Round mamacitas amble on ample legs,
Legs shuffle along a pockmarked sidewalk,
Sidewalk littered with loitering dregs,
Dregs, angry, eying outlines of chalk.
Small children in the their Sunday best,
Best to pretend they are not bound for death,
Death by blackened liver or bullet in the chest,
Chest heaving as they wheeze and squeeze their breath.
Day workers in paint-spattered souls,
Souls weary as droopy-eyed mutts in the sun,
Sun baking wrinkled skin through frayed pant holes,
Holes in memories of the homes from which they had run.
Footballs on cracked pavement chased by tots,
Tots with tentative future of anchored life,
Life skittering like so many crashing pots,
Pots of steaming sopa with which their lives are rife.
Bodegas with fruit racks buzz with flies,
Flies hover as lazily as the patrons,
Patrons grabbing at grub, pigs in sties,
Sties watched sharply by cross-armed matrons.
Bowling ball bellied men stand around sipping beer,
Beer cools and drowns their waning hope,
Hope long gone and replaced with pressing fear,
Fear of hungry children, unable to cope.
Cowboy hats donned in crowded bars,
Bars on prison windows, iron and cold,
Cold shoulders from gringos in juiced-up cars,
Cars meandering passed missions and a wash-and-fold.
Hand-rolled cigarettes pressed against lips,
Lips muttering “al mal tiempo, buena cara”, so wise,
Wise muchachos admiring bursting breasts and swaying hips,
Hips rolling out over chicas’ jeans and leery eyes.