Articles by Julio Sueco

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Reading the latest stats from the U.S. Census Bureau which I was prompted to do by the feedline @TheAtlantic churns out on its twitter feed I realize that Chicanos don’t exist in that database by any definition. Then again I only did a superficial search, eitherways, it kinda bothers me a twad not to see us mentioned there at all …

where's you at ese?

where’s you at ese?

**need I say to enlarge please click the pic?

I tend to adopt an attitude towards language that it’s nearly pristine in its stipulations since I exact a nativists view on language that cannot possibly meet the standards I want. That is, I want what it is said in L1 to be exactly the same as in L2.

An impossibility by all means.

Yet this equation, L1=L2 is wrought upon the daily make up of humanity every time the sun rises.

So as I prepare myself to listen to Simon J. Ortiz: A Poetic Legacy of Indigenous Continuance a host of questions and stomach revolt seem to undermine with furious confusion the joy it would be to just listen to the darn thing.

For one, doesn’t it seem odd to you that this continuance happens in English?

Second: can English, with all its constraints that entail the language of pain for indigenous people in Norteamerica be a vessel appropriate enough to deliver the goods?

Am not the one to not allow said company. Consort at will I say. And just to open up more wounds here, look at the presenter’s name: Evelina Lucero.

Yes, its Spanish. Allow me to say it. What the tarnation are we saying here? Why do we choose to pretend that Spanish surnamed so-called indigenous people can tell us something about indigenous people’s continuance in English?

I don’t want to disrespect all the work laid before all this. By all means.

What I am saying though is how original does the L2 language allow us to be our genuine selves in the L2 milieu? Can I even though I have profound knowledge of L1 deliver that in L2?

That’s all am saying. Not just because the way the West looks upon the arts, with its Medici and Meneas paternalistic support. But because the parameters that uphold the standards are unequivocally different than the standards the local native language was once upheld.

I don’t want to diminish nothing here, because I know am stepping on some serious callitos here.

Bad little voice

bad little boys

sing a llulaby

that kisses me bye-bye

Kill me softly with my own locally grown bad feelings

murder my ego

because it wants to feel me good

Little hell constructed comments that eat me up away

far far into the depths of low self steem, sing a song

a lullaby that puts me me down, please, please,

because that’s all I know what to do about my self image

autodestruct it by sheer will

am sure the psych industry will be psyched to know another case

just blew up its cover

. it’s nothing but autodestruct.

Above

Upon my eyesight catching an everyday nature scene

A simple little bird

perching on a new, perhaps a year old twig, sprouting early may leaves

cause of its weight, twirled.

Before it, the blue vault.

& I wonder: when was the last time I layed on the grass to watch the clouds pass by?

The lush green fields call

thunder roars

lightning menace

Strike a past we long to be now.

In relation to the Fifth Comment:

Here in Sweden, Swedes can’t see beyond my ethnic look or what their eyes tell them I am. A brown person. So the idea of an American has also been hijacked by color lines. Although, much to my surprise Swedes don’t see themselves in those color lines though their idea of what an American is certainly is tainted by color. So they have a hard time seeing that there are Americans of brown disposition.

So it irritates me a tad that they can’t acknowledge my gringo side. I hate the fact that they are not able to see beyond my so called Spanish background.  It makes me feel incomplete.

Tj id @ SDReader

Well, my latest piece on Tj is up and running at the SDReader. Go check it out.

Here’s the link for the English version

Aquí está el vínculo al artículo en español.

Image: http://www.transparent.com/swedish/

Anomalies are those things that do not just veer off into the unknown causing major friction in chartered and metered courses. They are in and by their own right natural occurrences that sometimes allow us to change course or make us stop right in our tracks. One of these phenomenas in language learning is the case for fear of mispronunciation. It is a well established fact that there is a time limit for humanoids (yes, it sounds weird) when it comes to trying to learn a new language as fluent as possible. After the so called window of opportunity closes the fluency channels begin a slow shut down. Not that it is impossible to learn a new language, you can, but no just as clear and fluent as a native. There are tricks and other awareness related techniques that allow for an artificial likeness to fluency but it is not the same. Again, you really need to be aware, awake of what you are doing. Basically anybody can do it but as languages go a slight mispronunciation can give away loads of information about you the speaker.

Be that as it may, the anomaly here is not whether one can pronounce right or not or how best to achieve pronunciation in any given language. There is one factor I have never heard discussed in major scientific ways and that is the negative side effects that mispronunciation produces in natives when the target language is produced. This Pavlovian reaction to the mispronunciation of the target language is of interest to me. It ranges the gamut from admiration, positive-negative, when accents acquire an accepted pronunciation to total rejection to both the speaker and the language produced.

I am brought to this topic because I was watching a tv news program earlier this morning. The Swedish tv channel called 4 had an Australian guest in its morning reportage and the guest tried to reproduce a Swedish word and was relieved to have pronounced the word right which was no small feat since it was a word with an ö.  This is tantamount to seeing foreigners trying to reproduce the -ird in bird or the -ur in fur. It was not the kind of relief one would expect to be a relief from achieving positive result or born out of curiosity but a relief that the produced language did not create a negative reaction and was both accepted and understood by the parties at hand which in this case were all natives speakers of the Swedish language. I immediately related to this behavior because as a Swedish learner and speaker I have had my share of total rejection by other Swedish speakers for the kind of language I produce when speaking Swedish. If you are ever to learn Swedish in your lifespan be sure to take into account that the level of tolerance for mispronunciation in Sweden is a fact one needs to be able to take to task. This tolerance level is very low in Swedes. They tend to frown upon the speakers of the language who grossly overlook how to produce good spoken Swedish. They have no patience whatsoever and are ready to mock or just right out lash at the offense before them. One here ought to keep in mind that this is a natural occurrence for Swedes since their language is a tonal language. That they are more or less tolerant than other tonal language groups is up for grabs but if Chinese are any indication than tonal languages have a characteristic as being intolerant to speakers who mispronounce the language than we’re in for it for the rough.

I personally don’t take Swedish intolerance personally, not anymore anyways because I know this sort of behavior cuts right across the board even when it comes to native speakers. I live between Stockholm and Scania and boy do these natives from Småland have things to say about 08′s and mouth potatoes. Although this level of tolerance is painfully more acute towards immigrants. We feel it more the so because though Swedish people are themselves largely unawares about how their own language functions, and that can be said about any group pf language speakers, by the bye’s, they fail to take into account courtesy. They have no time for considerations such as the fact that one is trying to learn their language. They will ask you how long have you been in the country just to gauge the severity of the offense. For some asinine reason, really, Swedes will not help out with one’s language problems. I Personally am baffled at this behavior because both in English and Spanish although not the Good Samaritans we do extend a helping hand when it comes to learning languages. But that’s just the American in me.

I need a new keyboard.

Not alien like the one before me. Of course, you can’t see my keyboard but really, proof here is a minor bureaucratic shuffle of papers. I really need a new keyboard.

But perhaps most importantly I need a new way to express myself in English. There are ways unknown to express new feelings. Yet the rut befalls me. There are no new ways like old Diamanda Galas There Are No More Tickets to the Funeral.

So I stand before thee. Begging for a new beginning. I want back. I want to express myself in this language known as the English language.

You might ask why I ask this.

I am at a loss too.

A weakness has taken over the control of this weak body. A body that negotiates at whim.

There is no longer who am I? Rather a business transaction in the background that demands a voyeur
as a democratic action would demand a notary.

King of the Gypsies – (183X 153 cm) 2007 Canvas, Acrylic, Spray, Collage, Marker, Dymo av Andreas Torverud

I don’t consider myself a man of God though I like to think that whatever communion I hold with higher powers at least is in the vicinity of God. Though I haven’t specified what sort of God you and I tend to think of the same God, this is English and English speaking people, for the most part, where I come from anyways, tend to worship the Judeo-Christian deities.  Though I don’t like to think of those deities in that religion as deities I worship I often find myself prey to their old rhetoric and certainly my background is afilled with rites and traditions having to do with what is known as Christianity. While I pray and talk to a God this God is a close relative of the Judeo-Christian variant. I believe there is a higher power which more oft than not nourishes or finds nourish in the old Luther variants and the old Catholic faiths.  No matter what I do and think, when I connect to a higher power, the old forms of addressing the Gods reenter myself. Suffice to say, I can’t rid myself of my Christian background no matter how much I rationalize my relation to God by denying Christianity altogether.

I am brought to this soon to be baptized as an old personal conundrum of mine because, here in Sweden, at work, there is this man who is a practicing Christian. He recently engaged in an act of charity that has left me quite baffled and thinking about my own charity activities. This person at work gave money to a couple of gypsies, or Romani as they are known here in Sweden. I’ll just let all your prejudices run amok while I get to what I am saying. So, I was introduced into the picture because these Romani people had difficulty in speaking Swedish and the man in this pair was able to speak Spanish due to several stints in Spain. I had seen them before in the town. I often saw the man playing accordion music coupled with a deep hollow look in his face while I was on my way to the liquor store, systembolaget, as it is known here, and at other times outside the store where I buy my groceries. He made his living by playing the accordion hoping some kind souls would throw in a coin or two into his hat. This is easier said than done because in small suburbia Sweden this sort of pandering is often the cause of perplexity and amazement more than an appeal to charity. This tends to throw off realities in disarray in picture perfect socialist Sweden which prides itself of higher standards in taking care of its people. That someone would even dare to consider to play music for money and this in plain winter in Sweden is more than an affront to the senses of the Swedish. It just bodes ills and certainly the harsh winter and cold weather don’t make the heart of the Swedish people any less merciful just because someone is daring the weather to try and cash in on some easy alms specially when someone is indirectly thrashing the old Craddle to the Grave philosophy. Summer perhaps, but winter? Of course this doesn’t give the Swedes a good reputation and since many people consider the Swede as a cold being well, you get the picture. This particular type of Romani people came from a country in the Balkans and they are despised with all might in Europe all over.  So they tend to create small schisms in the daily affairs of small town suburbia here in Sweden, you just don’t do that.  Especially in small towns where every aspect of behavior is closely monitored and inspected for flaws. I kid not, this is 1984.

Well enter I.

Not only do I cringe at the sight of accordion playing gypsies because I know Swedes will not react well to it, I associate myself to their lot because they also have black hair and are immigrants. I would not have made anymore deal out of it until X from work, the practicing Christian, asked me if I could help him as an interpreter for him. I went along and we decided to meet at his church. There they were. The dark haired and dark skinned Gypsies I had seen playing the accordion before. Now, because I have rejected all notions of Christianity in my life I am a full blown cynic. I just don’t trust people’s intentions and specially, let’s be honest here, gypsies. Boy did I have baggage there. I fought off my own prejudices and certainly I wasn’t  about to help them, it was the Christian, so what the heck. I went neutral and the doubt shadows were repressed even more further down the I gutter.

