Pocho sentimientos

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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.

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.

.*

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.

Incredible, I seem to have extricated myself from one of the most dominant issues that impregnate the Xicano ens: immigration.

I don’t know why, exactly, we xicanos entangle ourselves so much with immigration. Immigration as phenomena to live the everyday, to give rise to consciousness, that thing you do when you wake up in the mornings, to create a drive to live is astounding in us. I suppose that we are so wrapped in it as children that slowly the fabric becomes the very meaningful existence of the sunrise in our daily lives. Immigration gives us sorrow, a fighting chance, happiness, excitement and a stake in that America that so often we portray as a foreign agent in our political discourse.

I feel nothing for immigration. This disinterest for the very issues that feeds much thought in Xicano narrative in the US is all but bygone. I first noticed this a few years ago but until now it has managed to manifest itself as formulated thought. It all came to light because I found myself surprised at an article that appeared in Svenska Dagbladet on how illegal immigration has saved an all gringo (pure and unstained from xicano culture one would guess) town due to the influx of illegal immigration. I’ve complained before about the skewed view this newspaper gives of illegal immigration in the US but to little or none effect, my thoughts have gone the way of disregarded thought, by the turn of a head, by unexpressed critic like ‘rubbish’ and so on.

One seldom sees an article explaining the phenomena or the causes of immigration in the Nordic press but rather one hears through the Swedish language the ailing and wailing of the American conservative outcry (a phenomena that started out in the middle of the 80’s) that mexicans are running over the USA. Perhaps that is to change

I guess that is what most riles a decent xicano about pochos. They seem to be able to have superseded this intrinsic drive and are as aloof as gringo can be. We hate that. We don’t like that. Yet here I am, away, the umbilical cord of immigration cut. I feel nothing and as if disfranchised from my community I must now seek my path. I sound like Geronimo, I know.

Luckily for me xicanismo liveth not only out of immigration.

I like the swenglish version of the word time. They write it the way I titled this post, tajm. It occurred to me that I place a somewhat sentimental value to it inasmuch as it reminds me of the Spanglish word taimar, which means to tame, because tajm happens to have nearly the same phonological properties as taimar, excluding the -ar off course. Hence the association.

Though these days am far from being able to accomplish said feat. I am, you see, at an awkward position in my life and I feel time more like a sharp arrowhead on its way to pin me down like a dead insect on a wall. Though that only bespeaks half the story inasmuch that I cannot fight the propulsion of time setting its rushing intentions to penetrate the living matter that constitutes my ens.

I think pinned down would be utmost appropriate to describe the rush to beat the incoming arrowhead with its dead certain bull’s eye accuracy. Though one must admit the futility in it all, I am not denying the fact that I posses the knowledge to outsmart the trajectory of the flint. I have at my disposal a number of strategic mental solutions to beat the inevitable and in the end smile at the fact that even though I dodged the course set before me I will at most end up only moderately bruised bi it and yet succeed at any rate albeit my way.

I have always been unable to deal with success. Now am not boasting about the kind of success that one often associates success with but rather those minor successes that make the very fabric of ordinary life.

I recall that I once became some sort of an unintended hero to my fellow classmates. I then attended a middle high school in Tijuana. The name of the school was Secundaria Para Trabajadores Federal número 42. It was a source of great pride for me to attend that school because it lay in a corner of great importance for me and the city. It was in the Lázaro Cardenas grounds, a piece of dirt dear to us tijuanenses. I don’t exactly recall the lesson at the time but I recall more the people and the act I unsuspectingly became a part of in a web of events I did not fathom as much back then. I had spitted from a second floor and my spit had landed on our teacher’s head. Without much hesitation we all rushed into the classroom and pretended nothing had happened. That however, did not hinder the teacher from finding out exactly who it was who had perpetrated the deed. I seem to have been expulsed for a day and when I returned the following day I was received with a standing ovation that shook my senses and rendered me unable to deal with the acclaim. I then proceeded to ignore the acclaim and much to my own surprise thought myself above the acclaim and started to belittle those applauding me by simple going to my seat!

It just seems that I sour the moment near success and I suppose that is what ails me timewise these days.

Never
in the course of humanity
has there been
a better time
to be
a
Xicano
ese.

