I recently plunged back into the world of modern communication ; I got a cellphone. I haven’t had one of my own for about a year; not since Felipe dropped his down a well  and I relinquished mine for his business purposes.

It’s nice to have one for safety reasons.  I was stung by a scorpion this week and called Felipe for a reminder of which symptom warranted an anti-venom shot. The last time I was stung  I decided the anti-venom was almost as bad as the sting, so I wanted to wait it out. Sneezing…if you start sneezing the poison’s attacked your respiratory system. That’s when things can get dicey. So in this case, it was nice to have a phone. (I didn’t sneeze, by the way, just the sensation of being stung by a hundred hornets, and my tongue went numb).

 But most days, since the arrival of my new phone, I spend being harangued (and losing my Zen composure) by the insidious infiltration of my home by text messages from Telcel: noticias, health alerts and offers to sell me English lessons.

 Of course, the first thing I did when the barrage began was scour my menus for a disabling command. No luck. Felipe warned me, “Don’t open them, you’ll get more.”  I tried, but after the third offer to teach me English in one day, I sent a message I felt certain that the creative use of expletives would make clear I was a native speaker.

 I received an immediate response: a special offer! For advanced students.

 I can’t buy a bottle of Dijon mustard within fifty miles of my home, but am now, against my will hard sold( yes, I consider a text alert a hard sell) goods and services and invaded by sports scores in my home!  I have a messaging blackout from 10am to around 5pm most days, I can’t send a text, but I still receive my “news” updates about telenovela stars and warnings I may have renal failure.

 Why haven’t I called the company? BAhhhhaaaahhhhaa(cynical laughter on the verge of mental imbalance). Well… Telcel cannot be reached by cellular phone and there isn’t a reliable landline for miles. The company is letting many of their public landlines die…SO WE’LL ALL BE FORCED TO BUY CELLPHONES AND ENDURE THEIR HOME INVASION!  Whoops…sorry, I warned you about the possible psychotic break.

 But this is my real question:  my real concern. Is it possible the majority wish to be inundated with information and product “opportunities” in the privacy of their home?  Honestly, I think most people in La Tigra love the services their phones provide.  Am I the last person on earth who doesn’t want my day disrupted by “breaking news”, and updates from my Facebook friends; the only person who prefers to choose my own information sources and regulate when I receive it? Must I turn off my phone, denying my mother the ability to contact me, so I don’t have to listen to it vibrate with idiocy?

 It seemed I’d made the sacrifices  necessary to extricate myself from information encroachment: living in the  &*%*$* Timbuktu of Mexico.   But apparently not… not if I’d like to own a phone, that is.

 What do you think, am I being a maniac? Must I come to grips with this “modern” world? Anybody know how to end my phone misery short of smashing it with a mallet (it’s a pretty elaborate fantasy at this point).  I’d appreciate your input.

PS. In the several weeks it’s taken for me to get this post published, the messages have dissipated, though not disappeared. Felipe says, “I told ya so.” I have yet to relinquish my indignation.




Maps and Legends

old-world-map[1]A lot of people don’t like poetry. What many of them tell me is, “I don’t get it”, which makes sense because poetry is its’ own language. The host language is used as a tool to create a personal communication between the poet and the mysteries. Ideally, an effective– an inspired poem, transcends the host language.

I started writing poetry in my tweens after reading… I wish I could say Rimbaud or Whitman, but no, it was Rod McKuen’s, Listen to the Warm.


That was all it took. The suggestion that warm can be heard, crystalized for me all that I had been trying to understand about metaphor. Of course, I also believe that warm can actually be heard, which puts me in the transcendental  poets’ camp I suppose.

Thus, the crux of my mission as a poet: to use language as a tool to transcend language, to break the bonds of representation with symbols– to reveal the paradoxical truths.

The fun part how you use your tool. For example, I love commas. Here is an example of coma usage I was really excited about.

Home, away from Home

Why?( I promise this is the only time I will ever impose explanations of my poetry on you, but it is for a higher purpose.)

Because the comma changes the meaning of this well-known phrase from–when I am in this other locale, it feels similar to being at home, to —being in this locale and the other locale are the same.  The poems meaning; violence in the U.S. and violence in Mexico are equally horrific and by correlation- do not differentiate violence, violence is horrific, is foreshadowed with this simple punctuation. All that from a little comma, if I was successful with the rest of the poem that is.

