Sombreros Vaqueros, Torn Jeans, Museums, Blowfish (Short Poems)

Blowfish, with help from Sakai Hōitsu, watercolor & gouache by William Eaton, Feb 2018 - 4Sombreros Vaqueros

I would not say to any of the men in the YMCA locker-room

Who in the afternoon sit on stools or in old armchairs, watching TV:

“You know you could be reading a book.”


I think of the men who gather along the shady side of Chihuahua’s Plaza de Armas

In their botas y sombreros vaqueros, not a horse in sight,

Saying little, waiting for nothing, time going by.


What else could they do?

Girls were at their wit’s end

They bought pants torn at the knees

And flashed their little rounds of hard, white-pink flesh

What else could they do?


Visiting the MET, the Morgan . . .

It is incumbent on the rest of us to patronize

The art museums of the rich


It is incumbent on us to pretend we cannot feel

The violence, thievery and scheming


With which the walls have been hung.


Poems and painting by William Eaton. The caption to the painting is a reorientation of an English translation of a poem by the Japanese painter, and occasional poet, Sakai Hōitsu. The translation, as published in the Japan Society‘s Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828):

The day we eat blowfish

you have to feel is

the day to eat happiness


Now available from Amazon: Art, Sex, Politics

Art, Sex, Politics cover from AmazonIn a new, provocative collection of essays, William Eaton, the author of Surviving the Twenty-First Century, shares the pleasures of questions, tastes, reading and more visual arts. “That we are animals, that is as sure as ever. How savagely we behave! And how affectionately rub up against one another. How, desperately, make love?”
Five-star review: “ . . . remarkable collection of essays. . . . insights which carry the reader into a world of mindfulness. One of the pleasures of reading a book by Mr. Eaton is to witness the author peeling away the layers of his stories. His essay concerning “savoring,” for example, first touches on food habits, yet is in fact a call to live with intention; to savor life as one would savor a meal. . . . lovely prose . . . delightful book.”
Kind words about Surviving: “Entertaining, yet packs a quiet intellectual wallop. . . . so thought-provoking and poetic I didn’t want it to end . . . beautiful and wise and moving . . . engaged, non-doctrinaire, well-read, independent-minded. . . . William Eaton finds arresting themes in unusual places. . . . The writing is masterful and wonderfully absorbing.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.