Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cocoyea Broom

Cocoyea Broom

And kids plucking out one by one
The few stray weeds. . .
I dream of papa lying there
with gray mustache and striped pajamas
hands clasped in final payer
like it never was in life. . .

I dream of mama
Frail and weak
But laughing singing and downing a glass of Old Oak
in one gulp
Puffing a pipe
And drinking a demi-tasse of café
Black and strong . . .

I remember
The festive strains of parang music
Cuatro, box base, mandolin
Hoarse cracked voices
With toothless grins
Bare feet and stained overalls
Coco-panyol day off
Black cake and pastelles
Ham and aguinaldos
And mucho mucho café
Full-skirted swirling dances
And appliquéd alpagatas. . .

I remember her raspy smoke-filled voice
Her trembling hands
Barely able to hold a flame to cigarette
dangling from pursed lips
strong veined hands
counting money from her shop . . .
holding down the fort
long after he was just a distant memory
long after all that was left of him
was that strange bump on his forehead . . .
and his gray felt hat
as gray as the satin lined box in which he lay. . .

I remember her holding us close to her
Huddled faces hidden in black and white
polka dotted skirt
screaming into muffling folds
where are they taking him?

I remember how
Smiles were all we had. . . .
watching it all through stained glass windows
on the world
Watching how life and death
Danced merrily with each other
As grandmothers continued to pick rice
As children never paused at play . . . .

Everything . . .
Was so simple then . . .

Simple, bare and swept clean
Cocoyea broom.

©KPLewis (Kalypsoul)

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