I listened and interpreted what was said and learnt a thing or two about their lot in frigid Sweden. I could not help but get a whiff of a stench that was reeking a scam a mile away. Woe humanity if I ever am in charge of pity because I had my bullshit detector on full detect.  Shame on me. I could not help draw images of what I would do where I destitute in a foreign country and basically rely entirely on the compassion and care of others though the images and perceptions of being manipulated allowed more room for skepticism than anything else. Perhaps that’s why we are drawn to church. I left the interpretation run its course. I was certainly not there to offer a helping hand more than my intellectual traits gave forth and I thought more than enough was done on my behalf by listening and letting thoughts and actions, ideas whatnot sink in. The Christian guy though had a tough cookie to chew on. He was left with the responsibility of helping the Romani people and find a solution to their economical and housing problems. Yes, they turned to Christianity to solve their problems which made me feel like a shepherd dog looking out for the lambs. I was open about my impressions and forwarded these accordingly by the way. Yes, it was another one of those open and sincere observations by cynical me.

The days marched on and snow covered the landscape with meters of the white stuff until I caught up with the Christian guy on his way to catch a train. We chatted a little and found out that the Romani people were taken by car to another bigger town up north in Sweden and not sufficient with that they payed the first month’s rent for the poor Romani accordion player guy who knew a bit of Spanish. I was frankly in awe at the leap of faith my fellow college and his church made, I certainly would not have done nearly as much. But they did.

I suppose that is the gulf that separates us, his belief system and mine which is seriously deficient in acts of charity. I have a hard time giving and furthermore giving in the name of the Lord. I wonder how is it possible to abandon the cruelties that accompany every day and how is it possible to abandon in total ignorance those acts that chip away at our own charity until we become cynics like me. No, am not about to trust people like my Christian friend did, which I said, is a tremendous leap of faith no questions asked kinda guy. Am just asking because it is certainly a hard act to follow. One must be ready to abandon this world and enter one where we are to trust blindly that we are helping, that we are not being fooled and that even if are being fooled there is a price for that somewhere.

Meanwhile, back in Gotham City …

Yonder Lies It By Julio Martinez | Published Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010

In A Scotch Paisano in Old Los Angeles1 a seldom researched area is taken to task, namely, that of assimilation of Anglos in what is a predominantly Spanish-Mexican dominated territory era. Anglos converted to Catholicism and abade by Hispanic customs. So is the case also in Jovita’s book2. There is a lot of intermarriage with Anglos or Americans. Despite the rhetoric of the text that pits Anglos and Mexicans there is acceptance of Anglos in the community. I suppose that a lot has to do with this idea within mexicans that one must improve the race, or as is known in Spanish, mejorar la raza. A little unknown and zealously kept and guarded dirty secret we bear upon us.

Yet one has to wonder if this tactic of intermarriage wasn’t orchestrated or is a little forgotten blip in our history. Who knows. Research certainly is needed to shed light here.

I somehow can’t accept coincidence in California and Texas.

______________________________________________
1 Dakin, Susanna Bryant, A Scotch Paisano in Old Los Angeles, Berkeley, 1978.

2 González, Jovita. Dew on the Thorn. Ed. José Limón. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997.

Carmen Fought has done a remarkable job by giving us a structured form of ChE. I haven’t read Chicano English in Context through and through though but I have stopped in certain passages where my eyes have noticed the value in the observations or the examples. One such example that has drawn my attention is on page 104 within the title of the paragraph Part II: Semantic/lexical features of Chicano English and under the subtitle General lexical items. In example 6 we have American, meaning ‘European-American or white’. So up tp this day we still regard ourselves as not American.

I have argued throughout this blog how deeply important it is that we feel American. I have argued for an americanness of our own.

We have for far too long relegated America to the gringo, the blue-eyed even when we ourselves and our kin may have blue-eyes. It’s enough. We are Americans, regardless of nations and regardless of political divisions. It’s time to reclaim what’s ours. As Don Juan Preston in Jovita Gonzale’s Dew on the Thorn we must reclaim our heritage, our position in society.

We Xicanos need to put an end to the centennial bickering Mexicans and Americans have had since inception days. We the children can no longer take sides we are Mexican and we are American no matter what ye old blood feud says. Let Mexicans fear the Gringo; we Xicanos cannot do that. Let Gringos fear the Mexican; we Xicanos cannot do that.

We need to tire of taking sides to move forward, backwards for to remain ackward is no longer an option.

Forest Service warns Coloradans: Beware of camping Latinos
By John Tomasic 8/28/09 6:41 PM

In a presentation on recent discoveries of major marijuana-cultivation operations in Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service said it suspected an international cartel was behind the state’s hidden weed farms. Officials issued a warning that asked forest visitors to look for signs of drug trafficking. The telltale signs according to the officials? Tortilla, Spam and tuna packaging, Tecate beer cans, Latino music and people speaking Spanish.

Officials failed to acknowledge (1) that they were describing roughly a quarter of all campsites in the state and (2) that Spam, tortillas, tuna, Tecate, Latino music and people speaking Spanish are some of the best ingredients you can find when you’re looking to mix up a damn good camping experience.

Yet U.S. Forest Service officer Michael Skinner urged anyone encountering campers who fit the profile to “hike out quickly” and call police.

Polly Baca, co-chairwoman of the Colorado Latino Forum, told the Denver Channel that the Forest Service warning is racist and ill-conceived and threatening.

“It’s discriminatory and it puts Hispanic campers in danger.”

Marvink Correa, spokesman for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said that the next time he goes camping, he would “be sure to play nothing but Bruce Springsteen.”

So was the warning also issued in Spanish?

Source: http://coloradoindependent.com/36662/forest-service-warns-coloradans-beware-of-camping-latinos

By mistake I wrote Dew of the Thorn and once realizing my mistake I came upon a significance for the title of the book. I realized that dew is one of those things that is reminiscent of a new start. A new morrow if you will. Once I corrected my spelling error I proceeded to thank the gods of letters for my discovery, not. But yes, this is nice, this interpretation of mine. Dew on the Thorn allows us to see the new and allow us to realize the thorn in the eye before us. I always wondered why this string of words was a preferred choice for a title and I suppose I found my own interpretation for the book. So there.

_____________________________________________________________________

1 González, Jovita. Dew on the Thorn. Ed. José Limón. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997.

I have fallen in love with page 150 of Dew on the Thorn by Jovita Gonzáles1. It’s a chapter entitled The New Leader and it’s about the second Fernando of the Olivares family, born 1871. He is a half gringo and a half Mexican.

Fernando grew up, and realizing when very young that he had American blood, felt very different from the rest of the boys. He had a feeling of resentment against his heritage that made him feel he was an outcast among his friends. Doña Ramona’s teachings […] made him feel that he could never have anything in common with his American grandfather. (p. 150)

Gotta love the reverse mestizaje in play. The reverse crossborder where it is the gringo in us that yearns to crossover.

Beautiful.

_____________________________________________________________________

1 González, Jovita. Dew on the Thorn. Ed. José Limón. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997.

The authority of Tío Esteban, the new mail carrier, in “a forlorn-looking two wheeled vehicle” is an interesting passage. There is a palpable break. A sign that the Usted and borderlines of the Spanish language have ceased to permeate the everyday life of the community. It no longer applies as a rule. We must heed obidience to a new language code. As a mail carrier, a US postman, Tío Esteban has switched language masters’ (p.107)

In the backdrop of the early 1900′s in Dew on the Thorn by Jovita Gonzáles1 technological advances are no threat to the lifestyles of the ranchers who are in no hurry to catch up with the ever changing landscape nor is it rejected either. two wheel vehicles and trains are viewed with the eye of distant curiosity as if seeing an odd object. This product of the mind is not rejected by racial lines, indeed, we are curious no matter whence it cometh from. As always, and as most history insists in telling to our deaf ears. Technology is accepted far more than the gringo is or ever will be. So reading Chapter IX The Cupid of the Brush Country is quite interesting. These two phenomena: the ranchers still trying to live a lifestyle of old, ever refusing to let go of their glorious past, and the imminent change and the mechanical knowhow of the Yankees advance, flow in opposite directions yet together posit a mystery.

All this is reminiscent of Don Quijote who insists in living a long lost time in a present that has surpassed him beyond recognition.

_____________________________________________________________________

1 González, Jovita. Dew on the Thorn. Ed. José Limón. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997.

In Dew on the Thorn by Jovita Gonzáles1 the color of races play a significant role, gringos have blue eyes and servants are dark. Yet more interesting is the fact that the Caste system plays a role in the late 1800′s as is evident that society revolves around the color of the skin. Add to this the fact within the narrative that these Mexicans of the late 1800′s in Lower Texas had never seen a negro in their midst and you got yourself a decent cocktail to churn out all kinds of speculations.

But what bothers me the most in Jovita’s narrative is that her main Mexican characters are not considered to be Americans. This binomial bothers me. They Americans and We, Mexicans. I don’t know, I just can’t seem to place myself in that narrative.

_____________________________________________________________________

1 González, Jovita. Dew on the Thorn. Ed. José Limón. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997.

In Dew on the Thorn by Jovita Gonzáles1, the Anglo plays a rather significant roll not because we are not familiar with the eternal binomial in Chicano narrative between gringos and Chicanos but because it is an early ground we have walked upon before. Jovita is a predecessor of Aztlán geography and topology. It is a common ingredient in Chicano narrative to see the gringo in the distant. Way before we begin to deal with the gringo we have began to see Them. Jovita does this well. It details the aproximation of the inevitable, that is, the gringo in our midst. Then we deal with it. We can see this same technique in Ana Castillo’s novel So Far from God: The Peacock raiser encroaches in the consciousness unannounced. We have only heard of them and then we see them to lastly seek them.

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1 González, Jovita. Dew on the Thorn. Ed. José Limón. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1997.

I have come to realize that Chicano narrative has fitted quite nicely into American folklore because it is a vision. Chicanos in general all share a vision of what it was and what it might become. That is why Aztlán although despised by most Anglo loving philes can accept the fact that we exist. Even though they use the most lethal and potent weapon against us, Ridicule, they recognize something familiar in Aztlán: it is a vision.

I went to a festival in my small town Sweden were I in turn came under the influences of the spirits. Everybody knows everybody here. Now, am not trying to excuse the fact I behaved inappropriately at the festival, although I haven’t even described this inappropriateness it goes to show how weird this whole charade is. My inappropriateness was the fact that I was drunk and that I am a high school teacher here in Small town Sweden.  I suppose were I to live in a large town this angst would not kill me as much as it does today. But there you have it that the angst has been eating the vowels of my guts since that day.

