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The Left-Handed Smoker

Vol. V: Subtle [hostel]-ity

 Frankie Metro
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 Frankie Metro
The Left-Handed Smoker
by Frankie Metro  FollowFollow
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Frankie Metro lives in the bowels of the Route 66 Basement Studio, located in the farthest reaches of the Chihuahua desert. His first chapbook:...read more The Anarchist's Blac Book of Poetry is now available via Crisis Chronicles Press: http://press.crisischronicles.com/2012/05/30/anarchistsblacbookfrankiemetro.aspx
The Left-Handed Smoker
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El Portal Hostel Albuquerque New Mexico October 2011
Lisa seemed to be settling into her new position at the front desk with noticeable ease, when I left to go back to our apartment this morning.
She never actually introduced us, but her friend Sergio, preferred only to look at her when speaking, and so... a proper introduction kind of felt unnecessary. In fact, it was almost as if I was at a funeral- staring at a distant/illegitimate family member's corpse; as if because I never knew this person, this pasty sarcophagus of secrets and imperative anecdotes, there was no real purpose for their life and mine to intersect, save for what I saw right before me- being a live witness to another dead person I never knew... nor cared to know. Our eyes were crossed in opposite directions and we didn’t speak regularly and there were much closer connections for us to bide our meaningful time. We found ourselves easily quiet in the presence of the other, easily involved with anything but the other… less than sufficient in any sort of future interaction.
Once again, and somewhat more firmly, Sergio DID NOT make eye contact with me.

Lisa does not get paid at her new job. Well, not regularly. She does have her own room, free of charge, but WE cannot let the staff find out (save for Sergio of course) that we are married, which is a ruse seamlessly played considering that neither of us have wedding bands, and no real concern for acquiring them.
We tell ourselves that it's because we don't believe in such traditions... that waiting until our wedding night in the Wyndham Airport Hotel of Tampa before we first had sex, was conventional enough for the eyes of God, and the state of Florida.
The truth... is that we can't afford them, or maybe we can and we just never think of it, because like I said, they're just not that important to us.
What IS important, you may ask?
Travel. Weed. Each other's company. Burritos. Books. Music. Restaurants. - not categorized in order of value - Excerpt from a flyer found ripped in half and yellow at the Rapid Ride Bus Stop. Intersection of Yale & Central. Monday. October 2011. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center presents:
A CALL TO ACTION. (dates and times indecipherable)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mermorial Center (MLKMC) Task Force on Social Justice for Public Safety...
It was around the time I really concentrated on the coined phrase street cred, and how it applied to my own urban experience, that Phil, or properly named Guillermo, his full name being Guillermo Silva Montes, entered the general scheme of things.
Guillermo, who would much rather you call him Phil, grew up in Oaxaca until the age of fourteen, when his mother migrated to the states via New Mexico. His father, who had long since abandoned the two of them, was never heard from again.
Phil didn't like to talk about such things because he felt they were boring and he knew that you'd be more interested in anything else he was willing to share. Family, however, was a really touchy subject.
But as far as Guillermo Silva Montes knew, Reinaldo Silva Montes III- was a washed up prizefighter from Juarez... another bludgeoned, bloated flash- in- the- pan who had more meat between his knuckles than he did between his ears...
It was very strange. If Guillermo/Phil closed his eyes and thought real hard about it, he could actually see the old boxing posters; the yellow, stained, ripped pages-taped and nailed to telephone poles in the streets of Juarez; the tainted rags of a strong Latino heritage, with his father's name in very small print- never main-eventing, but never fighting in the opening bout... just a zero lump of mass- stuck in the middle card; the second or third fight maybe. Reinaldo Silva Montes. The has- been. The never- was.
As for his mother, well, there really wasn't much to her story. Pregnant with Guillermo and discouraged by Reinaldo's disappearance, she crossed the Chihuahua desert with the help of a pollero, whom young Aida had given the rough sum of $300.00 (the majority of which being pesos and the rest en dolares estado unidenses).
Just before he led them across the border into New Mexico, the old pollero was kind enough to give her back some of the money, so she could "properly attend" to her young one while she gained her footing en los estados unidos. Aida was most grateful for his unusual kindness and thanked him accordingly, parting ways soon after with her son, as they entered a new stage of their lives together.
Even as a child, Aida was quite accustomed to the generosity of others, no matter how unusual the situation may have seemed to outside observers.
It was true that she found a more distinct level of comfort in the attention and charity of those close to her, but any and all affection was rewarded in kind as was the tradition in her family.
Aida was especially fond of her father: Alberto Veracruz, and Alberto adored nothing more but the sparkling smile of his precious Aidaita.
Her only other pleasure aside from being entitled to any and everything the heart desired... was the soft rumble she felt in her chest when papa was at her side.
When she brushed her doll's hair, singing songs of far away castles built from Chihuahua sand and purple glass, Alberto would roar with appeasement at her fantastic imagination and ability to multi- task.
When Aidaita would spill a glass of milk and politely berate Alberto for cleaning the mess with one of the finer linens instead of a paper towel or a dingy wash cloth, Alberto would blush and bow- apologizing profusely for such a grave error in judgement. The bond between a father and his daughter... is truly a miraculous entity. He would often remind himself. Such a thing is a tear from God's own cheek. It was exceptionally difficult for Albero to watch his daughter leave for school as a child, but even harder to watch her grow as a woman-  seeing her attention/affection slip away with the years...

Although he appreciated the relevance of spirituality in a proper upbringing, Alberto was not a devout follower of Catholicism; unlike Aida's mother who'd been enrolled in several Catholic boarding schools throughout her childhood.
Aida's mother almost took a vow of celibacy and joined the Catedral de la Virgen de la Asunción at the age of seventeen... but beforehand, had fallen in love and left to marry Alberto, who was only twelve years her elder.

Like Guillermo, Aida did not care to speak of her own mother, whose name Phil never mentioned. It was especially apparent to him that his grandmother was someone to be feared, but never ridiculed when spoken of.
Aida had always held a moducrum of respect for the woman that raised her, even though it could be said that the two never saw eye- to- eye.
But these were much different times in her day.
Obviously, there was much more respect for la familia back then,
"... unlike the ungrateful little maricones who are walking the streets today."

This was an observation Aida made quite regularly.
"... unlike the ungrateful... walking the str- "
Sometimes however, it was not altogether clear what she was saying when adverting to the past.
" ... un, the grat- mari...walkin' the streets..."
Phil had become more than familiar with her ramblings, and could even interpret them when she was in such a state.
Still, he was no more comfortable with such moments these days, than he had been as a boy.

"Look at yourself right now! You look like a South African Aids vagina... all dried up and fucked out!"
Phil berated Aida as he stood at the doorway. He had come to make the rounds and found his mother in one of her episodes again.
"You're going to land on the coffee- table if you don't wake the fuck up..."
Aida sat at the end of the couch, nodding and startling herself back to consciousness while Phil waited for a response.
... Nothing.
"Fucking cunt only calls when she's high or wants to get high." Phil groaned, leaving the corner- piece on the coffee- table. Aida shifted unconsciously on the roll- away- cot in the center of her studio apartment.
Phil had been paying the rent for the last three months, and so, was beginning to see himself as just an apathetic witness to her steady decline in Albuquerque. Maybe being a son, was something that he could do some other day... but he never held much hope for such things.
He was undoubtedly sure, as he closed the front door, Aida snoring soundly on her side, that he would have to pay for the remaining three months of the lease. One month at a time. He assured himself. One month at a time. to be continued...

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