Jeanne Cordova


A Baja Elegy

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By Jeanne Cordova
Todos Santos, BSC, Mx.

We live in disappearing times-
Romanticizing the fiction that was here before we came.
Kneeling on the beach sand, holding back
The tide of those behind us.
They want to live in paradise too.

We live in disappearing times.
Even the Indios no longer revolt.
You can still hear their complaint
When the ranchero comes to town on Sundays.

His mother died some years ago
Counting silver in gringo dollars.
She couldn’t take it with her, you see
But they sold her country anyway

The wild will dissipate before her grandson
Grows old enough to trade his horse
For a pickup truck that works, sometimes
At other times he walks.

In these disappearing times
The Baja no longer smells of fish.
Old men don’t shoot pool in the billiard hall
Now it houses works of art.
New saints have come to Todos Santos.
Children no longer walk on the highway

When the scavengers return next fall
They will pave the Street of the Professors
Gringos hate the dust.
They don’t much like tacos either.

If we kill all the cows
The beaches will belong to us
And then it will be time to go home.

We live in disappearing times.
The palm fronds paint a still life while I ponder
What kind of person I will become
If I don’t get off the Baja.

The times may disappear before I do
And there will be no one left to blame when
I trade my pickup for a tombstone.



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from "Remembering Jeanne Cordova" March 5, 2016

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