She told it so easily, calmly, no surprise.

I avoided her eyes.

“We were on a full pesera (mini bus) two men got on.

They had pistols, put one to the driver’s head.
We were told to empty our purses.
No men on the pesera, just women and children, full.
They took all the money that fell out,

And they felt inside the women’s clothes, all over their bodies for money, cell phones, too.
I lost $50 cash, a birthday present, and $200 my daughter had sent for me to pay her dentist.”

“No one called the police?”
“Hah! The police are usually the robbers.”
I kept avoiding her eyes.
When I hear these Mexican, usually urban, horrors I feel guilty, privileged, impotent,
Living so close to such abhorrence, a river between.

Did I want to be on that bus?
Did I want to resist?
Did I want to die there – one bullet to my chest – on the filthy bus floor,
Among the women’s, kids’, robbers’ and driver’s feet?
Crazy, you say.
Death wish.

Think your dying will make those bus rides safer?
…but a bus-floor death would remove me from knowledge of the poison,
Yet, the poison would drip on and on,
My act but a futile second in a veil of fear, and resignation, for millions and millions ….

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid-July 2014


Author: Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners – when asked!


One Response to “Quite Normal”

  1. Editor says:

    The state of Mexico is deplorable in so many ways. Especially in the government and political structure. Almost all Rio Grande Valley residents look back to better days south of the river, or to better days to come. As an American Patriot looking at the Mexican system their problems seem so obvious. But instead of the Mexicans rising up economically, morally, and politically it seems that all of North America is in a race to the bottom.

    Saying that, the fact is that Mexico will have to solve Mexico’s problems. The best thing we can do is set a shining example and that example has been lacking in luster as of late.

    And we can do what Gene Novogrodsky has done…Shine a light on Mexico and keep the words coming. In the end, even centuries from now, they may be all we have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.