On Mornings a Kite Flies

Forlorn and circling way out, up and over the concrete walls

By Michael Patrick Spillers
Published on LatinoLA: November 8, 2002

On Mornings a Kite Flies

On west coast mornings dreary with too-early cloud cover
As I hurtle west on the 10 Freeway somewhere between Pomona and downtown smog
Between the primer-colored Chevies and Alhambra Lexus caravans
A kite flies.

Forlorn and circling way out, up and over the concrete walls
that separate salmon-upstream autos from weatherbeaten Chicanolandia
A kite flies, like a grace note over morning rush hour
Fluttering red white and green like a tiny dragon wrapped in Mexican pride
I always want to exit right before that kite and snake thru City Terrace to find out
Who?s having so much fun like a playful fisherman taunting Gringo Rush Hour
But I?m always too tired, too distracted, too late for work to pay it any mind.

I?m early today when I see that dimestore kite flying over the 10
So I smile and swerve onto a road less traveled for once in my life
Mercado-covered intersections hover behind the Great Wall of China freeway divider
And I finally find him
Nimbly avoiding telephone wires that cradle knotted zapatas
high over the heads of uniformed kids bobbing off to escuela
Little Chavo is barely nine years old, a baby deer of a kid with wide eyes all smiles
Clutching the anchored end of twine that sails up to my favorite little billboard
?I?m signaling,? he says with the salty, muscular vowels of our Second Generation
?Cuando tios y tias come over mom says they use that road so I?m signaling.?

?And when Pops was working in the desert to build all them houses
He came home on the 10, whipped and sweating,
Drying his pelon under an Aztlan sun in a cheap-ass convertible
(he always wanted better rims)
Pops said let me know if you?re home kid or else I won?t exit
Or else I?ll stay flying til I hit la playa or the end of the world
And I?ll kick it until you get home again but tell mama I love her like the moon.?

Chavo tells me ?I signal because Pops came this way, and so did that white van
The van that picked Pops up for Kaiser every week cuz of his bad kidneys
And brought him home in time to hang with me after cleaning his blood over and over.?
Chavo greets the 10 because that?s what the limos used
Full of people nice to his mom and so gentle with the big box Pops would rest in forever
Where his mall-shots photo is laminated on a plaque under marigold petals
Black & White: Tattooed shoulders, broad boxer?s nose like an Anahuac emperor
Chavo can?t visit his dad all the time because Resurrection Cemetery is so far.
?But there?s good people that use the 10, and I like to show them my kite on their way.?

I?m crying in my car as I scuttle off to work, thinking of ways I could fly a kite too
Ways I could calm a city, hang out with a kid, dream with someone, anyone
Ways to connect with strangers in a city spread out like a squashed melon
I want to stop and fly my own Mexican colors
But I?m always too tired, too distracted, too late for work to pay it any mind.

So I just keep driving to the office each day instead, trying to make some money
While above me almost every morning over the rat-race 10 Freeway
A kite flies.

About Michael Patrick Spillers:
Michael Patrick Spillers is a poet and playwright who hurtles down the Ten every morning East of Los Angeles. Michael can be reached at mspillers@msn.com

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