(Listen to the poem here)
although the rope-haired lad
who is jutting from
the bus’s door into the foaming crowd,
much like a figurehead in stormy seas,
is shouting, “Yaute, Yaute,
Perhaps it’s lexically Mexican
to chop the end of place names
when you’re touting rides. In that case,
my next trip must be Chihuahua because
I want to join in too, lean out and cry
Chihuà, Chihuà, Chihuà.
Our bus has many pieces but they
don’t seem to want to live together
any more. They’re all complaining,
shrieking, groaning, whining.
And if you close your eyes there’s
such a racket you might just believe
we’re really going fast and trying
to set a record for buses
in the dilapidated class
along the run
to Yautepec from Cuernavaca.
we brake all of a sudden. There
is a tope lurking in the road, one
of those speed-bumps which
are Mexicanly everywhere.
I think that sneakily they move around, for
every now and then the driver
fails to spot one and we go charging
at it with our gargling engine
much too fast and on the
our walls and windows
wave good-bye and then
decide reluctantly to stay. I count
my bones, somehow the number
is still the same.
But now at least
I know how Yaute lost its Pec.
(This poem is included in my book The Observation Car which is available from