Prouder can’t One be.

When I go the market I look for fresh produce be it vegetables, fruits or, je! beer.

Yet the brits somehow have a weird and twisted meaning to it that just baffles the living daylights out of my Xicano skull.

Israel in fresh Lebanon strikes

Fresh fighting on Lebanon border

Fresh Lebanon bombing kills three

Dozens die in fresh Lebanon raids

E-u.

From now on we just look for produce.

On other unrelated scenarios of the anima kind:

I got to thinking if the Generals ’round the planet didn’t wish the good ‘ol days before internet were back in vogue.

Jíjole, am sure more than one is whishing it could work in peace.

Después del todo, speculation hasn’t had brisky business since, well, newspapers came up with the idea that reporting on the elites was good business.

Generals ’round the world are set against a magnifying glass which scrutinizes their every move for, dios mio! profit.

Place your bets on the odds.

More and more businesses across the world speculate on conflicts and how generals will react.

Poor souls, can’t do their jobs in peace and quiet anymore.

Los ABC

Listen: Los ABCs ¡Qué vivan los muertos!
Sing Along
Download the song!

Los ABCs: is a five-minute Xicano docu-animation cataloguing the real-life testimony of skeletons who have returned to tell their stories of life and death at war. Do you remember your ABCs? No? Well, you’re in luck. Sing along with this group of animated Mariachi social documentarians who will guide you through in a history that will make you laugh, cry, and wonder why.

Via Leanos.net

Dedico este poema a mi amigo Luis A. López, Aztec Poet at large.

I am Xicano mexicano ese
though not del Otro Saite.

with spanish colors
my brown iris paints
la Línea, el bordo,
muros and walls
of my cantón
homes.

I became
what el desierto made out of me.
With the aid of a syphon
The sand blew
Its red stained history
through
my poros borders.

The yaqui and navajo
Me dieron vida
sus voces
of great ones told
Geronimo clamours yet
Resistance
The yaqui still fights the mexican.

Mastico the anglo bard’s tongue
like saucy and spicy tacos de lengua.

With my jainas
and los vatos de la ‘hood
I cruise dauntaun

Con los pachucos, cholos
wainos y saicos
speakeo
spanglish
caló.

I straddle two cultures
I see them all

The Southwest
my house
La frontera
mi home

Mi raza xicana es

cruises
Califas
on
the heat waves of the Santa Ana winds.

Blue red
is the color of my soul
though
it
breath
green,
blanco & rojo

Two eagles apart
Soaring above Aztlán
Mark my heart .

We all remember that afternoon. The clouds hung at an uncomfortable low and the heat made the humidity stick. It was then the town council in all its wisdom had decided to pass a non-bilingual bill, despite the majority of the town’s opposition to it.

What hurt more was councilman Richard Rodriguez vote. He, raised amongst the locals, turned his back against his own folk.

– “Why, just last night he come over to take a’drink wit me, that bastad!” lauded Tauwny.

Tauwny was an immigrant from French Guyana and appealed most fervently of all for the dual capacity bilinguals have only to fall into deaf ears. The future couldn’t look bleaker for him. He had two sons and every February the third made a curios display of patriotism by taking out a flag no one but him knew where it came from. The vote had barely passed by a slight majority, and as the crowd gathered in front of the municipal building, the politicians where getting ready to read a statement to announce the town’s continuance of a monolingual policy for all.

Albert Villahermosa had been ambivalent throughout the debacle. His forefathers had moved from the city of Torreón in the state of Coahuila to what is now known as the San Joaquin Valley in California but then just another town in Alta California, not long before the American invasion of 1848 led then by Commodore Stockton. His great grandmother, or bisabuela as he would know her, would tell him “not to many freckled faced boys roamed the streets yet back then.” He was a fluent mexican spanish speaker but barely had need to use it except at family gatherings where he would endure a host of questions regarding his “Mexican-ness”.

He looked on the mass of people, wondering just what was he doing there amongst the throngs of angry people demanding that the city council reverse its vote. English after all, he thought in the back of his head, was what united everyone. It was the bridge that made this multicultural town what it was.

