If You Ever Visit Huhi

This poem is one (if not the first poem) ever published in my life. The poem is a reflection of my hometown, Huhi.

 

If You Ever Visit Huhi

 

if you ever visit Huhi, find my parents,

they live in a small house with mud walls.

they must be old by now, but they are waiting

for me. tell them you saw me here in the desert,

alone, and thirsty. tell them i want to come back

home to rest in peace in my hammock. tell them

i have not slept for years and i want to dream again.

 

if you ever visit Huhi, go to the cemetery and find

a grave, newly dug. find don juanito, tell him

i am coming home soon. tell him my parents will

pay him with two chickens and a dove if he gives

me lots of water when the droughts begin,

i am thirsty and you do not know how painful

it is to be thirsty and have no water to drink.

 

if you ever visit Huhi, find doña micaela,

mi abuela, and tell her to cook me a good cochinita pibil

with lots of red onions, and chiles habaneros.

tell her to bring it to the graveyard every dia de muertos,

so those who have no one to cook for them

can taste it, too. tell her i miss her cooking

and her laughter, please if you find her alive tell her

i always think about her and my grandfather, el leñador.

 

if you ever visit Huhi, go to the church and find

el padrecito and tell him to offer a mass for my

soul, a mass will give me strength. knowing

someone is waiting for me makes me happy.

tell him i am coming home soon, my parents

will pray to the Virgin de Guadalupe a whole year.

tell him if he has some left-over wine, he can

pour some on top of my grave. i am thirsty.

 

if you ever visit Huhi, wait in the dark alleys

i once roamed, listen to my cries, be silent, do not

be afraid, as it is only me, your old friend,

the one who roams the desert. soon, i will arrive

at the town where i was born many summers ago.

if you ever visit huhi, visit the lagoons,

you will find me there drinking

water as i am dead and very thirsty.

 

 

 

Post- Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Thoughts

Post- Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Thoughts

written by Gerardo Pacheco Matus-Work-Study Scholar (aka Waitership)

Special Thanks to Michael Collier, Jennifer Grotz, Noreen Cargill, Jason Lamb and Camille T. Dungy for giving me the chance to be part of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference 2015, and for making me feel I belong to this great family. I also want to thank all of the people who supported and helped me financially and emotionally to get to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference 2015.

What did I gain as part of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference?

The knowledge and the inspiration are unique and great. Having the opportunity to share this unique experience and place with the most outstanding writers in the country has been a great experience that can only be summoned to one word, inspiration.

By writing about my experience as a Work-Study Scholar (aka Waitership), I am trying to expressed ideas and feelings as I believe Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference has made a great impact in my personal and professional life. My experience as a Work-Study Scholar was a unique. I hope every body can have the same opportunity to experience the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at some point in life.

Even though, my team and I worked three or four meal shifts per day, we were able to find energy to go out and be part of the many craft classes, workshops, readings and social events. I found myself sleeping for five hours or less and getting up when the campus bell was rang for breakfast (7:30am).

My workshop leader had warned me, “You as a waiter have to prioritize. First work and workshop and then if you can go to the other events.” I can go on about the many things that my team and I went through, good and bad, exciting and frustrating, but I guess this whole experience taught us to bound and to build a community of waiters-writers-human beings-dreamers.

There is no time in the Mountain for self-pity, or time to waste with nonsense.

On my first day, I took a nice hiking trip around Middlebury College. Hiking pays off because I met a great writer and professor, who taught me how to understand the ins and outs of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

This professor was walking on the street by herself. I was happy to see this person walking alone because I have gotten myself lost while looking for Robert Frost’s cabin. I approached this professor and asked for directions.

I didn’t think about this, but after a while, I thought about it carefully, she must be afraid of me, a brown man holding a wooden stick mumbling to myself how stupid I was for not finding Robert Frost’s Cabin. Indeed, this professor admitted to me later on that she was afraid of me, and that she wanted to grab a rock just in case. Good thing she didn’t find a stone because she might have used it on me.

I feel happy because this professor was willing to help me coupe with the active Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference’s life. Also this professor couched me how to read my poems out load, a teaching lesson I won’t ever forget.

Before and After Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Every time, I feel like my journey as a writer and Poet has reached its end, or whenever I feel I have no energy, something always happens that shows me there is still hope. This time, Bread Loaf proved me that there is still hope even for me.

I am trying to understand my role as a Bread Loaf Scholar. Now, I like to think of myself as an Ambassador of Bread Loaf’s believes. This tittle implies a great deal, and I am not assuming to know the right answers for Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at all, but after ten days at the Mountain, my life has been changed. Now, I can say I belong to a great family of writers.

Once, I arrived to California, I had an emotional melt down. I asked myself why was I feeling like this? I reflected for many hours about this feeling of misplacement. “It was only ten days,” I told myself, “I shouldn’t feel like this, lost and misplaced.”

At that moment, I felt like I didn’t belong here or there. One more time in my life, I felt like my world has become part of a bubble of ether. How can ten days at the Mountain have so much power to change me?

