Leaf Peeps


Direct link to video on Vimeo.

It’s hard to get a video like this to look decent at low resolution. I tried uploading an allegedly high-definition version to YouTube, but I don’t see much of an improvement. I’m more pleased with the poem-like thing that came out of it — basically a flash-fiction piece, though here I’ve arranged it into lines for the hell of it. I don’t think there are a whole lot of white-collar jobs for illegal immigrants from rural Mexico, but who knows? Over at Big Tent Poetry, the prompt this week was to write a poem with something scary in it, and I suppose this qualifies, given how many Americans are afraid of Muslims and Mexicans — not to mention chainsaws.

Leaf Peeps

My friend Jesús has a glass
paperweight in the shape
of a mountain with one red
maple leaf trapped inside.
Jesús, I say, what do you need
a paperweight for? You have
no papers. He frowns,
then smiles. Sometimes I bring
the mountain to Mohammed
across the hall, he says.
We think it’s funny.

I take both of them on a ride
in the country to look at
the leaves. They keep asking
things I don’t know the answer to.
Which tree is that? Why
is that flower blooming now?
Jesus Christ, I say. Can’t you
just look & enjoy? But no,
they keep hollering to pull over.
I take their pictures with cows,
with a Dairy-Treat sign, &
with a chainsaw-sculpted Indian.
This looks like my friend Pedro,
says Jesús. He’s still in Michoacán,
sleeping with all our wives.
I’ll make the print into a postcard
that says, Wish you were here.
Mohammed laughs harder
than I’ve ever seen him.

They’re both familiar with
chainsaws—I’m disappointed.
It’s the one thing I know:
those whirling teeth,
their hungry search.

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