Friday, December 30, 2016

A few days on Taboga


Taboga Express Ferry.
Families trading the grime of Panama
For the sweltering beaches
Of Taboga.

We walked Taboga’s narrow street today,
Almost to the end and back.
This is some of what we saw:

A mother tormenting her toddler,
Walking ahead too fast for the little one
To keep up.
Crying, crying rage.

Four men under the hood of a pickup truck,
(One of only three or four on the island)
Tools, parts scattered about,
Perplexed, resigned expression of a listener to
A voluble, mechanical sermon from a man drinking
Coca Cola through a straw.

A dim church
A clutch of people praying.
New construction, crumbling ruins.
Beach girls wearing little,
Eight drunken young men
Singing, dancing, shouting, making sure the world knows
They exist.

Remains of a shipwreck.

Balboa may have been here,
But I doubt it.
1510. Step father of the Latin in Latin America.
Made it to the blue, blue Pacific
for which
Countryman Pedro Arias de Ávila ordered his head chopped off.

Also a painter, writer was here,
Anita McAndrews, born 1924.
Died 2005 in Newport,
Memorialized on a tarnished plaque
Above the beach.


On the black horizon,
A freighter resting with lights twinkling,
For a rendezvous with the locks of
The Panama Canal.

And in the distance, faintly,
The skyline of Panama City.
Henry Morgan, I recall, was there, 1671,
(Panama City, that is)
Burned it to the ground
After the raping and pillaging was done.

Taboga Express Ferry.
Families escaping the grime of Panama
For the magnificent beaches
Of Taboga.

        I ate two fish tacos, papas fritas and half a tomato
      With a cold beer to wash it down:
      Balboa Cerveza – $1.75 US.
      (I actually prefer Corona, a Mexican beer
      But it’s a dollar more.)

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