Friday, January 16, 2009

Taking the Bad with the Good

(Photo by our friend, Carol Bowman)

As I write this, Pixie is preparing to return to Maine at the end of January to be with her mother who is ill.  She will be staying with her sister in Gray.  We don't know how long she'll be there, but I will be staying in Mexico.  Not ideal, but as Pixie says, "You gotta do what you gotta do."

I lost a friend on New Year's Eve.  His name was Terry Hogan.  He was an interesting man who I met in the Ajijic Writers' Group.  He was Irish. He's been a fisherman, a woodsman, a car mechanic, and he lived on a Greek Island for awhile.  He lived around the other side of the lake and loved Mexico.  He was very kind and encouraged me with my poetry. We gathered in Jocotepec for a celebration of his life last week, and I was able to learn more about the rich life he had led.  It was sad, but I was glad to have known him.  I wrote a poem about the fact that I am meeting interesting people here, but towards the end of their lives.  I find myself wondering what they were like when they were younger.  Here it is:

Meeting You at Twilight  


I am glad to have come across you

Even as the sun sets over the western shore

For you are a beacon to light my way

As I head into my dusk.


Where I feel unsure, you step deliberately

Where I am new, you show me your scars.

You are not like those I do not want to become

Who die slowly every day.

You live in the sun and bask in the heat.


How did you get to this twilight today?

What were you like at noon?

I can only guess.

Were you always walking in front?

Were you like me?

What have you lost in the dark afternoon?


Would that I could walk with you

For just one day in the sun

To look into your face

To see what you feared

And see what you loved

When the sun cast no shadows

On your fresh life.


For now I do not have

Long hours to walk with you,

I know as the sun drops over the trees

That darkness will descend

For you, and for me,

And I am glad to have

Seen you smile and heard your voice

In the evening light. 

We visited a friend's home last week, and she has decorated it with beautiful Mexican art.  I thought I'd post some photos.  Her name is Bebe.  She is from California, has liv ed in Mexico for almost 20 years, and has become a Mexican citizen.  She poses below with her life-sized Katrna: 

Here are some photos I took around her very Mexican home:


Lakeside is more crowded these days as the snowbirds have arrived, mostly from Canada, to escape the cold and snow.  Walmart is open and busy, new businesses are opening, and the peso is still weak against the American dollar.  The drug wars, which are mostly up around the border, touched lakeside last week when a couple of young Mexican men were shot and killed on the Carreterra, the main road through all the north shore towns, a couple of blocks from our house, in the middle of the night, a likely drug-related execution.  But, of course, this kind of thing happens all the time in American cities.  But, sadly, it can happen here too.  

We are all awaiting the historic inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday.  Mexicans and Canadians alike are intrigued at the prospect of this new kind of American president.  I'll end this entry with a poem I wrote about Obama which appears in this month's Ojo del Lago:


(Upon Your Election, November 2008)


You have reached

Deep into the

Unspeakable shame

Of a people

And pulled out the strands

Which transcend hate.

And now you stand

Above the raw wound

Grasping the fragile tissue

Of redemption.


And we are waiting.

We can see,

Like Plato’s shadows

Insubstantial fragments

Of truth

On which we reflect

Our hopes

Cast unfairly onto you,

So beautiful

And wise

Beyond your years,

So it’s easy

To think we see

A great man



Our jaded eyes.




As you once stood

And wept

Over your black

Father’s grave,

You now stand

Over a land

Cast in many colors

Which has lost its way

Amid the glut

Of excess

And loud cries

Of tribal hate.



Will you help us

Save modernity

From itself?

Can we live up

To the hope

Of your black brothers

And white sisters

Who want

To see

Abraham and Franklin

In your

Honey brown face?



Can you help us

See ourselves anew,

Not as God’s children

Chosen to rule

The earth,

But as citizens

Of the world

Who can think

And reason

And love

And share

And survive




I do not know

Your destiny

Nor ours.

But your kind eyes

Reflect the hopes

We have

For the children

Who will inherit

What we

Have wrought. 


gemma escobar-ortiz said...

Profesor Frayer, what a beautiful poesm, both about our new President and about your friend Terry Hogan. I remember watching Barack speaking at the DNC and being so taken by him. Soon after I ran to the CMCC library and requested his book Dreams of My Father. I really enjoyed it, have you read it? If not, I would recommend it! Watching him get sworn in and deliver his speach on tuesday I could not help but cry! He is such a sign of hope, peace, and the change that I believe is about to come. I believe he will be a great leader because he is like me a daughter of an immigrant trying to achieve my dreams. After listening to him speak I feel like being better and it inspires me to do good by others. Thank you for putting into beautiful words how not only how you feel but how others feel about our new Presidnet as wells

Bill said...


Muchas gracias por tus palabras simpaticas. Buena suerte en tus viaje!