Poetry at the Post: Wall Art in Oaxaca with Ray Gonzalez

The Walls
BY RAY GONZALEZ

Sor Juana de la Cruz hid her new poem
in a hole in the wall, but when a fellow nun
went to retrieve it after Sor Juana’s death,
it was gone
.

wall art #1

On my way to class at UABJO this morning, I decided to focus my attention on walls.

The walls of Oaxaca offer a quick peek into contemporary Oaxacan culture. Walking the streets of El Centro Historico, you’d been challenged to find a building free of graffiti, poster remnants or paintings on its walls.

It was cloudy and cold this morning in Oaxaca. Yes, cold in March! In fact, it even snowed in Puebla overnight causing the closure of the main highway to Mexico City. Snow???!!! Just the thought of it made me run into Lobo Azul for a latte para llevar but before I did, I snapped a couple of photos.

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Ray Gonzalez, a poet from El Paso, Texas, has written a terrifying (although not totally lacking in humor) poem connecting walls to quasi-historical events. After reading “The Walls,” I don’t think I will ever think about walls in the same way again.

Two days before Salvador Allende was assassinated,
Pablo Neruda, dying of cancer, woke at Isla Negra
to find the walls of the room where he lay
were covered in hundreds of clinging starfish.

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