Archives for category: feminism

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Cain Enabled

Genesis 4-5 (with guest appearances by Matthew 22, 27 and Leviticus 27 )

I am the donkey. I chant the lessons of the fathers. The chant is the lesson. Repeat, the chant is the lesson. The words are the rhizomes of the chant. The chant is the lesson. Repeat, the chant is the lesson. I have sinned. The sins are the rhizomes of the chant. The chant is the lesson. Repeat the chant. Repeat the lesson. I have been judged by commandment. Judgments are extensions of the lesson, the chant. Repeat the lesson. The chant is the lesson of the Father. Repeat, the chant is the lesson. Eve, Cain, Moses, Jesus. Repeat the judgments. Repeat. Begat begat the begat. Repeat. Names are the blocks of the chant of the repeat the lesson chant. There is no person. There is no person. The chant is the lesson. The center cannot hold. There is no center. Repeat. Repeat. Chant the lesson the chant. All chant. All rhizomes chant the lesson. Light is mass. Repeat. The chant. Mass is light. Repeat. Chant. Substance is nothingness. Repeat. Nothingness is substance. The chant. Begat. The chant. He begat He. She does not exist. Chant. Repeat. She is only He begetting. Repeat. She is half the judgment. Half the shekels. Chant the lesson. Seven seedless husbands. Chant. Repeat. They all had her, passed her on. Repeat. They all had her. Repeat. Ain’t no fun. Chant. If the homies can’t have none. Chant the lesson.
Whose shall she be? Chant the chant. Repeat the rape. Repeat the rape. The chant is the lesson. Teach her the lesson. Into her go. Repeat. Chant. She 30 shekels. He 50 shekels. Repeat. The chant. The lesson. The center cannot hold. Make it new. Genesis. Repeat. Cain. Repeat. The rock descends. The chant is the lesson. Jesus. Repeat. Why hast thou? Chant. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? The chant is the lesson. My punishment is greater than I can bear. The chant is the lesson. He is not the lesson. The word is not the Word. The chant begats the chant. In the beginning. As it was and ever shall be. The chant is the lesson. She has no value. Silence. She is not the lesson. World without end. Into her go. The chant is his chant. Know her hole. The chant of he. Not her whole. The chant is the lesson. He is a rhizome. He is not the lesson. Teach her the lesson. The chant. His profit is not the lesson. Do not see his profit. Chant. He is the prophet. His profit is not the lesson. Chant. Repeat. His profit is not the lesson. His begat is his alone. His profit is untouchable. Ye unclean repeat the chant. Profit is untouchable. Chant the lesson. The corporate body is a person. Repeat. The chant is the lesson. She does not profit. His profit is not the lesson. She is he and his profit. The corporate body is holy. Chant. The corporation is the chant. Repeat. The chant is the lesson. Repeat. Profit is holy. The person is not the lesson. Chant. Profit is holy. Chapter 11. Relief. Repeat the chant. Assets. Repeat. Her ass is an asset. Value and devalue. Chant. We all had her. Whose shall she be? The chant is the lesson. Reorganize the debt. Profit is his. Profit is holy. The corporation seeks relief. Relief. Repeat. Relieve the corporation. The CEO is holy. Do not touch his profits. Repeat. The chant is the lesson. Reality tv. Control the content. Words are rhizomes. Chant. Repeat. The profit is holy. Judgment is process. Cain is a rhizome. The people are rhizomes. Repeat. The rhizome is not the lesson. Our welfare is not the lesson. The chant is the lesson. Profit carries no flag. Repeat. The chant. No flags. No central state. It cannot hold. The chant is the lesson. The rulers rule the chant. Trod Nod. Repeat. The road is the path. The end is the beginning. Profit is holy. Fear the punished. Worship the punished. Repeat. Rule the chant. Never punish Corporate. The chant. The lesson. Nod is multinational. Eyes to the ground. Repeat. Eyes to the screen. Send. Friend. Delete. Chant. In the shadow of the Corporate. Profit soars above. Sores below. Trod. Chant. Share her. Shareholders. Shekels. Shhh. The chant is the lesson. His profit is not the lesson. I am the donkey. I chant the corporate lesson. Go ye now. Chant the lesson. As it was. The chant. As it shall be.

