Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Poem #86 of 365

In Santa Fe, they buy your clothes
right off your back. Wavin' money,
that's a big passtime--a pasatiempo--
in ole Fanta Se. Rich lazy people who
make profit on investments and gaze
greedily at galleries, they're the ones
with the big bucks. The locals are chintzy,
making do with their dough. A six-pack
for the Indians, a vintage cabernet
for a tourist.

At Trader Jack's with my brother, we marveled at
African beads and bags made of hemp. Things
made by folks with dirty skin--people like me.
These goods were spirited with wear and travel.
I wanted to rush home right then, to hammer
metal into retablo and string beads onto leather.
Do ritual with hands.

With my back to the crowd, I leaned into the
artisan's wares and scarcely noticed the tap
on my shoulder. When I turned around, a voice
met my face: "50 dollars." She touched my
denim jacket, the vintage dark indigo Levi's
version that I'd bought at a Goodwill for five
dollars, back in the early 80s.

I glanced at my brother, searching for signals
on what I should do. He merely shrugged,
and I clutched my Levi-ed arms. No, I quickly
replied, "it's not for sale." Off she went, to
bid on other hard-to-finds on the dusty trail.

A few hours later, bro and I were hoofing
it along Paseo de Peralta, with the air of
summer crisping our skin. A slow stream
of cars passed along on the left, and I barely
eyed them--typical pedestrian insistence.

But I felt an energy pull at me then, and
I turned to see an outstretched arm, hanging
out through an open car window. In the
hand, a crisp dollar bill. It matched a mouth
speaking "your jacket." The man offered me
a one-hundred dollar bill for the couture on my
back, and it took only one look at my brother
to cement my decision. I would do it, I would
sell my warmth to the highest bidder.

Slowly, I took off the precious rarity, and
coveted it as I let it go--remembering all
the good times that it wore forever in its
stitches. And I took that money and turned
away. So quickly, I had been denuded for profit.

In Santa Fe, they'll buy your clothes
right off your back. But some nights, in Santa Fe,
I removed them for free. But that's another and
another story to tell.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

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