Dulces de Calaveras

DULCES DE CALAVERAS--El Día de los Muertos

para Aurora Pena-Torres y Raúl Sánchez

La Catrina's dressed in her purple gown.
And soccer balls surrounding her altar
for her brother Mauricio help us remember cheers
for the athlete and cries in his crossing.
Empenadas y gansitos fill the plates of celebrants.

Marigolds mirror the sun.
Golden flowers of the dead,
cempazuchitl, flower of 1000 petals,
giver of life, shine for all, shining for Mauricio.
Candles and photos adorn the ofrenda.

Paper mache and sugar skulls travel north
cleaning up the culture in Aztlán.
In common neighborhoods like ours,
families bring children in costumes
mexclando the many traditions of our dreaming,

unaware of how they enrich us with their children
knocking on doors. So formal and grateful
in their imitation of the empire, I open my door
to their gifts--children whose masks cannot conceal
their joy at being here. Chocolate para los padres.

Honramos esta tradición con un tapete de arena
de colores brillantes, estilo mexicano. Sand paintings
of colored salt, lime, multi-colored seeds and sawdust
make carpets and tapestries telling the story. But masks
and dancing do not cover shadows from the war

in our borderlands. Pan de muertos es el pan de cada día,
ahora. Tantos muertos. Tantos muertos en la frontera.
La muerte viene en abundancia. Hay megas ofrendas hoy
en el Zócalo esperando contra los narcos. Ayudanos.
La guerra es un absurdo y no hay quien las entienda.

Juvencidio. LutoXmexico. Slaughter of the Young.
Mourning for Mexico. A child asks Presidente Calderón
for his calaverita as the President stands in front
of a large pile of skulls. On this Day of the Dead in Yakima,
we stand in solidarity, estamos en pie en solidaridad

con la gente en Tamaluipas, where 72 immigrants
from Central America are slain in mass by narcotraficantes,
and we remember their governor-to-be, Rodolfo Torre asesinado.
We remember slain journalists, protejamos el mensajero.
Tamalulipas, where people pray, or high mountains,

peligroso en cualquier camino. En México hoy,
cada día es un Día de los Muertos. Every day
is the Day of the Dead. We stand here, in Tieton,
with the help of Raúl Sánchez and his altar of marigolds,
we stand with Aurora, La Catrina, and her altar

of soccer balls and gansitos, remembering Mauricio,
and we bring ourselves remembering our ancestors.
We stand in the cempazuchitl, sunlit, laughing, riendo,
como nuestro Dios nos llamado, laughing as our God
has called us to do. Estamos en solidaridad
con los caidos, in solidarity with the fallen.

Jim Bodeen
2 de noviembre 2010
Día de los Muertos

1 comment:

  1. no dirge this, and with the images of both the living and the dead, hope through the living, though the idea of masks intrigues because there is no mask for the corrupt, though they think they deceive. or maybe they do not, maybe they feel they have the power and no need to deceive, and this is the most frightening face of all. good poem, and yes, a great deal of music. kjm