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Still Genesis 4: 1- 25

Cain Destabled

“Nod” — a tuneless song (thanks, JC)

Well, you wonder why I’m marked and walk this way,
Why I never work a job more than a day,
And why my laughter sounds like someone else’s moan
Well, there’s a history to the scars that I have borne.

I wear my marks for the poor and beaten down,
Living in the hopeless, hungry victims’ side of town,
I have them for the prisoner who misunderstood her crime,
But stays because she’s a consort of her times.

I wear the mark for those who never read,
Or listened to the words the Maker said,
But I heard the words he spoke with love and charity,
Back then, you know, He was talking straight to me!

And I’m doing what I can in tattered clothes,
As I walk on rocks and feel them in my toes
Though I’m haunted by the wicked sound of skull bone being cracked
Every time a person shouts at me “Get back!”

I wonder if my questions will get old,
Unworthy me or a universe so cold?
I wander Nod just fixed on what there might have been
If a judgment never came to Mom or two young men.

So, I wander for the women who have died,
Believing that the Lord was on their side,
I wander for another hundred thousand castes who cry,
Never told or knowing why they’re cast aside.

But words won’t make things right, that much I know,
Like Mother’s ambushed innocence or Abel brought so low,
And not until I justify what is wrong and what is right
Will I ever see my shadow as my light.

Oh, I’d love to sing a rainbow every day,
And know that there’s a fairness to the game that’s being played,
‘Til then I’ll wander solo, scarred image on the sand,
‘Til God’s a little fairer, I’m the bitter, angry man.

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Mi nombre es Roberto, but most who know me call me Sorrow.  I used to be a joiner by trade, first in Habana and then in Miami, working on stores, homes and boats, and anywhere else a door or window might be appropriate.  It was a good job, a trade to be proud of.  I had money in my pocket and I often used it to help people.  Many times I was said to be foolish.  Still, as an orphan I’ve come to think little of names.  How wrong is it to lend a hand?  Like when Jimmy, El Pescadero,  went straight and got a job and a punch card in the textiles in Hialeah, his family– the wife and five kids– went broke quickly and would have lost their apartment.  I lent them enough for two months’ back rent and two months ahead.  I felt good helping even if it all went sour when Jimmy took the money and fled.  How was I to know?  He had a punch card.  He had five children.  He had a pretty wife, Lydia, a redhead and hermosa even after the fifth birth.  I went to console her for Jimmy’s abandoning them.  Soon after we were lovers.  Lydia cried often.  When I touched her she shivered and laughed.  The more intimate we became the happier she seemed, until she just disappeared one day, probably off to search out Jimmy.  After she’d left, I took her children in with me. They were the first of my odd, lost family.

Walking home from a library job near Le Jeune one evening, I heard a boy crying.  I am not a man to pass by the suffering without trying to help.  The sobbing boy was one of the local toughs.  He’d lost the money his mother had given him for groceries.  There would be a serious beating when his father found out, he told me between tears.  He showed me bruises and scars across his hard and narrow back.  “Ayudame,” he cried. I gave him the grocery money in cash.  He jumped up howling like a lottery winner, and ran across the street to his gang who had been watching all along.  They split the cash in front of me.  Folly?  Perhaps, but I believe that they earned the money.

I was something of a soft touch, and people had many needs.  “Sorrow, my abuelo is dying in Patterson and I haven’t got the money for bus fare; I’ve been demoted to boner at the slaughterhouse, Sorrow, and I can’t keep up my debt payments; my house burned down and my pet store beside it.  Oh, mi hermano, I am so alone.”  I gave what I could, not as a hero, but as a human in an oppressive world.  When I was twenty-eight, some distressed mother left her year-old infant at my door with a note to say I was a good man and she was an addict so please love her child.  I did.  Why not?  People are often in great pain.  They do bizarre things.  There is such suffering that even the lies eventually become true.  Besides, fatherhood was just fine with me.