This is the magic of being isolated and sharing ideas, meals and rooms with the best writers I have ever met. This is what breathing that muggy air of the Vermont Mountain can make to people who have never belong to a community of writers before.

Redwood City, CA. August 28, 2015.

Photo: Michael Collier, Gerardo Pacheco Matus and Helena Maria Viramontes (Fellow Waiters for a Day)

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El Gran Comandante a Muerto

El Gran Comandante a Muerto

Author: Gerardo Pacheco Matus

el gran Comandante de la patria a muerto,

y los zopilotes no lo saben.

un aire nuevo de prosperidad y cambio

se avecina como una tormenta.

la revolución del monte y la selva se a acabado,

y muy pronto el malecón de los barcos olvidados,

se llenaran de nuevos cruceros provenientes de todo el mundo.

lo nuevo será lo viejo, y lo viejo será lo nuevo.

muy pronto el vejuco verde que cubre las casas

de los pobres con su implacable verdor

será arrancado de raíz, y las flores blancas,

rojas y azules, de un nuevo imperio brotaron,

en esta tierra de hambre y sueños truncados,

con la única misión de plagar este nuevo paraíso.

dios mediante, los balseros regresaran a su patria,

y serán considerados los nuevos héroes

de una patria que el Comandante nunca se imagino.

las goteras del capitolio nacional serán reparadas,

y las paredes peladas y descoloridas de las chozas

de los mas pobres se llenaran de frases nuevas del cambio.

la ideología comunista de los abuelos de la revolución

será cambiada con la de la prosperidad.

los monumentos de los grandes héroes de la patria

serán reemplazados con las estatuas del payaso MccDonalds,

y uno que otro coronel de Kenntucky Fried Chicken,

y sin olvidarnos de la WalL*Mart, o la Cocaa-Colaa Company.

los banqueros de botas de cowboy y sombreros Stettson

llegaran muy pronto y trataran de comprar un pedazo

de esta vieja nación con dinero de la petrolera ShellL.

el pobre revolucionario será expulsado

de sus casas que se han estado derrumbando

por medio siglo, y se marcharan al monte, o a la selva,

o a la sierra madre, o a donde la santa providencia disponga,

para esperar la resurrección del gran Comandante.

pronto el millonario llegara, y nuevos palacios

se edificaran a su nombre. pronto los Buuick y los Plymoths viejos,

serán retirados de circulación, y los carros últimos modelos

llegaran desde la madria patria. pronto, el pobre revoluciónario

será contratado como chofer, lava platos, mozo, jardinero

y recamarero en los nuevos hoteles Hillton.

el cambio se avecina, y nadien lo puede detener.

Shark Fins

Shark Fins

By Gerardo Pacheco Matus

a lonely shark plummets

down like led

into the ocean’s abyss

bleeding & trashing

oh, poor lonely shark

left to roam the ocean sea

without its dorsal fins

lost forever in a dark world

of water & fish

i can’t help it…

i’m thinking about eyes

that can’t see

hearts that can’t feel

hands that can’t hold

many summers ago

i read somewhere

that if you ever pluck

a person’s eyes

the person will wander off

forever in the dark afterlife

blind and deaf

searching for its eyes

i hope the poor shark

won’t linger in pain

in the heaven sea

searching for its fins

The Old Chess Player

The Old Chess Player

 

i can see the old man

sitting inside of his dark cell

 

a chess board

sits in front of the light—

 

the shadows of queens & kings

motionless in time—

 

no motion forward—

no motion backwards—

 

time stuck—

 

the old man thinks:

what is

the next thing

to do

in this world

of white and black;

 

El Latino Indocumentado

para todos los latinos indocumentados…y los que no también….

 

El Latino Indocumentado

 Gerardo Pacheco Matus 

el latino indocumentado anda por este país

muriéndose de miedo

por que la migra se lo quiere llevar

al otro lado

 

las madres hispanas andan llorando

por las calles de los ángeles como la llorona

por que la migra se a llevado a sus maridos indocumentados

 

hijos e hijas, madres y padres hispanos

todos deportados al resto del mundo

en el mes de la hispanidad

 

a esos países del sur donde el indocumentado

no es ni indocumentado, ni mojado

ni espaldas mojadas, ni frijoleros 

si no que un ser humano pobre—

un indio pata rajada, un pordiosero—

 

un indio mas en este mundo

sin dignidad, ni voz ni voto, perdido

en la soledad de este inmenso continente americano

 

donde el hombre es despedazado

y destazado como un cerdo por la mafias

de los gobiernos ocupados

esos gobiernos de colores verde, blanco y rojo…

 

los niños indocumentados andan por la frontera

con los pies descalzos, llenos de ampollas

ellos nunca podrán bailar la salsa gabacha en Washington

 

que hipocresía, el latino indocumentado

anda por este país muriéndose de miedo

mientras que en La Casa Blanca Obama

y sus seguidores andan celebrando el mes del hispano—

 

quizá Obama mencionara, que el hispano

también se muere en la frontera

tratando de llegar a este grandioso país

para ser celebrado en el mes de la hispanidad

 

o quizá Obama nunca admitirá

que su gobierno ha deporta al hispano

indocumentado en cifras mayores que las de Bush

 

