Zacatin

 

View of Jerico, Colombia from the Statue of Jesus

Arriving into Zacatin one must first go through Jerico.

Jerico is a 12,000 person pueblo that was recently made famous due to one of the town’s natives, Sister Laura Montoya, being named Colombia’s first Saint.

They’ve also been in the news for their resistance to gold-mining in the region as the effects of it on the water supply would extensively damage the traditional, agricultural way of life there.

At first glance of the street leading into Zacatin someone not familiar with the area would likely think there’s not that many activities to do there. And that person would be absolutely right. Almost.

There’s no downtown, movie theatres, malls, strip malls or stores of any kind.

There’s no stop lights, street signs or even any cross-streets.

While there is a road, singular, and it is paved – it’s of such a quality that driving over it is somehow more reminiscent a janky fairground ride rather than a means of regular automobile conveyance. Given the number of horse and cow farms in the area, this is understandable. Nature doesn’t have the same fetish for flat surfaces that man has and they largely outnumber the people there.

The houses along the road going in are decorated in white with orange dust near the ground and bright green, red, and yellow accents in the woodwork around the windows – colors that shine like the smiles of the inhabitants of them whenever you walk past them and their anxious dogs on your way to Jerico.

On the outside of several homes are framed posters of Jesus; St. George Killing a Dragon, and horses in profile or at play. Others, the fincas, hare large imposing gates and landscaped walls and barbed wire that protect the eucalyptus, aloe, hemp, banana, coffee, and other crops within. And of course there’s the cows that amble back and forth on their way to pastures. The area is the very definition of frontier rustic and you are just as likely to see someone on the back of a horse or donkey as you are them in a car.

Entering into Zacatin, you leave the main, paved street to what I’ll call the frontier road that is first lined with bamboo. On this path you start to go up a steep hill. At the top, about a hundred yards in, a four-way crossroad appear.

Should you go to the right, you will take a long walk the snakes back and forth along the the mountains Jerico was built around that provides for a quaint view of the town and ends at a cul-de-sac with a large ranche.

If you go to the left, you’ll head to a town with a population of 126 people. On the post which provides this statistic is other information, however in a fit of poetry this not-even-a-dot on any map has some sort of cement and dirt mixture covering up lettering giving its name.

Should you continue forward, going down and up a few more hills, eventually you’d come to my family’s house.

While there’s not much to do in the form of conspicuous consumption, but there are other pleasures of the area – though ones that only come through a certain kind of existential practice that few people are used to.

Some 500 feet from the front door of my family’s home is a small stream. While no wider than a normal car’s length, the beautiful and numerous animals of the air and ground which hydrate here is immense. In the morning it’s almost impossible to count the number of distinct bird calls. No surprise, given that Colombia is home to over 1900 species of birds. Watching them and the sly, shy creatures of the ground and trees, like red-tailed squirrels, that make a brief appearance is always a delight. Practicing silence and stillness, they will come quite close – though not so close as some of the incredibly color butterflies that if you are luck will land on your hand and seemingly look into you.

In addition to being patient, sometimes one must also be able to brave one’s own fears to find diversion.

Here’s an example of how I spent my last Friday night in Zacatin before the long journey across half the globe to The Content Castle that makes me feel it is such a special place.

After finishing a good meal with my mom, I decided to walk down one of the long paths nearby that leads to a horse farm adjacent a large field the touches the river, which has widened with distance from the roadway.

So far from any major cities, at night the stars are incredibly bright. But on this path they are insufficient to guide my steps as along the path a forest of birch trees emerges which obscures the way. You can see so little that one must put trust in your feet to ensure you don’t walk off the path. The trees give way to the fields the horses graze on during the day.

From this vantage point I now look down at a breathtaking view that of a hundred or so foot high peak on the left and on the right a grassy valley. The river bend was visually obscured except for occasional flashes of glittery shimmering, but still provided a beautiful soundtrack and the hundreds of fireflies that are swirling round and around like a dance, like a Van Gough painting – except for the fact that it is more arresting than anything I’ve ever seen in a museum. Considering that those works representing millions of hours of combined human achievement can’t hold a candle to these flying bugs at night, it’s a testament to a greater author.

But this isn’t even the best view. I’m still standing on the street, looking out from the side. To get to where I really want I must not just be brave but also crafty like a fox. To do this I walk to a particular post near the gate to the field – three hundred years from the gate to the farm – that I first spotted when casing the place out.

Then I’d noticed then a slackness when trying to read the areas defenses. The top line of the barb wire there was not connected by a thick staple like the other ones were. As I’d gotten closer to press the barb wire down to determine just how much it gave, I noticed two other things – the grass around this area was a little more worn down than that around it and that when I touched the post itself it bent significantly. I’d looked around and discovered with a slight push I was able to get over easily.

At this time that I’d jumped back over, the approaching sound of a motorcycle made me return to public property – but now that the dancing horses were bordered in their barn and the campesinos were in their casas I had no such fears of getting caught. Or better said I still did, but it being so reduced excited rather than frightened me.

Once over the barbed-wire fence I walked along a well-trodden path to the top of where and sat, looking down onto the view below. Having had to brave fears of injury, dismemberment, death, and incarceration to get there, somehow made the view and the feeling of freedom felt while being utterly along looking at such a divinely authored convergence of life all, somehow, made it that much more enjoyable.

It’s two hours before I realize just how long I’ve been entranced by glories of God’s creation. Once home I prepare for bed while crickets chirp and the love poems of birds provide the soundtrack which increases the feeling of peace I have.

It’s very simple here, yes, but healthy and sane in a way that even what I’ve just written can’t accurately explain. It brings about a change in state that rankles those used to constant input and action before it beguiles with its charm.
The isolation and nature allows for force quit of all the little programs that those running an urban and suburban OS normally don’t realize are slowing down their ability to find joy and contentment in the everyday. Decelerate and disconnecting parts of the cyborg-self and reconnecting with rhythms of the creatu around is, well, sometime better than being amidst the grandestly planned works of man.

Review of Rosario Tiejaras

The story of Rosario Tiejaras so strongly resonates with the Colombian and Latin American audience that it has been made into a movie and a T.V. show much in the way that La Femme Nikita has in the United States. Except instead of there being a secretive government organization that uses wayward, attractive youth which was to be executed for their crimes to ensure the maintenance of American power through targeted assassinations by newly minted model-like merchants of death, Rosario has no such assistance other than her brother, Johnefe, a low level associate with the cartel that wants to rise in the ranks by taking risky jobs as a sicaro.

The novel opens in media res by her one-time lover and friend taking her to a nearby hospital in a cab. She is bleeding extensively after being shot and is badly injured. The first sentence is one of many that I find utterly compelling, so am sharing it here:

“Since Rosario has been shot at point blank range while she was being kissed, she confused the pain of death with that of love.”

With this frame narrative established, we then learn about the backstory of the girl that the narrator is in love with despite the many red flags.

