Dreaming in Noir by Fernando Esteban Flores

At a small table in Rosa’s Café

Waiting for his plate of gorditas to arrive

Camus sat considering the Texas highway to Del Río

Maybe head down to Eagle Pass cross the border

Into Ciudad Acuña or Piedras Negras & work his way north

I recognized his gray-green eyes from a poster

I had displayed in my English class

With one of those memorable quotes

About writing that I now forget

I wondered what had brought him this far south

In the background a salsa tune played

On the sound track as he tapped his foot

Keeping time with the beat

When the Mexican waitress brought his plate

He said Gracias with a French accent

Which was proper in this ambient after all he had Spanish roots

I finally got enough nerve to walk up to his table & introduce myself

He said he’d rather me not make a big fuss

About who he was since he was traveling alone & incognito—of sorts—

& didn’t want to draw any attention to himself

Though I doubted anyone else

Would have known who he was

I said I understood

I told him I had read his books

& had learned a great deal about life

From his Myth of Sisyphus

As well as from his published Notebooks

They had given me insights that grounded me

At a time when I was on the verge of giving up

He was appreciative but said that all that was behind him now

I asked him what about his Nobel Prize

He said he never really cared for it

& that it was just another trap for a writer

I inquired where he was headed

He said Mejico

I replied that it had become a very bizarre place

Due to drug cartel violence but he waved me off

Saying that’s what was stimulating his journey

It reminded him of his youth in Algiers

Of the struggles of the poor & the disenfranchised

He knew the score & wanted to write a book

About borders, blood and butchery—

Something that would give him a raison d’être

A writer he said never has a day off & life cannot be ignored

 

He finished his meal, dabbed his mouth with a napkin paid his bill & left a tip

He climbed into a classy black 1960 Facel-Vega 3B

Which made me wonder how he would

Maintain his anonymity in that car

I remembered Camus once told a friend that there was

Nothing more absurd than to die in a car accident

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Fernando Esteban Flores

I am a native Texan residing in San Antonio, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English and have taught writing at various San Antonio secondary schools. Brief publication history: • Juried poet in the Houston Poetry Fest 1998, and 2000; the San Antonio Poetry Festival in 1994 and 1995. • Published in the Texas Observer, SA Express-News, RiverSedge, Houston Poetry Fest Anthology, the San Antonio Current, Voices de la Luna, The Americas Review, The Maverick Press, Written with a Spoon: a Poet’s Cookbook (an anthology of poetry and recipes by Sherman-Asher Press, Santa Fe, NM), “Is This Forever or What?”(Green Willow Books, Naomi Nye, editor—an imprint of Harper Collins), The Americas Review; nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry.

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