poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Brass Monkey

I was doing angry things in a little way, like spitting and throwing down
my bag and picking it up again in the hot southern Mexican morning sun.

The cab driver was late late, and Riz was sick sick. She had been for weeks,
but didn’t want to ruin the vacation. The doctor in Palenque who said dengue fever

with certainty gave Riz shots in the ass. Riz was loosing strength, color,
focus in her eyes. It was time to go back to New York. I thought

it might be better to wait inside, so I took our bags up to the little bungalow internet café.
It was strange to check e-mail in the middle of a Mexican jungle. The bungalow

was on stilts so the animals could run around underneath.
I looked at flight schedules- only one to America today out of Villa Hermosa.

And we might not make it. I stood up and looked as far down the dust road as possible. No one. I checked my e-mail and I only had one. My friend had killed himself.

He jumped from a bridge in Portland, Oregon. I froze until the cab honk honk
broke in to my freeze. I took a sharp shallow breath, and picked up both backpacks.

I told the driver what time the plane was arriving and he sped us away.
Almost immediately, Riz rolled down her window and vomited. Got pulled over

shortly by young men with big black guns on the side of the road. They
made us get out of the cab. It was Riz who insisted we go to Chiapas. Fucking Chiapas.

I pulled Riz out onto her feet and told them she was sick. They could see it.
They said things to the cabdriver that I couldn’t hear. We got back in and sped away.

I guess it wasn’t a speeding ticket. The cab was nice, it smelled good, it had a CD player.
I fumbled around in my backpack for a CD to play. My friend who died the night before

had made a mix called Watermelon and I put that in the CD player. The driver
turned it up so we couldn’t hear the sick noises from Riz. It was making me feel sick too.

The driver liked the music. I rolled down my window.
The air blasted the tears off my face. Beastie Boys. Brass Monkey.

The driver knew the song, he sang and I joined him- Brass Monkey, that funky monkey.
Sick sick sick in the back. That car was old and fast fast fast.
That funky monkey, we sang.

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