The air tastes of children of whores. 
Their fathers are drunk 
at the Bullring by the Sea, 
cheering the blood 
running through their sex, 
grabbing for San diego money 
when the wind shifts south. 

Indians with royal blue shawls 
watch me through ringworm eyes. 
They read the language of clouds. 
They come from mountains 
solvent and spare 
as churchless low valleys. 

At Caesar's Bar I could die 
in red velvet under Leda and the Swan. 
I could buy topaz and alexandrite 
for my chest and belly, 
taut as a peso oro. 
I could inscribe prayer books 
of raw cow hide and silver braid. 

This city will never be beautiful. 
It is flowerless.  
It is formed of spit and papier mache. 
It is burdened as a donkey's back 
painted zebra and sprayed for flies. 

It is the dust of red, early mornings, 
spilled wattage, and afternoon marimba. 
It is mescal with the worm 
and muscle men selling blankets. 

It is the steady shake 
of turquoise on tired arms. 
It is yellow lace pants, 
salons for divorce, 
cancer cures, and redistribution. 
It is pleading to taste 
the sweet hallucination 
of its certain death. 

from Mecca 
(c) 1991, Black Tie Press