I realize now why it bothers me so much. It is the whole saving face sort of business. Keeping up with appearances. Since everybody knows everybody you are supposed to cultivate a small amount of decent decorum because in essence, in small town Sweden this is basically all one has before itself.

This industrial small town has its positions in society all locked in to certain peeps and basically climbing the ladder is not so much as really standing in line and waiting for the position to befall you accordingly.

Now I know am not going to live here forever, so I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but there you have it, am still adapting to the country and passing through this process of feeling angst has been one of the most grueling processes I have undergone in my stay in Sweden.

Writer’s note: Written July 05 2010

I now know Spring is here.

Arachnid traces whirl outside my window.

The multilayer colored string plays its tune.

This silent music rings hollow.

I see but the wind play yet its vibrations fall in deaf ears.

Yet I delight so
in
the colors
the sun strikes
on its silk.

How I wish I could hear it sound.

Hopefully it will not be long from now that I can retake my writing.

It has been a long time since I really wrote.

It’s not until this morning that my preoccupation with writing was what was being a hurdle of sorts in my writing. I worried about being a writer and that sucked loads of energy which is badly needed elsewhere. Like in writing. I worry too much. My stupid dream of becoming a writer has been a sort of hindrance to this date. I will not nourish that stupid dream again. I want to pound the keyword with my thoughts. I want to write no matter what crap comes nor who cares whether it is worth saving or not, I just want to write and create.

Easier said than done of course.

I met this guy at work who had suffered a heart attack at least a year or two ago. He was a lot more plump and filled in his face then when I first caught eye of him which then I thought he was too skinny in his upper cranial self then the rest of his corporal self. This encounter would not be of any relevance at all where it not that I was distraught by the whole affair brought upon no less by the enthusiasm I showed when I saw him. I waved in earnest when I saw him. Yet I failed in all earnest to relate to his arterial problems as soon as we understood we had to bring upon the subject of the fact of the reason of his job absence. His heart beating could not be heart felt at all. The whole idea of us discussing his existential being revolved around the idea that he was at work with a bad heart and well how hard it was to work heartbroken and at work.

It is always a source of amusement to me how good language always flourishes like a spring meadow just in these sort of nick of time instances in the most inappropriate of times. I mean, I could of have come up with all the possible heart idioms and sayings when the amicable rapport was most ripe. I fought my own self and containment was mum.

I listened intently to his heart condition and how it limited his work, his hopes and the limitations of his hopes and what he wanted to do but could not do and minus here and plus there it all added up to the fact that I was talking to the guy at work so it kind of rounded up quite nicely and all for all intents and purposes it was great to have him back in an odd kind of Swedish way. To be frank I could not even muster a take it easy for the fear of insult. I never had so much to say and stood still as much as today.

I wanted to go away as fast I could from the whole situation and I suppose the clinical explanation coming out of his mouth noticed this and pretended, as I pretended, to cajole a good intention gone awry into continuing the peace for the sake of not ruining the friendly encounter. Yet I was interested in hearing him out but I was not ready for a bitter reality that is present in those that suffer the ailments my coworker undergoes. I was and was not rather. I am of the lot that argues that things or that what is right is right is a spouse of legitimacy for all kinds of excuses that authorize the spoken word and its freedom to be. Yet here I was not ready to allow this principle to abound it its most momentous glory.

Go figure.

There are like a million things going on in my life. Worst yet my immigrant status in Sweden isn’t helping at all. The way I compare and contrast makes the lens I view the Swedish landscape with rather dirty, lopsided and at best old and worn out outlooks. Yet by my own standards, I have come a long way and am ready for the next step, dios mediante.

I am moving out of the small village I live in. Good riddance to small town mentality I say. I am American after all, I migrate, I must move on, it’s in my genes, say what you will, but I do carry the blood of my northamericans. 10 years amongst the people of the town and all I have to show for it is a few salutations by way of courtesy. This is infuriatingly a disappointment with great consequences. Yet for the same token rewarding in many ways. By moving on I am showing an upward mobility they have not seen in years. Off course, I write this with a small grain of sarcasm.

I am also at a crucial crux in my career tinged, by the way, with Swedish angst. I can no longer keep my identity intact and must give leeway to local pressure to accommodate the new and allow the old to breathe yet. With this I mean that I must not allow my constant desire for approval to stand in the way of the local custom of avoiding bragging. I must push forward without bringing about too much attention.

I am rather astounded at the very little desire for upward mobility in society in these parts of the neck of my woods. Remember I am in the land of the infidels, In Partibus Infidelium, I am in terra non sancta, this should not be happening. Protestantism here is not at all related to the one we find in the US. In the US we are inculcated that we are destined for things. Manifest Destiny best describes this idea of destiny in all of us of Northamerican breed. But here in Sweden there is a complacency and a sense of place that defies the very fabric of my soul. This I contend with in the everyday.

The demons are hard to keep at bay, I ask myself, when are people in the Swedish Highlands going to take my intelligence seriously? The very mentality they posses is rather ethnocentric. They are culturally encapsulated. They see not beyond their own tip of their noses. How does one beat that?

As I recalled earlier, in my Swedish blog, people here are prone to brag but theirs is rather complementary, that is, they do it to cause an effect on others. They do it because they want to hike up a notch or two their status if only briefly.

I fight many voices in my head but there is not anything unusual there. For the most part my silence allows for volumes to speak. In fact, I seem to have been applying a sort of Taoism of which I had no idea of until recently. I say this because I recently downloaded an audio lecture by Herbert Allen Giles. This has worked to my advantage really. I mostly keep quiet and only throw questions at my opponents to disrupt the rut. I desist and hesitate to engage in any serious discussion because of my Swedish. While I certainly have made strides in the language according to my own accord I am far from being a fluent user of the language. I only succeed at best with 70% in actual real situations where the milieu presents itself optimal for said activities. This bothers me quite much indeed, but I push forward either ways and try and ignore the hinders that culture and language has to distinguish those from the local fauna and those that are not. I consider myself very much like the main character in John Banville’s novel titled Copernicus. What knowledge I posses that is going to change the destiny of humanity I have not an inkling about nor know I have it in any fashion at all.

Other everyday ailments and seemingly unimportant by their place in this text, are my nocturne expeditions to the realm of dreams. There is a change afoot. This segment is beyond the cultural debris I just dumped. Really. This is more transcendental in more ways that I can perhaps even myself imagine. This concerns my ill and poorly managed spiritual life. I scour if only, do to the nature of my astrological sign, the bare surface of the things at stake. I suppose it is to my ens credit that we Gemini engage in this nonchalant attitude for the importance that draw us to them. We experience more but perhaps ignore more as well. Yet I was touched rather deeply recently. The reasons this experience is more important than others is a mystery to me. I guess I am fragile now. I have never cared as much as I do now. I guess that that was the importance or lesson of my ‘dream’. I put it in quotes because I have had these dreams before. You see, I suffer from what the scientific community calls Nocturnal Paralysis or parasomnia. The so-called nonobjective bandwagon known as paranormal activity has a say in my experience as well. They call it etheric. I need to get in touch my the astral aspects of my existence. Normally I am just rather afraid to deal with this sort of phenomena in as much as I am afraid to deal with my inteligence due to the color of my skin or my race.

This is very odd because I have always fought the white. Though I am myself somewhat white if you will.

Am finally losing it.

I really thought I could keep up with the charade my persona displays in the everyday here in the Swedish Highlands. This charade, this coraza or core that shields me from the rest of society is slowly showing signs of fractures, small fissures here and there that allow the Stranger outside in. Not by my own devices but by the force of the everyday. Think of Superman. Just a little piece of cryptonite is enough to cripple him. I walk on cryptonite now. I am strong away from home but I have been away so long now that somehow I am becoming more Swedish than I am willing to admit. I don’t really like it nor am I specially interested in not becoming one.

I have learned to manipulate all the social codes to pass off as a Swede. I won’t list the unfathomable antics one has to go through to more or less show signs of ‘integration’ or ‘assimilation’, it suffices to say that I defer with no great effort to these social conducts in order to be left alone. When I manipulate these codes I have a goal, in this case, the goal is to keep at bay Swedes. But not entirely for the purposes above mentioned but also as well for disguise purposes. This is not something that I do with a conscious intention to acquire for the sake of profesionalization; in fact, it isn’t as of recent that I notice that I do these antics with intended effects. Before it was mere curiosity. I observed my position in society and the reactions the Swedes reciprocated with and then observed at large to see if my initial observations were indeed true.

Like I said, I did not begin to do this consciously. I simply observed a pattern. A recurrent event is hard not to notice and I wrote down these incidents in my daily life. To give an example, I recall quite easily how Swedes initially saw in me some sort of foreignness and when addressing me spoke English. But then, after a few months stay Swedes began addressing me in Swedish. This amazed me very much me, taking pride in my identity and all, felt quite offended at this new view the Swede had of me. Not that they did not see I was a foreigner but that somehow I radiated a swedishness unbeknownst to me. Another one is corporal. Swedish people detest the way Americans walk. That is, of course, in Sweden, am sure they have nothing against this body behavior in US proper. Eitherways, I, for all intents and purposes, am an American in that respect. I walk straight and very much goal minded or determined if you will. The Swedes though won’t cut me slack for this. They pointed out very early in my arrival that I was somehow being ‘cocky’. So I learned to walk relaxed and began to observe, not intentionally but on the background so to speak and adequately adapted or acquired this behavior to achieve a purpose. So these days I normally walk with my head bent downwards and stare at the ground I walk. This seems to be acceptable to Swedes. Because as of yet I’ve not received recrimination for it and find that most Swedes themselves partake int his odd sort of sauntering. At most people ask me if am ok or they somehow go about making assumptions that am deep in thought. Which brings me to the last observation, like I said there isn’t much space to spare. I am rather silent. Silence in Sweden isn’t a problem as it would be in the US. It is very much accepted as a social conduct. So I am rather quiet to achieve this adaptation Swedes seek in me, in other words, I do this to achieve a goal. That goal being to appease Swedish demands on me to comport myself as Swedes do.

The problem is that these behaviors are putting a strain on my already fragmented identity. Slowly but surely am displaying loads of Swedish behavior that it is unacceptable to my own standards.

’nuff said there.

When I was living in California during the 80′s and 90′s I never felt like an immigrant. I feared the migra and the ghost of deportation haunted me 24/7 no questions asked. But I never felt like an immigrant. I could never relate, for example, to real immigrants, those that traveled land, sea and air to get to California. They were a world apart. Specially Mexicans who were from Mexico’s deepest south, boy, were they ever immigrants. Like a new dimension sucked them into my time capsule. Either way’s I was at home whether I had legal papers or not. And am just darn sure there were loads like me back then.