Rosario is 15 years old mestiza. Her parents came from the country in search of work – but lacking connections and skills, they soon turned to scavenging the city garbage. Her mother later become trained as a seamstress and got security as a live-in maid, but after the pregnancy was discovered her father left.

Tijeras, or scissors in Spanish, is not a common surname. In fact, it’s not a last name at all. Rosario explains received this nick name after she’d castrated the man who’d raped her when she was twelve. She’d run into him a few months later, seduced him and then brought him back to her house. Once there, she gets her revenge and he fled the house screaming, leaving a trail of blood from between his legs. He’s never seen again.

This is one of the many men that Rosario kills. Rosario doesn’t shy away from violence when disrespected, shooting and killing several people at point blank range.

Jorge Franco’s fiction is so powerful as rather than simply writing a sensational, but true to real life story, he is able to connect the hyper-sexualized and hyper-violent Rosario Tijeras to the broader historic forces pushing her in this direction without it being preachy. In a number of little details sprinkled throughout, we get to learn about the places where she picks up the view that her actions are not just acceptable but necessary if she is to have any chance at a life that doesn’t replicate what she sees as her mother’s endless drudgery. She wants to win at life, however winning in her case is difficult given her conditions and dangerous considering what she decides to do to achieve this. Commenting on the latter, here’s what the narrator says:

“Rosario’s fight isn’t so simple, it has very deep roots, from long ago, from earlier generations. Life weighs on her with the weight of this country, her genes drag along a race of sons of plenty and sons of bitches who with the blade of a machete cleared the pathways of life… Once proud, we are now ashamed, without understanding how, why, and when it all happened. We don’t know how long our history is, but we can feel it’s weight.”

For Rosario, this weight takes on a number of forms.

For one, on her body. Whenever she kills someone, she puts on weight and isolates herself. Once back to her normal form, she is able to exploit her beauty and sexual skills to get what she needs. And what a beauty she is.

And also in her search for meaning in the world. When her prayers to the Virgin of Perpetual Help and Christ Child goes unanswered, she briefly dabbles with Satanism. This ends, however, after she kills one of the members of the sect – which leads to a number of rumors being circulated about her. The stories are a mixture of invention, reality and an admixture of the two – and soon enough a number of other girls start adding the words “Rosario” or “Tiejeras” to their name.

The narrator at several points describes Rosario, in fact, less as a human than as a divine figure, an avatar of Death and Beauty wrapper up into one person – a dark eyed whore in a mini-skirt with bare-midriff top. The incarnation of Fear and Attraction wrapped up in one person, Rosario is both human and symbol.

The Poetry of the Dispossessed

“Did you ever notice that death rhymes with breath?” Rosario observed.

I was dabbling in poetry those days, and since she was curious I get her a little involved with what I was reading. She related everything to death, even the explication of my poetry…

There was a time when the three of us would shut ourselves up for an entire Sunday to smoke marijuana and read poetry. We would find phrases that made us think we understood the world now, others that made us nod our heads, leaving us speechless…”

In a country where saying the truth can lead to death, it’s perhaps not surprising that the three characters here all feel an affection for poetry – with all its creative and innovative ways for expression.

In fact, with this in mind it’s worth noting something that Rosario says in the opening of the book.

“Nobody’s ever going to kill me. I’m a weed.”

Notice the “weed” tattoo on her right hand…

And though in the last pages we learn of her death, there is a deeper degree of truth to her statement. Jorge Franco’s character may have died, but the soil within which she grew still remains and there are many other similar stories just like Rosario’s. The Narcos, which sometimes take her away for a week or more from Emilio, never take only her but have a clique of bad bitches that are able to join her at a moment’s notice.

While not evident by the book, I’ve spoken with Colombianas who’ve watched Sin Tetas Sin Hay Paradiso and viewed it as a guide rather than a warning, and who see the video for Beck G’s Mayores as inspirational rather than a sad commentary on Colombian society. Which is sensible, in a way, as those that would morally condemn the values within such cultural productions and the behaviors described therein rarely look at the structural issues.

While it’s not related particularly to this book, it’s this fact that’s made me think that there’s a connection between consumption of trap and places where the informal economy is a large means for people to get their needs met. It seems an intuitive truth worth writing more detail about elsewhere.

While I found myself sometime cringing at the narrators repressed love for Rosario, I am quite a fan of Jorge Franco’s urgent narrative style and the manner in which he is able to make her and her story so compelling.

The Post-Peace Accord Era in Colombia and The Continued Danger of Public Political Discourse

FARC amongst the trees, a chica in the streets

Using a 21st century iteration of a creative writing style stolen from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, I like to engage in a public forums via a variety of different names, voices, and worldviews.

Some people play SIMS, I like to Spy and Mettle in other ways.

Whatever the ethics, it begets all sorts of unique stories based on hard to get data, like the anecdote and context I share in the below article.

Previously I’ve written about the dangerous-for-Leftists atmosphere in Colombia. Others that have spent a much longer time in the field and in the stacks have called this political genocide and noted that the social effects of this are profound and deleterious. I can now add my own small experience to such a literature.

Photo from an assassination attempt on an indigenous leader Rogelio Mejía

In response to a comment on an article about the political genocide of Communists in Colombia Reports, I cited the empirical fact that by looking at all available evidence, civilians were significantly more likely to be killed by the State and by the Paras then by the FARC. I didn’t say, though it’s equally true, that by far the most targeted political assassinations comes from the Right and not the Left.

What the response was, well, I’ve attached a screen shot of it to let it speak for itself as well as some other of this person’s comments found after some further research as I think it provides telling insight into the values of people that are antagonistic to the FARC specifically and Marxism genereally.

The USMC & the CIA: A Home White Supremacist Anti-Communists

So as you can see the guy who wants to torture and kill Communists also has some pretty strong, visceral feelings towards the “non-white” races.

A number of researchers have called such a belief system and practice as racial capitalism. Some have instead used the phrase Manifest Destiny, while others simply call it Americanism.

It’s a view of the world which justifies Whites engaging in conquest, colonization, dispossession, enslavement and environmental destruction – AKA all the things that “civilized white” North Americans have brought to the South as a means of controlling resources and ensuring trade and labor relations are profitable.

Trying (and Failing) to Place a Face on Hate

That the U.S. has directly and indirectly played a major role in shaping Latin America’s geo-politics isn’t new news, it’s history.

Nevertheless the comment having a full name and statement of profession so piqued my curiosity, I decided to if I could find out anything about this person.

I don’t know if any of the people in the above snapshot of a search on Facebook is the person saying I should be electrocuted and that minorities are sub-humans – but I do know that it’s not General David Rodgriguez. His service record only shows his time in Latin America as being part of the U.S. invasion of Panama.

Our brief exchange is not now available for verification by looking at the Colombia Reports article, as shortly after this exchange transpired Colombia Reports disabled the public comment function, however those with Disqus accounts, can search and confirm that this is not a Photoshop job.

