Poem

by Jim Tyack

HALF asleep and
scratching black ink on thrice-folded napkin
the texture of papyrus, a biblical scene perhaps
bullrushes and Moses naked near the river
Egypt in the background in flames
                                                   and
I am waiting for my long awaited corned-beef sandwich
sitting and waiting
in the poor excuse for an American deli on the Reforma
a few blocks from La Zone Rosa
                                                 watching
the crowds
3 displaced Mariachis
a pearly white spitting image of Garbo in buff painter's
                                                                              overalls
the smiling progeny of Aztecs Ulmecs Mayans Nahuatl, maybe
Napoleonic troops lugging trinkets
                                                 and
weaving in the traffic (horns)
ole and honk on todas las calles
                                                 my corned-beef
thick and cold
and the native idea of rye bread (for WCW's
information) remains an
                                      idea
still, everyone is late today
the waiter forgets to bring a lime with my rum which
might be a capital offense in Mejico
and the flies are on the tour
                                           all over
everplace I go
buzz buzz, and Larry says
                                                 ''They are refugees
from China. One can't believe how clean it is
in Peking!''
                    and dull
and the winter here is impossible
the cactus eats the grape, I'm told
but Kenneth promised me he'd send a case
so I'm sending this scratched tryptich
                                                         in black and white
clip a petal from the jonquill on the table (the waiter
brings the lime as I pinch flowers) to remind you
that this ''deli'' never closes

Previously published in Street Magazine.

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