Here in Sweden am an immigrant and to be totally up front with you I still don’t have the slightest inkling what in heaven’s tarnation that means, this is true, really. But I can’t escape it, people see it in me and hence end up in their warped sense of a vortex that includes the nasty blackhole of feeling like an immigrant. Every now and then I may have an outburst about my condition of being an immigrant because society is steered by those conditions and not my conditions, O Captain my Captain is neigh here. But for the most part, and I do mean the most part, I live oblivious to the fact that am an immigrant and I live in Sweden, period.

And I think I don’t tend to live my life hating every nook and cranny of Sweden and consider myself well adapted to this society with a few minors discomforts here and there. I certainly don’t go around spewing my complaints down my breath every waking second of the day. Yet there are some and these some, boy do they ever eat, shit and sleep I hate this place their waking 24 hours being. God, I can’t stand it when another immigrant comes to me looking for solace or a sympathetic ear to pour down every darn ache and pain that ails their soul for being in Sweden.

I plow the clouds
undust the cumulus
Santa Ana winds breeze by.

It is march
idle and restless.
Evidence is aftersought.

I gather intentions
pack them tightly.
Pursue wild dreams.

This wandering I
so easily scared
Is a wannabe Heron.

This Heron seeks
yearround
habitats.

Yet you instrument
death
at dawn.

Like an old
tune
in Spring.

A cacophony
slicing
scythe.

New year
meant nothing.
This Aries dusk.

I.-

The eagle landed
on a cactus
back yonder.

II.-

Butterflies flew
driven
by Santana Winds.

III.-

Yes, I remember
Satanta.
Like a late autumn.

IV.-

Immobile
I stare,
this waft embraces.

No idea
what am doing.
Nor the horizon either.

El Año en Spitzberg I

El Año en Spitzberg II

I carry in my head the voices I heard through the earphones. A free mp3 download that infiltrated my veins. I can associate. I can relate. I can feel the hispanic virus trying to seek its kin. I refuse to allow such communion. I don’t want that language’s high horse shit yet.

1.-

I stopped dreaming
of a liberated Aztlan.
It was enslaving.

2.-

I became one with the past
Two with the present
and thirsty for more.

3.-

I read about Aztlán
and I wrote about Raza:
I was made after its image.

4.-

I am utterly lost
seeking meaning
out of the blue sky.

Supposedly carved into the Delphi temple were three phrases: γνωθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton = “know thyself”) and μηδέν άγαν (meden agan = “nothing in excess”), and Εγγύα πάρα δ’ατη (eggua para d’atē = “make a pledge and mischief is nigh”)

Am afraid that my smoking years are done. I don’t smoke on a regular basis, just occasionally and emphasis ought to weigh heavy on the occasional. This year I might of have smoked less than 7 cigarettes. Last night I took several puffs of a cigar I bought under the crazy influences of delusional thinking brought upon heavy consumption of wheat and hops. See kids, don’t drink and surf the web! And if you haven’t picked up the thread yet then I can tell you that on occasions when inebriated I tend to indulge on forbidden pleasures. This, for a catholic raised Xicano like me, means that I am usually safely away from the radar of my family, that is, my woman and two kids would no doubt be aghast at my behavior but not entirely surprised. Catholics do enjoy pleasure most when done in hiding. So am done smoking, though I think I will transgress this decision for lack of better judment, am known for having done so before. I tend to work that way but also tend to plan my pleasure trove for the long haul.

For example, this decision of mine to face the fact that I need to stop indulging in the occasional peace pipe runs of madness during the ethylene rush whence said above mentioned behavior finds its source of utmost powerful influence is due to the fact that I feel am fairing ill. I just don’t recuperate from said tissue damage brought forth through mundane abuse of legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol. I feel in me that I need to slow down to a grinding hault.

The logic is quite simple, I derive pleasure from these activities, smoking and drinking. But overdue consumption of said substances tend to tear and ware the apparatus holding what good Christians like to call the temple of God. I figure, and you go figure, that I will inevitably end up kicking the bucket one beautiful day. Whether by accident, perpetration by own hand or that of other or of natural causes. Since I do want to partake of the pleasure of alcohol and maybe tobacco, say, from when am in the age of 70 or so then I need to allow for my body to recuperate properly in order to withstand the onslaught of the tearing and maleficent effects of said substances in my body, hence the planning.

**** Warning, Catholic page following, worst yet, in Spanish, read with diligence and care: Nada Con Exceso, Todo Con Medida.

The theocracy of la raza are beyond the streets they study. Something happens to chicano academics that makes them distance themselves from the very culture they purport to examine. I don’t get that. In colloquial language they sell out. For some reason they have transgressed a border and become uneasy with the realities before them. Instead of living the culture they resort to the text version of it. Then they romanticize it and then they crossover to a fantasy realm. Going academic is like a passport to another country which lets you check in but doesn’t let you check out. Few hardcore Chicanos are able to make it back, remain part of the culture studied before one.

I don’t get this. Academia in itself is a cradle of middle class values that will not allow to be tainted by anything it does not approve beforehand. The aesthetics are set and we fit not the parameters of its watermark. The reflection rejects us. And academic Chicanos know this. As soon as we fall into the realm of accepted beings we fall into another category whereby we are scrutinized with a set of values we dare not touch with a ten foot pole. These values are so cherished by the Chicano academic community that anything that threatens it we scamper like silly ninnies back to its refugee. It’s only natural, god featuring children that we are. We would very much like to believe that we are a fused we/I. We would love to believe that a syncretism exudes from us yet alas! In the kingdom of the one eyed we are the purblind.

What’s worst is that once we are accepted we cease to be this militant, question all entity beyond reason, take no prisoners selves. We share not. We become docile denizens of a society we fought so much to be recognized as part of it and once well in place we stand in humble obedience as onlookers as our brethren fight to get across this thin line that separates us from them. Once we have crushed the citadel’s walls we shut the doors and fall behind these academia forts that hold our historic knowledge in databases that restrict the vox populi from sites such as MUSE, JSTOR and ECBHost.

I mean what the F?

I mean, échame una mano compa, no seas puto ese!

Now and then I manage to hear my own self speak. I am like the omniscient God by accident. It turns out that hearing myself isn’t so productive at times. This time I happened to hear myself. And I thought: who am I? This question might just seem trivial for some. Specially monolinguals. I can choose between three languages to express. And in this case I have chosen the English language to explore the dilemma at hand. Who am I?

The thing is that prior to the elaborate result an equation factor is not known. I chose this language because when Iheard myself speak I used a Xicano dialect bounce off the walls el craneo that houses this I.

Tis this very dialect or way of speaking that is giving birth to this post.

.*

I wonder how aztec and maya loving chicanos will react to this.

Specially La Voz de Aztlán. My, my indeed. Moctezuma was gay. He loved to gorgle the mayonesa; le gustaba el arroz con popote. Well, you get the picture. I personally don’t subscribe to the aztec and maya semiotics of the Chicano propaganda machine anymore. I have said that numerous times before. So much I don’t care to enumerate anymore. So am going alphabet baby: A, B, C and D are but a few examples of my distancing. I strictly subscribe to desert semiotics in my xicanismo. I belong to the Southwest indigenous cultures. Apache, pai pai, kumai and navajo traditions first and foremost.

A Mexican consulate chief stationed in the Dominican Republic, who is in transit to Philadelphia and that goes by the christian name of José Luis Basulto Ortega has written a historical novel titled Cuiloni. He explains therein how “el Imperio de México fue un obsequio de Moctezuma a Hernán Cortés como parte del cortejo amoroso que tuvieron” that is “the mexican empire was a gift from Moctezuma to Hernán Cortés as love dowry for the love affair that they engaged in.”

This is heavy stuff. The whole notion of aztec semiology in Chicano narrative is for machismo purposes. Not to mention the notion in México where aztec culture is represented as undefeated and resilient willing to withstand the Spanish masculinity despite the years gone by.

If you can muster some Spanish I suggest these hush hush links:

El jefe de la sección consular de la embajada de México en República Dominicana (cónsul de carrera, en tránsito hacia Filadelfia),, ha escrito una novela histórica, Cuiloni: historia de una lágrima, en la que establece que “el Imperio de México fue un obsequio de Moctezuma a Hernán Cortés como parte del cortejo amoroso que tuvieron”. Basulto, quien fue subdirector del Instituto Matías Romero de Estudios Diplomáticos, asegura contar con “quince pruebas documentales que demuestran la relación homosexual de ambos” y hace que uno de los personajes de su novela, Gerónimo Aguilar, conversando con la Malinche, llegue a decir que “México se perdió por una loca”. El autor de esa obra ha sido diplomático durante 30 años y asegura que su provocativa interpretación histórica proviene de la lectura de mexicanistas casi olvidados y de varios códices antiguos “censurados”. Basulto envió algunas de sus reflexiones a esta columna porque, dice, con lo escrito aquí “se provoca un dolor reflexivo que pocos están dispuestos a asumir, y creo que este tema que propongo es parte de esa necesidad que tiene el actual poblador de México de reconocer y conocer la verdad ‘manque duela’” El libro, publicado por Editorial Felou, será presentado el próximo 24, a las 17 horas, en uno de los auditorios del INAH…

Diversas reacciones causó la referencia hecha ayer aquí de una novela histórica que plantea que “el Imperio de México fue un obsequio de Moctezuma a Hernán Cortés como parte del cortejo amoroso que tuvieron”. Por ejemplo, Guillermo Marín (www.toltecayotl.org.mx) lamenta que haya “mexicanos que son extranjeros incultos en su propia tierra”, al señalar que el conquistador hispano ultrajó no sólo a la Malinche sino también a Moctezuma. Pero, añade, “en Tenochtitlán existía el Tlatocan, el consejo supremo, con dos figuras gobernantes, el tlatoani (el que organiza) y el ciuhacoatl (el que administra), y los dos mandaban obedeciendo a ese consejo. De modo que Moctezuma no era un rey todopoderoso, como los europeos. Las decisiones que se tomaron fueron en consejo, como se siguen tomando en las comunidades indígenas”.

Bamba

Gracia.

Ordet Gracia.

The word Gracia has never adquiered, in the English language, the significance Ritchie Valens gave it. Gracia.

He knew. We knew. You know. I Knew- I know. And so it was.

As an American individual it is very hard for me to follow the We doctrine. Afterall, what is most rewarded in our American ens is the almighty I. Here in Sweden I have had to give in to the We collective. This hasn’t been easy at all. It is perhaps no wonder that it is no easy task to induce Swedish students to capitalize the I in their writing when they write i with a small consonant. In Sweden it is foreign to write I with a capital letter. That in itself should be obvious enough as a cultural clue.