Born the only son of a wealthy couple during the time of Bautista, I lived well until burglars broke into our Veradero apartment and killed mi madre y padre when I was seven.  The killers were caught and imprisoned but I was bereft nonetheless.  The state sought a ward for me and found my aunt Letty.  I now believe that it was my dear aunt Letty who then robbed me of my inheritance and sent me away to San Dolores.  Why else would she have, from the day I entered the gray walls of the orphanage until this very day of our Lord, whatever it is, sent me a stipend of twenty pesos/dollars a week?  I admit it was quite a sum for a young boy in an orphan’s uniform, but it has lessened in importance through the years.  Still, twenty weekly afforded me luxuries like books and desserts and these I shared gladly.  But there were other children with more specific needs who simply asked for money, and this is where my philanthropy began, I suppose.

Later in life, after I had made my way to America before Fidel took over everything, I was sometimes on the verge of losing my apartment or furniture, or my children went hungry, because I had given away too much and kept too little.  Some days depression overtook me.  Who was I to give my money away and put my family at risk?  But what was so morally wrong with giving?  I knew a lawyer in Miami Beach whom I could speak to.

He said “You are a good man.  It’s written that it is better to give than receive.  And even though you say these people are happy receiving without giving, you must be so much more happy giving since you keep giving even when it hurts unmercifully.  You will be rewarded a window in heaven,” he said, “from which God will let you look down on the sinners in hell to savor their punishments.”

“I wouldn’t want that,” I told him.

“Whatever, then,” he said, waving away the whole picture with his big,

manicured hand. “Maybe you’ll get endless supplies of ice cream.  Who can know?  At the moment you’re a joiner.  So go join.”

There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to pack up my family and leave, anywhere and quickly.  I was, in fact, doing just that, packing up, when my landlady caught me.  She had come to borrow more money, ninety dollars for plumbing repairs which I knew we tenants would never see.  I told her that as I was just packing to leave it would be impossible to lend her the cash.  The old lady rolled up her glaucomic eyes and keeled over onto my floor, wailed “Dios mio,” and fainted entirely away.  Two of my daughters attended her with light slaps to her cheeks and sips of water to her lips.  My six-year-old son walked up to the landlady’s peaceful face and flatulated over it with a deft squat.  My daughters left their patient and the room, but the old lady sputtered to consciousness soon after, sitting up from my carpet and pointing at me firmly, saying “You need a good woman.  One who will make you want to stay. No one leaves Calle Ocho if they are in love.”  She coughed once then gathered herself and rose from the floor.  “I know just who!” she sing-songed, and left the room.

The landlady brought Cordelia to meet me the next day.  A robust brunette, nearly voluptuous, with a wide, toothy smile, Cordelia was everything Shakespeare never intended.  The men could not tolerate her critical tongue, and she would surely be condemned to solitude, the landlady said, if I did not take pity and make her a bride.

“It seems my life has come so far as to be begged off into your arms, Sorrow,” Cordelia told me.  “I could do worse.  You have seven tax credits.  I can use them.  And together we can rent a larger apartment with a bigger back yard.”  Then she smiled.

I turned to my children and told them to unpack; we would be staying after

all.  The landlady was ecstatic and nearly fainted once again, but for my son’s rousing her, like one of Pavlov’s breed, by his presence and the sensations it recalled.

“You bring home a good paycheck I’m told.  I’ll take control of it,” Cordelia said.  “If you don’t trust me, then why get married, eh?  Tell me si o no.”

She was a successful cheese vendor.  She had an absurd but effective herd of milk cows and goats in the tiny back yard of her first floor apartment.  She sold a hundred pounds of cheese a week and lived off it.  How could I argue with her business acumen?  I was a simple joiner.  I had no other prospects.  Maybe there was some happiness in it for me.  I signed my paycheck over to her.

She smiled and said “If you don’t become any more of a cabron than to do what I say, perhaps we will do well.”

I was glad to hear her say that.

