The Mayans Were Wiped Out

I’d prepared 3 tacos for lunch before she asked me with an angelic smile where I’d come from. She didn’t give me time to answer her first question when she interrupted herself with a giggle and added, “You’re the one Mayan from the email.”

She was referring to the email the organization had sent that morning in order to highlight the scholarship winners. My group was late for lunch because our teacher had forgotten to let us go for lunch. You see my teacher is from New York, and she hadn’t paid attention to the time change, or at least that was her excuse.

“You’re Mayan, right?” She asked me as I was trying to formulate an answer to her first question, “and your kind was wiped out, right?”

She looked at me as she wanted me to answer her questions, but perhaps she saw my puzzled face, so she giggled again to avoid her awkward questions. Indeed, I was puzzled by her questions and comments about the subject of the Mayans’ demise.

I was trying to figure out what she meant by “wiped out,” when a second middle-age lady butted in with her own comment to correct the first lady. “Eradicated,” she interrupted, “his kind were eradicated.”

What is the difference I thought silently as I stopped and looked at both ladies? I wanted to correct both ladies with a harsh tone; however, I just looked at them thinking of how much these two ladies knew about us, the Mayans.

I thought for a second bout this disgrace because these two ladies lived about 650 miles away from Yucatan, my home state in Mexico. They should have known that across their bay lays the old Mayan empire full of Mayan natives and expats living in a peninsula called Yucatan.

I had been trained as a teacher not to disregard anyone’s comments or ideas when I teach, so I put on my teacher’s hat and offered an answer that might not offend both ladies.

“Both of you are correct to an extent,” I finally answered, “Indeed, the Mayan people have been wiped out…to an extent as you know. The Mayan people were part of the Spanish colonization, so we have been exposed to genocide and eradication.”

Both of the ladies looked at me guiltily just like if they knew they have messed up. Perhaps, they were ashamed to be informed that the Mayan people are very much alive.

“You see,” I addressed both ladies, “There is a whole country of Mayans in the world, and today I want to let you know the Mayan people are very much alive. I am proof.”

 

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Mi Nombre Es Dimas

 

Angelito Fridah

Mi Nombre Es Dimas
          after Frida Kahlo’s “El difunto Dimas Rosas a los 3 años de edad.”

yo siempre quise ser rey, no santo,
yo había soñado con ángeles
muchos ángeles con las alas
gigantes y de muchos colores,

en esta tierra de indios,
me llaman Dimas como mi padre,
yo nunca aprendí a leer o a escribir,

yo quería ser rey, pero me han vestido
como santo, con ropas finas, una corona
de padre, un lazo rosa de seda,
y la túnica de monaguillo,

me han traído gladiolas y cempasúchil,
yo soy un santo durmiendo encima de un petate,
estoy descalzo, mis pies son negros,
tengo mucho frio, he caminado
sobre espinas, y botellas quebradas,
mi cabeza de indio descansa
sobre una almohadilla que mi madre
ha bordado por todo un año,

me han coronado como santo,
mi nombre es Dimas,
soy un pobre indio,
que soñó ser un rey;

 

Gerardo Pacheco Matus, a Mayan Native, is the recipient of the distinguished Joseph Henry Jackson Award and fellowships from CantoMundo, The Frost Place, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Katharine Bakeless Nason Endowment. Pacheco’s poems and essays have appeared and are forthcoming from La Bloga, Spillway, Grantmakers in the Arts, Apricity Press, Amistad, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Cipactli, Poets Responding to SB 1070, The Packinghouse Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, West Branch Wired, The Cortland Review and Tin House Magazine.

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.