I am a foreigner in We land. Even in México this We form of speaking was alien to me. And there it is as rampant as bunnies in the old prairie. I have unfortunately in the sly begun to use the We for propaganda purposes in my everyday life. I am a tad ashamed to admit this ill allocated use of the We form for personal gain. It pays dividends in the many whenever I use the plural in my everyday locutions, and I shame not for the positive yields I receive everytime I speak to people. People here in Sweden love the We form for a weird reason.

For an American who is encouraged to strap its boots by itself or romanticizes the loner in its everyday ens this collective thinking is akin to coming to a strange land.

Off course I have metaphorized the We consciousness into an issue of economics and I just could of easily turned into an issue of crossing borders and turned it into a borderlands speak but I feel economics bespeaks better my feelings now.

Amén

Stolen at mouse point from Tijuana/Beirut:

We come from a long line of wanderers. We believe that ideas must travel. We carry information with us across highlands, over mountains. We collect along the way as we skim oceans and dip into valleys or hide in forests. We barter and trade. We never horde. We carry what we can, losing bits and pieces along the way. we can’t take it all with us. We always leave something behind. People look down upon us. Say we have no roots, we are dangerous, we disrupt. We fill people’s minds with stories: lies and falsehoods. Without us they would know nothing of the world outside. We are not confused about our job. We do it willingly. We fill our eyes, ears, hearts — we stuff ourselves — with sights, sounds, emotions. We take it all in and leak out what we cannot hold. The rest we scatter along the way. Spread the word. Beauty. Love. Desire. Tears. Breath. This is how we do things. We find grace here. We are not afraid to wander. We know the way.

Do you see yerself?

Here in Sweden I have been put to a battery of mental hogwash unprecedented for me. Not only have I internalized angst as part of internal dish washing but also battle certain narratives that run through my ens. I tell you, you cannot underestimate the power of another culture. Though am still strong in my ens and basically still use my xicano ens as a daily means to fend off the encroaching milieu it is hard to ignore it.

Mental hygiene is what best can be called the series of thoughts I go through in order to just feel normal and well. What caught me completely off guard the past years was angst. I never suffered angst. But here the climate is fertile ground for it. There is no sun and I blame angst on lack of sun. Mind you I have no proof of it but since I am from Calido Forno their differences are quite palpable between the two places, Sweden and Califas proper. The amount of sadness that surrounds my environment is tectonic. I remember hearing an audio cassette by a Spanish writer from the better last years of the xx century last year. His name is Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. And the one short story that keeps rolling over my head is El Año en Spitzberg. In the short tale he recounts the adventures of a man held captive in the archipelago of Svalbard. He is sent there by the Russian authorities for committing a crime of passion. What most impacted me though was the process of solitude that slowly took over the man’s mental health. I felt every word as my very own.

But what gets me is the mental hogwash. I dwell on for days on minor stuff that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Regurgitation that takes a hold of a narrative on my head and it just takes for ever to realize that nothing is wrong and everything is ok. I don’t understand this part of the Swedish culture and even more so since I internalized this ångst feature in me. But I can tell you one thing, its not making a home in me.

Boy, is age a bitch! Not only am I ailing and wailing both intrinsically and exteriorly but am depressed and I live on the countryside in Sweden. Top that off! Worst is that I managed to finally, after seven hundred years in Sweden, to see the irony in the word Sweden: Sw -eden, get it? An inverted one at that if anything. Oh, I know, am bitching, cut me some slack, its the cheapest therapy I can afford …. Sweden might just be that for a couple of years but after a while it’s a living hell! Jesus am I ever dour, rue and raunchy because my creativity venues are severely cut. I am stuck in the middle of a forest which just might do wonders for a stressed out city life for any other one, heck, it did it for me. But now I yearn back to the frey. I need life not this dead forest that surrounds me to be able to squeeze a story or two so that I can feel la vida loca running through my veins again. Will work for a little excitement, got any to spare?

But back to my aches. I swear it is no idea to get aches at this age. I have had all sorts of paranoia and hypochondriac hallucinations about the other or this disease, ailment and malady known to human kind and promptly found them to be near related to my little baby ache. Internet was loads of help in that department. I am a self confessed wuss. If men ever had babies, boy, I tell you. The fact of the matter is that I have faired well throughout the years besides the recent bout of minor depression I have had the past few years due to the solitude I have embraced. But heck I chose my own poison and now that I am well I am a stranger to this state of being. Well as in I breathe and wake up sufficiently sane to face another day in the Swedish highlands.

I recently had a friend come visit to me and he pointed out that if I was in Tijuana I would have a load of friends everywhere. He is right. By far what I miss the most in this self imposed exile is the social life I had. I know I can’t get it back the way it was before but I can assure it wouldn’t take many years before I regained some of it.

Though somehow I have come to my senses and decided that this solitude in the highlands has to stop somehow. I am going to try and get me a circle of friends no matter how huge the task at hand may seem. And believe you me, trying is going to be a tough cookie to crack because most relationships in this part of the world require one to be born here to be anywhere successful. Now you might think I exaggerate but you must remember that I am in the countryside, the boonies of you will, of Sweden.

Cross your fingers then ese!

It’s a hot summer day in Sweden. Am darn sure the neysayers are in lockstep now to denounce the end of days. Back in May we had a few lovely sunny, blue skies like these ones. The Jeremias were out in force in no time. The farmers this and the farmers that. The media decried the ozone hole enemy number 1. I am dead sure the Swedes are addicted to bad weather. They actually want grey skies and dull weather. I kid not. Either that or the overwhelming majority of Swedes are all farmers of sorts or another. I can’t wait to hear the wailing.

Protestants can’t be happy. They can’t handle it. They are taught to repress happiness. Happiness means ill bodings for some reason. We have a saying in México that functions like a threat: you’ll know what it will be like to love God in the land of the indians. And there is another one more panhispanic: little town huge inferno. It sort of it is like that right now. Like one student of mine complained once about our classroom activities: It’s too much fun.

Swedes in general have a hard time finding a middle ground for some reason. This in spite of the fact that Swedes take small pride in telling everyone that it is imposible to translate the word lagom which loosely translates to near perfection. Don’t ask me; it’s more of a feeling than a word.

Of course, being in the minority here I only get to watch by the sides all their nagging. I have my own middle ground. I nag about the Swedes. It’s my kick. Or there are my observations. Mind you these observations aren’t taken with a grain a salt. Swedes abhor absolutely when people point out their faults. They just can’t stand when someone tells them they are wrong. Don’t ever do that. Or heaven will fall from the sky.

Swedish people are by nature perfectionists. Yet for the same token they fail to learn from their mistakes. They do not want to know of their mistakes. They tend to repress them in some odd and weird way.They press the panic button everytime a whiff of the stuff hits the nostrills.

Nothing brings me more joy to my hearts delight then when I confuse people about my ethnicity. I just love it. I will give an example of said ventures of mine that tickles my belly silly. I recently came across a Spaniard and spoke only English with him. He asked me where I was from, México I said. Pronounced with that unmistakable ancient Arab glottal sound in the /x/. He even asked me if I spoke Spanish to which I proudly said straight out that not only was Spanish my mother tongue I also taught it as well at a local high school in the Swedish Highlands. He was dumbfounded. I know it sounds mean but this guy is highly educated with a doctorate’s degree.

Today I got to experience once more one of those moments, man am I ever delighted. It sort of boosts the ego somehow, mind you am otherwise terribly insecure of myself so when I met this American guy unbeknownst to me and him, he came and made my day. Before you knew it he was basically left scratching his head. We struck up a spontaneous conversation because he overheard me speaking English and after a while he asked where I was from. No easy daily chore I can assure you. Swedish people aren’t too fond of spontaneity. I noticed he had gotten comfortably secure because we both had the same cultural baggage and it went rather smoothly for the first 5 minutes or so until I said I was Mexican. His look was askance to put it mildly. Normally I reject when people put me in neat little boxes but am getting the better out of this game of language and identity of recently, mostly for my amusement.

Monolinguals and monocultural people live another life period. It’s all black and white so when they encounter people like me they are left on their own devices and they don’t like that. So this new secureness brings a small payback. Many of my insecurities can easily be traced back to the bullying I went through as a language aware person, that is, bilingual. I think many monolinguals have been themselves bullied except they gave up. I did not have the choice of giving up. What was there to give up? I was just bullied for being myself and I could not be accepted as I was. Monolinguals are encouraged to give up their acquired awareness. It becomes too painful for them to live the rejection or the bogey man before them.

***

I don’t understand how is it that people don’t get that we bilinguals, or some of us either way, cannot switch to another language as a means of communicating with a person with whom we have learned to communicate in only one language. Here in Sweden people are left in an aghast state of mind when I tell them that I don’t speak Swedish with my sambo. We have always spoken English and if we go over to speaking Swedish it would change a whole set of rules and it be like getting to know another whole new person. Am allergic to doing that anywheres in the world. I remember that I got teased as a young boy for just that. I happened during my first stint or rather sojourn in the USA, I was but a wee little lad and when I came back to Tijuana I refused to speak Spanish. I flatly refused to do so. I have no memory of the decision for that or when it happened. I wasn’t that precocious mind you. What I do remember is the laughter for having said that. Monolinguals don’t get it but they will get that language is identity. All monolinguals will defend a capa y espada their language but they can’t understand that bilinguals hence have two identities to deal with. Pero no, their monotheistic world refuses to comprehend it. We are ambivalent. We are ambiguous. Even Gloria Anzaldúa doesn’t do it and she is the creator of Borderlands! She doesn’t understand why chicanas are uncomfortable with each other.

w ord

The word forms me

La palabra me forma

labra

I saw it today -¨

There is all kinds of seeing

one of them is seeing when one reads

Una de esas es ver al leer

No se acostumbra ver al leer

pero eso es la palabra: ver: verbo.

Vi

Vi en sueco significa <em>nosotros; </em>we.

Vi.

Leer requiere ver. Aceptar que la narrativa de la mente es un estado en sí; una evolución mental; una manta expuesta a la palabra y esta haciendo de las suyas con nuestra manta.

No sé cómo le hagan los que leen Braille

pero los videntes vemos letras y estas que están sujetas al latigo de la estructura rehusan ser sometidas al azote del tirano estructural; aparentan estructura en su fuzzy logic .

Y vi que es un desmadre ese. Waché que la palabra es bronca. Claché a la brava ese.

Una voz, una palabra, un vocablo me llevo a otro y terminé en ese remolino que es la historia.

Al ultimo ni supe who the fuck quién am I.

So I took a stance, en vano, i förgäves, in vain.

Funny, I thought, pensé, cómo la palabra lográ formarme, be who quien soy. The I so elusive, the word that refuses to be possessed. The palabra is not God to be had but a silly old flirt – un viejo cuqueo que nadien ha logrado imprisioned.

