Turistalisten

Your table's set with chips & queso,
& guacamole's on the way.
The best in town; the guidebooks say so.
Your table's set with chips & queso;
as long as the dollar outpaces the peso,
you can relax. Enjoy your stay.
Your table's set with chips & queso,
& guacamole's on the way.

The waiter with the smiling eye
knows you & all your kind are rich,
for he has seen what you can buy.
The waiter with the smiling eye
believes that God will rectify
all debts when meek & mighty switch.
The waiter with the smiling eye
knows you & all your kind are rich.

He doesn't know about the pills
you take to regulate your heart
or keep in check your nightly chills.
He doesn't know about the pills,
the credit margin, the unpaid bills,
why your marriage fell apart.
He doesn't know about the pills
you take to regulate your heart.

The so-called harmony of the spheres
rings equally for everyone,
but since nobody really hears
the so-called harmony of the spheres,



the fault must lie with human ears.
Tone-deaf, we howl beneath the sun.
The so-called harmony of the spheres
rings equally for everyone.

Peals of prayer roll hot & wet
from bells in the cathedral tower,
whose belfries open wide, to let
peals of prayer roll hot & wet
across your face, till you forget
how strange it is, at twilight hour:
Peals of prayer roll hot & wet
from bells in the cathedral tower,

on the far side of the street;
a dusty taxi's polychrome
chimes back. Say grace, & start to eat.
On the far side of the street,
the colors of the day compete.
El Sol invites you to his home
on the far side of the street:
a dusty taxi, polychrome.

A mariachi's big sombrero
shines down its blessing, a man
wearing the masque of a lone vaquero,
a mariachi's big sombrero,
singing, "Yo no soy marinero,
soy Capitan, soy Capitanů"
A mariachi's big sombrero
shines down its blessing. Amen.

by Mike Alexander

Mike Alexander, an administrator on the Sonnet Board, has published in journals such as the New Orleans Review, the Texas Review, Borderlines, Texas Observer, American Poetry Monthly, Alabama Literary Review, Edge City, Link, the Lyric, & Iota (UK). His translations have appeared in the Atlanta Review & Circumference. His wife, K. A. Thomas, & he reside with their impractical cats in Houston, Texas.

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