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Martín Granada

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Member Since: Apr, 2007

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Rumble, Groan, Dream
By Martín Granada
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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All things begin as a poem; first breath is a simile, being is a symbol. Great are the myths, metaphors to experience, that sing wide mouthed and waiting:

Rumble, Groan, Dream

This is the street of silver harvest; musk in your mouth; knife-edged fish stink. This is the smell of prosperity and doom where fat wooden canneries perch on rocks hungry in fog and cold and damp and metal. And when the boats chug in, thudding heavy from squirming weight, the rust pipe organs shriek trills of C sharp, and the workers come down the hills in oil cloth aprons, rubber boots and hair-nets; some in lipstick, some in rainbows of kerchiefs; some laughing; some still tired, already numb. For most, this is the street where America begins in calloused hands and sweat. Though they do not sleep here, this is their street.
6 cans a minute, 6 cans a minute, or you were fired. 25 cents an hour.
This is the street of Marcello the fisherman and Isabella the canner; their marriage is a tapestry of five years and two children; Marcello speaks almost as much Spanish as Isabella speaks Portuguese. This is the street of Isabella’s sister, Rosina, with the dandelion laugh; she speaks Italian and is the first non-Sicilian boss lady of the canners.
6 cans a minute, 6 cans a minute, or you were fired. 25 cents an hour.
This is the street of the Martín girls: Inez, the eldest, is the beauty. She has two children and is proud of her hour glass figure. Her once candy-pursed mouth is beginning to pull. Guadalupe is Inez’s daughter; she is twelve, petite yet big bosomed. Her head is filled with Nancy Drew mysteries, and impossible romances. When she hears the ocean she can feel her pulse with the waves. Inez makes her say she is 14 so she can work. Guadalupe’s sister is eight; she is given ribbons for her hair and stays at home. Guadalupe is unhappy but she must work or her mother will pull her hair.
This is Rosario’s street. She is Inez’s younger sister; the tiny one; the sickly one; the one who will marry in a wedding dress nine inches above her knees to a man from a family her father cursed. This is the street of Carmen; she is Inez’s youngest sister and the fastest canner on the row, 1000 cans an hour. Carmen enjoys the title, but earns the same pay as everyone else.
6 cans a minute, 6 cans a minute or you were fired. 25 cents an hour.
This is Nick’s street, Rosina and Isabella’s brother. He has picked up Italian, Portuguese and English so he can work on any boat in the bay. The fishermen call him “waves” because of his perfect curls. His admirers say he is “the most handsome man on Cannery Row.” The jealous say his sisters put his curls in rollers every night. He is in love with Carmen, but she refuses to acknowledge the son of a gambler.
6 cans a minute, 6 cans a minute or you were fired.
This is the street of Christina, 25 years old fresh from a Palermo convent, and her brother Giuseppi. Both are angel cheeked, always smiling, and in love with wine.
25 cents an hour.
This is the street of Jenna, who keeps a finger rosary in her pocket and a widow’s shroud of death over her shoulders.
This is Megumi’s street, the fish cutter with quick hands and a plan.
This is Anthony’s street, his cannery will be the first to burn.
This is Giovanna’s street. This is Katie’ street. This is Connie’s street. Isabelle’s street. Francisco’s street. Billie’s street. Anne’s street. Julia. Margaret. Richard. Adolfo. Ruth. Renee. Pablo. Gustavo. Rafael. Césario. Vivian. Carla. Diane.Beatrice. Carol.Mary.Frances.Rosemarie.Christina.Gabrielle.Jorge.Adelle.Federica.Caroline. Carlotta.Justine.Roberto.Sebastian.Sofia.Dorothy.Andrew.
Forgotten to time, this is their street.

©Martín Granada, 2006

first published in

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