Bent Street: The quaintest street of Tourist Taos.
- Dwellings Revisited: A couple talking. One the proprietor, the other an old friend. I can tell this is their daily custom–sitting, talking, gesticulating as if building a castle in the air. I am grateful for their consumption of one another and not of me. I walk to every section of the store. To the table with carved wooden fruit painted brightly. The section where Day of the Dead objects convene. Skeletons prefer other skeletons. I come upon the tin ornaments, religious icons, bags with Frida images. Each thing I come to slowly and stand, “Let it come to you” reverberating in my heart. My hand reaches up as if guided by a force, picks the purse off its hanger and places it on my shoulder. A store without mirrors yet I can see myself, bright and odd. I feel so new, so Mexican with Frida at my side. I touch her cheek. She is inside the bag, a small Frida wanting to see some of Taos. Adios, mujer. The words hang and I’m not sure whether I uttered them to her or her to me.
- The Parks Gallery: Mr. Park is like any gallery owner. Assured and handsome. He wears a crisp white-blue striped dress shirt and gray slacks, his wavy hair swept back as if he just stepped off a biplane. He asks, “How can I help you,” and I can tell by the way he looks me toe to head that he thinks me not to be serious material. I wear a faux leather skirt, which could have been accessorized in an ethnic voluptuous sort of way, except I am layered for warmth: black leggings, ankle boots with wide rubber soles, a loud ski sweater from the 1950s, and a light blue down jacket soiled at the wrists and neck. It gives me pleasure to tell Mr. Park that I want to buy the Georgia O’Keefe pull puppet in the corner.
Paseo de Pueblo Norte: The main artery of Taos.
- Artisan’s: A thin, caved-in man waits on me. He is medium height, my age but older looking. He has dark hair sprinkled gray and bad breath. As he leads me to each product about which I inquire — a watercolor paint set, paint brushes, white and black gouache, a portable paper tablet, permanent ink pens — I make up a story about him. He lives alone in a detached converted garage. It is cold in the winter and his wages barely cover rent and gas heat. He worries, and even though he eats well and has good hygiene, the worrying turns his stomach and breath sour. I once had a dog with horrible breath, even as a puppy. He was a blue heeler named Rudy. We used to say Rudy was a worrier and that he had “Broody Breath,” like brooding. After a while we called him Broody instead of Rudy, and we always said it in a high voice. As I wait for the man at Artisan’s to ring up my purchases, I say to myself in that same high voice, “He has Broody Breath.”
- Taos Gems and Minerals: I walk the entire store looking for individual specimens — clear quartz or amethyst — to take home as souvenirs but I can’t find any. A stout man with a potbelly approaches. “Can I help you find something?” “I’m looking for crystals in the six-dollar range for my daughters,” I tell him. He walks to the center of the store, kneels before what looks like a big table and starts opening thin, wide drawers. Each drawer houses boxes and boxes of minerals. He opens one drawer with nothing but clear quartz. A few feet over he pulls out three drawers in succession, one on top of the other. The items in the boxes start at $1 each and go up from there. I eventually pick six from the $2 drawer. Later, at the cash register, the man says, “You have six daughters?” He looks at me from behind the counter. His eyes are round now like the rest him. I know what he’s thinking. “No,” I say, “six dollars per daughter.” “Oh,” he says slowly, “you have two daughters…OK…I was going to say…that would have been monumental for you to have six daughters.”
Ledoux Street: Tucked away from it all, as it should be.
- The Harwood Museum: Someone is playing the piano in the next room. It is heavenly, the sound music makes in this gallery. Like a church or a concert hall. It’s a classical piece. Small keys and big, deep ones… I wish I had words for music. I’m conscious of a desire to close my eyes and rock my head left and right. I don’t want it to stop. Not the music. Not this moment. Not the silence. I want to stay here. I want to come again and again. And now twinkling notes. They remind me of snow falling. Winter in Taos yet it’s still fall. Now it’s over, the music. Soon it will be over, the music of silence, of acute noise in my head.
-related to post WRITING TOPIC – TAOS.