Jaltemba Daze

Jaltemba Daze

Bright trumpets scream
through steamy ocean mists
sandy midday heat.
Fat tuba bellows
beneath clarinets’ bird-pitched squeals
some golden molten trombone sass.
Dancers male and female
old and young
drunk and sober
shake and twist in the tented shade
raising sea dust plumes.

Quick Afro-Mex beats
drums and drums and
booming bass drum and
crashing cymbals and falling coconuts
pulsate the cumpleaños.

The Pacific pounds
roars and sparkles in
ever widening waves of cerveza foam
come to overtake the fiesta.

Beautiful and indifferent,
the Girl from Ipanema
wafts languidly by
under Canadian eyes, American sighs
a strummy guitar, samba rattles,
and slaps from an African
slave box drum.

An ancient Indio from Oaxaca
in white under
a big brimmed cone straw hat
left over from the Revolution
marches into the midst.
His left hand’s bugle blares a primal ritual tune
his right keeps the old time
on a slack snare drum
slung from his neck.
The young barefoot one
his granddaughter
collects silver and gold.

El festival!
Incoherent crowds of
hawkers gawkers
bathers and sea bunglers
slip through
cacophonous shimmering
polka-dots of rainbow sombrillas
pursued by hot aromas of
smoked fish garlic shrimp and
the shrill cries of
swooping sea birds.

Parties within parties within parties
and one grand party
muchas canciones
on the shores of Jaltemba…

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