Mexican Conquest
Roses of Belfast
Brown-eyed Susan
Under a White Umbrella
Mexican Conquest
Expresso Dreams
Summer Rain
Christmas Eve
Morning After
Eternal Unity
Bitter Blossoms
Tender Mercies
Into the Darkness
Miss Maddy Jones
Could They?
The Temple Gate
Midnight Writer
Sioux-Blue Sky
Nine Years Old
Spring Sonnet
Same Time, Next Year



Heat waves made shimmering,

liquid mirages on a dusty asphalt road,

confusing me, obscuring my view.

Haze and chemical fumes

fogged my perception,

and blurred the line

between past and present.

Was that the highway from Vera Cruz,

or an old mountain path

where triumphant warriors

of an ancient civilization

led slaves from the shore

to a splendid city

on a vast but shallow lake?

Were the men who passed me

curious travelers, men of business,

or undaunted Spaniards from Cadiz?

Perhaps they were proud and pious priests

of Salamanca, Granada or Seville?

In Puebla, I watched weathered hands

prepare my meal, as they did before

for men who once marched that way,

under glorious stars and stripes.

Soldiers who fought and won,

but regretted the victory,

thought better of it, and left,

to fight each other another day.

Or, were they blue-clad soldiers,

there under the flag of France,

escorting an Austrian arch-duke

who would be emperor and martyr?

I saw wary women, wearing fringed shawls,

vigilant, watching children swarm me,

their tiny brown fingers outstretched,

to receive the bounty of strangers,

coins of trivial value to men

who passed, like me, along this way.  

Volcanic hulks slept at night,

oblivious to one more invasion,

another insurgency to the heart of Mexico.

I pressed on, unaware,

in step to a mariachi song

in a latter-day conquest.

When the road I traveled

merged into a broad boulevard

where a narrow causeway

once lured others to their death,

I saw glass and steel towers

rising above ruins of Aztec temples

where sanguinary rites

have never been forgotten.

In the terrible beauty of this land,

obsidian sacrificial knives were lost,

but sharper instruments of industry

pierce the flesh and drain life from souls

who toil in the sunshine

and bleed in the shade.