It's hard to believe I'm doing Italian translation work
on Hummingbird's daughter via iPhone with Rome
from a speeding car in Texas.
Low clouds only 7 stories
above the plain.
90 to Hondo:
There is a novel in every hovel.
Appropriate or what:
ZZ Top in Hondo.
roof peeled off & curling
Seco Creek, Live Oak Creek, pretty pretty Texas:
every little town graced with gardens
of highway sunflowers. Squirrel Creek.
400 hundred miles of love & freedom.
East Elm Creek.
One corn field
Border Patrol trucks.
DO THE WEB-WORM WHOMP.
Border patrol check point
Weirdness: radio's turned off
yet chattering with electric blips and stutters--
morse code from the UFOs.
Call Art Bell! At 11:11, the radio
sends another CIA message.
Adult Store porn shop--
the sign is a giant pair
Onto N 277.
Del Rio sun-beat & hard:
DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS.
makes the water
look like acid
Inspction station catches us.
We are suddenly suspects.
Dogs swarm the car, sniffing.
Cindy all tongue-tied
in the face of interrogation.
USBP guys rising out of the desert scrub
on ATVs, RoboCop helmets on their heads.
The whole time the dog sniffs our trunk,
smilin' Agent Perez
is sniffing our psyches.
We are freed and escape
down Seminole Canyon.
Pecos River gorge.
Giant smear of sun baked blood,
Every few miles, another vulture
Osman Canyon: USBP everywhere. White trucks
on the hills like tiny glaciers.
"I put Glee on the ipod for Chayo,"
Cindy lies. I click to
The Sex Pistols.
BP agents beside the road,
cutting the drag--those tires
on a dirt road, just like Devil's Highway.
I feel cocky.
Abandoned silver trailer
looking like a sardine cane
packed with ghosts in oil.
to a freshly killed deer.
Big Bend ahead--watching for pterodactyls.
We pass a semi & a deer
jackrabbits in front of us both--
followed by a buzzard, clearly calculating
Now a bird
dives for the windshield.
Outbreak of Animal Suicides:
Cindy just bew past a Texas State Trooper going
he pulls a u-turn.
Trooper Turman had the scary trooper sunglasses.
The scary trooper campaign hat.
The scary big ol' gun in a squeaky holster.
He walked up to us looking ten feet tall.
I found myself inexplicably schmoozing him: "Sorry, man.
I'm on book tour--trying to get to Marfa for a radio interview!"
BOOK TOUR, he said. WHAT KIND OF BOOK.
"Novel. I write all kinds of books." Cindy's looking at me
like I've taken drugs. I'm leaning over her to talk out the window.
"I wrote a book about the Border Patrol."
Trooper Turman bends at the waist and peers in at me.
WERE YOU EVER A BORDER PATROL AGENT, he asks.
"Ha! No way! I had to train with them, though! Those boys
gave me a hard time!" I'm squealing like a gerbil right now.
He takes Cindy's license and walks back to his car.
"You're talking about books with the trooper," she accuses.
I'm all proud of myself. Then I notice
a huge dragonfly hovering outside my window,
watching us. I suddenly know
God is on our side.
I'M GOING TO LET YOU OFF WITH A WARNING
BUT WATCH IT
Trooper Turman reluctantly announces.
LET ME GO WRITE IT UP.
He gets back in his car.
"He loves us," I say.
I realize I have a copy of Into the Beautiful North
in the trunk and decide we must give it to him.
"Are you bribing him?" my bride wants to know.
"No! He already let us off. I'm thanking him."
Trooper Turman sits in his scary car and watches us
with bemusement on his face as we frantically dig into the trunk
and go through our bags. Is he wondering if we have a shotgun?
I find the book!
I march back to his car and tap on the window.
I comes down slowly and he stares up at me.
"Here's my new book," I say. "I'd like you to have it."
He stares. He almost smiles.
SIR, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THAT.
"You didn't have to be so kind, either," I reply.
I borrow his pen so I can sign it.
He takes it and looks at it.
He turns it over and looks at my picture.
Then he shouts:
We sped off into the water-puddle mirages
on the two-lane blacktop.
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.
Lecture and booksigning as part of Bilingual Minifest and naturalization ceremony celebration.
Workshop, readings, etc. For more information,here.
Montclair State University reads The Devil's Highway. Details to come.
Aurora reads Into the Beautiful North. Lecture/discussion in Spanish Oct. 23 and in English Oct. 24. Details to come.
Reading, book signing, discussion. Details to come.