Category: Uncategorized

  • Worms All

    Half a worm writhes in lantern light sixty inches below ground level. I stoop to lift the half-body and set it in the grass next to my measuring tape. Maybe that’s a useless gesture. Maybe it’s nothing but one more mistake. Who knows. In elementary school, they taught us that both halves of a cut…

  • ‘Tis the Season

    “Does anybody here sell beer or do they just lock it up?” The woman who asks me this has just hiked down the narrow road scraped through the rocky desert from Baja California’s Route 1 to Marcelino’s nameless bar built on a nameless beach of driftwood, construction scraps, and corrugated aluminum. She asks this looking…

  • Where Serpents Change Their Skin

    If you ask me, there’s too much English in the world already, but I’m not so principled I won’t earn money teaching it while traveling indefinitely. These days I live in Puebla, a central Mexican city of four million dominated by the automobile industry. I help executives, engineers, and logistics experts polish the conversational skills…

  • Pink Flowers

    The old man leans forward, chair creaking, bony hand beckoning. “C’mere, darlin’.” My bare feet grip dogwood roots. A too-white smile. Sweat dripping from his forehead. Summer’s hot breath slips between my knees. Pink flowers wilt on overheated concrete. “Come closer,” he says. “I’m listening.” I haven’t said a word. Pink Flowers by Jim Latham…

  • Cafe Lempira (4 of 4)

  • Cafe Lempira (3 of 4)

    Alain shook his head and me a look I knew meant Don’t be a pussy and walked into the patio. The waiter opened the door to the cage, and Alain walked inside. The silent waiter closed the door behind him. I sipped my espresso, but somehow it was already cold. I left the table and…

  • Café Lempira (Part 2 of 4)

    Alain nodded toward the patio. “Check out that bird.” An unusually large rainbow-billed toucan perched near the top of the massive cage. Like the old man sitting underneath the bougainvillea, the toucan kept to the shadows cast by the leaves of creeping vines thick with brightly colored flowers. As if sensing our attention, the toucan…

  • Café Lempira (1 of 4)

    We never would have gone into the Café Lempira if it weren’t for the old man, but when he rasped “Bienvenidos,” and beckoned us toward him with a skeletal arm, Alain jerked his head and darted across the narrow cobblestone street. I followed, the timeworn stones slick under the soles of my muddy hiking boots.…

  • How to Learn to Cumbia

    Attend a wedding complete with carnitas, micheladas, and fireworks in your friend Rosa’s village. Notice the DJ is playing nothing but cumbias. Ask Rosa to dance. Don’t let on you’re into her. Apologize when you step on her left foot. Take the hint when Rosa tells you she doesn’t like to dance. Force a smile…

  • Mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie

    Forget lemons. Lemons are the small baby tossed out with generations of contaminated bathwater when you ditched the US. You live in Mexico now, where lemons are rarer than hen’s teeth. Limón means lime. There are two kinds, regular ones and what you think of as key limes. Get the key limes. Better flavor, fewer…