The Ethnic and Religious Cleansing Power of Capitalism

Percentage of Afro-Colombians Voting for Peace in Bojaya, Department of Chocó

The story related to the above image is particularly devastating and makes everyone look bad – the Government for non-intervention; the Paras for using the civilian population as a human shield; the FARC for unintentionally killing non-combatants. And it’s also indicative of which demographics have been most affected by the civil war violence – the poor, Afro-Colombians and Indigenous communities.

It’s because of this that in the final Colombian Peace Accords there is explicit language wherein the Colombian government formally recognizes that the injustices inflicted against black and indigenous communities are the historic “product of colonialism, slavery, exclusion, and it’s drive to dispossess them of their lands, territories, and resources.”

This is the rationale for the inclusion of this section in which they are guaranteed protection, the ability to participate in elections and to self-govern themselves whenever possible.

And though the accords are now signed, as former Marine and CIA operative David Rodriguez’s comments show, there are still people that would like to throw that out and return to open violence against certain ethnic, racial, religious and political persuasions.

No Justice, No Peace

Given all the bullets fired and blood shed from opened veins throughout Latin America, it’s understandable why people don’t like to to talk about the region’s past.

It’s profoundly traumatic for many and saying certain things publicly certain could mean that your name winds up on a list that means you will be killed. But since the signing of the peace accords, despite the still simmering violence in the form of assassinations of political figures and civilian massacres, it’s important to be aware of the values and intentions of the actors involved in the violence and to work to public delegitimize the voices that long for it’s return.

Moving Forward, Together

Anthropomorphizing is certainly never always an appropriate form of argument, but I’ve always found it an insightful metaphor for the body politic and in this case I think it particularly instructive.

Just like when an individual is in a state of sustained panic and there is conflict over contrary instincts (people vs. profits); when executive functions and allocations of energy are no longer operating at an optimal level of survival (civil war); when external forces are relied upon to assist violent contractions rather than relying upon a new constitution (foreign intervention to preserve what is better served by forming a new constitution), peace is achieved from the negation of these and the sublimation to a new state of existence.

How can this be achieved? Through building bridges and through self-promotion.

Self-promotion entails the motions of going through and assessing one beliefs, values and abilities and clearly expressing it others.

Silencing the voices that would if they could bring about a return to practices of political genocide is part and parcel of that promotion. In another discipline, we’d call this reputation management.

Breaking free from the past in this particular circumstance of a bi-lateral peace agreement, requires that the negative voices which would threaten growth and development must be shown for what they are – violent white-supremacists that have Ayn Randian like disdain for non-capitalist socio-economic arrangements.

While this brief anecdote is unlikely to change all hearts and minds overnight, it’s part of a narrative that now needs to be shared far and wide as it hasn’t been told enough in the capitalist press. I’m hoping that some discerning Americans may now look with a new light on the stories that they’ve been told about the FARC and America’s involvement in the region and start to reassess the felicity of the stories they’ve heard.

More so I hope in whatever little way possible that this helps bring an end to the still simmering violence and helps build bridges between former antagonists so that together they can build a stronger, safer country together. Cause let’s be honest – the U.S. would sooner carpet-bomb all of Bogota then ever let the FARC come top power in a move that could help reconstitute Gran Colombia or a Bolivarian United States of Latin America.

 

Creative Direction Explanation and Example

I love dirty rap. I always have, I grew up in SoFla during the time that 2 Live Crew was blowing up and all on the news showing hoes shaking their ass to the dirty lyrics and seeing parents massive reaction to the content fascinated me.

I remember MTV reporting just a few miles from my home the law suits banning sales of the records to minors and alls I though then that I was going to make an old enough friend. Their public attempts to keep attention and prevents sales of the product had the opposite effects of the legislation.

 

Children instinctively, and correctly distrust the words of their elders. You have to have a high level of alienation to make me circle the square and accept what’s there as reasonable; yes rationale but that there’s the problem – you have to be honest about first principles.

It’s this absurdness in policing words that made me made me all the more want to write this poem. As you can tell by the spelling and notions it’s meant to be read aloud. Preferable to a crowd of fans screaming out the two singers names.

 

Oral Natural

She tell it like it is th’out fake civ to hol’
Her back. Her body so fine seem a crime
To wear ropa – I know the – uh- look’uh my
D’zire, but like wine’z aged for grow’h.

You stay savage – I keep it surreal like magic
My man’s a maverick and yours – just average.
Stuntin with frontin’ doesn’t mean you have it –
I know the forcecast tryme nb shot down bitch.

We tell’i likeet is no matt’r the sitch
Know the moment tha you tick like a tock
We turn ow’the clock and service you cocky
Suckers, weak fuckers, ya’ll don’ know shit.

We tell it, oral natural, keep real,
Hacerlo nuesta puta, run’tah tru’on ya’ll lil welps.

*

Oral Natural

Ella lo dice como si no fuera una civilización falsa para hol
Su espalda. Su cuerpo tan fino parece un crimen
Usar ropa, sé que … miren la mía
D’zire, pero como el vino envejecido para grow’h.

Te mantienes salvaje, lo mantengo surrealista como la magia
Mi hombre es inconformista y tuyo, solo promedio.
Stuntin con Frontin ‘no significa que lo tengas
Sé que el forcecast tryme nb derribó a la perra.

Nosotros le decimos que no es así.
Sepa en el momento en que marca como un tock
Nos volvemos ow’the reloj y el servicio engreído
Suckers, cabrones débiles, ya no sabrás nada.

Lo decimos, oral natural, mantener real,
Hacerlo nuesta puta – run’tah troot’on yall lil’ welps.

 

I know some people may be thinking, Ariel Sheen, that first poem’s writing is so unique I can’t keep my mind on the proper pronunciation, so I made this other iteration to sate the needs of those who feel that way. And if the first one bothered you and you wanted to read this right away, I hope you’ll forgive the creative direction and see the vision behind it and appreciate it’s unique words and sounds placed together in a what I feel to be a more pleasant and fitting manner to the intent of the poetry series of trap latino content placed in sonnets form.

*

Oral Natural

She tell it like it is without fake civ to hold
Her back. Her body so fine seem a crime
To wear clothes – I know the – uh – look mine
desire, but like wine aged for growth.

You stay savage – I keep it surreal like magic
My man’s a maverick and yours – just average.
Stunting and posturing doesn’t mean you have it –
I know the forcecast try me and be shot down, bitch.

We tell it like it is no matter the situation
Know the moment that you tick like a tock
We turn on the clock and service you cocky
Suckers, weak fuckers, ya’ll don’ know shit.

We tell it, oral natural, keep real,
Hacerlo nuesta puta, run the truth on y’all little welps.

*

Do I have an idea of what the singers of this song would look like? Sure do!

This is the couple that looks like the way I, at least, see it being produced in a video.

Lupe Fuentes and Evan Seinfield

 

Review of The Fruit Palace

La verdad es una puta y hay que pagar.
Truth is a whore and you must pay for her.
Colombian Epigram
 

I picked up Charles Nicholl’s book The Fruit Palace as part of my cultural research before going to Colombia. I found it a very enjoyable yarn, in the vein of a number of other travel and get in trouble narratives.

