Today was a good day. It started off on a sad, blue note, but the sun was strong and clear and I was with a wonderful friend, and we had fun together. So I’m happy, but today’s countdown is sad, on account of I thought of something to say, and I’m not one to deviate from a plan, even if it makes everyone miserable.
Yesterday I talked about a film I saw in 2014, and then I posted a poem. (Maybe it was more prose than poem; thanks for pointing that out, Pops.)Today the movie and the poem actually have something to do with each other. This year I saw a movie called Tambien La Lluvia (Even the Rain), which came out in 2010 and starred Gael Garcia Bernal. It’s about this director who goes to Bolivia to shoot a reenactment of Columbus’ conquest of the New World, and the Cochabamba water rebellion that took place in 2000. (Read about that here: http://www.ucpress.edu/content/chapters/11049.ch01.pdf) Though the movie has its flaws, it taught me about several things that I found interesting, and, like Birdman, it plays with the idea of life as theater and the disparity in the things we hold as important, true and real, and the sacrifices we make in order keep our perceptions, beliefs and convictions in our grips. Fascinating stuff, that. You should check it out.
Colombus’ arrival in the Americas and exploitation of indigenous people and resources has sent significant political, economic and cultural ripples into Latin America today. Many people believe it to be the beginning of a curse that is still looming today (Junot Diaz’s fantastic novel, The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao, talks a lot about this subject, which he calls the fuku.) Acceptance of radicalized polarities in patterns of political domination and submission are still common in many Latin American countries today. Because there will always be those brave few who make themselves a thorn in the paw of fascist, fanatical or dictatorial lions, there will always be those who suffer from being too near the claws and teeth of the beast. Often they are the disappeared. The most recent example of the disappeared comes from the forty-three Mexican students that “vanished” at the command of corrupt local officials, or the more than 300 girls who were stolen and still remain missing by the Boko Haram in Nigeria, but they are, by far, not the only ones. Google “the disappeared”; about 15,800,000 results appear in a quarter of a second.
Here’s a poem. This is a real poem. It is even in a specific form, the Abecederian.
Again, the disappeared
begin to stir restlessly, seeping from hidden, overlooked and forgotten places:
crevices hardbaked in black earth; eyeholes in yellowed skulls; windowless, airless rooms;
ditched in ditches.
Eventually, pores in cement relax and yawn, releasing and reigniting flames from embers –
fear, grief, longing, helpless fury of the unavenged that never dies, but sleeps fitfully,
heavy anchors breed barnacles that detach and float – nothing stays submerged forever.
It’s not that this lesson is new, or even one forgotten- there’s never been time to forget.
Just today, three hundred girls vanished
kids evaporated in math class before music, babies made invisible to mother’s frantic eyes –poof-
lost like magic: university boys; working girls leaving the bus; 22,000 spirited by Los Zetas* and greed
massacred in Mexico, abandoned in Argentina, neglected in Nigeria, alles verloren** at Auschwitz;
no, we never really forget.
Our fists raise in protest, fingers curled in on themselves, fetal; nascent expressions of
pain and rage. We pray; pass laws; proclaim never again; prepare
quietly hoping, crossing our fingers – this time things will change
remembering, this has happened before: the déjà vu of the disappeared.
So it’s not that we don’t know the buried will rise
that energy, neither created nor destroyed, can only change form***
Ultimately, we grieve and move on, remember and forget,
vanquish and create, because- let’s be honest- if it doesn’t happen to us,
we can’t afford to care for too long, and if we are the unlucky ones,
Xs where our eyes were, we have nothing left to say. One day the earth will shudder and stretch,
yawn , and fan flames that will reignite, a bonfire, an inferno of outraged justice. The righteous, the
zealous will cry, “Again, the disappeared!” nurturing the embryo of their ire until a fully formed child is finally found.
*Mexican drug cartel
**”all was lost”
***from Albert Einstein: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
Well, I can’t format this correctly, but trust me, it’s an Abecederian poem. Who cares, right? Not I, said the fly. Anyhoo, I’ll try to make tomorrow’s post more upbeat. In the meantime, I leave you with this. Rest In Peace, Joe Cocker.