Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Juana Adcock

Self-Serve Slurpee

Self-Serve Slurpee

Self-Serve Slurpee

Driving accross the radio stations
I hear locutores de San Diego urging us
all the way to Ensenada:
Text WEALTH to 333-111

Peddler-entrepreneurs take advantage
of sun and traffic jam to sell ripped music
on USB sticks
and cold drinks
from an icebox in a camioneta
parked on the hard shoulder.
A child is writing something in the dirt with a stick.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

We inch forward a couple of meters
and the interference gives way to
a man singing his masculinities in Spanish:
…you deserve to be treated with respect
to be loved in a way that I’m unable to love
lust for you one day, coldhearted the next
and I don’t know why
that’s just the way I am, I can’t change
I’m a cruel man, can’t tell the difference
between my love and your pain…
Text WEALTH to 333-111


Last night, I read a message on the wall:
to never arrive is to already be there with you.
Marching bands were on hire for
declarations of love. Tambores and 
trombones blaring at the couple bailando
en la playa. She was smiling, head back,
hair black like a waterfall.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

The riverbed is fortified in concrete,
straight, lifeless transit.
Like what they do to rivers
in America.
The road signs keep giving the option
to return to San Diego,
or keep taking wrong turns
in the carrousel that Tijuana is.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

Have you thought of making changes in your life
to make things easier for yourself?
Find out who you are and where you come from
with our $200 DNA test.

I’ll tell you who you are for free, I reply.
Text WEALTH to 333-111
A Mexican radio prensenter now:
¿Cómo está la línea para cruzar?
Está de una hora y medio por la Sentri.

They call it “crossing the line” here.
Where I’m from we called it “crossing the bridge”
like Samhain’s
veil between two worlds –
always a see-through
river it remains
whether full or dried up.

In our eighties Datsun, in the sun
the lines – which Euclid called a breadthless length –
had depth as well as duration
and always seemed to last all morning.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

American border patrols with names like “Carlos Gonzalez”
refused to speak to us in Spanish; we were highly suspect
though we were just popping across
to get a couple of those self-serve Slurpees.


*

200 km from the border
the couple in the hotel room next to mine
argue in Spanish.
When they switch to English, stepping into their
perfect American accents
she becomes louder, more assertive, and he quieter.
After some slamming and shuffling
he returns to the room in Spanish, louder now, macho.
This goes on
but on Instagram son la envidia de los amigos.
They have rented their own private
chunk of the beach to do this.
The sign outside our rooms says: Playa cerrada.
Agua contaminada
Evite contacto con el agua hasta nuevo avis
Close

Self-Serve Slurpee

Driving accross the radio stations
I hear locutores de San Diego urging us
all the way to Ensenada:
Text WEALTH to 333-111

Peddler-entrepreneurs take advantage
of sun and traffic jam to sell ripped music
on USB sticks
and cold drinks
from an icebox in a camioneta
parked on the hard shoulder.
A child is writing something in the dirt with a stick.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

We inch forward a couple of meters
and the interference gives way to
a man singing his masculinities in Spanish:
…you deserve to be treated with respect
to be loved in a way that I’m unable to love
lust for you one day, coldhearted the next
and I don’t know why
that’s just the way I am, I can’t change
I’m a cruel man, can’t tell the difference
between my love and your pain…
Text WEALTH to 333-111


Last night, I read a message on the wall:
to never arrive is to already be there with you.
Marching bands were on hire for
declarations of love. Tambores and 
trombones blaring at the couple bailando
en la playa. She was smiling, head back,
hair black like a waterfall.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

The riverbed is fortified in concrete,
straight, lifeless transit.
Like what they do to rivers
in America.
The road signs keep giving the option
to return to San Diego,
or keep taking wrong turns
in the carrousel that Tijuana is.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

Have you thought of making changes in your life
to make things easier for yourself?
Find out who you are and where you come from
with our $200 DNA test.

I’ll tell you who you are for free, I reply.
Text WEALTH to 333-111
A Mexican radio prensenter now:
¿Cómo está la línea para cruzar?
Está de una hora y medio por la Sentri.

They call it “crossing the line” here.
Where I’m from we called it “crossing the bridge”
like Samhain’s
veil between two worlds –
always a see-through
river it remains
whether full or dried up.

In our eighties Datsun, in the sun
the lines – which Euclid called a breadthless length –
had depth as well as duration
and always seemed to last all morning.
Text WEALTH to 333-111

American border patrols with names like “Carlos Gonzalez”
refused to speak to us in Spanish; we were highly suspect
though we were just popping across
to get a couple of those self-serve Slurpees.


*

200 km from the border
the couple in the hotel room next to mine
argue in Spanish.
When they switch to English, stepping into their
perfect American accents
she becomes louder, more assertive, and he quieter.
After some slamming and shuffling
he returns to the room in Spanish, louder now, macho.
This goes on
but on Instagram son la envidia de los amigos.
They have rented their own private
chunk of the beach to do this.
The sign outside our rooms says: Playa cerrada.
Agua contaminada
Evite contacto con el agua hasta nuevo avis

Self-Serve Slurpee

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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