La palabra traiciona, no es un Dio a poseer; de no ser así no tuviere tantos amantes dispuestos a sacrificar toda una vida por ella.

yeap.

Listening to You/Me I was prompted to republish an old poem I made of my impressions of Stockholm.

You/Me

Taking an aimless stroll
Through these tacit atmospheres
I gaze about aloof
Near throngs of people by

Slowly making headway
An halcyon wanders into view
A solace embraces my senses
That wavers through and by

Along noised urban voices
People sway to and fro
Intersecting between spaces
Leaving only hollow voids

Seized by their loneliness
I’m enjoined in their silence
It’s a gentle ruck all around
Smoothly going in a haste about

In a boisterous stillness
Lulling back and forth
Leaving me nearly deaf
In this crowded isolation

I saw the birth of the Swedish Savannah today.

I kid not.

My body in tune with the frolicking of the pasture,

Though frost bites its teeth lack strength.

Though only for an hour, a part of the day.

I know the morrow brings its bitter wintry surprise.

Inasmuch as the cloud that crosses the Astro Rey

to remind me:

Bitterly where I am-

The window isn’t that big, really.

The view, however, offers endless horizons.

It was at this point that I observed the many shades of lights a normal late May day could offer before the midnight sun struck its aura in full force at 9 pm here in the lovable highlands of Sweden.

I really saw the yellow strike bright new green shoots.

Shadows are not just black as I affirmed today.

No, the slow turn of day to night proved otherwise.

Its icy white vault stared me from above.

I follow the direction of the sun rotate.

It was then, yes, between the frame of my window, and the deep horizon that I saw:

an insect flew by.

Carpe diem indeed Carola.

J

* dedicated to Träcentrum in Småland

The curious thing about dying is not that you are dying but the agony of knowing you are going to die. Even more so when one considers how random death is, for God’s sake, I could die writing, as we speak, as I write this last sentence. Off course, then it would be up to someone else to push the publish button, but either way, I just can’t see myself taking my last breath desperately trying to move the mouse over the publish button. But death does strike randomly. One can wait forever or one can just meet the darn equalizer in just about any other possible position. Not that I don’t appreciate life, for all intents and purposes I cherish every living moment but lately death has been brooding in every possible way near my vicinity. Why has the reaper decided to house itself in my neighborhood is really worrying but heck. I suppose everyone has to feel mortality somehow so old bella mort cuts the lawn giving me the creeps. Who knows what this guy, or gal for that matter, wants right? Of all vicinities and it decided on mine, hello Joe Black.

Though it creeps me I believe am not scared. Yes, you read right, I believe, which constitutes a feasible lie. But what is one to do when The Grim Reaper poisons the environment with his presence? Lord knows. Being more conscious of the darn doom cast its shadow everywhere. And no, am not depressed, a little bit down yes, but certainly not gloomy. I suppose everyone ought to have discussions like this with themselves though I recommend highly not to regurgitate this too much. Too much would mean extending the idea far beyond the healthy benefits of brooding over death. One benefit is that one can appreciate life more, taking life for granted doesn’t prepare no one for death. And besides you spend more time dead than alive so what the heck, get that brain ready for the kick of your life.

For all intents and purposes am a shit little fraidy cat when it comes to religion. Last night I dreamt I saw the universe riddled with letters and numbers. This would on other occasions be a rich source of inspiration but not this time nor when I was dreaming my dream. I remember seeing the number, 68. I saw the number several times before, in particular on a little book of poetry by Robert Burns. It is a miniature volume that was purchased in Scotland, in Robert Burns’ cottage. I know this because I obtained the information from the little book, the previous owner had inscribed the date and place of purchase onto it. It was bought in 1968. I myself did not go to any great lengths to acquire the volume, I did buy it though, in the Swedish Highlands, at the local Red Cross store for the amount of 5 Swedish crowns. Either way, the dream was not nice. I felt fear at the sight of seeing signs scribbled across the great vault of the universe. In other words I felt it was a bad portent. This sort of thing tends to bring out my worst fears, really. It’s all too apocalyptic.

This is also rather strange because I personally don’t give two rats about religion anymore, specially the judeo/christian based sort. I frankly disdain it as much as I can though I don’t shy away from reading or studying said religion.

It was a bad dream.

Every since I started my English studies my white professors usually tend to lash their structure whip at my writing. Here in Sweden, both at Stockholm University and Karlstad University I have come across the critique that my writing is erratic. I lack focus, there is no structure and they generally nag once they finally approve my writing that they do it out of some sort of mercy. I don’t like it one bit and I don’t understand why university professors in these universities have resort to humiliating students so they can learn.

I have always wondered why isn’t there more pedagogy in the language courses at the university level here in Sweden. Or maybe its just my luck that my professors are dirt cheap professional assholes. No really, I could name a few names here to lay out the sort of assholes they are. I am so tired of their bullshit and I know am not alone in this complaint. They claim to be professionals and they might just be good at what they do but when it comes to dish this out to the common student they guard themselves in the power vested upon them. It is all silly really. You know it is a misuse of power and I really don’t don’t care that the university professors are overworked. At least in Sweden they seem to be so.

A piece of work should not be left to the whims of the professor. And I know I am supposed to do the job. But fuck, can’t they just tell me wtf I did wrong? And I know they are terrible assessors when they bitch and complain about how this or that is done in a terrible way. They actually manage to bring several notches down the self esteem. It is as if my self esteem was the target. Because that is what they actually bull’s eye every time.

Pricks, I really don’t like the methods my professors use to inculcate knowledge, it sucks and its denigrating to the students:

argh.

traces

It is 6 pm in this Nordic land.

I saw the sun rays today.

Them beasts come out at night here.

And their shine on the spider’s silk

play with the wind.

I ventured a look, at the distance.

To give my fixed eyes on the computer a rest.

Tis was then I saw the rainbow of colors

resisting the force of the Nordic winds.

A spiders trajectory

right across my view.

***

And

I recalled

from a stint

a squimy being

crossing my path

the earth worm slithering

made it through

on the asphalt

That’s when I knew

no car has passed here before.

***

I peer through the window

and the common landscapes

are robbed its given attention

A spider has drawn

the sight

before me.

She is fat with the land

this early spring.

Scattered cumulus

bright grey blue

new shoots about

steal

the moment furthermore.

Afuera: outside the county’s light prepares itself for the night. I remember those oranges in Tijuana at first sight. City gradual light. Its intensity oranges minutely.

As well, the remains of an autumn that refuses to let go, smears the horizon with grey blue metalic orange like 9-ish a now now bygone.

I see them spiders still. Smack before me. They 69 on the 4 squares that make my window.

One looks down, the other up.

Now they have synchronized.

And my sight is caught in a web.

L

English. Every time I look at this blog am embarrassed by the amount of posts. 450 with this one. In Spanish I have about a thousand more plus that. I guess that explains a few things.

When there is nothing to tell in English the flow stops. I believe that. I have failed to use English as a means to display the everyday. Therein layeth the problemática, I believe. I have entertained thoughts about the feasibility of English in my writing. I have waited patiently for the beast to take over again but it doesn’t. Once I discovered Spanish as a medium I became more inclined to write in that wretched language I hate so. It is curios in fact, that my loathing for the Spanish language has sucked so much writing time though I hate it so. Irony at some level I suppose.

In this essay I will use New Historicist Literary Criticism to try and understand a little better Robertson Davies What’s Bred in the Bone. This particular school of criticism lends itself quite nicely to this book because the milieu, embedded history and social components give enough material to see it through the lens of New Historicism. I will apply some of the concepts that are explained in New Historicist Literary Criticism as outlined in the book by Keith Booker. I hope to gain insight in some of the social attitudes that are drawn in What’s Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies, in particular how respectability influences the main character of the novel, Francis Cornish.

There are a few concepts from this school of thought that I would like to delineate first. I will be referring to them in my observations I gather from the text in question. I am particularly drawn to the idea of shaping identities. I recur to the following citation to better understand Francis Cornish:

Greenblatt ultimately concludes that most of these writers shape their identities for themselves within the context of submission to some authority: ”God, a sacred book, an institution such as church, court, colonial or military administration” (9). (p.139) Booker.

Although Greenblatt is talking about writers I believe that this can also be applicable to the novel’s main character. Hence, I intend to remark on some of the social forces that shaped Francis Cornish identity during the course of this essay. I will also be recurring to the following citation as well

New historicists believe that it makes no sense to separate literary texts from the social context around them because such texts are the product of complex social ”exchanges” or ”negotiations”. Booker (138)

This last citation demands outside help for the text to support my observations. Lastly the word respectability will appear quite often so I should define that word as well. The best approach is to use the sense within the text. Respectability is then an act of keeping up with appearances. In the novel, the best example of keeping up with appearances is presented by Arthur Cornish. He absolutely abhors the idea that his uncle, Francis Cornish, might be associated with criminal activity as Arthur’s wife Maria points it out: ”Anything that challenges the perfect respectability of Cornishes stirs him up.”

I will also like to add to the definition by including what respectability has meant for this period of time. This is a synchronic view of the term taken out of The Journal of British Studies.

[Geoffrey] Best calls respectability “the great Victorian shibboleth and criterion,” a means by which to judge strangers on the basis of their appearance and behavior. Provided a person was sober, conventionally dressed, clean, and polite on Sundays, he could attain respectability and with it the sanction of society. (Cordery 1995 p.37)

Although the book’s geography is Canada, Canada has had great influence by Britain and is part of the British Commonwealth. Hence the definition applies aptly to Canada because of the long traditional and historical ties Canada has had with Great Britain.

What’s bred in the Bone

In What’s bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies we are introduced to a set of divergent issues dealing with Francis’ Cornish respectability. This can be observed right off from the start. We have a threesome discussing research for a biography of the main character of the novel, Francis Cornish. There is an impasse because the biographer, Reverend Simon Darcourt, can’t seem to get enough information about the subject at hand and worst yet there seems to be some shady background behind the man that is being researched. This shady background cannot and should not be allowed to be published because it might damage the Cornish name. Upon threatening to cancel the project, the biographer then suggests to go public by his own means and curiosity about the subject is the only thing holding the respectability of Frank Cornish untarnished. This is a curious set of events because even after Francis Cornish death the issue of respectability haunts his deceased ens. It is also curious to observe that while it is perfectly acceptable to be eccentric (Davies p.5), miser (Davies p.6) and lonely, the idea that Frank Cornish might be homosexual, a thief and a conniving liar is not because this will certainly bring about problems, specially damaging the banking industry we are told (Davies p.4). Respectability, even in an era that prides itself in acknowledging that being a poofter is aceptable, is risqué. Respectability can make or brake fortunes we are understood.

