Algo Más en esta Vida: El Día de los Muertos / The Day of the Dead: Something Else in this Life


La Vida es un Burro



Sigan cabalgando este Burro tenaz de la Vida,

hasta la meta – El Fin.

Allá nos premiará con guirnaldas de cempasúchiles

La Diosa Coatlicue *.

¡ Todos nosotros ganaremos esta carrera !

* Coatlicue  –  para los Mexicas/Aztecas, la diosa madre de la Vida y la Muerte


*   *   *


Life is a Donkey



Keep on riding this tenacious donkey called Life

till our goal:  The  End.

There the goddess Coatlicue will reward us with

a garland of marigolds.

All of us get to win this race !



* Coatlicue  –  Aztec mother-goddess of Life and Death

**  marigolds  –  Mexican Day of the Dead flower



Sombrío – con brío



Dice Alejandro:

¿ Dónde está la sepultura de mi familia ?

No recuerdo…

aúnque yo la buscaba entre un mil de tumbas de piedra

en el camposanto.

La verdad:  Está quebrada, mi familia.  Con nosotros la

tradición es un árbol de ramas bien cortadas.

El panteonero me miraba, apoyando en su pala,

royendo contentamente unos churros tiesos.

Jefe, ¿ está perdido ?

Mi Hombre, no – pero está perdida mi familia.

¡ Claro ! Cada diez años volteamos el suelo y…y…

¿ Y entonces ?

¿ Conoce usted la fábrica de fertilizante…por la carretera

…entre Ciudad-Carrona y Los Cuervos…?



*   *   *


Gloomy – with spirit !



Says Alexander:

Where’s my family’s tomb?  I don’t remember…

even though I’ve been searching for it among a thousand

other tombstones in the cemetery.

In truth:  my family’s busticated – with us tradition is

a tree whose branches are hacked off.

A gravedigger was watching me, leaning on his shovel,

gnawing contentedly on some stale, hard crullers.

Boss, are you lost?

No, my Man – but my family is.

Of course!  Every ten years we turn over the soil here and…and…

And ?

Do you know the fertilizer factory…up by the highway…

between Carrion City and  Crow Corners…?




En la Voz de la Guacamaya



“ El TIEMPO es Trácala de la Vida, ”

chacharea la guacamaya.

“ Pásenlo bien – AhoraPues:

Silencio, bobos – n’hay nada más

– nada más

– nada más

– nada más… ”


*  *  *


The macaw squawks



“TIME – that swindler of this Life,”

squawks the chatterbox-macaw.

“Party now, yes NOW, and THEN:

It’s silence, fools, ain’t nothing more

– nothing more

– nothing more

– nothing more…”



A Sincere Tale for The Day of The Dead :

“ Lady Catrina goes for a stroll / Doña Catrina da un paseo ”



“¡ Santa Mictecacihuatl  !

These Mandible Bone-nix (Manolo Blahniks) weren’t meant for

The Long Haul – certainly not worth the silver I shelled out for ’em ! ”

Thus spoke that elegant skeleton known as La Catrina.

And she clunked herself down at the stone curb, kicking off the

jade-encrusted, ocelot-fur-trimmed high-heel shoes.

“ Well, I haven’t been ‘bone-foot’ like this since I was an escuincle.

She chuckled to herself as she began rummaging through her Juicy handbag.

Extracted a shard of mirror and held it up to her face – a calavera

with teardrop earrings grinned back at her.  ¡Hola, Preciosa!,

she said to herself with quiet pride.  Then adjusted her necklace of

cempasúchil blossoms and smoothed her yellow-white-red-and-black



Just then a lad and lassie stumbled across her path…

“ Yoo-hoo, Young Man, Young Woman !

Be dears, would you both, and escort an old dame

across La Plaza de la Existencia !  My feet are simply

worn down to the bone ! ”


“ Certainly, madam – but we’re new here…

Where is La Plaza de la Existencia ? ”


“ We’re just at the edge of it – El Zócalo ! ”

And La Catrina gestured beyond them where an

immense public square stretched far and wide.

She clasped their hands – the Young Man on her left,

the Young Woman on her right – and the trio set out

across a sea of cobbles…


By the time they reached the distant side of the Plaza the

Young Man and Young Woman had shared much with the

calaca vivaz – their hopes, fears, their

sadness and joy.


The Woman by now had grown a long, luxurious

silver braid and The Man a thick, lush, salt-and-pepper

beard.  Both knew they’d lived full Lives – and were satisfied.

But my – they were tired !


In the company of the strange and gregarious Catrina 5 minutes

to cross The Zócalo had taken 50 years…


“ Doña Catrina, here we are at your destination – will you be

alright now ? ”


“ Never felt better, Kids !  I always enjoy charming company

on a journey ! ”  And she winked at them, even though she had

no eyeballs – just sockets.  “ Join me for a caffè-latte?  Or a café-pulque,

if you’re lactose-intolerant ! ”


“Thank you, no,” said the Man and Woman, in unison.

And both laughed heartily, breathed deeply, and sat down

at the curb.


When they looked up, Doña Catrina had clattered out of sight.

And before their eyes the vast Zócalo became peopled with

scenes from their Lives.  The Man and Woman smiled, sighing

contentedly.  Side by side, they leaned closer together – and died.





Mictecacihuatl  –  Aztec goddess of the AfterLife, and Keeper of The Bones

La Catrina  –  from La Calavera Catrina (The Elegant Lady-Skull),

a famous zinc etching by Mexican political cartoonist and print-maker

Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).  Posada’s “calavera” prints depict

society from top to bottom – even the upper-class woman of wealth –

La Catrina – must embrace Death, just like everyone else…

She has since become a “character”,

invented and re-invented, for The Day of The Dead (Nov.2nd).

escuincle  –  little kid or street urchin

calavera  –  skull

¡Hola, Preciosa!  –  Hello, Gorgeous!

cempasúchil  –  marigold  (the Day of The Dead flower)

huipil –  blouse or dress,  Mayan-style

El Zócalo  –  the main public square (plaza mayor) in Mexico City,

largest in The Americas

calaca vivaz  –  lively skeleton

pulque  –  a Mexican drink make from fermented

agave or maguey – looks somewhat like milk