ain't yellow.
It is mixed with an herb called loroca.

Or frijoles.
Beans. Fart machines.

Or chicharrones.
Chopped up pig skin in a red sauce.

Or a revuelta of everything.

Or chicken and onions.
Not always.
Almost never.

These are the fillings.
You have to choose.

I like the queso with loroca.

The filling is put in between some maza.
You know...corn tortilla dough.
Then flattened out.
Put on a griddle like a pancake.
Then flipped over.

When they come to your table they are ready for you.
They will be hot and a little crusty.

There will be a plate of cabbage salad brought to the table.
It is called curtido.
Put some on top of the pupusa.
Put some of the special red salsa on top.
It should be thin.
It should be mildly hot.
It should be a little bit sweet.

Now you can eat.
This is the best part.

Maybe you should order a few to take home.
But since you found this pupusaria...
You will come back again.

This picture is by Ricardo Levins Morales from the Northland Poster Collective. Click the image to go there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Daptone Family Fundraiser for Barack Obama