The bas relief face is gone

I often think we need a half-sized Statue of Liberty at DFW Airport. Every nation on earth is represented here. Tribes from Africa, representing all the nations there, Burma or Myanmar, Honduras, Vietnam, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Indonesia. My wife and brother-in-law teach ESL, and just at Christmas, I heard there are now Malaysians in his class — a new country represented in the mix. But many have crossed from our southern borders, as did the fry cook described below, no doubt, his features straight from an Aztec temple frieze.

 

The Aztec-profiled,

chicken dipping, deep-fry cook

finally moved on.

 

When I’m at Popeye’s

I’ll miss his stone-chiseled looks,

features depicted

 

in old Mexico,

carved into the temple walls

— minus the ball cap.

 

 

Pink, birds, umbrellas, cotton candy on twin sticks

 

This string is about roseate spoonbills on the Gulf Coast, flamingos in Honduras, and other things pink, all of them, except the drink decorating stir sticks, naturally occurring pink.

 

Cotton candy pink.

Fluffy pink balls of feathers

scattered in bushes.

 

Roseate spoonbills

in their full mating plumage

on High Island shore.

•••••••••••

Flying pink umbrellas

seen from Honduran rooftop,

bishop’s residence

 

Flamingos in flight

crossing over Honduras

Pacific to Gulf

 

in Juticalpa.

There with bishop and my friend,

the photographer,

 

we stand, view the square

 

Scene is bathed in blues

and pinks so rich they defy

my ability

 

to remember them

until I see Rodger’s pics

published on newsprint.

•••••••••••

Standing by bird blind

two hundred fifty miles from

Texas Gulf Coast,

 

a lone pink spoonbill

flies high over arm of lake,

rose-colored and lost.

•••••••••••

Carousel patterned

drive-in restaurant, now gone.

We sit with our drinks,

 

and hanging from their rims,

two hot pink, hard plastic birds

— with umbrella beaks.

 

 

Seven-inch diameter ball of clay

Next door in Guatemala, native peoples’ crafts thrive, form a vital part of the local culture, as they continue at their looms, bright colors and patterns leaping forth. But here in Honduras, the Spanish culture has driven the crafts of natives from the center stage. When I admired a small sconce-shaped vase, hand-worked, hanging from a nuns’ residence’s wall, our photographer sneered when I asked if it were native-crafted, making some snide remark about “No, it’s ours (Spanish culture). Theirs is not so finished.” The Guatemalan woven pieces I picked up at the airport at Tegucigalpa later seemed nice enough. Racism alive and well after four centuries.

 

A ball of red clay,

its surface well worked and scarred

from her cloth’s wiping

 

color to spread here

on the bottom foot or so

of an adobe wall,

 

like those before her

in the flowing stream of years

—her ancestors.

 

She sits inside

the porch-surrounding half wall,

half in sun, half out,

 

here in Honduras,

though Indian lore has died,

its building methods live.

 

 

 

Dodging bicycles with riders, guys walking motorbikes, and pedestrians with Rodger Mallison

Rodger, who shoots for the local daily, the Star-Telegram, had accompanied our Fort Worth Diocese group to Honduras, where our local diocesan church was investing heavily in mission work and building houses, old age homes, and more. We stood on the one-foot path wide suspension bridge in bathed in that heavenly light that comes at sundown, then grabbed our cameras.

 

Late afternoon light,

golden and idyllic, falls

on suspension bridge.

 

Narrow board-planked bridge

crosses the Juticalpa

where it brings to mind

 

works of Western art

photographer friend and I

each now recognize.

 

We grab cameras

and capture scene that Bierstadt

would have rendered in oils.

 

Morning walk, Honduran village

January 3, 2009

Morning walk, Honduran village

 

Hand carved wooden yokes

adorn the broad, muscled necks

of tan oxen pairs

 

plowing the cornfields

that surround red-tile roofed homes

of small villages

 

with houses linked

wall to wall, lining

narrow, unpaved streets

 

where dogs, pigs, horses

and barefoot small children

share the tight space

 

with oxen duos

on their way out to plow

as my friend and I

 

press ourselves against

the wall so they can pass,

heading for their fields.

 

Three-quarter sized horses

carrying round bundles of

smallish round firewood

 

also share our space

as the two of us enjoy

the bright fall morning.

 

 

Ubiquitous sharp tools

January 3, 2009

Ubiquitous sharp tools

 

They hang from men’s waists,

ubiquitous as businessmen’s fountain pens,

or women’s purses.

 

Older, horse-mounted guys

we pass along the one paved highway

in the Department of Olancho,

the one from Tegucigalpa to Juticalpa,

have more decorated scabbards for them.

 

Other men trim grass and brush at the roadside with theirs.

Two guys at the Honduran bishops’ modest building,

used for their infrequent meetings as a bishops’ conference,

use not lawnmowers but machetes to trim the grass and weeds.

 

Among the rural villages of central Honduras,

I’m sure a man would feel as naked without his machete

as I do when I find myself without my smartphone.

 

 

Honduras’ mountains

 

November 1, 1999

Honduras’ mountains

 

Honduras’ mountains

start each day wreathed in fine mists.

The morning breathes clouds,

 

spilling them freely

onto tops of friendly hills

rising from green plains:

 

Cone-shaped mountains

thrust through the fertile flat land

like braille through paper.