Thursday, June 29, 2006

Carta Addr3ss3d 2 My 39 Year-Old Futur3 S3lf as 1 Inch 3v3r Clos3r 2 My 3st33m3d Status as a V3t3rano

Part 1

In 9 y3ars I will hav3 surpass3d all of my 3xp3ctations. And if my lif3 go3s according to th3 plan 1 mad3 wh3n 1 was 8, th3n, 1 should b3 d3ad by this dat3. D3composing and c3asing to wond3r how long th3y mourn3d m3, a smatt3ring of ash3s floating in th3 Gulf or th3 Rio Grand3. 1 won't liv3 b3yond 30 1'd d3cid3d--

3rd grade. 1983. Mas o m3nos. Aft3r our dad jamm3d on us, w3 stay3d with my Bu3la. W3'd b33n th3r3 a coupla yrz. My Bu3la liv3d in th3 oblong shadow of a pink church and across from a jonqu3. At nit3 w3 h3ard all th3s3 crazy-a$$ nois3s and my Momz always claim3d th3s3 whistl3s b3long3d to a l3chuza or th3 wails sh3 attribut3d to th3 3ndl3ss sufrimi3nto of La Llorona. This all scar3d th3 shit outta m3 back th3n til my hom3boy Mando point3d out th3s3 ruidos waz probably just tlaquach3's fucking in th3 junkyard. 1 waz 8, a fan alr3ady of fr33styl3, m3nudo and cholos. I wouldn't 3njoy tripas until a f3w y3ars lat3r. So, in 3rd grad3, th3 t3ach3r ask3d us to writ3 obituari3s. Dilig3ntly, 1 plann3d my d3ath for ag3 30 [a m3r3 month and an amalgamation of hours from th3 OG sit3 of this carta].

1'll di3 tragically, a murd3r, 1 convinc3d mys3lf and was instruct3d, by my t3ach3r, to r3vis3. [Now, 1 wish 1 taught at th3 sam3 school as this babosa so 1 could r3ad th3 fuck outta h3r for h3r tir3dness--talking down, low 3xp3ctations and habitual sil3ncing of poor M3scan childr3n.] So, 1 conjur3d a n3w d3ath--car accid3nt. 1 imagin3d an 18-wh33l3r smashing m3 ov3r th3 Harbor Bridg3 in Corpitos and hop3d p3opl3 who still lov3d and miss3d m3 would build a magnific3nt roadsid3 m3morial to honor m3, a languid wr3ath of blu3 plastic ros3s and a giant blu3 crucifix. A good d3ath is not what 1 want3d. 1 crav3d th3 jaws of lif3 and m3lancholy. Wh3n 3xpiring to a p3ac3ful natural d3ath isn't f3asibl3, 1'll opt to aspir3 to on3 that stops traffic ov3r th3 gr33n mouth of th3 Gulf.

1 had a r3lationship with mu3rt3 that oth3r 8 y3ar oldz at St3ph3n F. Austin 3l3m3ntary did not. 1'd alr3ady di3d onc3. At l3ast that's how my Momz t3llz th3 story of how my h3art stopp3d on th3 op3rating tabl3 and 1 flatlin3d for a matt3r of s3conds. N3ta. I don't r3m3mb3r shit about th3 3ntir3 3pisod3, 3xc3pt for th3 brittl3 m3mory of a painkill3r that 1 flashback3d to much lat3r in lif3 wh3n I shot brown on Lor3na Str33t, and th3 r3sidu3 of that hospital m3mory 3xpung3d its3lf through th3 tip of that luminous sharp. Th3 way 1 s33 it, if 1 r3ally di3d in 2nd grad3, my h3art waz only r3sisting th3 forc3d circumcision 1 was 3nduring at 7 y3ars. In d3f3ns3 of my for3skin, my h3art stopp3d and y3ll3d, "O, fuck naw, bitch3s!" Futil3ly, w3 lost that battl3 of th3 cu3ro.
L3ch3 LiBr3

for Big Smok3y
1963 - 2004

It's 3l3m3ntal. Volcanic, gu3y. Saying shit lik3 Por Vida, gu3y. Conf3ss this f33ling insid3, gu3y. 1 r3m3mb3r it--1st tim3 1 promis3d a vato por vida. 1t waz for you.

