We stayed in Coyoacán for a week, at L.'s apartment off avenida Tasqueña, near the southern regional bus terminal. L.'s landlady had survived the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968 when she was a student at UNAM. To this day she avoided conversation with strangers, eyeing us nervously when we were introduced to her in the courtyard one afternoon. She lived enclosed in hard silence, megalopolis valley.
The Octavio Paz and Gandhi bookstores were conveniently across the street from each other, a quick bus ride away from the apartment. While we were in DF, the students at UNAM had occupied the university in protest of recent tuition increases. L. offered to get us onto campus to see the improvised village the students were maintaining amid classrooms, offices, auditoriums and courtyards. But we were so enthralled by the rest of the city that we never got to UNAM. I saw the TV images and read daily accounts in the newspapers, and I still remember our feeling of solidarity with those students.
It was a distinct season induced by travel. DF offered a subtle vision before the dread hour we now inhabit had fully arrived. I think of those massive avenues that cut across the brutal, flat city through crowded successions of neighborhoods flashing below us on elevated subway routes, trying to fit whose lines in my notebook.
It sounds like something out of Walcott
Your invocations are futile, did you?
Understand this verse to worsen thee
Procedural contraption for bibliotheque
On a phone call from Caracas to me
This afternoon my name calls me across
The sea, over Florida's memory banks
Theoretically-inclined poems sometimes
Fake intentions, novelty might delight
Whose beats occasion defeat
Orphan glimpse I'm not, so thanks
Beside tallest skyscrapers, a work
For your language assumption guide
I wrote it in plain morning
I listen to Sigur Rós, "Agaetis byrjun"
& "Avalon," three times today
always thinking of the line,
I am excited and anxious about the line
I never really
understand her requirements
I leave it up to the notebook
Why do you write?
What is the need for print?
Where are the poems and why
won't they speak?
It's formed by interruptions, I like
I like these floes
Traffic congested my lines
As did chance, the fortitude
of this city, a drastic allegiance
The rain disappears
into my room
where I eat trees
like air, this same
that same flame
while I speak
the sidewalk's guide
rhyme seems to move
easily with false
likewise, rain is crucial
to the anonymous
drift of paneled
library walls, the
rare edges & past
elegance we've built
fictional for your