Spiritual conquest — invasion from the land of punitive damages.
Brightly outfitted norteamericanos, flabs balance cultural bests
on bald or tacky heads. Tourist grandma in a glitter pluma
likes how bouncy it is. They get away with saying “Bouncy.”
An agile chub, fat settled on his back nevertheless, spins Bouncy
left, quasi-la sentadita. San Isidro’s salt & peppered knife sharpener
dodges big sunburnt couples tossed on a loop in Palermo Viejo
(longing for proof they came, shopping bags full of Palermo SOHO).
Hope to achieve el remate ideal. No hope, no matter. Ambassadors
of good money have fun out loud. The foreigners bump & jerk
without an Argentine’s formal shame. The knife sharpener yields
for a fake gaucho, plastic long knife & hacky-sack boleadoras.
These people spent their entire vacation nowhere: Belgrano
Kansas Steakhouse, Grant’s, McDonald’s medialuna breakfast
on daylight streets the knife sharpener once performed miracles
for notorious Triple A mobsters. He toots his curly whistle . . .
Then USAs wriggle awake like fish, or jazz necks, and for what?
Bikini game show hostess? Crazed Milionario in red face paint?
Cameras click attack, until they realize it’s nothing: simple-face
riding atop his grindstone on wheels, against their disappointment.
His bike blurs palo borrachos puffing out the crooked sidewalk,
& ombú roots lifting parks along the way. From artisan offerings
near Barrio Chino, he bolts, leaves the smoky cartonero train.
Outpaces sundown once he returns to the neighborhood colonial.
But the bike rider can’t blur the familiar face of a hard old man,
lean on his heavy shovel. In better days, bright white awning,
a sastre, peón to fashion is low for marking slacks on him. Details
hum inside, want gentleman’s mateando, wet lips, companionship.
His reflection projects on the narrow storefront. A newsreel
charms the garden. His mind grows curtains, a home. A valance
covers bad wall fixtures & every wife. “Heladoheladohelado”
surprises the daydreaming cyclist. He has to turn out of its way.