Redwood City,  CA, September ’13

A Mayan Pyramid

 

A Mayan Pyramid

 

an old man wanted to build

a Mayan pyramid

in the middle of the earth

 

a real Mayan pyramid

as tall as the sky

with holy jaguars

and feather snakes statues

 

the old man dreamt

with this monstrous white pyramid

made of giant stones

standing in the middle of the earth

 

and every day, the old man walked

across his dry fields

his pockets filled with stones

carrying  stone after stone

in order to build his own Mayan pyramid

 

Un Ángel Ha Llegado

An Angel Has Arrived (English Version)

 

the devil arrived to the town

still wearing his old soldier boots

 

a long and white beard covered

his old, ghostly face

 

his whole body was covered

by a tick layer of old and red dust

that belong to some forgotten road

 

he stunk like a seven day old corpse

a stench of graveyard and dirt—

 

his charred, twisted face

still had his smile of bandit

 

his golden, solid tooth

glittered like a star

in that labyrinth of fangs

inside of his snout of wild animal

 

a green, tattered uniform

with insignias of annihilated countries

covered the dry bones

of this old dying man

 

the devil didn’t have giant wings

or a long tale of a vanished beast

 

he only carried a little bag

full of old tattered clothes

 

the devil desired to rest in peace

in some old forgotten grave

 

 

Un Ángel Ha Llegado

el diablo llego cansado al pueblo

pero el aun tenia sus botas de soldado viejo…

las barbas mas largas y blancas del mundo

le cubrían la cara de aparición

el estaba cubierto por un polvo viejo y rojo

de algún camino olvidado

con un olor de muerto de siete días

un olor a tierra seca de panteón

la cara la tenia chamuscada y retorcida

pero el aun tenia la sonrisa de bandido

y el diente de oro macizo

que brillaba como una estrella

en ese laberinto de colmillos

en aquel hocico de animal salvaje

un uniforme verde y carcomido

con insignias de países aniquilados

le cubrían los huesos secos

a aquel viejo moribundo…

el diablo no llevaba unas alas enormes

o una cola de bestia desterrada

solo una mudita de ropas viejas

y las ganas de descansar en paz

en alguna tumba olvidada

El Mojado De Nuestros Tiempos Modernos…

El Mojado De Nuestros Tiempos Modernos…

 

El Mojado de nuestros tiempos modernos

anda por el desierto

tragando bocanadas de aire caliente

 

El Mojado va solo y triste

por este mundo de piedra y arena

que se traga hasta a el mas valiente…

 

hasta al mas macho de los machos

el desierto se lo traga por pedazos…

hasta dejar solamente un montón de huesos

blancos y amarillentos; un montón de nada…

 

un montón de carne seca…

unas uñas llenas de tierra

y unas mandíbulas abiertas

petrificadas en gritos de miedo

 

mandíbulas que se desmoronan

poco a poco en el olvido del desierto…

 

El Mojado de nuestros tiempos modernos

se muere solo como un perro

en el desierto desterrado de su país

 

forzado a morir lejos de sus padres

y seres queridos;

en una tierra donde el hombre no es hombre

pero un animal rabioso…

I’m Going to Xibalba

I’m Going to Xibalba

i’m going to Xibalba

to the land of the dead

where father and mother wait

for me holding their hearts

made of black stones

where dreams and memories

become a handful of dust

where the light meets the night

and the sky becomes red like copper

where the crows roost in a valley

cluttered with long white bones

where the jaguar drags its shadows

cluttering its heavy yellow bones

across withered maize fields

i’m going to Xibalba

where, i’ll crumble to dust

like a heap of broken stones;

La Calavera Del Desierto (English Version)

La Calavera Del Desierto (English Translación)

 

La Calavera crawled out of the Arizona desert

rattling its dusty bones like an ancient rattlesnake

covered by red dust and sand

too tired and swallowing mouthfuls of hot air

opening and closing her crumbling jaws

as if she wanted to speak up

and  say something about that hellish desert

named Arizona, but La Calavera only cried and screamed

 

La Calavera carried a little bag of ragged clothes

tied to her back and wore a “corona” hat

no pants or skirt, no blouse or shirt

no wallet or hand bag; no boots or high hills

no Virgen de Guadalupe medal

or silver earrings, no name or last name

she only carried lots of gabacho dreams

plastered dried on her long bones

 

La Calavera was naked to the bone

in that day in which the sun burnt those souls

that dared to walk alone in this desert

cluttered with rattlesnakes, red and yellow scorpions

and ants as red as the dying sun

 

La Calavera reached a dirt road that disappeared

into the desert’s womb, and stopped under a saguaro

those giant cactus with opened arms covered with thorns

 

La Calavera sat down under the steaming sun

too tired to go on and began to dig a dry hole

to rest in peace…