Til the wheels come off.

Marimba Forever

by Jim Christy


Four on the Alameda
By the Cathedral’s south
Side door, rigid like figures
In an architect’s rendering,
Heads turned from the glittering apse
As in the engraving of 1552,
To survey the zocalo scene.
And were watching when the first
Package tour tourists arrived
From north of the border, seeking
Brown skin and syncopated music.
It is said Cortez tripped
Over a cobblestone, exactly
Forty-one paces from the bandstand
Stairs, and nuzzled Malinche’s neck
On that green bench
Right over there where
I wish I were necking with you.
Conquistadors in armour sat before marble-
Topped tables, sipping chocolate how many
Dead Indians ago?
And touched their morions when a pretty
Zacateca girl went swishing by.
Same tables hustled by how many
Generations of guitar players?
And how many, like him,
Were missing a string, singing
“Bessa Me Mucho” but much
Too dirty ever to kiss, and
Oblivious to marimba orchestra
Making background music to
Tomorrow’s memories