Soliloquy of the middle-southern
B Y B R I A N A L A R C O N
“GGM DEAD ON THURSDAY NIGHT DUE TO
IRRELEVANCY AT HEART FROM THE AMERICAN
WORLD! WHY DON’T THEY TEACH HIM AT SCHOOLS?”
Garcia Marquez is dead. Who am I to stray my thoughts to now when I think of the great living art in my culture? I stand, idle, individual to his book and his nourishment, and run our memories under the lackluster green screen sitting flat on my bed. I am from the south. I remember playing in the sugar fields and sucking on leaves, carefully, watching not to spoil any canes. I would dig holes in the furrow, bury myself in, and lay there with my head turned up covered in thick sand.
Garcia Marquez lived along the coast, and let me tell you, there is nothing more melancholic than being able to say your mother birthed you in saltwater and named you after an angel. In my town, horses were only of use if they could climb mountains, and a man was only a man if he could tame one. Though, I never saw a man wrestle a horse more ardently than I did on a beach in Cartagena. It took me back to the elder days, and no, I’m not talking about La Violencia or PCC. Even further, when a man named Bolivar overtook everything and called it La Liberación.
Men back then really knew what they were talking about, which was nothing. The less they knew the less they could be wrong about, right? The less they knew the more room they had to love their families; I mean, what was happening was just really a favor to everyone. The Indians got to work their fields while the criollos sat around in lounges being almost European. What a perfect show of humanity that all was, to have poverty reduced to such a thing as ineptitude. But then the automobile came along and ruined everything. Everyone seemed to want one, and a child was never going to eat oil anyways. Fuck those cars, there was no longer any control over where the world shifted and if that of the slaves penetrated that of the owners. These salvages! How dare they think they deserve to plant their feet on the cobble stones they laid?! How dare they buy the food their brothers grew?! It was sickening. It was like watching two roosters eat each other through.
I remember 1908 and the industrialization. Oh man, the blacks really got a kick out of this one. Though we were no longer calling them negroes, as they were suddenly dancing and living in two story buildings being able to talk back to us in more languages than we knew. Now the bastards were Mulattoes. I met a woman of Dutch descent who partied with the Chocoans day in and day out, talking about their skin being covered by the pacific sand, the endlessness of its ocean, its vigor. She was raped by a half white man on a beach in Buenaventura. He fucked her for being a “puta criolla,” so he could go back home to his raped mother and sing a Quibcha song to the dragon living below the Orinoco.
I have never met a mestizo who didn’t want to finish something he did not start, myself and Garcia Marquez included. I have not yet finished resenting myself for being a white of any sort. As a child, I read somewhere that Indians believed the earth was our mother and that we should love her. At the time, the only way I knew to love my mother was to throw her arm over my body as I slept in her bed after a nightmare, so sometimes I would leave the finca alone at night to throw Mother Earth’s arm over my cold body and attempt to shudder her. I think she spoke to me once, although it could’ve just have been the canes wrapping themselves above me, but if she did speak she said “America has got it all.” And obviously I’ve never been too sure of what she meant.
Garcia Marquez, if you’re there, will you please gather my stuff and move it from the bedroom to the desk and describe to me the empty room? What is it that you see? Has Colombia changed since it moved to New York City? Was Mexico fair enough to you? Did they detour all the death threats? Did you get out of there alive and with your Nobel peace prize? ∞