Cultura | Fall 1997

by Trebor Jacques

Noviembre embraces me with death as leaves fall, rain pours, and the wind blows east. The grave diggers bury his fresh Latino body, as mourners lay dead flowers of colors and wear black veils to hide their pain. Time stands still on empty moments of sadness.

People, dressed in baggy colors, hug. Los niños don't understand. Los adultos don't bother to explain, and the circle of teenagers don't know how to express their anger, their fear, their pain in Noviembre. His Mamá holds herself with the rosary as if it were a crutch. In search of his Spanglish, Papa cries, "Mi hijo, mi hijo, mi hijo. ¿Porque Diós?"

I can smell the cheap Tequila between his words; I am angry at my tío. The homeboys clutch each other. One cries; the other seven, eight or nine hide behind their so-called macho pride. Tears run down their crazy eyes. His Heína carries his future son in her womb.

I am crying without shame; without fear, I don't care who sees or not!

I am angry! Angry at the world, at the system, at my Latino brothers who are pendejos with quetes. Don't they realize they killed life, they took it away without God's permission. How could mí familia survive. How could my Tía make those warm tortillas without making one for her hijo? How would going to bed be without saying goodnight? How could his little sister grow up without a good argument? The wind shivers, and mi primo's soul is near and yet, his body lies without life. WHO RIPPED OUR JARDIN APART AND TORE OUR BROWN SOIL, WHICH HAS BEEN TENDED TO FOR SO MANY YEARS?

Which of my brown brothers can take this responsibility? Who am I to judge? We come to this land to reap its rewards. Some through the eyes of the Anglos; others through the long journey of darkness to proclaim freedom from the past. We all arrive from a woman's womb, not from a country. We come to this melting pot in unity. Each of us holds answers to our diversity.

And this city is what I call Casa. Mi tierra lies not on the streets or barrios I live in. It lies in what I am, in what I do to survive, what coins I toss into my fountain...of Familia... of friends...of mi vida.

Tears run down, and I can taste the salt of fear in my tongue and yet, I cannot change fate for mi primo is cold in his grey coffin. He is dead, and Mission Cemetary never look sadder in Noviembre. The skies declare rain, and raindrops have fallen in our brown souls. Slowly, we leave in groups to Mi Casita, and mama has prepared posolé to sooth our emotions.

And I can still remember mi primo breaking the piñata every time. I can still recall how he laughed at my alternative ways and called my friends "Wierdos".

And on that summer day, he was 19 and I was 20, when hell broke loose as mís padres found out that their only hijo likes "hombres" - Mama y Papa with their anger and shame blared words of hatred, words of spite, words that you daren't say to a child. How I ran and got lost in the city of angeles expecting no one to find me, for the shame was out. No one could find this little boy -not his friends, not his sisters, not even the married men who secretly paged him. Yet, four hours and twenty two minutes later there was mi primo, with his XXL LARGE CREASED t-shirt and khaki pants loose on his smooth skin. Laughing, smiling, and asking, "Why you running away cuz?" His simple advice: "Who gives a fuck if you suck dick? Respect the old lady and suck clean balls!" He was laughing at the secret I have held for years. He got quiet in the hills of the Norte Valle and stared me with his big brown eyes and whispered, "I love you bro, you're mi sangre and that's all that matters."

He is still gone, and I am still here - queer, brown and proud. I am the professional you see; he was the trash you judged. I am the writer; he was my ink. He had tatoos; I collected stickers. We both did drugs - everybody knew his habit; nobody saw through my lies. He was the beautiful cholo; I was the fashionable one. I traveled beyond my barrio; he stayed within his barrio. He died six years ago, and you killed part of me.

I have been strong holding the jardin together to support the niño who turns seven at the end of summer. And I have learned to accept that woman in my family and have let God guide me through the thorns that have since grown in mi jardin, allowing me to forgive the brown Latin brother who uprooted the flowers in mi vida.

Rest in paz primo, and stop breaking all the piñatas.

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