Tuesday, March 08, 2011

One Who Listened (and a brief introduction to the La Lola Minds)

The La Lola Minds would gather each afternoon. Numerous topics would be discussed over several rounds of Mexican beer. I had to leave early one day to meet with an interview subject for some story about
Hollywood people who had spent time in San Miguel de Allende.
The interviewee never showed, so the rest of the afternoon was spent hammering out a story that wound up being a story about a story not ever being written.
I know, but it sounded like a clever idea at the time. I mean, what would the other “members” of the La Lola Minds do? There was actually a far less flattering nickname for that bunch, but let’s just leave it the way it is written here.
The piece was supposed to run in the next issue of El Independiente, an English friendly publication based in San Miguel. A second reading betrayed brevity that bordered on laziness, so an addendum seemed a good idea.
The view from the window where I was perched held a great view of downtown. Still, I felt more like the dark comfort of the bar would suit me better. That is, it would be more fitting an environment for my mood at the time.
There was a glass paned door to my immediate right. Upon one of the wood slats rested a wasp.
The bar could wait. And besides, my friends had probably all left by then, headed home to rest up before returning for the second shift, so to speak. That’s when the pool tables would come into play and the discussion would mainly concern who had the advantage after the break.
But back to the wasp. He crawled slowly from the door to the window and just sat there staring at me.
No answer of course. I began to randomly type and the following poem happened. One of the fellow LL Minds, a good friend living in Canada now will probably recognize it, though he will not have seen it for what must be close to a decade and a half.
The story about not being able to be written never saw the light of day, but the poem wound up in El Independiente displayed in rather prominent fashion across almost an entire page. Go figure.
Too much time has passed for accuracy in describing what might have been discussed that afternoon at the bar, but this should shed a little light on the pliable frame of mind that would often occupy my skull just after those meetings. Sort of playfully dark, a favorite phrase of mine to this day. An homage to the calm reverence of solitude.

one who listened

I spoke to a wasp the other day
at least he looked like a wasp
could have been a bee
flew in my open door
and landed in front of me
he stared, defiant yet afraid
after all , I am bigger
and so I said
do not sting me and
I will not squash you

a wise choice
he must have thought
for he simply stayed
stretching his wings
enjoying the rays of the sun
heat through my window
I was typing at the time
creating, if you will
and that old wasp
I could tell he was old
by wasp standards

he sat there and listened
as I read to him my story
he preened his tentacles
I thought perhaps he was bored
still polite
and tentacles looking sharp
no effort was made
on his part
to leave his perch
in the dust on the sill
the ledge, if you will

my tale concluded
still there he remained
rapt with attention
like a child
lost within a fairy tale
that old wasp
not ready to leave
obviously wanting to hear more
I obliged
and I told him
all about me

I told him of music
of resonance and rhythm
and how at the age of three
I wanted to be
just like Hank Williams
crooning into the night
guitar in hand
searching out the next rhyme
of future assured of troubles
of drinking and gambling
how it all seemed so right

ah, then came talk of pain
unrequited love
blood mixed with acid rain
torn apart and shaken
and I wondered
while I was ranting
if wasps fell in love
or if they mated
on instinct alone
had this wasp a family?
or was he merely a drone

I spoke of being quite young
and not understanding
watching real war on TV
of hostages taken
in the name of God
while Jesus wept and
Buddha moaned
of growing older
being continually perplexed
of all the horror
destined for history text

so in concluding these musings
I clasped my hands behind my head
and that old wasp
he understood
for off he flew
to his waspy friends
bearing lore
all about the poet he met
who sits by the door
and I found in my heart I hoped
he would return someday, to listen some more



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