How did Francis Cornish acquire his respectability? Well, Francis Cornish was born under a rather dark and unpure ambiance that bespeaks ill deeds. All to sustain an aura of respectability. All under a period in time that prides itself for being respectable. The logic is that respectability was to be maintained by all means necessary, the norm in Victorian times. It was in order to maintain a respectable appearance that before Francis Cornish was born, the death of his brother was simulated to cover up a stain of the past, something he discovers himself later on (Davies p.58;131). However this stain was not covered up sufficiently it seems because the school that Francis attends as a child everybody seems to know that something is being hidden in the family attic. We obtain this bit of information from the lips of the bully Alexander Dagg:

D’you know what I’am going to tell yu? There is something funny about your house. People see lights where a light’s got no right to be. My Maw says there is a looner in there somewheres. […] People wonder a lot about your house. (Davies. p.94)

Alexander Dagg speaks of Francis the First. Francis Cornish brother who is hidden from public view because he was conceived out of wedlock and suffers a physical ailment that renders him anormal. The act of conceiving out of wedlock was unthinkable in an era where Victorian values still held sway over people even during the relaxed reign of Edward VII. To admit fault betrayed appearances. In order to save face this meant hiding any stain that might tarnish the name of the Cornish family and this is how Francis comes to being, out of an effort to sustain an aura of respectability. Although there was a price to pay for keeping up with appearances. Respectability has a price after all.This entailed a series of complex social ”exchanges” or ”negotiations” (Booker p.138). In order to keep Mary-Jim McRory respectable, Francis Cornish mother, the Senator, Honourable James Ignatius McRory, had to strike a deal with another seemingly respectable person, in this case Major Francis Cornish whose respectability lies solely on the pins of his titles and past. Major Francis Cornish outlined a deal that profoundly astonished the Senator’s sensibilities because ”it hit him very hard in his Highland pride” (Davies p.42) yet he went along with it in order to keep respectability intact. The other paid price was that the whole town knew there were strange and odd things going on in Francis’ house. Though this seems to matter little for the Cornish family, so long as rumors are kept in check what the town knew was of little concern.

“Ah – for Francis the Looner was a lifelong reminder of the inadmissible primitive in the most cultivated life, a lifelong adjuration to pity, and a sign that disorder and abjection stand less than a hair’s breadth away from every human creature.” (Davies p. 207)

The first parts of the novel are the backbone of the title since the omniscient voices retelling Francis Cornish life argue that in order to narrate his life it is what is bred in the bone that matters. Respectability, then, is what is bred in the bones of Francis Cornish albeit a questionable sorts of respectability though very well in tune with what society prescribed as respectable in those times. This can be discernible when Francis Cornish decides to paint the myth of Francis Cornish. (Davies p.359) He decides to go ahead and paint a fake painting and he weighs in the consequences yet for the sake of respectability he chooses to do the wrong deed.

Although this should not come as a surprise since there are all sorts of outside social forces shaping Francis Cornish life. Both exterior and interior forces. For example, the first hundred pages of the book rob him of a say in an age were William James’ stream of consciousness is an almost du riguer technique. It is a curios aspect of the novel that in order to narrate Frank Cornish life the use of an omniscient voice, or voices in this case, are used to explain who Francis Cornish is. This in fact seems to add to the illusion of maintaining respectability. By not allowing Francis Cornish to have a stream of consciousness we keep the illusion of respectability intact. He is not responsible for his acts. Had the writer resorted to stream of consciousness god only knows what ideas had we formed about Francis Cornish. One can even question the choice of the omniscient narrators for Francis Cornish. They free him of all flaws, he is nearly immaculate. Frank Cornish is an exercise in immaculateness. Indeed, there is no real assertion of independent self because all the strings are being pulled for Francis Cornish. If the demigods aren’t tinkering with his self then there are the constraints placed before him by society. The nearly absent parents, the overzealous caretaker, Aunt Mary-Ben McRory, the school and even when there is a glimpse of assertion it is Dr. J.A Jerome who gives him the permission to fight back (Davies p.89).

However, being raised under the shadows of respectability radically determines Francis Cornish identity. He learns to keep secrets and learns the codes of respectability that seem to prevail in a society steeped in Victorian values. There is no doubt that respectability manages to shape Francis Cornish identity even to his own detriment. He is a secret agent for MI5 and manages to fake paintings although he can’t acknowledge that his is the author of them. He just fantasizes to tell the truth:

It was at this point that Francis, who had been suffering for two days and a half the torments of an inflamed conscience, […] felt that he should rise to his feet and make a speech in the manner of the late Letzpfenning: ”Gentlemen, I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little paint box.” (Davies p.393)

He does tell a lie of course and he seems to pay for it dearly. He is after all considered eccentric, rumors fly about his integrity and remains a loner the remaining years of his life sharing almost a similar fate that his brother faced. The looner ended up secluded because he wasn’t respectable enough to be seen in public view. They both hide behind the illusion of respectability. Francis has many defects that need to be kept secluded as well, MI5 for example. Respectability was sown and he reaped a dark and secretive life for it.

All in all we have a set of authorities deeply shaping Francis Cornish identity. Dr. J.A, MI5, the elementary school via Alexander Dagg and other persons as well. When is Francis Cornish himself though? Oddly enough it seems almost curious to observe that the only time Francis Cornish ever is himself is through the mechanism of forgery. It is in the realm of deceit where we experience a real Francis Cornish with his own stream of consciousness. A place were Daimon Maimas and Lesser Zadkiel are tending the needs of Francis Cornish.

Bibliography

Booker, Keith M. A Practical Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism. Longman
Publishers USA 1996.
Robertson, Davies. What’s Bred in the Bone. Viking Penguin. Elisabeth Sifton Books. 1985

Cordery, Simon. ”Friendly Societies and the Discourse of Respectability in Britain, 1825
1875” The Journal of British Studies 34 (1995): 35-58.

Absolut Vodka pays homage to Aztlán, although not without ruffling some white feathers, off course. And then they say tin hat folk are nuts.

Absolut Aztlan

Boy, one can’t really go by all the propaganda that spews out from the internet. Worst of all is that I use mostly official mouthspeaks as a news source. Dang, do they tend to be lopsided; everything to fit their customer: government and their ideological minions. Is there any real reporting going on in the world? Does news really change things? I remember when journalism was a realm of the truth. Heck, I come from a generation that grew up hearing the likes that Democracy couldn’t possible exist without the mysterious Third Pillar. Nowadays media doesn’t scrutinize nor challenge. It passively serves to keep badmouths at bay. Government listens to the so called media, except they tend to be choosy about it. No one listens anymore to other alternatives. Heck, I either read what the officially sanctioned speaks say or I turn to disgruntled blogs that cry that no one listens to them.

This has left a feeling of alienation, apathy and incompetence. What is one to do. The only thing left in society is the illusion of things being done. A happens, B reports it and puff! problem solved. Being told. I remember when things got told action followed. A common good was a goal to strive for. Those days are gone. Nothing matters anymore. The collective imagination is torn between that dire apocalyptic vision of the world and greedy rich people with no scruples. Its stupid, the brain that is. Too much ideology and little observation of the world we live in is done. We live not on earth but that stupid beyond every other nincompoop strives to get to by cutting out a deal with the big Honcho.

The third pillar of American democracy, an independent press, is under sustained attack, and the channels of information are choked. A few huge corporations now dominate the media landscape in America. Almost all the networks carried by most cable systems are owned by one of the major media common conglomerates. Two-thirds of today’s newspapers are monopolies.

As ownership gets more and more concentrated, fewer and fewer independent sources of information have survived in the marketplace; and those few significant alternatives that do survive, such as PBS and NPR, are undergoing financial and political pressure to reduce critical news content and to shift their focus in a mainstream direction, which means being more attentive to establishment views than to the bleak realities of powerlessness that shape the lives of ordinary people.

What does today’s media system mean for the notion of an informed public cherished by democratic theory? Quite literally, it means that virtually everything the average person sees or hears, outside of her own personal communications, is determined by the interests of private, unaccountable executives and investors whose primary goal is increasing profits and raising the share prices. More insidiously, this small group of elites determines what ordinary people do not see or hear. In-depth coverage of anything, let alone the problems real people face day-to-day, is as scarce as sex, violence and voyeurism are pervasive.

dial

- Increasingly, my heroes tend to be people who seem to enjoy life or people who manage to eek out a living out of their ordinariness.

I heard this on the telephone. On occasions my telephone nabs a conversation or two out of the blue. I usually hang up the receiver and try to get a normal tone to go about my business. God knows the very first year I tried to do away with the nuisance but the local phone company doesn’t prioritize lesser lines like mine. Five years later I am still waiting for my complaint to be filed. Sort of makes one feel left behind by the internet age. Eitherway, I can say on my behalf that I at least switched to tone dial before skype came to be imagined yet somehow this switch to tone has yet to impress me as the reader can very well attest for itself.

It wouldn’t take me long to figure out whose tête-à-tête fortune had me eavesdrop. But if a benefit has been derived out of the crossline is that too much interference can be a cause of mental distress the likes that befit that new adage, one needs X like one needs a hole in the head. This small town doesn’t afford the luxury of anonymity. Specially when one knows that said luxury usually tends to arrive in due time, one mustn’t rush, the goods are delivered sooner rather than later.

Am all for privacy, believe me. Yet the forefathers of the right to privacy all lived in big cities. I swear, I am party to all sorts of public displays that would certainly leave a city lover flushed red.

Anyhows, I bring the subject up because I was somehow tempted to continue hearing the conversation but by the time I reacted to my own thoughts my habit of hanging up the phone had beaten me to first base and when I lifted up the earphone and was ready to satisfy curiosity, I got a tone.

Yet the string of the conversation that I nabbed pulsated vibrantly across my ear drums like a tic toc fills the silence at times. It filled a void that lacked words and overhearing the unwelcomed string of thought sort of put things to place. Normally I don’t rush to write down these catharsis, in fact, it took me several years before I could muster the gull to do so now.

Well the snow seems to be up for it today. Since its been gone practically all winter, today’s white downpour is almost a welcome sight. I certainly lost all respect for the darn fluffy stuff since depression decided to house itself in me due to it. It being la nieve of course. One wouldn’t believe but depression is a side effect of a prolonged sunless winter. I never realized how true this is until all ganas vanished like the moon does up in the North of Sweden during certain periods of the year. One is always tired or tires easily. I wish I knew I was depressed. You think of depressed people and the image before one is that of someone being unable to cope with anything. Not so in Sweden. I am sure half the countryside were I live suffers from that. I think I am beginning to understand why smiles aren’t that copious between December and March. At work the peak of tiredness has had its entré recently. Everybody was tired. I was even trying to cheer my students who somehow are impacted by all their surroundings. And so my brain didn’t know I was depressed or half depressed because like the rest of my new countrymen and countrywomen, we manage to eek out an existence under said conditions. I have a dumb brain I swear. No seriously, the dumbest for for all good reasons I suppose. It just refuses to send me signals I am sick or depressed. Perhaps because it knows I whine too much or perhaps if I am notified of the sickness it would go to panic mode rather easily. You’d think I know myself after hanging around this body for over 40 years, but no, am happily bliss in ignorance.

