Through Michoacán where clouds
make a second landscape in the sky,
I nurse the fare you meted out
in a spare cork-stoppered jar,
one day’s worth of mescalito,
in lieu of salt, Aristotle.

The bus grinds on. My gaze rises
past tassles of corn, cactus lobes
and hawks whose spirals shape the sky.
Up where the billows gape glistens
an aerial lake, on its edge,
a nebulous sierra mirage.

Swerves below cleave to earth.
From cloud comes cloud comes cloud.
Vacío sin macizo no se puede ser.
Emptiness needs vessels to hold its spill.
Going requires somewhere to go.


In 1981, I had a first vacation from the wine business and, upon advice of my new-found friend Richard Haly, I went off to Mexico instead of France, a country too closely associated with work at that moment in my life.

At this suggestion I visited Michoacán and stayed with a friend of his, Enrique, about whom I have written in connection with the poem Gossamer So Sheer. When it was time to take my leave, he gave me a little bottle of mescal to bide my time on the bus to Guadalajara.

The result, apart from some of my Haiku in Mexico, was this increasingly drunken meditation, one of my various ruminations on clouds, form and content.