Something that I love about Nicholl’s writing is the high level of descriptive language and inclusion of local color though out the yarns he spins. Some of my favorite passages are those describing the beauty of the Tensa Valley. After one long, nearly baroque description of the plant life used by the indigenes of Boyaca to produce nearly all of their material needs I found so engaging that it made me want to go off and try my own hand at such an existence. The underworld slang found throughout demonstrates authenticity and shows anthropological insight into the manner in which many of the subjects he writes about think – as individuals in la otro economia; as individuals that grew up in a specific region of Colombia; as people belonging to a loosely knit nation.

The cast of characters – Gus, Waldino, Rikki, Ariel, the various ex-pats in various states of “going native” and the many others involved in the quest for information on The Great Cocaine Story which takes Nicholls all over the many climates and regions of Colombia are described in with novelistic detail. He also does a great job of humanizing the predation that goes on in the country and what’s often described as backwardness. While he doesn’t delve into the geopolitics of the region, the formation of class and politics, etc. I feel like he humanizes a lot of the situations that often times get viewed as black and white. One of the drug dealers, Julio Cesar, tending after an injured, drug addicted journalist, for instance, or the 15 year-old prostitute that he’s set up with who explains that her selling herself is far preferable to the treatment she was put out by her family.

Nicholl’s gift is to include all of their without relying upon extensive commentary to highlight this. There are insightful passages like this:

“It is probably true to say that Colombia’s entire export earnings are matched dollar for dollar by illicit drug earnings. But the money is only the beginning. It is what the money does that counts, the power grip that the drug mafia exerts on Colombia… It not only supports the fantastical opulence of the drug capos. It also buys off police, judiciary and administration, flows into all sorts of legitimate business fronts, becomes a major source of low interest credit, vastly increases the growth of the country’s money supply… These narco-dollars are only a part, though now much the biggest part, of Colombia’s whole subterranean economy, the black market and contraband interests so widespread they are simply known as la otra economia, the other economy.”

However this is mostly limited to the opening of the book, where he explains how he got the writing assignment and onto the trail of The Great Cocaine Story. The majority is not like this.

Most of the tale is of his quest to find Snow White, a particularly high quality cocaine. On the quest to find this he travels across rivers, jungles in the mountains and must lie, cheat and act his way to the heart of a smuggling operate far from civilization. He even witnesses the 1983 Popayán earthquake, which destroyed much of the city and is the subject of the above Botero painting.

Should he ever read this, a tip of my hat goes to you, Mr. Nicholl, for being able to have the discipline to keep such extensive notes whilst consuming so much cocaine on your way to the find the manner in which Snow White made her way to Europe. The passages describing the binges he took and the effects that they had on his body and mind makes it a feat that he did not go the way of Gus, the journalist he meets who’s nearly gone mad from the amount of basuko that he’s been smoking.

And then there’s Ariel. He and I look nothing alike, but I did like this passage describing him:

‘Tell me about Ariel.’

“She laughed. ‘Ariel will tell you about Ariel. It’s like there’s lots of Ariels: he’ll be someone different for you. He’s hard to find, hard to catch. Like we say, nacio de pie – he was born on his feet.”

I found the closing of the book to offer a really nice coda to the tale of adventure. By closing with his experiences visiting the Arhuaco people I felt that it offered a compelling counter-narrative to the madness of the cocaine-fueled journalism that composed the rest of the book. While everyone else is in some ways economically dependent on the the powder, here’s a people that have grown a culture around it whilst not falling prey to the similar need for greed in the form of more intensity or material possessions. Coca need not be a high but, as they say, something that is sano, healthy, that cuida del cuerpo, that takes care of the body.

Cocaine Cartels Contra Communism: Don Berna, Alborada and Political Discourse in Colombia

Since 2003 on December 1st across Medellin a large number of people in the lower strata barrios celebrate with bacchanalia and fireworks. The first is the birthday of Pablo Escobar, however this is not a celebration in honor of him, but the man that may be most responsible for his downfall and death – Don Berna.

December 1st 2003, marks the official demobilization of Don Berna’s Cacique Nutibara paramilitary bloc. To show his continued influence despite his officially putting down arms, Don Berna paid for fireworks and gunpowder to be set off show the extent of his continued control over 10 of the 16 Comunas of Medellin despite his officially “laying down arms”.

Not everyone celebrates this holiday, and depending on who you ask there are those that see the celebration of the day as shameful. For those that do, you’ll see the same sort of enthusiasm that July the 4th is celebrated in the United States.

When I was in Medellin I was lucky enough to witness the fireworks display from the penthouse rooftop of a friend and then attend a block party. My iPhone didn’t capture video nearly as nicely as the one below and I didn’t want to dar papaya at the party so documented nothing, but it will give you the idea of how large an event it is.

Don Berna is now probably most notably known in America today via the depiction of him by Mauricio Cujar in the Netflix series Narcos. I haven’t watched the series so can’t speak to his acting performance. I can, however, speak to the context in which the acts of Don Berna took place that lead to such a day of celebration and how huge an affect the man has had on Colombian politics.

First Formation of Narco Class Consciousness

The Palace of Justice Siege

During the second week of November in 1981, the 26-year-old daughter of Fabio Ochoa Restrepo was kidnapped from the University of Antioquia by M-19, a Marxist guerrilla group. Considered by some to be the man behind Pablo Escobar, $12 million was demanded from Don Fabio for her release. Responding to this following her release, on Dec. 2, 1981 a small plane dropped leaflets announcing the formation of the group “Death to Kidnapers,” which became known by its Spanish acronym MAS, over a Cali stadium during a soccer match. The leaflet said MAS had been formed by 223 leading drug traffickers that organized to resist the leftists preying on their families and that they would carry out “immediate and public execution” of Leftists. Unable to adequately defend themselves against the well-funded attacks, the leftist insurgencies in Colombia soon started to engage in narco-trafficking themselves in order to match the money and weapons that they and the State forces had at their disposal.

In one of the most deadly events in Colombian history four years later, The Palace of Justice was siege by the same Marxist group, M-19. This resulted the public deaths of many federal justices, the burning of legal documents related to Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel and a sea change in how the Colombian government decided to handle Pablo and how Pablo’s allies started to view him. The Castaños, one of the most powerful criminal clans in Medellin, for instance grew distant from Pablo Escobar because of Escobar’s stated affinity for left-wing guerrillas, his alleged links to M-19 and another rebel group, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN). Their patriarch had been killed by the FARC and their zeal for the bloodletting of leftists was notorious.

Whether or not M-19 had the backing of Pablo Escobar is subject to debate. Given a little bit broader context, it becomes understandable why this the beginning of the end. These were, after all, times when any sort of public support or expression of sympathy to Leftists was considered just cause for classification as a enemy of the state, placement on a list of subversives and scheduling for capture, execution and disappearance of the body.

