Three poets’ takes on Mexico

Three Lake Chapala poets have devoted much of their talent to sharing their love of life in Mexico.  Each writes in a very different style, but each manages to capture in his vignettes of daily life not only images familiar to anyone who lives here, but a sense of place that escapes the camera lens.  These poets manage to say what  we often feel about what we see Mexico, but are unable to express.


Three of Bill Frayer’s four volumes of poetry are devoted almost exclusively to this pursuit, and here are excerpts from each:

Frayer - MigrationMexican Street (from Migration)

Living in the heat
of the Mexican street
I step out into the sun
and smell the carnitas
and peanuts roasting.
and Rosa, Rosa next door
who sells her botanas every night
and watches my basura
every morning
keeping the dogs away,
stands smiling
with her missing teeth
and greasy apron,
but always smiling…

Frayer - Sacred LakeForeigner Walking (from Sacred Lake)

As I navigate the uneven stones
Of our Rio Zula
Past a dark-skinned boy
Drinking Coke and mixing sad
Into cement.  “Hola,” I offer.
And he responds more lyrically.
Mangos fallen to the street
In the overnight rain
A flat-face madre
Picks them up, bruised and unripe alike
Into a faded nylon mesh bag.
Another beautiful “Buenos Dias”
Enunciated slowly, carefully
With a slight smile…

Frayer - Agave BloodAgave Blood (from Agave Blood)

I watch as they squeeze
The baked agave heart
To extract the sweet nectar
Which will become
A fine anejo
How did the Aztecs discover
The secret of this blue  cactus
Which would blunt their senses
Perhaps, and make sense
Of their blood sacrifice?
For this tequila os
The story of all Mexico,
The beauty and the tragedy.

Find these three books and others by Bill – along with his reviews – here on Amazon.


DoddsJohn Thomas Dodds has written novels and children’s books, but poetry is most prominent among his body of work.

In A Stroll Through The Village of Ajijic, he devotes an entire volume to loving verses about his adopted home.

 

… I am captured under the delicate brilliance of a canopy of bougainvillea the color of my lovers’ lips.
Momentarily and alien on another planet.
Nothing grows that seemingly hasn’t been here forever, with a fragrance of life so delightful as to buffer the external myth of having been trapped in a never ending ascension of regret.

Find this book and others by John – along with his reviews – here on Amazon.


41-vnsNynCLThe late James Tipton introduced many local poets to the short form verse of Japanese tanka, and his book Washing Dishes In  The Ancient Village packs deep insight into a sparse and meticulously crafted phrases.  Here are four selections:

Behind the barred window
the proud mother
holds up her laughing baby

The cart hauling hay
for the horse
pulling the cart

Dirt road at dusk
everything alive whispers
slow down

So close to Heaven
we could smell
the empanadas!

Find this book and others by Jim – along with his reviews – here on Amazon.

Check out the complete listing of RiberasAuthors by genre here.


Posted by Antonio Ramblés

LCS acknowledgement

Spotlight: Author Janice Kimball

Janice Kimball
Janice Kimball

Janice Kimball has lived at least three lives.  The first was as a mother and wife.  The second is as an award-winning artist and talented textiles designer.  And the third – which often vies with the second – is as a writer with a very distinctive voice.

Kimball’s book Three in a Cage is an uplifting story that tackles the real meaning of family, and – except for the “translated” musings of a talking parrot – is at its heart a true account set on the shores of Lake Chapala.   The author calls her style “creative non-fiction”.

Three In A Cage coverThe tale revolves around an eclectic trio of roomates. Jani is the owner of a Mexican art studio, where she lives with native weaver Francisco and a chatty parrot named Max Bird. The story soon unfolds to reveal that they came together through happenstance, and that all three had tragic pasts.

Jani was once a self-described stalker’s wife, a woman who constantly feared for the safety of her children at their father’s hands. Her nightmares condemned her to a lifetime of insomnia and branded her with what later came to be known as post-traumatic stress.

Francisco, smuggled across the border at age fourteen to seek wages sufficient to help support his twelve younger siblings and mother back in Mexico, fell into tragic circumstances which left him a wandering, virtual amnesiac for years.

Max, an unusually articulate and insightful parrot, was kidnapped as a fledgling by poachers to be sold illegally. He has a crippled foot and clipped wings.

Together, these three attempt to build a new shared life  on the ruins of their “ lost identities.” As they comfort each other and build a mutual trust, their wounds begin to heal and they become bound to each other as tightly as any family of shared blood.  The route to their new lives, however, is sometimes circuitous.

This is an allegorical tale about an escape from the confines of traditional thinking which enables this earthbound trio to “fly without wings.” It’s a book to which ‘children’ aged 8 to 80 can connect equally, and its lesson is one that benefits well from Kimball’s retelling.

Find Three In A Cage here on Amazon.

All Our Words Needed Saying


Janice has joined other women writers as a contributor to the anthology All Our Words Needed Saying (here on Amazon).

She is also the author of a 2014 limited edition book titled The Joy of Art, an illustrated guide to its creation, exhibition, and sale.

 


Max Bird makes a cameo appearance in the award-winning anthology Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows as in a piece by Janice titled The Golf Cart LadyFind it here on Amazon.

Mexico Sunlight & Shadows

 

Welcome poet Bill Frayer

Bill Frayer mug 2
Bill Frayer

Bill Frayer’s work spreads itself across an expansive landscape of autobiographical and philosophical subjects, much of it inspired by his life as an expatriate living in central Mexico.

He weaves everyday feelings and thoughts into patterns which which transform the ordinary into visions of the extraordinary.

In addition to four volumes of his own poetry, his work os also be found between the covers of Romancing The Muse, collected works of the Not Yet Dead Poets Society.

Read more about Bill, and find links to his work and reviews on Amazon, here.