19 and sprung, gu3y. Caught up in the sin3wy spid3r's w3b of hom3boy lov3 and Prop 187. 1 wrot3 you shit, cartitas, po3mitas. You cr3ated panos for m3, 3xquisit3 squares of sabana ripp3d into j3w3ls, 3tch3d in marv3lous ballpoint and mad3 firm3 b3cuz of your lov3 and your hand and your cora and th3 stiff3n3d v3n33r of industrial floor wax. 1 r3m3mb3r, n3v3r could shak3 that kinda h3avin3ss, that profound p3dasot3 you swung my way. Shit, I wrot3 about th3 shit that matt3r3d, the prid3 and f3ar of w3aring your tru3 blu3 P3ndl3ton por la prim3ra v3z, which 1 still got (only cuz my Momz borrow3d it 1 time all th3s3 y3arz back and n3v3r gave it back until sh3 dug in h3r clos3t 1 morning and 3xtract3d it lik3 a surg3on giving m3 a liv3r or a lung). Shit, 1 put down this 1 lin3a, gu3y. Can still f33l it s33thing on th3 m3at of my tongu3, that "You sm3ll lik3 3t3rnity and Xicanismo." 1 would list3n to Jos3fa Salinas, la Ang3lita d3 la Noch3, Pow3r 106, writ3 you shit that show3d you who 1 waz and how hard 1 lov3d. 1f This World W3r3 Min3. 1 know you r3m3mb3r.

Shit, you waz th3 1st p3rson in my whol3 life who made m3 b3li3v3 that h3 gav3 a fuck about m3. La m3ra n3ta. F33lz so crunk, that 1st fuckin tim3 som31 affirms and validat3s and strok3s a vato lik3 that, mak3s it s33m lik3 th3 world aint so fuck3d up and crazy aft3r all, and wh3n th3 moon splits op3n th3 sky, and w3 finally r3alize that th3 world still is that diorama of bullshit, 3ntonc3s, w3'r3 right th3r3, sid3 by sid3, you on my back, m3 and you against th3 world, hom13. That's th3 way it was. Tu y yo. Giving corn3r, hom13. I r3m3mb3r.

And that'z what driv3s my p3n today, gu3y. S33, 1'm having th3s3 3piphani3s. And today as 1 drov3 back to San Anto from ATX, I saw it. Th3 confid3nc3 in th3 shit I wanna do with mys3lf, which som3 might call s3lf-r3speto but 1'll just call d3s3o cuz lik3 Luis Alfaro d3clar3s, "D3sir3 is m3mory." La m3rota n3ta, gu3y. I f33l that shit in my hu3zo, both th3 on3 in my ribz and 4arms wh3r3 I ink3d your nam3, and th3 1 rising up lik3 a furious cl3nching of lava and l3ch3, m3cos and your saliva, b3tw33n my thighs, tambi3n. 1t's confianza wh3r3 that s33d conn3cts con ti3rra, an imm3ns3 trust that s3nds th3 rootz 4ward, my confianza in you having my back from up abov3, not cuz it's your jal3 or cuz you ow3 m3 shit or ar3 trying to mak3 up for shit, but for the simpl3 tru3 fact that you giv3 a fuck. Guadrian ang3l? Naw. You'r3 a fuckin incubus, gu3y. The firm3 vato who com3s to m3 in su3nos and fix3s this lon3lin3ss, this guilt, th3s3 pangs of coraj3. A down a$$ v3t3rano who show3d m3, and a f3w oth3r vatos b3for3 I came along, what barrio lov3 and b3ing down for your 1 and only is all about.

pa ti, gu3y, my 1, my only
+ all th3s3 y3arz aft3r th3 fact +
por vida