Pablo Escobar: Populist with Leftist Leanings

Pablo Escobar was no communist. In fact, if his son is to be believed then he, like Manuel Noriega, was involved with the CIA in profiting of the funneling of cocaine into the United States in order to circumvent oversight by the legislative branch to raise money to fight the Communist, nationalist, anti-colonialist, nativist insurgent movements in Central America. His particular flavor, however, was populist.

This excerpt from Colombia Elites and Organized Crime, written for the U.S. Justice Department, details the differences between Berna and Escobar as it relates to this succinctly:

“In contrast to Escobar, Berna did not pick a fight with the government, kill police and judges, or kidnap elites. He understood that the police were an implacable enemy but could be a superlative ally. The police’s increasing control over resources and the political importance of their battle against El Patrón made them a type of bureaucratic elite. And they used this power to influence how Colombia’s government deployed its military, judicial, and political resources.

Don Berna was to place himself at the heart of this criminal-bureaucratic elite alliance that proved pivotal in the battle against Escobar.”

This interview with one of Pablo Escobar’s most used sicarios is further evidence to place Pablo as a populist of sorts:

The Danger of Populism in the Cold War Period

Populism in Latin America is a a frequent recurrence. No surprise given the history of colonial expropriation and rule of locals resources and lands. In the context of the Cold War, however, populist political beliefs meant that Pablo was an unreliable ally and thus a major potential threat. His willingness to attack local allies and minor political functionaries was one thing, but to materially support Leftists for political work greatly upset his allies and meant he came to be classified as a potential major geo-political threat. How so?

Looking at the international scene first – Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala were all in the midst of major political upheavals where nationalists, nativists, anti-colonialists and Communists were united against the scions of the old colonial elite. Pablo Escobar had already established willingness to openly kill members of the established economic and political elite in Colombia. Were he to funnel his profits from the operations towards the guerrillas in that region – or in Colombia – rather than to the Contras and the group that would later be the model for the AUC, Los PEPES, it could significantly effect the tide of the dirty wars and political genocide then occurring in Central America under the aegis of “nation building”.

Had the Communists, their sympathizers and other varieties of nationalistic combatants advocating for anti-colonial style land and labor reforms had weapons with the financial backing that Pablo could have supplied, it’s likely they’d not have been so overwhelmingly slaughtered. But this did not happen and instead the U.S. supported forces, that would later be tried and convicted for genocide, won.

Domestically Pablo had made enemies through expropriations and high taxes on the crime families to fund his war against the state. But that was not all, The Castaños had grown distant from Pablo Escobar because of Escobar’s stated affinity for left-wing guerrillas, and his alleged links to M-19 and another rebel group, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN).

This affinity made Don Berna, who’d had his leg shot off by Communists during an assassination attempt, have even more reason to despise Pablo’s relationship of convenience than his boss being killed by Pablo when he was supposed to be his head of security.

Narco Nation-Building: Filling Pablo’s Power Vacuum

 

With Pablo’s influence ousted as a result of Don Berna’s alliance-building, business as usual, in a way, could more or less return to normal. Whether or not there was a meeting of political elites that voted up or down to express confidence in Don Berna’s operations is really besides the point. On a practical level Berna was given reign to enforce control networks of narcotics production and distribution, various local criminal activities and organized protection rackets.

Don Berna’s Armed Defense groups, such as the Cacique Nutibara Bloc, literally encircled Medellin. They pushed into neighborhoods to cleanse those that expressed sympathy for them or advocated for a variety of human rights. They pushed out into areas long considered the FARC’s in order to combat the group directly and to take over the fertile land they occupied so as to turn them into coca fields. The Leftist insurgents, soon found themselves turning to the cocaine business to fund them as without it they could not withstand the superior weapons and numbers made available to the Narcos given their bumper profits from the cocaine trade.

Throughout Colombia urbanization was happening at a rapid pace, and still is. People living largely outside capitalist relations – on self-sustaining farms that traded little – were legally and illegally evicted from their land and filled the urban centers. This large scale political-economic transformation was financed largely by the money and armed power granted by the cocaine trade and further financed political influence in the form of bribes, threats of and actual violence, organized voting drives and other means. Put simply, as long as the elites profits were no longer under threat, they largely turned a blind eye to the primitive accumulation of capital that plagued the countryside and low strata parts of the cities where they never visited anyway.

Bullets, Not Ballots: Limiting Leftist Political Discourse with Cocaine Powered Anti-Communism

The scope of the slaughter of Latin American Leftists is such that many historians and political scientists have used the term politicide to describe U.S. supported military actions throughout Central America and Colombia. The effect of this class warfare was to drastically alter the politics of the possible, as well as the debatable. Critical words against those in power overheard and reported to the wrong person could mean that one was then placed on a limpieza‘s list of people to cleanse. The press too shirked from speak truth to power lest they join the long list of now dead community activists and hundreds of dead journalists.

Guitars kill Fascists. These products kill Communists.

Lest this be seen as a discourse limiting force that’s only emerging from those involved in the narcotics trade – Alvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia, recently denounced a book merely for detailing via documentary evidence  that the violence commited by the paras against the civilian population was far worse on a variety of metrics – including numbers of civilians killed and people displaced – then the FARC ever were. Lest this be seen as solely emerging from this period, it reflects a long-standing disdain for political engagement going back to the period of La Violenca.

The net result is a political culture amongst the lower class that largely refuses to engage with certain critiques of power and the politics that such assessments proscribe. Instead they pray for the benevolence of an economic elite (that for generations has shown willingness to murder those that threaten to expose the ill-gotten means behind their wealth) resign themselves to life’s poor conditions and exploit others for their enjoyment with little to no care to as to who it harms. The phrase for this condition: Que gonorrea!

This combined with the institutional attempts to create historical ignorance in the population by removing the subject from the curriculum and using outdated instructional material “Colombia’s most recent general history book was published in 1989, only five years before the subject virtually disappeared from school.” means that people don’t know why the F.A.R.C. and E.L.N. fight thus placidly adopt the language of the bourgeoisie and narcos that view all movements for labor and community as an existential threat to their existence.

Parties and Partys in Colombia

So what the hell does all this have to do with Alborada?

Well, with this context in mind it’s easier to see why some don’t like to celebrate it – Alborada is a celebration of the successful cleansing/politicide of leftists and lumpen that didn’t follow the political/economic dictates proscribed by La Oficina de Envigado and the local economic elites with a nod and wink from Washington. While the FARC and the ELN certainly continued to exist in rural areas and some smaller cities, their cleansing from Medellin was so total they they felt confident enough to lay down arms and set off fireworks for a man that has over 11,000 murders attributed to him.

Area in Antioquia that prior to U.S. assistance was previously a major processing facility in the cocaine trade.

While the description of the context of Alborada, a form of victory celebration over those that advocate on behalf of el pueblo, la gente, la mayoria social, etc., may seem like it’s a mar on the character of Paisas, however it’s important to remember that the direction and technical assistance came from anti-communist Cold Warriors in positions of influence in the United States.

