After Gail Wronsky

            Reading Colette
I am reminded that I, too
come from a culture steeped in taste
            variegated nourriture.

But being Mexican, I never made
much of it.  Amidst fancylesness
banqueting, savoring what couldn’t
be bought—joie de vivre,
the metaphysics of indulgence.

            Not being French,
sex came with complications,
incurably guilt-sick.  Love, obtuse,
            or melodramatic. 

The senses, Sidonie’s beloved
home, was for me darkly decorated
in Christ, the proverbial lack of money.
But look, mole is a lush carmine,
hefty with spices, secret excesses.
            Rancheras are operas.
The flesh, the supreme study,
            can be mastered in many languages,
all of them dead. 

Longing doesn’t have to cabaret itself
            in philosophy.
Sensuality can also be mute,
after all, it doesn’t have much to say,
though it writes itself beautifully.

            Literature, poetry,
doesn’t need Paris, chateaus,
Gallic cads or any kind of gentlemen.
It does with little commercialized California
towns entrenched by churches and canneries,
with barrio dancehalls where Mexicans
dance cumbia in celebration of a baptism
            or for no reason at all.

            In these mundane towns
as in the world of Colette
the spirit is manifest in what remains
of the home country, children, animals,
heartbreaks, family attachments, strawberries,
            perfumes and flowers. 
Every ranchera houses memories
the blissful plaintiveness
            of living fully.

Copyright © 2015 by Ramón García. Used with permission of the author.