6 August · Evening

Our Mexico City friends said we must search out Ambar Past, American expatriate poet who lives in a forest hut outside San Cristóbal with her daughter. We track them down at Taller Lenateros, print & papermaking collective at Paniagua 54, where Ambar works and sleeps nights she's in town. Massive colonial door with rust iron rivets swings open, she's come to the door. David Huerta has sent word on ahead, and Ambar's been waiting–

So chatter poetry & politics, catch up with news & drink coffee. There's a kitchen at one end of the big printshop room. Ambar recounts unpublicized local events. Her first winter here a blight came, and no doctors–

"Every child in the village of Magdalenas died. Every child."

We tour the collective's dilapidated adobe rooms to see silkscreen tubs and big platen presses, shelves full of paper, cards, posters, menus. In the back courtyard where the collective grows its food a group of women make paper–




               old paper


                   pine needles
    orange peel

               other trash

–all goes into the mash.
Refuse turned into splendor. Civilization.
It's late in the day so the ladies who blend up paper go home.

Andrew Schelling | 7 August
Contents | Mudlark No. 9