Caminos de Michoacán

I found you in a bar

that feels like Mexico in the early 90s

the bar where everyone’s dad

used to get fucked up,

my friend Genesis would say.

It’s a space idle and frozen in time,

stuck between the U.S. border and gentrification,

the kind of bar I imagine my father’s father sitting in

drunk on communism and tequila.

This is where the men of the family go.

Long like a trailer house,

mirrored walls that make you curse your own reflection

catching glances of yourself licking the salt

from the glass rim of a michelada.

Negro modelos marinating in spice and lime,

this is where young & old go

when their desires and angst

cannot be soothed by American sterilization/ sports bars/ TV Trotters/ frat boy bar hoppers.

The middle aged woman smoking outside told me that the drinks are gracious to your pockets, but a bitch to your liver.

The music is cumbia and ranchero,

lullabies for the old men who’ve never returned to Mexico

out of fear of deportation.

Young women in cat eye eyeliner and plum lined lips looking tougher than dirt

sway to the melody of sad love songs of betrayal and begging for forget—

the songs their mothers listened to

finding themselves in the stories.

Every so often, a 90s house music track thumps

through the rickety floorboards

and soon enough we are chanting

“It’s time for the percolator”

as solemn old men

hold their bottles by the neck

watching our new dance even though

it’s already 20 years old.