Canciones para una Diosa: Sonnets desde Medellin – New Poetry Collection Pre-order

Fun fact: I compulsively visit used books stores whenever I’m in a foreign country.

The guiding idea behind Songs for a Goddess – Sonnets From the Sheets and Streets of Medellín (o Canciones para una Diosa – Sonetos Para una Diosa: Sonetos de las Sábanas y las Calles de Medellín) was to create a combine Trap latino and Dirty South rap/OVOXO lyrical content with sonnet structure.

Despite being separated by hundreds of years and miles – not to mention different class audiences – the two forms of artistic expression nonetheless have a number of similar themes.

Both praise of beauty; are concerned with the fleetingness of life and the importance for action; are concerned with infatuation and sexual passion; and express a mix of spiritual and sexual desire.

Were all of these lyrical texts combined one would have a description of similar to Lilith, or her modern incarnation in rap music – the bad bitch.

Lilith, the OG Bad Bitch 

Lilith (1892) by John Collier.
Si ella morena, se vería como mi musa.

A Jewish folk character, Lilith is a seductive and dangerous feminine spirit. Said by some to be able to possess women by entering their consciousness through mirrors. Others tell tales of how she enraptures men with her beauty to their economic or spiritual detriment. She is siren-like, but deadly in another way.

If it is seems a stretch to connect this to modern urban music, do a search via the Talmudically styled rap lyric repository Genius for bad bitches and see that the descriptions of such women’s behavior and appearance falls totally in line with Lilith. Packs of them exist in the tales told over 160 beats. Many of these sweet mamacitas that no speaka english are sung into existence to provide content matter for boasts, for odes, for expressions of hopes, for oaths, for all of the many urges of men that stem from their relations with women.

Additionally bolstering the connection with Lilith is the prevalence of songs directed to women, rather than just being about them. Twista’s Overnight Celebrity is the first of many examples of this that comes to mind. Here Twista offers  media exposure and fame in exchange for sexual favors, something now making more headlines in the wake of the #MeToo movements. Unleashing Lilith in life is thus appealing to the vanity of women in text, song, film or other artistic the mirror-like reflection of the world. The object motivates behavior, stimulates desire, helps Dan get his Serena.

Lastly, considering the subjects in my collection, it’s worth pointing out the tendency  to describe such woman in terms of their not speaking English. For example, see the works of Juicy J, Yung Simmie, Future, Kent Jones, and Big Sean.

Songs: Music or Magic?

I think it fair to say that if one were to combine all of the seductive or bragging literary and musical artistic works, I think it’s fair to say you’d have curated the foundation for a holy text of sorts – the creative’s lyrical id view of women, The Book of Lilith. Much like the personality of God which emerges from those that ascribe divine inspiration to their respective literary texts, from it we’d see the many sides of desire, despair, dejection, spite and the many other encounters inevitable with an archetypical character. Like her father, a book could be made about her and a religion formed on it. This work is in part an collection of the wide swathe of those emotional potentials.

Those readers of mine that listen Trap latino and what I’d claim is it’s gringo counterpart – Dirty South rap/OVOXO  book will notice allusions to and lyrical engagements with them. It’s part of the genre, just like back when minnesingers courted butchers daughters alongside verdant riverbanks filled with barques at half-mast near castles bustling with the commerce, production, planning, etc.

Those that have only dipped their ears into the genre might scoff, but they’d be making a mistake. Trap music is in a twisted way a modern iteration of the old work song. Certain essential human desires for form are, seemingly, timeless.

Last one scoff at the glamorization of what some consider anti-social behavior first consider it’s popularity. Trap latino and Dirty South/OVOXO artists are killing it in number of YouTube views. I need rely solely on numbers to justify something, but it is compelling.

Second, in all reality Dirty South rap/OVOXO  aren’t given the props they deserve for skills in composing lyrical braggadocio and romantic conquest narratives. I think that is because those that are familiar with the poetry, songs and cultural norms of, say,  Cervantes’ Spain – wherein creatives would sing seductive songs under the windows of the women they hoped to give tip to and songs of conquest in the bars filled with thirsty guys in hopes of getting tips from – often don’t listen to trap latino and Dirty South rap/OVOXO so thus can’t draw that connection like I can for my readers. Well, now you know!

Back to me.

Please note that these aren’t just “trap” songs in poetry format. I include a number of my own personality into the poems as well. Because let’s be honest, there is a lot that’s awful out there. Having absorbed so much really, I know.

As such, I now want to highlight some excerpts that ought be praised for their word play. Then, because this article’s really about me, I’ll give you some samples of the poems.

Let’s go.

So of course one lyricist that’s always killing in, Lil Wayne. Here’s a wonderful couplet from She Will – a song best played while watching a girl shake her ass fast while on grass while you throw cash at her. At least that’s what I’d say given the content of the video.

“I like my girl thick, not just kinda fine
Eat her til she cry, call that wine and dine”

 

Drake‘s songs also typically have compelling romantic/sexy lyrics along these lines. Here’s two lines from Own It.

“Next time we crush, I don’t wanna crush, I wanna make love
Next time we talk, I don’t wanna just talk, I wanna trust”

Yeah, crush isn’t what it actually says but self-censorship for the Facebook monitors…

I don’t even want to get started on The Weeknd… Seriously. Anything under a thousand words is disrespectful and I’m trying to pitch my book and not praise him so I’m going to shut up and just say listen to every word the man has to sing.

Then there’s Tyga’s Make it Nasty, which is great both for it’s narrative structure and eclectic rhyme scheme back by them sick instruments and explicit video that makes it a classic a ratchet anthem.

Jeremih’s Down on Me, why should I say anything when you can watch?

The list goes on…

Anyway, enough trying to contextualize the work to the unaware reader as to the scope and span of this project inspired by the title. Here’s the list of the twenty poems that I wrote. They got no beats and no sonnet’s perfect – but I’m happy enough with what I made that I’m willing to share it with you. Oh, and if you’re wondering how I came up with such creative titles, prepare to be disappointed as most of them are from profile descriptions of prepagos.

Here’s a taste.

Songs for a Goddess 

Sonnetlisting

  1. Complacent – Complaciante
  2. Unforgettable – Inovidable
  3. Boyfriend Experience – Trato de Novio
  4. I Can Give You All of Your Fantasies – Puedo Cumplir Todas Tus Fantasias
  5. Dirty Little Doll and a Ball of Maddness – Muñequita Delgada y Colita de Locura
  6. Sweet and Tender – Dulce y Tierna
  7. Please Every One of Your Desires – Complacer Cada Uno de Tus Deseos
  8. Coquetry – Coquetiar
  9. Love (in the Key of Trap Latino) – Amor (en the llave de Trap Latino)
  10. Lil Sloth Princess – Princessita Perezoso
  11. Flower in the Crack – Flor en la grieta
  12. Wet – Mojada
  13. Spectacular Company – Compañía Spectacular
  14. Staff of Hermes – Baston de Hermes
  15. Screams of Pleasure – Gritos de Placer
  16. Nothing Vulgar and Very Discreet – Nada Vulgar y Muy Discreta
  17. Paisa Flavor – El Sabor Paisa
  18. There are no limits, let imagination run wild with me – No hay límites, deja volar la imaginación con me.
  19. Oral Natural – Oral Natural
  20. What’s your location? – Donde es su ubicación?

