augury doggerel

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


In a city square that is still called the coal market, one of the old annual fairs. This place is as old as tea, older if you count from the day the first ship tied up here with tea in the hold. By that clock, it's older than coffee and cocoa and tobacco, older than tomatoes and potatoes and corn, older than the first turkey. As in Breughel's Tower of Babel, the cranes that unloaded ships here were powered by men who walked in squirrel cages.

In the sun just now, two black men and a young black boy sit among their rows of shoes. Under the main tent, a Chinese man sits in front of anatomical illustrations and waits to sell herbal mixtures. On the sidewalk near the torture house, what could be Incans sell CDs of traditional instruments and drum machines. The Slavic townsfolk fill the market and look for something new.


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