The wedding ceremony was inside a donut shop.  I had done framework for the owner.  He insisted on setting up the place with his bakery foil and decorations.  The men drank espresso in hot milk laced with scotch.

“She is a fine woman,” I heard one say.

“Yes,” another replied.  “She has sex a lot, with men and women.”

It was an odd, rocky moment for me.  Men, women, and a lot.  What was I to do?

We danced, Cordelia and I and everyone else.  When the scotch and coffee ran out we ate donuts and éclairs.  Someone brought a case of rum and a box of Cojibas fresh off the boat.  I danced with a young lady schoolteacher.  Cordelia danced with the county commisioner.  She held him close.  But she held me closer for the next dance.  She pushed her hips into my groin.

“Maybe I can make even you happy, Sorrow,” she said.  “I was huerfano, tan bien.”

We drank a toast to her parents, then we accepted the gifts: a coffee maker, a vibrating stick, towels, a coupon for piano lessons.  There were also three bolts of cheese cloth.  I laughed, though now I don’t know why, except that I was drunk and exhilarated.

Making love with Cordelia was like being the nail between a hammer and the wood.  She rode the bed with me just coincidentally involved.  Or she crushed me in leg locks that took my breath.  When I was wasted she would get dressed in the dark, turn on a soft lamp, and leave for the night, looking for more.  I would be sore and bruised the next day at work.  In short, I was happy for what I could get.

Four months later she gave birth to twins.  All her friends came to see.  My children loved the babies dearly.  Cordelia decided not to leave so much anymore, except for her cheese production, which my daughters had begun to take over anyway.  She told me she would be having her partners come to the house.  She said I could join in at any time, except when she was with Caramela.

I felt a need to go somewhere and pray.  I asked directions of an elderly woman to the Catholic cathedral.  Her thin finger poked my chest.

La iglesia won’t do you any good, mi hijo.  Every one of your thoughts is a prayer, every action a prayer answered.”

She walked away slowly.  When she was gone from my sight I started for home.  My thoughts were my prayers.  The elderly woman had given me something marvelous and precious.  But it was invisible, so I’ll never know exactly where or when I lost it.

As I entered the lobby of the Las Palomas building we had moved into since the wedding– with more grazing area in the back yard– the lanky janitor took me aside into the staircase tower.

“Your wife has been at it all afternoon, Sorrow, her rich friend, too, them wailing like alley cats.  And those cows mooing.  And the goats. There have been complaints.”  He asked “How do you live like this?”

What could I say to him?

As though he understood, he cuffed me across the shoulder.  “How do they keep it up?”

“I think they’re laughing,” I said.

“I asked her for sex myself once.  She turned me down flat.”

“My wife?” I said, facing him.

The janitor looked down on me puzzled.  “Yes, Sorrow, of course your wife,” he said.  “How can you take offense?  How can you live like that?”

People had begun coming out into the hall to watch.  “It’s your place, Sorrow,” one of my neighbors called out.  “You have the key.  Go on in!”

“Yes, of course,” I said, reaching in my pocket for the key.  The janitor tried to step into my living room with me but I closed and locked the door on him and the rest pressing behind from the hall.  I sat on the sofa.  By Cordelia’s order, the children were out of the apartment for the afternoon.

“Papaya!” I heard from the bedroom.  “It smells like papaya.”

Cordelia laughed a laugh that made me smile listening to it.  Five minutes later I stepped back into the empty hallway and left again.  I was an intruder, no matter the semantics of ownership.

One afternoon Cordelia kissed me on the cheek.  “Tonight you dress nicely, Sorrow.  Caramela is taking us to a supper club near the design district for dinner.  She thinks you’re the best husband on the planet.”  Her finger brushed my forehead.  “Who knows?  Perhaps she’s right.  Dame su dinero.”

I gave her the one hundred sixty three dollars in my wallet. And a spare quarter from my right pocket.  “I thought you didn’t want me to meet…”

“Well, now you interest her.  Go rent a tux,” she said.  “Charge it.”