Two Sample Poems, One in English one in Spanish:

I Can Give You All Of Your Fantasies

As rivers lose name and shape in the sea
So too I, lost in the grip of her love
Cara, cuerpo, cuca, each alone enough,
To unmoor me from reality’s quay.
Like the prize held in the hives of bees,
From diffent places we come and yet such
Intensity makes me unable to judge
What’s other, what’s unique, what’s her, what’s me.
The rhythm of hips and honeyed lips,
An engine headed to oblivion;
Though the light slips to full eclipse
Moments after the dance is done.
Still the sun’s colors still flow through my veins,
And when meditating I still feel it’s remains.

 

 

Love in the Key of Trap Latino

We hav’n met n yet I’m hr amor
Hr bb, hr heaven, hr King, hr knight –
Sweet pet names, bu’ droppin pretenses I’m
Mos’ contented as Director & Actor.
Arrivin’n costume n make up t’th 9s
She a ten n Im tryn not to jump gun
Playn Trap Cartel beats shes shakng n
Bringng me peace makng me feel – Life Fine.
What Arcangel, Ozuna and Aanuel
Ache for s’th experience she gave me –
N now when I hear those sensual beats
Like they I wan’ to repeat it. Yeah! All!
I want her to repeat those rhythmic movements,
I want us to repeat those sweet moments.

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The print edition will also contain 10 never to be placed online photos. Seriously, I’m making you sign and deliver documentation before I’ll actually ship. Are they actually taboo or is this just a marketing ploy to pique your interest. Only one way to find out…

Oh and this picture here. This is not one of those photos – just the workbook/journal that many of the poems were first formed in and a thematic tie in to the project in general.

*

Pre-order now by filling out the below and I will be sending your notice of when they are ready to purchase.

Translation of La Tinta del Sur IV

Ink from the South IV

La Tinta Del Sur IV

“I always dreamed of going South and starting over”
The man who ran after the wind

Interpretations of Carpe Diem

Today’s society is us, living poets
Do not allow the life to happen to you without your living it
– Walt Whitman

Months ago I met a couple of drunks
Submissive to the social opulence of a guild.
It was a couple of hours.
I did not need more to lift the mat from his inert whereabouts
maintained based on a white powder of illicit jungle
that tinanciaban with the accumulated intellect of the years,
and the juggling of a scalpel thirsty for organic time.
A couple of decades invested in the knowledge bank
in the search for the South American dorado
to become vampires of dreams
that brought new light to their patients. but darkness for their spirits.
I remember them as a pair of tireless bigmouths in front of me,
a man from town.
Sitting by his side,
he listened as they devoured turns to fill the foundations of his
status,
were not to exclude them from the wealthy link that was now yielding
bills
and eat shit again,
feeling “once again the popularity of its origins.
To show the eyes of the smallest,
-and more stupid-.
He did not live life in his retinas,
half yertas,
like anguished meat
that cracked and resurrected robotically

under an inhospitable light
in claustrolobic salons heartless by reputation,
where I had long ago evicted empathy
to house the opinions of his greed.
Its procedure is only one of codes and coordinates insensitive to the
happiness.
Happiness that installed in air castles and on occasional ski passes in
Deluxe class to make yourself feel more human.
Empire that proudly exhibited his friend, and clan mate,
in its brand new Silicon Valley technology.
He also boasted of the collection of skirts that attracted his wealthy robe
when walking the clinical corridors,
detailing that more than one of her legs trembled at the perception of her aura.
His pulse did not tremble, especially his soul, when he looked at his patients.
At the same time,
the other butcher laughed, and the game followed him like a good henchman,
putting on the table his last big orgy.
Story he described while holding the ring on his ring finger.
Immersed in a sea of ​​tequilas I ventured to ask them about their
conscience
The most stupid,
He commented that it was one of those nights that he would pay to be called
Lifetime
-I imagine so that, at least, in his name it would harbor a loophole
humanity-
Embraced in body – but not in spirit – this pair of idiots
I grabbed the drink and with hand up
repudiating his smiles scalpel
I toasted for a long life
despising each one of the pillars of his asqueróso Carpe Diem.

If you don’t understand it, look it up! It’s worth knowing.

Murio en Diciembre

Melancholy is the joy of being sad.
Victor Hugo

I do not know if it’s the mist that comes through the chimney
when in our kitchen it still smells like your laughter.

O the euphoria of a love simmered, gradual, secret,
like good sex,
but with a Woody Allen ending.

The tango of you would have and we would have learned in a
Montevideo
and that I did not know how to interpret in other trips after your death.

Life in a bottomless drawer
where we used to write down the list of our outbursts
to avoid the reproaches of the good morning of the last Monday of the month.

A shelf photograph that holds the pillars of your absence
and that supported by esparto tunovela
refuses to the cliffs of amnesia.

The collection of Maghreb shoes that were left without your feet.

The writing of a tickle handbook for our gray days
that powders and wears since I do not move your waist.

Breakfasts and dinners that still know the maturity of a romance
When I set the table and nobody takes over your cutlery.

A hollow guitar -as you left my body-
where the nostalgia is now scattered,
and that I can not find a way to refine when December returns.

Anyway,
a post-feeling without rancor that drowns in the mornings, without reaching
kill the will to live.

You have to understand that life is composed of agitations of the soul,
and that melancholy has those qualities,
that does not understand deaths, nor feeble hearts,
not to overly depreciate it.

Because like the vines of an unattended yard
it spreads stealthily down the slopes of the marrow
until you hit the memory interlinings
where the most precious fantasies and memories come together,
those. No wonder in the markets of forgetting I have no pretext for me
to forget.

Soulmate

It is so cute
Knowing that you exist

Mario Benedetti

I found it in the development of our passions,
disheveled by the mischievous sunset of a recent Patagonian past_
His face shone when he put his coffee smile to use
that hardened her chin and stretched her eyebrows in a loving way_
His wise and pointed nose
where he exhaled the smell of beauty.
His mouth cracked by the salt of the southern seas.
His arms sunburned by the will of the heavens of the world
They were holding an Andean leather pouch that looked light,
but that hid an anthology of jars full of handfuls of
other lives.
Behind him a halo of hope balloons gave color to the
platforms of your dreams,
dreams that were similar to mine.
He did not flinch in tourist class, he was born in it.
It got on trains, cars and carts, unknown agents
that opened his appetite for continuing to breathe.
Eternized the curiosity of the whys and why
to give a sense to the direction of the invisible before the eyes.
With carboncíllo stamped memories on ocher leaves
that signed in verse
He hung in his wandering rooms to enlighten other travelers.

