The SuperTurismo AutoBus

The couple in front of me had a Lonely Planet guidebook open between them, and the man behind me was ugly with pretty eyes. They were like waves, the colour of sea foam, arresting because they had a strange light against his dark skin.
            Across from me, an older man and his wife slept through the first hours of the voyage. They seemed nice, in the generic way of old country elders. The woman wore a light black sweater and sturdy shoes, like so many old Italian and Portuguese women, short and round and Catholic.
            My camera was snapping away furiously and probably futilely, at cacti and valley fires and what seemed like a party in a cemetery more colourful than a theme park. Bus window pictures can have their own candid charm; they are taken with the understanding of probabilities and physics of motion. Most will be indecipherable and none will be what you aimed for, but some will bewitch with their own surprises.
            My neighbour’s mobile went off but it didn’t really register–Mexico is noisy everywhere, even when it’s quiet, and the buzzing and beeping and ringtone choruses meld somehow into music that’s frantic and choppy but still harmonious. It all fades into a background lull, the dull roar if you will, of blaring horn honks and sudden mariachi.
            Only when I heard another sound, something awful and animal, did I turn. The only way to describe what I saw might be “stricken.” The woman’s previously sleep-serene visage was contorted grotesquely, and her fist, with thin rings of glittering gold, was stuffed against her mouth. Her eyes were twin car crashes, violent with grief.
            There was no way to tell what was in the message that the man received. I imagined then that they were on their way speed haste, and that they were too late. But it could have been anything. The abuelita’s sobbing went on and on, all the worse because she tried to muffle it with a scarf. Whenever her crying began to ebb, a new river would come through her. The man tried awkwardly to pat her now and again, to stroke her face tenderly with a tissue in his massive paw. But she could not be consoled.
            We sped through some mining towns where concrete slabs were tied together with bungee cords and wild vines, and I imagined people inside making tamales and making love, and there were some children playing accordion on the curb.
            The whole time, there was some kind of B movie or worse playing on the bus, the over-acted kind where the witch has glowing green eyes and fingers and that hoarse voice most familiar from exorcisms, and I was thinking that films might be a good way to learn Spanish.
            In the hotel the night before, we had watched the Simpsons with no subtitles, but now we were on a bus to Cuernavaca and I couldn’t take my eyes from the roadside attractions. Mountains, and mountains of pottery, and guavas and mameys piled into the clouds.
Lorette C. Luzajic is an artist and writer from Toronto, Canada. She is the editor of Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing at and the author of over fifteen books of poetry, fiction, and prose on art and culture. She writes a regular column on Wine and Art at Good Food Revolution. She has also been published in hundreds of journals and blogs, including Rattle, Adbusters, Modern Poetry, Grain, the Fiddlehead, Book Slut, Everyday Fiction, the Wonder Café, White Wall Review, Hood, Geez, Black Napkin, Art Ascent, Poetry Canada, and more. Her short story was recently nominated for Best of the Net. She also incorporates literary themes, poetry, and text into her visual mixed media artwork, which has been exhibited and collected locally and globally, from Italy to India to Mexico. Visit her at
Photography by William J. Stribling