In Bernalillo, the rodeo parade
consists of 27 horses and riders,
eleven kids on decorated bicycles,
one old flat bed truck full of
drunks advertising the Casa Blanca Bar,
all six police cars, the county sheriff
reminding you with a hand painted sign
to re-elect him, and maybe thirteen
cars containing politicians and
business men (decorated with crepe
paper and pretty ladies who are queens
and princesses of something)
and Oh yes, I forgot the brandnew
brightred made to order firetruck
with its red light flashing.
And we’re all out here
in the dusty streets to see it.
The cop throws candy at the kids
and the drunks throw candy everywhere
trying to hit their buddies
in the crowd while we drink beer,
duck, holler and wave our arms.
“Shit. This year they didn’t
even have a band.”
We retreat into the cool Casa Blanca,
order up drinks and argue about
the size and order of parades.
Frank says he’s seventy and ought to know
they used to have four or five bands
and soldiers and girls showing
yellow pantied asses prancing
down the street and it was bigger
than Albuquerque, bigger than
Santa Fe and that hell it was
a grand thing then. Lalo says,
“Parades are like life amigo.
Once you get them started you
can’t stop them and they go on
and on and on.” Ah this semblance
of Civic Pride. We all make fun of it
and we’re all proud of it.
The horses shit in the street
and the bright riders sit
tough and tall but behind
their dark glasses lurk
the eyes of children
riding in the sun.