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”.

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.

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.

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