This place is loud in every way. The street is filled with opposing currents of sounds: a bell in the rough hands of a man goes up and down announcing the garbage truck, there are cars and all kinds of horns, there are people using machines in nearby workshops (something to do with metal or something to do with wood), street dogs bark at each other and sometimes fight and another lonelier dog cries from the top of a roof. A rooster keeps announcing something which is no longer the start of the day. Scratchy old megaphones on top of rickety trucks sell gas with one song, oranges with another song, freshly baked bread with another song. The voice of a child which is always the same voice in all the streets of Mexico asks in a recording if you have old fridges, mattresses, washing machines or stoves to sell. There is a sound for homemade fruit sorbets, another for tamales, another for a man in a bicycle with a stone to sharpen your blunt knifes and scissors, and another man with a very deep voice carries on his back a big  table asking the street who wants to buy it. In between the cars starting or stopping you can also hear the birds. The people are loud and whistle sharply from the street for a specific someone to look out the window, they play their music loudly in their houses (sometimes sing loudly too). The houses are loud and painted in bright miss-matching colors, the roofs are loud with moving clotheslines and tv antennas and plastic water tanks. The sun is loud and makes your skin go red (it’s not the muted sun of the Canadian winter). The life of this little neighborhood is always blooming and bursting at all hours of the day. No matter the crisis, the depth of our problems, these people (my people) will not go out quietly and will not go dark. They don’t shrivel; they are always blooming, and their resourceful bodies are always loud which is also a form of joy, which is also a form of victory.

I’m very quiet and shy but I come from this loud bright place and I’m always longing for someone to paint their house pink or yellow. Loudness fills me to the brim and makes me smile. I hope I carry always with me at least some of the loudness of my people, some of this astounding ability to fight a way out and bloom in a thousand sounds and a thousand colors.

My drawings, by the way, seem to get louder and louder. This one is, maybe, too loud. But I look at it and it makes me smile, the way a bright pink Mexican house makes me smile.