Recently I was looking at the statistics page of my blog and I noticed that people infrequently click on the links in my posts. Clicking, in “wordpresspeak” means clicking on a link within a post. As I contemplated that, I realized the similarities between links and the tools I use in poetry.

Although many links are pretty straightforward explanation buttons, they are also used by a blogger to create more content depth within a limited format. Many bloggers have a standard word count, frequently 500 words. I shoot for a thousand or less, because I often tell stories, and for me one thousand words is more suitable for storytelling. Still, it is sometimes difficult to get the impact I want within that parameter, and that is where the photos( such as this Don Quixote reference) and links come in.

For example, this is a favorite link, Espanto, from Dinner and a Swat Team. If you read this link you will learn that the Chamula Indians of Chiapas believe humans have 13 souls including one which resides in a wild animal called a wayjel, and that soul loss can occur due to a fall or seeing a demon on a dark night. They also believe that animals and trees have souls, a belief not incongruous with those of a transcendental poet.

Some links are like a map; follow this road and you will reach this destination, a point A to point B situation. But some links are like the map’s legend,— it is a key, and that is where links, like poetry can lead you off the beaten path…come with me

Do you click? Why? Why not?

And  just for fun   Maps and Legends

A couple of interesting articles if this post got you in “clicking mode”


This is my new office, an internet café about 30 minutes away. For the average person, who drives (I can but don’t) and is not a hermit (I am, though not of the clinically diagnosed variety), this distance is negligible. But for a non-driving hermit it is formidable, thus, I will be a little slow with my replies to your comments for the next month.

I’ve been disconnected before. Most tellingly in my first month of wide band service with Telcel, because no one, not even the woman who sold me the service (she thought maybe I’d get an email) could tell me when or how to pay my bill. I tried emailing them, since they sold me my service it seemed a reasonable mode of communication.


We tried calling them, they also sell us our cell phone service, but no, you cannot talk with a Telcel representative about wide band service on a cellular phone! We finally figured it out and had ok service for a year and a half. Now Telcel in their infinite insanity has decided to make it difficult for me to pay my bill, again. So I have dumped them for the time being.

Thank you for your understanding while I get things sorted out.  Wish me luck!

Technical Difficulties

Recently my 1 year internet stick contract expired. Since I am not much for details and neither is Telcel, I didn’t realize this until it occurred and I was left without service,(though they did accept my payment for the month) which is why I haven’t been posting.  But it makes for a good opportunity to talk about an aspect of Mexican life that I used to find infuriating, and now find endearing, because of the change it has created in me.

Telcel is one of the world’s largest wireless communications providers, and is Mexico’s largest provider. Dealing with them is like bartering with a cantankerous old vender at a flea market that thinks all of his goods are treasures– but a lot less fun.

I was disconnected in my first month of service because no one could tell me when my payment was due. I made the logical assumption and paid before the date I signed the contract, after I tried emailing them and received no response. When I called to find out what happened they informed me that all payments were due before the 11th. “Why didn’t the person that sold me my equipment know that?,” I queried.

“I can’t provide you with that information Senora” he stated (roughly that which the woman who sold me the stick said when I asked when the bill was due.)  She’d suggested I email them.

Felipe is now at a payphone negotiating the retrieval of our service. Why a pay phone? Because you cannot contact Tecel cellular phone service provider by cell phone! That is the truth, and it is a telling (and funny) one in regard to services in Mexico.

In the past I would have been ranting, indignant and livid. I would have railed at the innocent service representative and my outrage would have accomplished nothing but sending a sickening wave of vitriolic negativity through my body and into the world.

(this is me catching some signal about a ½ mile from my house, my usual place to post vsvevg)

my office

Mexico has given me this simple but incomparable gift.  The understanding that in this moment what is– simply is. And it is my choice how I react in each moment to create a favorable outcome for the next.  I can now do that from a place of peace, mostly 🙂  I was a hard case, it took many crazy episodes of Mexican Mayhem to cure me, but Mexico has been nothing if not patient with me.

In closing let me say, I have a couple of posts in the wings, but if I don’t get to my comments in a timely manner, please remember that I am on Mexico time.  Paz, Abby