Guadalajara: Poets, Buskers, and Beggars

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A passenger boards a Guadalajara city bus.


Almost daily as I ride the bus between the Hogar de Niños, where I’m teaching English, and my apartment, I encounter at least one interesting character.
One day it might be a disheveled old man who climbs aboard, recites poetry for a few blocks, and then puts out his hand for donations before getting off the bus.
Another day, it might be a busker with a slightly-out-of-tune guitar, who warbles one or two familiar songs, then heads for the rear exit, collecting donations along the way.
Or it might simply be someone down on his luck, who wagers that the bus passengers will probably open their hearts—and their coin purses—to him.
Invariably, these characters are polite, they pay the fare without complaint, and they don’t wear out their welcome by staying too long on the bus.
“The secret of joy,” writes the Mexican poet Luis Cotto-Vasallo, “is not to try and predict events but to act on the moment, making every unique second count.”
Bus rides are unpredictable. You never know if you’re going to be early or late to your destination. But if you keep your eyes—and your heart—open, something or someone on that ride will give you joy.

On a crowded street
an old man smoking a pipe
turns my thoughts toward home.


Text and photo © 2017 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved


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