Wednesday, November 24, 2010


From Valerie and myself:

Robert Rome & Valerie Auger, Esq.
21 October 2010
ENGL 535
Dual Collaboration Epistle

You are blur Rosa, often, running from van to door, trailed as wisps the long black tangles of your daughter’s wails, your curled or frizzed bleached tresses. The broken trampoline smashed into the small square of your front yard has several brown bodies angling up and towards its thin grey veneer, and they have hands waving in arcs towards Valerie and myself, as we sip beer on the porch, looking out onto the summits and pits that form El Paso.

Your Mother gathers the bodies from the tramp with a thick red plastic broom into the small beige bungalow, sardined with three generations of women, girls, boys, but no men. And the sky varies itself in a diminishing of cerulean into a thin pine line that contours the Franklin Mountains’ upper topography, as we sip beer.

Straight up from your house, near the peak of the Franklins, the half-acre stretch of illuminated pentagonal lines forming the Lone Star beacon of the city, hovers. And we notice all of its lights are there, and the shine of which doesn’t seem to quite reach your roof, but does stain into our porch.

Arizona Avenue, the thread of asphalt that runs in between our houses, from this low point, rises three blocks away, past the half-way house, up to a high-lying foot hill of the Franklins. From this vantage one still sees the dominant light of The Star, but also looks down upon the valley, upon the sprawl of hacienda, tienda, and cluttered bars greased in the corners with ash, sand, and plastic. Here also, is a long fine flat mural of El Paso landscape, painted in primary colors. The mural is romance of rolling mountains, mesquite, cacti – an altogether very clean desert. It lacks the swirling spray paint signatures which tinsel the backs of our houses, and storm canals.

We both trace ourselves, and El Paso, back again, to the bone blue windows of your house, where you are cramming your ass which is crammed itself into thin denim into the front seat of your slick black asp mini-van. Your curls darkened by water, and the insisting shampoo presents a green presence into us. You drive away, alone, away from this.

In a while, we know, your little brother Cesar will come to us asking the difference between metamorphic and sedimentary, and Angel, the younger, will be at his hip, quiet and shy, but grinning all the same, in his slow manner. We won’t speak of your dead husband, or your father stranded in real estate of Guatemala, your mother inside tailoring the clothes of others, your drug mule conviction, your affair with Tony two houses down, the mysterious Jeep which appeared in front of your house one day that Cesar said was his, your daughter pressed against the front window pane. But we will talk with Cesar about sediment, and erosion. And compression.

It seems to us that El Paso is a colluvium of sediment washed down from these two extremes of summit. The star on the Franklins leads away from this, and towards the Eden of a mural; their communication is not a human one. But here on the porch, playing darts now with Cesar and Angel, El Paso begins to take a knowable shape for us, and it is a comfort, in the eroding confluence of unattainable ideals.

So we would love to go to the pumpkin patch with everyone, and select our own round hard fruits. And our porch is an excellent ground to push our hands into the pungent damp pulp, and separate out the seeds; while Cesar explains the difference, to us, between things we don’t know the words for.

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