The L.A. Times review of Mexico's Playa la Ropa begins, "a long sweep of sand with a great view of the sunset. Some lovely small hotels and restaurants nestle in the hills; palm groves edge the shoreline."
Richard Oyama fills in the details. And what details! It is kind of like having Kandinsky draw you a map of how to get to the train station.
He was born in New York. He has a Master's degree in English: Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He lives in Albuquerque.
Holiday in the Sun
Your blue linen shirt clings in sodden air
As the customs line like a sick worm shivers.
Taxis glisten in the immense dark.
The town in foreground flickers past in front of
The paper cutouts of coconut palms.
Nothing is as it was except the price of pan dulce
In a room of granular light you go half-blind. The air
Conditioner rackets all night like a lockdown.
Small orange vials crowd the sidetable.
Not a thing will faze you no
Not even the shadows lengthening in corners
Or dull glittering teeth
Of lizardfish sailing across the ceiling.
The clock hand sidles as a spider in the brain.
At pale dawn pastel boats along the municipal beach are
Not quaint. A boy prods a swordfish in its thrashing.
In the sun-bleached plaza ice awaits its disappearance.
Drunks in la tienda de abarrotes
A sinister dance. She crosses arms over breasts.
You carry your bundle from la lavanderia
. Sock sorting
And the idea of order grieves you. Even Playa la Ropa
Like your dead father your unmoored body floats in the slow swells is
Nothing than a machine of muttering glass.
Oyama added the following comment: "The title is borrowed from a song by The Sex Pistols. The lyrics include the following: 'A cheap holiday in other people’s misery . . . / I wanna go to the new Belsen.'"
The wonderful collage is from the journals of Nina Fonoroff, an experimental filmmaker and professor of media studies at UNM.