Barefoot throbbed Earth wounds
going through the years of the towns and their fields,
and with words and silences it illuminated the exile of those who believed
forgotten
My traveling soul, was not always an expert,
I was also sensitive to pillow fears,
I had outstanding scars to cure
and even I recognized to run the curtains some sunrises to avoid
the sadness of the West.
And I cried, believe me I cried for their sins and weaknesses,
I cried until I blushed the iris of their green almonds.
I have to say that, in a way that I still do not know,
untangling the amygdala and flattening the road to resilience.
Disarmed, not sunken,
he painted his lips with the brush of the bougainvillea of ​​the Mediterranean,
and he threw himself into the street without plans or ties,
again on the road,
where I found it,
willing to tattoo his memory with another trip
and to fill new jars with the knowledge of the world and its people.

My soulmate,
my traveling soul,
my partner.

In the valley of. An

To the sea (us)

Your hands named lifesavers.
rescuing the shipwrecks of my lonely afternoons.
The silence of the moles on your back.
Your smile like a Cove,
(prelude to your chest lit between my hands).

We have learned to wait for the rain as something good,
to share a candle,
to hold the music between your fingers,
to light the incense that rests in a blink.
And we grow every day like a garden, between seeds, books and photographs. ‘

My hands named lifeguards,
Rescuing the shipwrecks of your lonely nights.
The waves of my hair where we both inhabit.
My hands that are a bowl where I keep your teachings
And they are white thread that repairs your wounds.

We merged slowly into fleeting ports,
Freeing our shoulders of a weight that we carry on our backs,
and the notes of a past that hurts your ways and mine.
We are ocean and sea bordering coasts,
With that sound that diluted fears and absence.

I discover myself by your side every day,
on the high seas, with its waist full of maritime foam.
And I always see your eyes as a beacon,
fairy where the air that escapes from my mouth goes.

You discover yourself by my side every day,
making your voice a work of art,
making your walk poem,
and you see me knitting ñores to decorate my breasts,
as we grow each day as a garden,
between seeds, books and photographs.

I give you a movie …

Some enigmatic images show a badly wounded whale the surface of an unknown sea while a voice in off utters the sickening words: “Once I saw a whale with three calved harpoons and it still moved. It took an entire to die. We meet the bellena again. We had never been closer. He was weaker because of the harpoon that had fired at him. And covered with scars from all the battles I fight.”

We do not know where we are or who is the narrator. The we will find out more adclanlc. For now, outside of that scene inaugural, the story officially begins with the arrival of two boys to a remote place, the island of Bastoy, located in the fjord of Oslo, Norway. There reigns a disturbing peace where the cold, the fog and the sound of the waves and the wind tend to silence the voices of their forced tenants. Or maybe it is not only the wind, but we do not advance events. Well, in this land area of ​​one square mile stands a reformatory for young misfits that lasted more than fifty years since its opening at the beginning of the 20th century.

As in other narrations of a prison nature (and this one is), the first minutes are intended for introductions into this microcosm, in that place where time seems to have stopped in its tracks and in, the one that flies over a calm that is nothing but the prelude to the disturbing, realities that are sheltered there. The inmates there have been held stripped of their names and their daily work alternates physical works with
lessons in classrooms. The treatment of workers and vigilantes who are in charge of maintaining the correctional is a reflection of that confrontation between oppressors and oppressed often dismissed not only by the extreme rigor of the context, but also by that tendency (painfully human) to the army of power over queines are  onsidered inferior on the social scale.

Except for a few facts, we ignore Erling’s notebook, two young people who have just entered the center and about which the story begins to direct their attention. Erling, unlike the rest of the reprobates, who have internalized the rules of the game and behave like automata. Rapidly highlighting an indomitable character that leads him to be subject to harsh penalties. This composition calls the attention of one of the convicts of Bastoy. Olav, who, after having been there for six years, has completed a model of institutionalization in such a way that only a couple of weeks remain to be reinserted into society. The price has been high. Olav has had to keep silent, obey the orders of his superiors and ignore the injustices that have been testified. But something inside seems to have been removed after witnessing the unyielding Erling temperament and, in fact, despite the initial rivalry, will be producing between them a solid friendship. Throughout this journey, the camera registers with meticulousness the persistent glances of Olav, who assists admired again and again to the indiscipline actions of his commiffer. This friendship begins to shine as it becomes a denim light of the hopeless stage that welcomes them, a sign of humanity in a scenario dominated by sadness. While the relationship between the two boys evolves, the new convict will need help to write a letter addressed to his sister. It tells a strange story about his past experiences as a sailor… and about a hardy whale that refused to perish.

The question is that an exchange in the roles established by the narrative, because who we thought was a Secondary character (Olav) will initiate a gradual but moving process Transformation until seize the role of the film. This in this way, we are witnesses of an individual in whom the flame of the indignation, the nonconformity, the courage. . . , to the extreme of give up that longed for exit that, in the initial phases of history, A destination impossible to change. Many things passed between them, a revolt spurred by Olav himself after checking that the preceptor who had raped one of the boys in his barrack. Driving him to suicide, he has been reinstated in his position. Per, suffocated the Insurrection, the main character now will be the only inmate that achieves Evade the reformatory. Yes, unfortunately it will not be accompanied.

Events seem to have come to an end; but it is then when we return to those enigmatic images with which the story. And we guess its nature. These images, now we know, are mental projections of Olav from the marine narrations dictated by his old partner. We deduce that these recreations are have sedimentznlo in the memory of the character and tend to reappear over and over again in your imagination knowing that a portion of your current idiosinerasia was forged thanks to the example of that figure that instilled in him the seed of nonconformity. What we contemplate, therefore, it is nothing other than the internalization of an alien story, now integrated into the consciousness of another person. A prolonged ellipsis we moves to the present. Olav, as an adult, wakes up from his rest when, In the fishing vessel where you work, you are informed that you are Approaching the region to which the island of Bastoy belongs. Olav goes out on the deck and is reunited with the unmistakable sea that surrounded that prison where he spent a good part of his adolescence. And it’s here, with a noticeable pang of emotion, when those who return to their memory Mementos where he had no choice but to leave Erling behind, accidentally engulfed by the waters of an icy fjord, and travel with a wounded leg that snowy desert in search of his freedom.

The island of the forgotten ones (Marius Holt, 2010)
Jose A. Plans Pedrefio

Newly Available: Free, Digitized Collection of Gabo’s Writings

Two years ago the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center acquired  Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s works.

A grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)  contributed to the searchable, online archive which consists of nearly 27,500 items from Garcia Marquez’s papers.

This digitalized collection, is available to the public for free.

The digital archive includes manuscript drafts of the legendary writer’s published and unpublished works, research material, photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, clippings, notebooks, screenplays, printed material, ephemera, including an audio recording of Marquez’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.