Monday, January 25, 2010

100.8 degrees fahrenheit

I have a cold, my second one this month.

Last week there was a tornado about 20 miles away from my house.

Southern California must be out of balance.

I had a fever yesterday. I was at war. I fought the enemy with Che Guevara on my side. But in the middle of battle, my husband’s caldo de pollo woke me up. A woman must know when to choose food over war.

Why did Che Guevara choose to fight on my side? I don’t even have a Che t-shirt! Why not George Washington, Morelos, Napoleon or the 54th Massachusetts Infantry?

And who was my enemy?

This morning I didn’t go to work. I slept all morning. Chavela visited my dream. She was about 9 months old. She grabbed my husband with her arms and legs as if she were a kohala bear. Then she grabbed me. I woke up.

Southern California is out of balance.

Somewhere in my dream there's a girl on a mary-go-around and a woman at war.

I wish, I wish my baby was born
And sittin' on its papa's knee
And me, poor girl
And me, poor girl, were dead and gone
And the green grass growin' o'er my feet
I ain't ahead, nor never will be
Till the sweet apple grows
On a sour apple tree

But still I hope the time will come
When you and I shall be as one

I wish I wish my love had died
And sent his soul to wander free
Then we might need a ravens fight
Let our poor bodies rest in peace

The owl, the owl
Is a lonely bird
It chills my heart
With dread and terror
That someone's blood
There on his wing
That someone's blood
There on its feather

Friday, January 8, 2010

El agrarista

I buried my grandfather yesterday.

He was my last connection to Mexico, my last bond to Michoacán. He used to say that Michoacán came from the Nahuatl word, Michhuacān, a place of the fishermen.

But my grandfather was not a fisherman. He was born a long distance from Lake Pátzcuaro and far away from Lake Zirahuén. He was born close to hard work.

When he was a little boy he worked at the hacienda of the Spanish brothers Noriega. His job was to kill rats and mice. He wore a calzón de manta and wore his first pair of shoes at the age of 13. He had to beg my great grandfather for an opportunity to attend school. He was only allowed to finish three years of school, but he didn't stop treating el abecedario like gold. When I visited my grandfather in Mexico, he used to indulged my ears with heroic stories about La Reforma Agraria.

...le quitamos muchas tierras a los hacendados y las repartimos entre la gente pobre.....aaay, mi'ja los hermanos Noriega eran malos....muy malos!

My grandfather never told me stories about NAFTA (North American Fair Trade Agreement) or the failures of his beloved PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) or his adulterous behavior. Some stories are too sad to tell.

Before my grandfather’s body was taken to the cemetery, the town’s ejidatarios gathered around his coffin and played tribute by singing El Himno Agrarista.

Voy a empezar a contarles
La cancion del agrarista
Les dire muchas verdades
Señores capitalistas

Es el cantar de los pobres
Que en el campo trabajamos
Los que con tantos sudores
Nuestras tierras cultivamos

I had forgotten that song.

Abuelo, ahora quien les canta las verdades a los señores capitalistas?

There were tears at my grandfather’s velorio. We drank black coffee and hot tea with tamarindo and caña. We drank tequila and told stories. And of course, there were rosaries. When I was a little girl, I thought the rosary was long and boring, but I endured its tediousness because I loved the phrases at the end. I waited patiently at the velorio to hear those phrases again.

Vaso espiritual ...Ruega por él...Rosa Mística...Ruega por él...Puerta del cielo...Ruega por él...Estrella de la mañana...Ruega por él...

Luna llena
Ruega por él
Salmones en el agua
Ruega por él
Maiz de otoño
Ruega por él
Flor de Canela
Ruega por él

Take my grandfather to the place of fishermen.

Monday, January 4, 2010

In 2010 I would like to..........

1. Draw Raymond Carver's Cathedral with my eyes closed.
2. Make my husband a cake.
3. Eat a membrillo. I have forgotten its taste.
4. Sell one of my lies on Ebay and give the money to the person I hurt with that lie.
5. Photograph the face of a stranger.
6. Ride my bike with my 73 year-old father.
7. Create a flier of things I've lost in my life. Post the flier in a public place.
8. Find courage to ask my mother if she is still disappointed in me.
9. Say mothefucker 2,345 times this year instead of 2,346 times as in 2009.
10. Learn Rosetta's mantra.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Winter in California

Todavia and I went on a bicycle ride this afternoon. We saved a little California winter for you. We saved a little sun and some sycamore trees. Most of the leaves are gone. But we are still here.

This is the street where we live. Come with us.

(thank you todavia for your editing skills and for holding the camara)