Merry Christmas!
I was about to draft a list titled what I like best about Oaxaca, but, before I could start, a man hit my arm with his plastic patio chair and ran to fetch an expensive pair of sunglasses he’d left in the restroom.
See that would be a good title to accompany one of the German artist’s pieces.
How do I know this? When he returned, he leaned into my face to tell me the glasses were expensive and that he had paid more than four thousand pesos for them. I wanted to slap his stupid sunglasses out of his hands.
Instead, I said: ok, packed up my things, and left.  I could feel the celebratory inventory of sounds and scents and stories simply vanish with the quick whap of the chair.
  • I was thinking about what happened and how:
    • 1. the incident was significantly palpable and audible
    • 2. the onomatopoeia of the instant marked a change in me.
This made me look for pieces featuring onomatopoeia. Among the pieces, I found: “toon tune,” by Gustave Morin: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/51817/toon-tune. It is an odd piece as the words are embedded in the collage of cartoons. This piece is a delightful play on words–and with words as well as colors and images. This made me think of Susan Howe and her collage pieces: http://www.raintaxi.com/write-through-this-the-poetry-of-susan-howe/. Make your own collage.


mmmchicken mmmchicken1

Photos: Roadside Huli Chicken, at Mamalahoa Highway 11, south of the turn-off for Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument, Big Island, Hawaii

Dear Letter H,

At ten and frustrated by learning cursive, I despised your ornate curlicues nearly as much as I loathed lavish F’s and fussy Z’s. Serif or sans, lower case or capital, you’re tall. You’re all grown up: an elegant giraffe, a soaring ladder; you have two steadfast feet on the ground.

How stable you are, H, and how well-designed: a cushioned chair, a fence, a railroad track. Without you, would I have a house, a home, a childhood full of horses? (Huli Chicken?) Hope?

H, how I love the noise of you, the whoosh you add to conversation. What would dash or hush or harrumph be without you? How else would I be labeled? What would my lover whisper if not your shape in my ear?

*Write an ode to a letter of the alphabet. Of course, my first attempt had to be a letter to the letter that starts my first and last name.


Tic Tac


The kids in Tlacochahuaya call Spider Man Speeder Man because the “I” sounds like an “e” in Spanish. I mentioned that when I went to see The Guardians, it took me a half an hout to figure out that “Peach” was “Pitch.” I only got it when they said “Peach’s” last name. So, of course animal sounds and other onomatopoetic sounds are going to vary. I already know animal sounds do, depending on the language the animal lives in… Dogs in the US say, “bow-wow, arf, ruff;” they bark. Dogs in Spanish say, “guau guau.” Baby chickens peep. In Spanish they chirp, “pio pio.” Roosters “cock-a-doodle-doo” while their Spanish-speaking cousins: “kikiriki, ki-kiri-ki.”

This is why I was so delighted to see that the watch shop is not called Tick Tock as it would be in the US. It is called Tic Tac, and the Tic sounds more like teak. Next trip, I’m going to spend more time looking for more of these sounds and how they are translated.