Perhaps I should get some sort of antidepressant for my new problem. Alcohol doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. It is actually becoming a bore of sorts. If I do have this problem I really wouldn’t know what do under the influence of antidepressants in dour Sweden. Just last year I was still happy jolly old me and that was enough to make me deviate from the norm just a tad enough to make me weird int he eyes of Swedes. I hate to see myself under the pill. That would be a spectacle wouldn’t it? Actually being depressed sort of suits my personality somehow. Dark, somber, bitter, acidic, wry and so forth. I suppose its cheaper for the mental health system to just send me to Spain or some half sunny land in Europe. Because that’s all it is, lack of sun. I certainly hope that is that which ails my troubled soul. Oh well, we’ll see eventually. And yeah, it is still snowing as I type this in the Swedish Highlands.

Thou
doth confess
one’s lips
crack:

tis
heat
this
winter

whose need doth dictate the compass towards
said
palms
that beat
dried nordic read -s-

oceans seeking liberty

upon
eyesight
falling
on a
crackled old map

where
old Milky Way bears

obsidian
in
a heartbeat.

I
See
keth
quench
know
not
what.

tis this state I now best.

I saw thee go by
A fleeting presence
crossing my eyesight
A foregone conclusion
this present is
.
I felt the fractures
drawn
on the kitchen curtains
drawn to me
A
present
foregone
your ghost
of a second ago
a moment now lost
yet ingrained
in my memory.

This ordinary event
you were just passing by after all
made my world turn ever so slowly
slowmotionwise
I realized
or smelled the roses
till paranoia struck
dark forces
drew their nasty sword
cut in two
un presagio
no deseado.

y
e
t

the fleeting millisecond unstained
by the dark
illuminated
a memory I hold
at a cost of course
such
is
life’s tapestry.

Esteril

I realize the look of the blog is a clear cut absolute synonym for sterility. Blank. Sort of reminds one of the highschool joke about books: teacher, there aren’t any pictures in this book. As far as blogs are concerned this particular one violates all rules for success. There is no entertainment for the Iris. Blah is as close as it gets to diversion.

No Pablo inglés.

Pablo Francisco was/is in Sweden. I love that guy. He sort of embodies all my possible silliness. Dude, that blog is so blah you know. Eitherway, get a peek if you will: Pablo Francisco: DN.se

I guess I ought to spiff it up, or as some of the kids now a days say, in all their naiveness of course, pimp it up. Dude, pimp my blog.

Ah, humbug. The whole exercise of the blog is to have fun too, you know? And I haven’t been having too much of it here, I see. Boy, I hate when am sarcastic to my own self, or do I?

In a more serious tone I suppose that, hey! get a load of those self controlled norms I just applied to myself, ahem, as I was saying, I haven’t had the time or will or ganas, to do anything on this blog. I need like a million dollars to do something with it I suppose. Well as that isn’t going to happen anytime soon and to aggravate the matter more I have of lately been weening myself from the net. Sure, I give it more or less the same attention as always but not timewise. Mostly because am doing a Masters on English and that sucks time galore. In retrospective I should be doing some reading thereby but the stress is just killing. It actually feels good to get back to the old leatherbacks of the books.

I pride myself in being able to detect other people’s place of origin. My rate of accuracy these days rounds to about 70% and in worst cases a least I get the continent where they from right. It used to be loads better when I lived in good’ol Aztlán. On occasions I can even detect another Hispanic within meters from me or at times a mile or so. I can sense they speak Spanish. So my ethnic radar is fully functional for the most part even though I seldom use it up here in the Swedish Highlands. My radar, which used to trigger itself on at the minor indication that an id was needed only suffered a minor glitch at the beginning of my residency here in Sweden. I could not distinguish a Pole from a Finnish. Heck, they were all white, blond and blue eyed to use a general saying. This, however, changed over time. I can, at the very least, distinguish who is a Swede and who ain’t it though it is tricky at times. One would even think that Swedes are a very homogeneous people but one would be surprised to find out the rate of interracial marriage over here. The only difference is that this interraciallity is for the most part white on white.

Either way, I was aghast the other day that somebody confused me for being an Arab. I would not otherwise be bothered by this comparison but being here in Sweden it did shake my foundations and hit right about my San Andreas fault. It hurt my American pride the least to say. Ignorance is an enemy not to be underestimated because it can strike where one least expects it. So what does one do in said circumstances? I am afraid the reader might know the answer already. Yes, one bites the bitter pill and swallows whole heartedly the poison present before one.

This morning I am drawn to a particular memory that I cherish very much. It is its poignancy that made it last in my neurons. The event in question took place last year, 2007, during the month of July. I was off in Tijuana on a vacation that I had long awaited to take. During that period of my life I was very much on the lookout for beers, a particular interest of mine which I enjoy very much and whenever there is a chance to try out something new I eagerly seek it out. During a little stint in San Diego I went with my aunt and uncle of Chula Vista to an old part of San Diego called Old Town. This particular haunt eeks out a living by caving in to tourists who wish to remember the Old San Diego when it used to be Mexican although most of the trinkets sold there have as much to do with Old México as waterpipes have to do with Eskimos. Now, one would think that its o.k to draw attention to the fact that México lost territories to the US during the 1848 war which it is off course true but the fact that one cannot bring about the fact to gringos that Old Town was once Mexican is not so palpable. It just makes it all too real for gringos for the mere fact that those usually asking tend to be Mexican themselves.

This little nitch of business housed on historical property is even more bizarre to the eye because the warping of authenticity bellies a glowing shine of falsehood all over its facade. Need I also mention that for a historical site this joint is also a distortion of several pieces of history but by the time one comes to that conclusion one is engulfed by the silly old bliss that permeates the atmosphere and just permits us to let go and let be. Eitherway, the kin and I decided to check out a restaurant that sold Mexican food. Now, you must take into account that San Diego is very close to México, so close that if had we but decided to go back to México and eat Mexican food in México it would have taken us less than 10 minutes to do so. So México is like a spit away so to say. This also ties in with my little description of Old Town because being so close to México San Diego’s Old Town is a poor copy of its old self bearing in mind that one could be better at refurnishing Old Town with its former glory had one but only wished so. So there we are, in that restaurant and me being eager to try out something new by way of beers I decided to ask for the imported variety. I swear to god that when I heard the list of imported beers my insides just went into shock mode. I do not know if this state of being betrayed my exterior but I remember I remained silent, in shock at hearing the list, but silent.

The list of imported beers all bore names of the town next door, that is Tijuana, México. Now technically it is imported beer but for the love of christ how much can one deceive itself. And it is this sort of daily deceit gringos play on one another or at the very least make the local native swallow to separate them from the rest of the frey called México.

Boy, I face my life with little obstacles at all. Either that or am in terrible denial. I am a teacher and I have a job. For the most part, here in Sweden this would just as well be enough but there is the business of that little American worm squirming in my intestines. I want more. Not only have I signed up for more English courses at a university here in Sweden, I also asked to learn how to be an electrician. Not content with that I think that I am about to learn how to drive. In my whopping forties. All that learning. If only this learning would be reflexive so that I could draw some lesson about learning but I guess that is to stand out in the cold. Perhaps I should take like a sabbatical and let things rest, enjoy being a teacher and draw lessons out of my career. Maybe I should enjoy kicking it back.

I guess I am no Mexican in that fashion. I am always doing something. Not that Mexicans arent doing something all the time but like the Swedes they too tend to settle down on one thing and call it a day. What is it that I want? That is the real question.

One of my co-workers, who happens to be an immigrant, has said that I want to be better than the Swedes. I confess that when I first heard this I was somewhat taken aback. I have never entertained the idea of becoming better for the sake of becoming better than another person or ethnic group in this case.

It be only befitting I should finish the year by writing my last post in the vernacular. Am in a Xicano mood. So I spiffed up the good old haunt Yonder Lies It. Mind you, it is the only blog that has consistently kept its name since its inception. Lest you’ve forgotten I maintain several other blogs. Well, the short lived xicano blogsphere vanished or I just ain’t aware of its whereabouts. I don’t wanna go down that path. I believe I already kissed the old porslin queen as much as Richard Rodriguez puked red and green in an Argument with my Mexican father. There is very little to add up for the year 2007 in English or xicanismo at that.

Though I still find myself at odds with a language that for so long tortured me by means of questioning my English fluency and nativeness to only come to Sweden and realize how deeply ingrained English is in me only to default to Spanish as my primary source of communication all unconsciously off course. Suddenly, Spanish became the language to be had and English ceased to be a source of joy. Before blogger I ate, thought and wrote in English. There was no room for Spanish.

I have no ready answer for this. I have put forth the question several times before and the answer eludes me. English, after so many years of struggling to make it mine and suddenly realizing it is mine become a lost cause only to be taken for granted and never straddle more the fear of abandonment. It is a small victory of sorts for me. Yet I now long and miss the old chap so much that I can not quench my thirst to hear good old English again.

The idea that am an English native speaker tends to work in many weird ways in Sweden. They see a brown, black haired person that speaks fluent English and they stand baffled before me. They don’t expect a person like me. A so called non-American being so American. Many fail to understand the multicultural aspects of our society even though many strive and look towards the US as a model for this very multi-kulti, as is it called in Sweden, society.

The fact that I lack American citizenship, political at that, does create confusion in the best of them. Specially to the ones that fear Americans. They can then be free to speak their mind without having to offend the very entity they fear most: the gringo American. I stand before them defending a culture that denies me yet a culture I form part of. Am baffled at it in as much or moreso then they do themselves.

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I suppose that the best of 2007 was that I leave it as a teacher. Here in Sweden people tend to wear their titles as a pride badge of sorts. They actually play the part. It is not in my nature to do so because the Swede tends to become a sorts of authority on the matter which it is not to be questioned at all. I am of a different nature. I cannot be that authority yet. It must be my americanness that delimits my ego or vanity from acquiring said attitude. It is deeply engrained in me that I can always do more and better before I can even contemplate the idea that I am a teacher. An apprentice of the craft am I for sure.

I have learned a lot yet I feel I have loads more to learn. I am not done learning yet despite the fact that it is advised I stop from learning at my age. I am supposed to let go. Can I let go?

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There is, however, a small bit of comfort that I am a teacher because I am an authority on something, in this case, the English and Spanish language. Moreso because I am a native speaker of said languages.

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Saludos a todos los diseñadores mexicanos, espero poder compartir trucos y tecnicas de diseño con todos.