Travel notesIssue 08 | February 2010

Channeling Ferlinghetti’s ‘Autobiography’

by Natalie Parker-Lawrence

I am leading a quiet life in the streets of San Miguel every day reading the Latin words in the Mexican churches. I have read the menus from cover to cover and noted and tasted the same food, deluded into believing the international differences between crepes and blinis and quesadillas. I read the newspaper daily, looking for a movie, a bar, an uncurtained window. I hear Mexico singing on the bus, I’ll Be There For You. One could tell that this bus is the same as an Indian or a Canadian train. I read song lyrics every day and hear my students wallow in the sad plethora of self-importance. I see where Neil Sedaka still feels laughter in the rain. I see they made, are making, will make Japanese women say arimaska at the end of all their sentences. I see another war coming and my stepsons will, unfortunately, be there to fight it on a continent that I do not want to visit. I have read the writing on the national election wall. I helped others read it and write it. I marched up Hospicio hill choking on air in my tight little lungs but hurried back to the hotel looking out for my rattled friend. I see a similarity between street dogs and me. Dogs are the true observers, walking up to the lowly and the important, peeing on the world in the streets of San Miguel. I have walked down one-way cobblestoned streets too narrow for buses. I have seen a woman take out the comic-book version of the Book of Mormon in Spanish to try to convert a stranger, a lonely man on the bus, teaching him to read.

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About the author

Natalie Parker-Lawrence’s is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans.  She lives in midtown Memphis in a 100-year-old house. Natalie’s new full-length play is a collection of non-fiction monologues about insomnia, Cover Me at Dawn.  Her essays have been published in The Commercial Appeal, The Pinch ,Tata Nacho Press, and World History Bulletin.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok