Long Exposure In Oaxaca
I love her casual reach for cold silvery plates of film to capture the gangs of the city in
grainy daguerreotype. Her lipstick never looks quite right, because she never wears it. She is one to herself, planted with the tripod in an unseasonable fur lined leather long-coat in leopard print, her red hair flying in the easy wind. Her lion’s mane of a sometime Rita Hayworth style rattles the gutters of El Gran Hotel Paraiso. It whips persistently like flame. Madeline mine, her eyes gut the chain-swinging graffiti guys into slices, those govoreeting goons in groups of threes—soulless thugs making mincemeat of the children on the street. She shoots them from under the awning hidden beachside Escondido.
red delicious fruit
is hanging by the doorway
serving boys on plates
She coaxes images slowly, wafting in like smoke, to a symphonic, rumbling Victrola of Señores Crosby, Diamond, and Dylan—who sings of red headed bathing beauties under parasols, and of the burning in the bottom of the soul found in poems from the 13th century. The ghosts of the boys’ victims came to reckon with them, leaving them infected with three incubi on spiritual reassignment to make throat cultures for a feast somewhere in the desert. Perhaps to grow mushrooms for nearby brujos. You can see the horror in the daguerreotype, and what seems a ghastly tint overlaying each thug. Of course it wasn’t you. Of course you’re innocent. Of course you didn’t do it. No. Not you.
captured by ability
The prose is exciting, the language lively. Certain lines stand out like: “It whips persistently like flame” and “You can see the horror in the daguerreotype…” I’m not sure I grok this thoroughly and not sure I need to. Love the first haiku. The second one loses me by comparison. That’s not so much a criticism, just a comment you can take or leave. Very ambitious writing. Looks good on the page!
I also love the title!
grok: how very Heinlein of you! I’m not sure what this means either, and that’s precisely where I went diving for pearls. I’ve never been an extreme fan of The Big Reveal, it is an admitted deficiency and at times a strength as I see it. Many of my favorite writers do have a sense of resolution, but it is shaded in magic. Making it accessible at a sideways glance.
At minimum this is a revenge fantasy, and Madeline is the anachronistic instrument of the demise of three thugs. She shoots them in a Mexican standoff with a camera after all. They are meant to be clockwork droogs with their gavoreeting in Mexico. It is basically a nightmare with a movie starlet at the center.
I rather like the second haiku. But then. It is rather brainy. Not visceral.
Linda, I truly appreciate your feelings and honest notes reading the work this summer.
in the end… maybe/probably
mycelium lives matter.
bold move- that final one word line of the second haiku
‘memorialized’… i’m here for it.
the portrait of the artist
shooting gang members
with vivid technicolor.
I’m also here for it
“She coaxes images slowly…” You seem to do the same with this poem, and it sure pulls us in!
I love your rich language and the scenes you craft!
The language of this is irresistible. And I do so appreciate your comment above about sometimes the reveal needs to be shaded in magic. There’s magic throughout this. Love this line especially —
“her eyes gut the chain-swinging graffiti guys into slices” — it sings.
Like Linda, I don’t quite understand the dramatic situation here—though I did get that there’s photography involved, which piqued my interest. Mostly I like the slightly antique quality of the language here, the way it’s its own daguerrotype.
I can’t follow your poem but you do have great details
It was ILL conceived ❤️
Gladly, Melva Sue Priddy, this was a hogslop pastiche, and I may have written better things as of late.
Manny, your imagry is absolutely amazing! Have you published your own book yet?
I have a book in two publishers’ hands. Waiting game. Looking around.