Always Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez              

Cool Woman Albuquerque

Cool Woman Albuquerque is a city of many words
heaps of rags and scarves and hands that smell of oil
she is a bag lady.
she is a homeless city
her shoulders are made of watermelon rock and smooth silt
thin veins once a roaring river now muddied and pungent with stick
and debris
her pockets are heavy with laundry mats and neon light
her pockets are heavy with beggars and banks and midnight pubs
hookah lounges
tattoo parlors
prostitutes prowl her sidewalks and boys call her dirty names
she has a certain gratitude for misplaced shopping carts and
she has a certain gratitude for sloppy graffiti and cholo-hobo effigies

Her hot mouth houses roasting chile
roja, the flame of a summer Bosque
wild, roaring and in love with abandonment
stray dogs limp along her one-way streets
she is flea bitten and tangled all the way from Nob Hill to
Downtown Friday night
she welcomes transplants and refugees and the rich balloonist
her hands are callused and reach feeble for spare change
squatting in the park
she takes a piss
lovers kiss
in her dark alleys and
the secret parts of her parks
the secret homes of the homeless

She is a water color dawn
a jackpot mad jangle of Indian Casino

she a dreadlocked hippie and a crystal meth-junkie
a mall rat, a college professor
a dusty book store prowler
a second-hand Goodwill shopping spree

Cool Woman Albuquerque spreads her legs
dips her turquoise topped toes into
the four corners of the sacred wind
and smiles for the photographer

she hangs lewd and naked in Santa Fe museums
highway billboards
the glossy pages of a turista magazine
her ass is branded with a stolen Zia
streaked in gold and waving
like a dumb child from a flag pole
Ristra braided hair
neck of honey
ankles thick like masa

She speaks in tongues
slang and catcalls

broken English and
open mic-night poetry
that makes no sense

her underbelly of avenues
house abortion clinics
hidden Buddhist temples and pool halls
free lunch lines in Central Park

upon her breast wild flocks of pigeons roam
like college kids drunk on freedom

her thoughts are peppered with clouds of cotton
her bones ancient as dust
her lungs engraved in streams of silver

She daydreams
of parades and quinceaneras
her ears ring
of cathedrals gone mad
the clanging belfry of morning mass
the clamor of feast day upon a sunny dusty reservation

Her shawl is stitched in stories
her tattered slippers patched in words.
her tousled hair tangled in early morning traffic jams

She is the history of today
a filthy mosaic of gutters and a flooded out Barrelas.
the front page of the defunct Tribune

Cool Woman Albuquerque is a bag
lady with a broken back
a smile like the missing teeth
of an old picket fence

She is a cherry red ranfla cruising Route 66!

Beautiful! Glorious!

A city riddled in the jagged splendor of mountain chain
upon mountain chain
upon the pink salmon hue of a
mountain chain.

Cool Woman Albuquerque
is a man
of many words.