I just finished the great Mexican poet Jose Emilio Pacheco's book City of Memory and Other Poems. After reading his long poem, "I Watch the Earth," about the tragic earthquake that rocked his native Mexico City in 1985, I was suddenly thrown back to El Centro, California, 1979, my hometown, where Willie, Susie and I got caught up in one that left us running for cover. I'll never forget the image of my swingset, how it looked as if it was walking in place: up, down; up, down; left, right, while our County building tumbled and telephone poles, like roughed-up drunk dudes, wobbled then dropped hard against the streets.
"Los animales avisaron, intentaron hablar
y no entendimos las señales."