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Bill in San Miguel

As should be, there are
places and moments that
transcend borders and
seem gems meant for all
to see and enjoy.

We can be lulled to sleep
by fancy, beautiful places,
sky-scraping churches to
praise God, and also to
distract from murder.

Murdering culture, tradition,
polytheistic pagan dreams
of earth gratitude and song.
The dream of new, youth
and eternity,

Dreamed as I did when
I prayed for poetry to come
to me.  I was in San Miguel
de Allende in 1995, twenty-
three years old, writing
travel stories…

“God, give me poetry,”
I prayed by the bed on
my knees, as I used to do,
a recovering Catholic in the
home of my practicing
Mexican family.

They ran a pensión then,
and I paid my pesos, ate
the nice meals at Comida
time, met a photographer
from Colorado who taught
me about light.

Two or so weeks passed,
and no poetry arrived.  I
had been to the bullfights,
saw Cristina Sanchez defy the
odds in a man’s world
and shine; I ran with the
little bulls

of the Pamplonada, the
grand Independence Day
fiesta, a little bull hit
me and I fell down, typical of
tourists taking pictures
not precautions.

But after a day in Dolores,
called Hidalgo after the
Mexican hero, I was awakened
by lines of poetry out of
my dreams in Spanish and
in English,

Every other line.

I sowed prayer and reaped
poetry in San Miguel, a
Spanish name for a place that
I’m sure used to have an
Indigenous name, Chichimeca
the internet tells me… By any
other name

places either smell sweet
or not.  It needs cleaning
and care like any baby or
town; it could use help
with stray dogs, and is
not perfect, but there is
magic there.

Here, I should say—there
is magic here, for I have
finally moved here to explore
more poetry and write
a book about white people
from Europe stealing

native land from natural
inhabitants whose spirituality
is glorious and not in books.

There’ll be a place someday
that truly rises up as an
example to the world, and
it could be here in San Miguel.

Then again, I may not know,
for I am bound for Wales
after a while in search of
land neither I nor my descendants
did violently steal.