The Sayulita I See
In the galleries of the village of Sayulita,
along the Pacific Coast of Mexico,
painters paint contemporary scenes evoking traditions--
men and women dance in plazas during fiestas
or gather around an al pastor stand at night.
But in the painting on an old shutter hung lengthwise
on the living room wall of my Airbnb,
Juan Miguel Jaimes painted contemporary people
in an Olvera Street setting of crumbling adobe walls.
The contrast between the past and the present jolts me to imagine repainting this scene to reflect the Sayulita I see:
The man on the left with the orange shirt and blue jeans
would wear cut-off shorts, no shoes, and no shirt.
A happy trail of hair extends to his navel.
The woman next to him with a pot
would sell Huichol crafts—
beaded bracelets, necklaces, and keychains.
The youth with the white-collar shirt and brown pants would wear swim trunks and carry a cellphone.
The sand from the beach clings to his feet.
The boy wearing white pants and seated on a burro
would sit in a golf cart, waiting for his parents.
His brown legs dangle from his white Bermudas.
The youth with a bike to the right of the fountain
would keep his bike but rid excess clothes.
He rides in shorts, wind cooling his skin.
The woman to his right, instead of traditional dress,
would wear a bikini
beneath a veil kimono.
The man to her right
would be a Canadian surfer.
Fantastic tattoos cover his body like that of an alebrijes.
And the moustached man to the right with a hand in his pocket would hold a tuba drink of coconut sap and apple vinegar,
his body so hairy that he walks around 90° heat in trunks.
The two dogs facing off in the plaza can remain
as well as the black cat walking along the roof,
but I must reimagine the shops to reflect the Sayulita I see.
La Botica San Felipe Neri would become an OXXO,
the house would become a restaurant known for its chile rellenos,
Tortilleria La Cosecha would remain a local institution,
and Abarrotes Don Chente would sell food to locals and tourists.
I’m not making these people and places up.
This is the Sayulita I see daily
when I walk or ride through town.
This completes my reimagining of the painted shutter.
But if I could paint,
I would turn the shutter over and paint the Sayulita I see
and then leave it hanging when I depart my vacation rental.
Would the homeowners notice the changed painting?
Andre Le Mont Wilson
Andre Le Mont Wilson was born in Los Angeles, the son of poets. His work has appeared multiple times in sPARKLE + bLINK, Not Your Mother's Breast Milk, Failed Haiku, and the Society of Classical Poets. His work has been anthologized in Changing Harm to Harmony, Civil Liberties United, and Heat Up the Grease, We’re Frying Up Some Poetry. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
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