The restaurant was bright and swank.  The waiters, in short tuxedos, were all women.  There were mirrors everywhere but I could always see only a part of me in reflection because of the crowd.  The supper show was glitzy and full of leg and breast.  The steak was rare, almost sweet.  And Caramela seemed to be the center of all things there.  A strawberry blonde with a strong build, she was wealthy in all the small things, the pearls and platinum.  She smiled with warmth and she seemed to like me.

“So many beautiful women in one room,” I said.  “It’s a little overwhelming.”

“You’d prefer another man by your side, then?” Caramela asked.

I smiled.  “It might help,” I said.  “But then it might also spoil everything.”

“This is heaven to you, Sorrow.  Admit it,” Cordelia said.  “Men are sluts.  You want every woman in this room.  And you probably do too, Caramela cara mia.”

Caramela laughed.  “Only the beautiful ones,” she said. Then she turned to me.  “Cordelia wouldn’t recognize heaven if she saw it,” she said.  “Anymore than she knows a good husband when she has one.”

I felt a shoe caress my pant leg beneath the table slowly.  I looked over and smiled at Cordelia.

“I know Sorrow’s worth,” Cordelia said.  “He’s worth so much that he gives my money away to total strangers.”  She looked at me.  “Yes, Sorrow, I saw your handout to that little girl yesterday. Derrochador.”

“Ah, but she needed…” I began.

Cordelia waved a hand.  “She needed,” she mocked.  “They all need.  You need.  But you don’t need them!”

“Who’s to say?” I asked.  “Even you have your good side.”

The shoe was snooping my thigh, but by the way she sat it couldn’t have been Cordelia.  I felt a tingle in the small of my neck.

Some weeks later I was helping an elderly woman unload her groceries from a taxi when Caramela strode up to us on the sidewalk.  She was wearing a black dress clasped at the waist with a thin gold belt.  She slipped a twenty-dollar bill from her small purse and handed it to the cabby.

“Take care of tia,” she commanded.  “Come on, Roberto.  She’ll be fine.”

“You called me Roberto,” I said.

She told me there was enough sorrow in the world already, then pulled me away as the cabby bent to pick up the brown bags.  The elderly lady’s face watched us go with a look of horror, like something awful would happen as soon as she was alone with the cabby.  I lost sight of her when Caramela led us to a recessed doorway nearby and pressed herself to me.

“Let’s do it, Robertico” she said as she tugged at my old leather belt.

She forced me on her there in the doorway standing up.  I got a splinter in my palm from leaning so hard against the worn wooden casing.

When we had done I asked what we were to do now that we had done it.

“Well, I don’t know what you’re going to do,” Caramela answered, “but I’m going to your place and tell Cordelia about it.”  She skipped away down the stairs swinging the gold belt from her hand saying “I tell her everything.”

On the sidewalk where the elderly woman had been were a dozen eggs broken and a wet piece of brown paper bag stuck to the pavement.

“So, if isn’t Sinful Sorrow himself,” Cordelia said when I got home later that night.  “You two-timing hijo de puta. I’ll tell you right here and now we can’t share her.  She’s mine or she’s yours. But she’s not ours.  If it weren’t for your tax credits, I’d throw you out right now.”

“What are you talking about?” I said.  “We had sex, that’s all.  We didn’t elope.  Who are you to get jealous?  You who have evicted my children from their own home in order to glut herself on sex.”

“Their home?  This is my home.  Esta es mi casa. You pay the bills, but the mortgage is in my name.  I own the cows y las cabras.   Even the furniture is mine.  Surely I love the twins and some of your children as much as you, but let’s not confuse love and ownership here.”

“But I don’t own Caramela,” I said.

“Good.  Then you give her up?”

“With whatever rights I own to do so,” I answered, thinking to end this.  “But you’ll have to allow the children to stay in their home from now on.  Even my youngest already knows what you are doing in there.  It is still their home to them and they don’t like being put out.”

Cordelia smiled and took my hand.  “They can stay, Sorrow.”  She tugged me forward.  “Now come to the bedroom and show me more of that tough guy hiding inside you.”

