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
¿ Dónde está la sepultura de mi familia ?
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 !
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…
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 – Ahora – Pues:
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