Archive for June, 2011

AGORA

Casi analfabeta, marginalmente educada, en movimiento constante, producto de un fortuito encatre; huerfana de afectos, incierta alcurnia inconclusa, sin permiso original, destinatario imperfecto, la muchacha esa manana buscaba entender la retorica populista; el mensaje oficial del estado, la tropa y la masa. Curiosa, como espigados flamencos en una escena plana, sin carteleras ni guiones, preguntaba a sus vecinos el porque, el cuando, como y quienes; queria saberlo todo, el orden, la simetria de las cosas.

– No soy educada, ni culta, ni refinada; Tampoco dada a los artificios, perezosa o falsa; mi lenguaje es rudo, directo, a veces torpe, aspero; pese a ello, mi curiosidad no tiene limites, quiero escucharme, que se me diga alguno unico; saber quien soy, como llege aqui; en que estacion me encuentro; Es que acaso sali de la nada?

Los ecos de una ciudad apresurada la envolvieron repentinamente; se sintio remecida,despierta. Absorbida por la niebla matinal, su arropada figura denotaba una resolucion firme, clara; queria comprender todo, especialmente los detalles, ser liberada y dejar de ser invisible. Se detubo frente a la biblioteca del vecindario – y se pregunto en susurro sobre la diferencia entre la fabula y la ciencia; quienes honran la historia, la aprenden y quienes la acomodan a conveniencia. Su deseo era remover el velo de su organizada, militarizada, cuadrada ignorancia. Su mision tempranera? Expandir su conciencia.

– Revivir los espiritus de otras eras, entender la caida y los alzamientos; las muertes ineludibles, su proposito inescapable, el mundo de lo cierto, probable, demonstrable, medible. Queria tambien saber de lo oculto, lo hereje; la fantasia de su propia historia en el firmamento. Buscaba tambien la belleza pura, incorruptible, deseaba prepararse para desafiar la crudeza obscena de los eruditas al mando. Cantar con voz clara, mismo si desafinada.

Horas de lectura; tenues luces iluminando su creciente entendimiento, la siembra de sabiduria. Despertaba refrescada, rodeada de libros grandes, pequenos, tomos diversos. Cuentos, fantasias, ciencias; vernaculares, magistrados eternos. Agazapada, silenciosa, por dias interminables visito ese modesto templo. Tomaba notas, tornaba las paginas cuidadosamente; cada libro para ella era un tesoro de incalculable valor. Converso tambien con el bibliotecario quien le conto de heroicas batallas, imperios, conquistas; independencia, la primera asamblea nacional.

– Me entiendes? Te queda claro? Aqui nos toca ser testigos; a ti de cambiar el mundo, mejorar tu sonrisa, tu vestido, tus zapatos, tu alimento; tu cobijo. En este templo no hay trampas, ni reformas, o enemigos; Afuera? Pues ten cuidado con los compradores de silencios; en este bendito recinto, la historia no se vende ni te la cuenta el viento. Cada vez que cruzas el umbral del conocimiento, seras una mujer diferente, renovada; estas dispuesta a serlo? Envidia? Pregunto ella. Avaricia? No se si bien le entiendo.

– Si, dijo el bibliotecario, eso y mas. Codicia, rapaces insasiables, los que lo tienen todo; los que dictan tu vida, te ordenan, te acomodan, te compran y luego te tiran a la basura como insignificante desecho. Pero mira, hay algo que debes entender, el “saber” es poder; es tambien, peligroso – te recomiendo Miachiavelli, para comenzar; es una lectura obligada.

Las palabras la dejaron tremula, agotada; al cabo de varias horas de incesante lectura y charla, decidio salir una vez mas a la nada; transeuntes, vocinas, glotones, venderores callejeros, olores a empanadas, tamales, berenjenas y sopas improvisadas. Las encrucijadas de una vida por vivir la esperaban; en algun rincon, la trampa la obervaba.

Lentamente, la muchacha bajo los peldanos del conocimiento, de las citas educativas – por hoy terminaba su visita con Galileo, Rumi, Greene, Neruda, Da Vinci, Bouvoir, Marquez, Lorca, Homero; las Cruzadas. En ese momento, alli anclada, con los ojos muy abiertos, mente despejada, dicernia, procesaba. Sintio correr por sus venas una euforia descontrolada, singular, extraordinaria. Camino con certeza hacia la plaza; rodeada de palomas blancas, pudo por fin pronunciar su nombre en voz alta: soy Nina – tu musa una illusion. Yo? Pues quiero ser escuchada!

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© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

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Our Mothers – Our Souls

I am overwhelmed by memories of her tender caresses bringing a loving smile to a young, innocent boy in the barrio; her hands covering the sky of my imagination, and then holding me tight on a daily walk to school, safely.

Was I dreaming? Did I heard the joyful laughter that brought us to tears during worrisome times reverberating in a circular motion, once again? Her love life was complicated; father was a good man, a good provider; yet, distant, at times unapproachable. Through it all, she kept grounded, solid; always ensuring that her enduring love was the flame that illuminated our home, even in her saddest, lonely moments.

Mothers have that deep soulful calling within; no matter how insurmountable the obstacles before us may be, to them life was and is always worth living notwithstanding. Mama led a stoic, generous life marked, as far as I can tell by two key points; my birth and my sister’s arrival. We became her world, day in, day out.

These were also radio days; I remember Sundays. At night time, gathered in her bedroom, just the three of us, the RCV radio light providing mysterious shadows, Mama providing sweet treats to keep us occupied, we listened to movies! That was one of her few enjoyments; ours too.

A single mother of modest means, protecting her pubs, ensuring us a dignified life, mama was driven to always find a way to provide us with the essentials and then some. When I look back in time, I can’t but feel wonder; how did she do it? Did she have a magic wand? A special arrangement with God?

Mama was our entry point to a world of magic; the circus, the symphony, the trips to the coast, the zoo, the museums, art galleries, theatre, of course the pilgrimage to Cerro San Cristobal, and how could I forget; the best French cabaret in Santiago! She had a full life, if not always the happiest. In her own way though she let us know she felt in many ways fulfilled – “you are my most precious creation, remember that” – she would say in a serious tone, with a radiant smile, and sparklingly eyes.

There’s a tendency to idolize our parents; especially when they are no more. Mama was not perfect; like us, she was human, fallible, and sometimes prone to outbursts of careless spontaneity. Yet, as I grew older, I discovered her unwavering faith towards a better life for us, our neighbours, our country; the world; she dreamed large …

No matter how challenging and possibly misguided her decisions at times, her intentions were always honourable; guided by her desire to give her kids the best life, she was unrepentant. For that I know my sister and I shall remain forever deeply grateful.

She thought us well; do onto others as you wish others do to you; is there anything more fundamental than this? While we watched on television the up raisings in the Middle East, I noticed once again her sparklingly eyes of hope for a just world. Shared moments; holding hands with mama at 55, feeling her deep motherly presence; savouring her magnificent soups; looking at her aging fortitude. It will take time to heal her sudden departure; she was 85, fragile, her body tired of residing on this earth.

My sister and I have her ashes now; a wooden urn containing our memories & hers. We have mementos; her voice echoing a song of freedom; photos revealing instances of sheer joy and beauty. Amidst the tears, one thing is clear thought; our mothers should always be revered, no matter what their station in life. I know ours was and is. –

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© Leo Campos Aldunez, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

In Memory of our Mother, Julia Aldunez G., 1925 – 2011