He headed homewards. That night, Angela, his wife of three years, had made a special dinner, mole, a chocolate spice sauce dish that Albert loved and as he readied himself to sit comfortably in the dinner table he heard on the radio that a protest had turned into a scuffle and Tauwny had been arrested for punching Councilman Rodriguez in the face. He could distinctly hear Tauwny’s voice in the background, yelling “traitor, traitor!”, as he was being dragged on while the radio reporter continued to report live from City Hall. Angela could be heard saying a few pity words for Tauwny but not much that moved Albert into a civic mood to go and demand Tauwny’s release, although the issue of bilingualism had slowly crept into his mind as the night passed on.

The next morning proved decisive for the whole town, during the course of the night many residents had gone out and held a vigil for Tauwny. They nearly broke the windows of Councilman Rodriguez car, had it not been for Sheriff Gonzalez timely intervention, although many would later wonder maliciously where had he been at the time of the punch that gave Councilman Rodriguez a black eye. A few had ventured to suggest that it was because he too had been on the pro-bilingual wagon but others spoke out plainly that it was because it had more to do with his insurance business where Rodriguez had recently taken out a policy insuring the 1956 Desoto he owned.

On the way to work, Albert met with disgruntled and sleepless neighbors who wondered where had he been all night while the town’s very essence was at stake. He shook his head in bewilderment at the utterance of those fancy words unable to answer quite right until he met his cousins walking by.

– Hey! Wuz up cuz? Were where’ya last night? Thought you be ‘round but I never caught sight of you …
– I went straight home from work, I was tired.
– Yeah, well, tomorrow were gonna be at it again till they change that fucking law, are you comin’?
– Don’t know, well see.

He never really understood his cousins; they didn’t even speak spanish although they belonged to the 1848 Committee. A group that demanded that the lands he grew up in be given back to México. As he walked by his neighborhood, he pondered what it was to be bilingual. Though he didn’t come to a clear conclusion as to its significance or its bearing to his town or himself. Worse yet, he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the whole idea of this discussion coming up so high as the to waste precious council time and taxpayers money on such a, what he considered to be, trivial business.

He pondered about the language he first heard at home, the one that nurtured him and the one language that soothed him so much whenever he came home from school. His mother tongue as it were. It was the language of the house, the one mama and papa spoke. The one he discovered the world with, the one that first made him cry and the one that first made him laugh but also the one language that left him so many scars. He remembered all too well how his teachers would chastise him whenever homely vowels blurted out of his mouth but that were foreign to the teacher: “greasy language” the teacher would decry. At one point he adamantly refused to speak that wretched language. A choice that only brought him acrimonious chastisement closer to home and in the streets, the children would call him “beaner” and make him feel a stranger in the only land he ever knew.

– “Spanish has been nothing but trouble for me and I don’t want that for my children, that’s for sure”, he thought.

At work there weren’t to many bilinguals so the topic never really came up and the day proceeded as normal until the waterman came by.

– Hey Albert, how is it going? Heard what happened last night?
– Yeah, pitiful ain’t it?
– What?! You mean you stand by those crooked gringos ese?
– Well, not really, well…, I don’t really know you see …
– Well would you look at’cha! You’re the only mexican here and yet you wonder, how cozy homes! Meanwhile, us little guys who’ve been here before these gringos ever came to run our lives and are now telling us how to speak have to fight for our very existence.

Albert just stared; it never occurred to him that he was being run over by people who until this time had been his co-workers, neighbours, friends and associates. Albert didn’t have any more strength to continue the conversation and walked away from the water fountain leaving the waterman shaking his head. That the whole issue had come to his work was more than he could tolerate and made it a point to get the issue out of his head for the rest of the day.

Then, it dawned upon him. The division of the town was the division he had so long felt within himself. Never really belonging here or there, always having to choose sides. Yet essentially, whatever it was that made him who he was, a straddler, a walker of in-betweeness, a hyphen between the anglo and the mexican and the rest of the world, it was also happening out there in the streets. He walked back to his office shaken by the realization. All along, since he was a child, translating for his mother, speaking for his father whenever they went to shop or do some business with the rest of the community he had to be the middleman between two worlds in his town. Now he understood what it was the throngs that so baffled him were all about. He thought pensively for the rest of the day and decided to take a stance.

