Thursday, 29 October 2020

F Fic, Non-fic

Poetry from the Residents of Coyote Moon Trailer Haven

By Robert Matte Jr.


 

CoyoteMoon

 

#41 Dominic Suarez 52

Mason

 

I come to this country

when I was eleven. We

were illegal. When the

U.S. gave amnesty

in 1986, my parents

signed up even though

they were afraid. Our

family is from

Hermosilla in Sonora

capital revolucionario

del país.

I still send money to

help out family

back there but

my cousins have

good jobs at the

Ford plant. I visit

when I can but

my home is now

here. I was in the

American military

I fought in Grenada

and Panama

my Spanish saved

some lives there

Hay que rendirte

o vas a morir

I'm no hero but

I am proud that

I served.

 

I learned to be a mason

from a guy I call Uncle

Ramon. After the

Army he helped me

a lot. I can lay brick,

block, tile, you name

it. I am fast. The work

is hard and hot but I

like staying busy. There

are many times when

no one seems to be

building but I don't

just sit around. I

always do some

kind of job.

Es preciso que un

hombre trabaje

por su familia
My son Alejandro

went to college. I am

very proud of him. He

works in an office.

I couldn't do that,

no fresh air or

smell of the earth.

My wife, Carmen

works in a beauty

salon. All that

talking with those

ladies. I would

go crazy.

Demasiada

conversación es el

patio del diablo

We don't have

much but this

country is good

to us. I always

love America.

 

#27 Gloria Tidewell 46

Laundromat Manager

Running a Laundromat

is more than cleaning

the floor and making sure

the machines run. At

Cactus Corner Launderette

I also wash clothes that

people drop off cause

they don’t have time

or the interest to do it

themselves. But I’d never

pay someone else to wash

my underwear, towels and

dirty shirts. Priorities is

different today. We get

all kinds running those

machines, specially since

we’re open 24 hours. But

bums can’t just hang out

inside. We got a no

vagrant rule. Moms

living in apartments and

college kids are mostly

our clients. It’s bright

and big inside and you

won’t get mugged or

raped in some tiny

complex's laundry room.

 

I still find it amazing

when a few folks put

laundry in a machine

and then never return

to get it. Like

abandoning part of

their life or something.

I give the stuff to Goodwill

or the Salvation Army.

Yesterday some lowlife

jammed a washing

machine with metal

slugs instead of

using quarters. I don't

get such stupidity.

I've worked my whole

life, raised three kids

and divorced a

no good rat husband.

My trailer is nothin

to look at but

in the kitchen got

a stitched sampler

on the wall. It says

The wise woman builds

her house, but with her

own hands the foolish

one tears hers down

That's from the Bible

Proverbs 14:1

I've tried to be wise

and sometimes I

fail but I darn sure

aren't no fool

Too many of them

in the world already.

 

#03 Terri Wingate 30

Mother of Three

My husband’s a miner.

Copper is a big deal round

here. He was driving a haul

truck, they’re as big as a house

but they had him on the night

shift so now he works in the

smelter cause it’s days and

the pay is better. He smells

like chemicals when he gets

home but at least he’s around

for the kids. We got married

in the Love Me Tender

wedding chapel in Vegas.

Our two witnesses were

Elvis impersonators who

sang Blue Suede Shoes after

the ceremony. Our first son

Sammy was born two months

later. I come from a large

family, seven kids, Mom's

body and mind were shot

after so many young uns.

Three is enough for us

and Amy has special needs.

 

We just got on food stamps

even with Mike working

we are barely above the

poverty line. You do the

best you can with what

you've got. We get

a lot of stuff at the

Goodwill Store. It's

amazing what people

don't want anymore.

Some of it almost brand

new. Mike got me these

earrings for our tenth

wedding anniversary.

They is real pearls. I

feel good wearing them.

Life can be hard but the

right partner sure makes

the day go lots easier.


Robert Matte Jr. has lived much of his life in the desert southwest. For many years he taught writing as a college teacher at Pima College and the University of Arizona.  He is also a retired army officer.  Mr. Matte and his wife Kathy began married life in a trailer park. His father and grandfather ended their days at Leisure Living Estates, a trailer park in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

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