Spine of Califas – Morning Crossing
north over there.
You’re the driver bringing five señoras to work, with tourist visas, $10 round trip.
You’re the driver coming back from La Revo, a night of whistles, tequila,
walking in a dream of neon, bass echoes pulling you into every bar.
You’re the mother taking your son to the Catholic school on Riverside Drive,
you’ll breathe easier once he’s in medical school.
You’re the retired sailor, planted your flag in front of a three bedroom Tijuana house,
half the rent of a studio apartment in your country.
You’re the engineering student crossing to a job at the swap meet.
You’re the 25 year-old mexicana, thinking about the money in your pocket
when you get the car across,
feeling your artery pump double blood,
hands clutched on steering wheel,
the back seats firm as a pile of bricks.
You’re the political scientist with an ocean view of playas, entertain La Jolla friends,
each with a cross over dream on the rocks.
You’re facing California, your back to Latin America, you want to stand atop your car and yell:
Papers? Papers? I don’t need no stinking papers!
Car exhaust mixes with sweat evaporating on the foreheads of:
the newspaper vendors,
the plaster monkey vendors,
the plaster cactus vendors,
the plaster Uncle Sam vendors,
the plaster Sleeping Mexican vendors.
And out of the corner of your eye, cigarette smoke from a cigarette holder,
between fingers, in the hills of Tijuana,
where a woman sits on IKEA furniture
and spits on gringos at cocktail parties.
Cars, waves 13 seconds apart, pass layers of wanted posters:
the Pancho Villas, the Arellanos, the Chapos, the Zetas
(the hit men, not the newspaper).
This is la linea, where X marks the spot, where the Spine of Califas begins.
Where the vendors are unionized,
where the vendors sell plaster hamburgers,
where the vendors sell surfing chimps,
where the vendors sell velvet paintings of John Wayne, Trump with a bullseye,
Blix, Duchamp, Dolores Huerta, Marcos, Kissinger, Don Francisco, Mendieta, and Anzaldúa.
Nuns ask for donations,
teenagers ask for red cross blood.
Where were you born?
Ni aquí, ni allá,
among the palms,
on a bed of nopales.
Where are you going?
What are you bringing?
A fractured identity,
resentment of how you treat my hermanos,
a desire to unzip the border,
a dream that the wall dissolves
and turns into water that reaches
the dormant lavender roots
that’ll grow 15-feet tall.
Copyright 2018 by Adolfo Guzmán López.