On his way home, the issue of bilingualism had died down, the city council had backed down from its stance and Tauwny was free. The town went about its business in a regular fashion and Angela awaited to tell him of the funny language his son uttered, a mixture of English and Spanish, they called it spanglish. Albert now stood feeling better about his new identity. His new self to the point of considering running against counculman Rodriguez only to later recant, “one step at a time” he thought, looking outside the window of his house as life returned to its normalcy to his beloved city.

The sun is shining in Sweden. This means lots of welcomed warmth. Please, allow me to expound, the sun is actually heating up the surface. Yeah, no big news round the world but here in my corner of the earth this is like a million bucks. So you’ll find many swedes basking in the sun before their snow-filled yards. You read right, there is plenty of snow to make a snowlady.

Two more months and it will mark my 9nth year in beautiful Scandinavia were nothing but pretty white people live.

I don’t know, I have been thinking about it lately, what have this long stay in Sweden given me besides buckets of bitterness? A language, check. A new culture, check. A new citizenship, check. A profession, check. Tortillas and refried beans? I wish.

So I suppose that growing older ought to smooth out the edges and this will eventually turn out to be a not-so-bad expierence. I still long for Tijuana though and given the right circumstances am willing to drop everything and head back home. Am ready. Off course, that will take a little matter of around the sum of a million bucks or so to persuade me to head back home. My telephone bill assures me am a long way from reality.

At least the sun shines today and I have a Czech beer by the computer.

Oh no you didn’t.

Boy do I have bones to pick here.

I shall be dishing out more than I bargained for but one can’t overstate the deliciousness of the subject. Right now I am about to do serious deconstructing over at Wikipedia and give them a verbal whipping or two.

Coming soon, more Xicano rants than expected, stay tuned.

To the legions of my reader fans who await not a minute before I clamp down the keyword with whatever oozez down my brain, I say no x-mas to you. Alas! I am desillusioned with the lot of humanity so seek not the jule tides with jingles in every pimple million of innocent smirks cause. Humbug! I am a bitter soul the likes of one Bartleby. I stand idle waiting for death to appear down the horizon any day. No friend however curios of life cometh to visit my prison-like solitude nor do they worry about the lot of the world.

X-mas is just a reminder nowadays of how cruel and vicious humanity can be towards one another. People are dying this very instant in some part of the world while someone is buying a present thinking of that dearly beloved one. Bought with the very money the bullet, that killed that unknown in a foreign land, earned in an unethical slushfund on Wall Street. Millions rejoice in América with their cherished ones, eat, drink and piss in tranquility while half the world is protuding in misery.

I have heard the angry ones who will stand not a sight the likes of me. Go to Africa! if thoust must cryth the X-mas dappers.

but

Is it too much to ask for a little reflection some other time of the year other than the 24th of Dic?

Kill x-mas, it has become a lawyer for good tidings.

I speako el inglish ese. Though judging by the nature of the media that streams from Amerikkka one be hardly pressed to see that here in Europe, ok Sweden pues. Ok, so am not an american citizen, well wait, I am, but the kind that one usually associates american with, gringo et al. blond, blue eye and california suntanned, nope. Yeah, that’s what europeans, ok, pues, swedes, think about americans, and then of course there are blacks. Nothing in between, forget he latte kind, like we.

I must confess that whenever swedes pick Americans for their english I get tummy aches all over. Hell, am a native english speaker no? They pass me over. They only see the Mexican in me. Txale. Explaining what a Xicano is to swedes requieres a year’s worth of anthropological courses. Ahhh, fighting media raised ideas about what an American is only leaves me, get a load of the violin in the background, sad.

So I grapple a lot with english. Can I really be called an english speaker and a native english speaker at that? These past months I had about two of those spams, thoughts were I ponder my english and I reflect the way it came into my life and whether english is my language or not. Argh.

Ark, bly me. You see my existencial dilemma. Although this was a problem in proper Aztlán too. However, there, english had this smoothness to it. I was using english to pretend to be an American Citizen. Heck, I was an illegal alien, I had to pass off as the legit stuff.

One wonders why didn’t Daily Texican mention that he appeared in ¡Ask a Mexican! by Gustavo Arellano. Though I wouldn’r be to surprised, the language there is a tad crass at times yet it does jank a smile or two from one. Oh well, check out the mention here.

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