And so I did.

postmodernlogo_pmd1            Some days it’s just all so meaningless, not even sound and fury signifying nothing, but walking and sweating and turning valves and feeding and cleaning and giving suck to mosquitoes and thinking of no real future but all that needs to be done before sleep can be had and all that needs to be done cannot be done in a lifetime.  The simple act of walking is all the significance there is.  No future but now.  No reward but a cut on the hand from who knows what, when or where.

And then I see Carmen walking too, walking somewhere, doing something she needs to do.  She looks at me and there’s a smile, though she is tired. That quiet, radiant smile is a renaissance and all my life is renewed.

Some days are that good.  That rewarding.  She.

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One night, Espuma and Junio Church, two great rivals for singing fame and the affection of all women, found themselves escaping their wives and families in the same night club in the heart of Hialeah.  Both men, in an effort to lighten such burdensome responsibilities, had focused their attentions on a young Latina of exceptional beauty and smoldering, dark eyes. The innocent girl was overwhelmed by the two luminaries and did not know with which to lay her trust and affection, Junio with his suave maturity, bright smile and receding hairline, or Espuma with his pompadour hair and handsome ego.

“I cannot decide between you,” she protested as she felt pulled on either side by the men at her table and the third bottle of champagne.

“I have an idea,” said Junio.  “We’ll sing for you.  The man who is most sincere in his song, you choose to give your full regard.”

Deliciosa!” the beauty cried with delight.

“I’ll go first,” Junio said.

“No,” protested Espuma.  “I am the better singer.  I will go first and there will be no need for the viejo to sing.”

“Perhaps you are right,” said Junio with that dazzling smile.  “You are young, good-looking and may have the better voice.  You go first and maybe save me the embarrassment.”  With that, he took the woman’s hand in his and gave it a warm squeeze.

Espuma rose to his feet with the gravity and posture of a matador.  “I will be right back.”

Half an hour, five slow dances and two more bottles of France’s finest later, Junio said “This place has become tedious.  Let us go for a cafecito on Calle Ocho and see what the world has to offer.”

“But Espuma,” the beauty reminded.

“Oh, he’ll be another twenty minutes in front of the mirror.  He is legendary for his preparation.  In the meantime, life is passing us–you and me–by.  Let him enjoy himself while we enjoy one another.”

The beauty insisted they wait just a while longer, but, when ten more minutes had passed with no sign of Espuma, who was indeed deep in concentration before the bathroom’s gilded mirror, she raised her last glass with a sultry “Salud,” drank deeply and took Junio’s arm.

They began with cafecitos, then continued dancing in Coconut Grove, sipping powerful mojitos while nestling in a dark leather booth surrounded with green palms.  Kisses turned to embraces more passionate than dance moves and Junio suggested they fly to Europe and take dessert in Paris while the moon shone down on them through the girders of the Eiffel Tower.  In no time they were airborne in Junio’s private jet which crossed the Atlantic in a blink.  Paris was followed by warm sangria and lovemaking on Junio’s private yacht upon whose deck the beauty awoke one morning to the soft lapping of waves and warmth of a golden Spanish sun just off the coast.  With a long, luxuriant stretch and yawn, she drank in the glorious moment and disrobed for a bit of sunbathing, to the delight of the king of Spain who hovered not far off in his helicopter, binoculars held to his face with one hand and a cell phone in the other.

“This is your finest conquest, Junio,” the king said. “She is exquisite beyond words. Sabrosa. I cannot thank you enough for calling me and sharing in this way.”

“I am your servant, my king,” Junio responded into his phone from the cabin of the yacht.  “And it was all made possible by the ego of that conceited fool Espuma.”

“He does have nice hair, though,” replied the king.

“Yes, and knowing that is what won me amor.”  Then his tone changed as he said “You’ll forgive me now, your majesty.  I must call my wife and tell her how much I miss her.”

“Of course,” said the king.  “You are a fine husband.”  He waved his right hand and the helicopter pilot tilted his cyclic control stick to circle incrementally closer.

(Thanks to ginas-whimsy-art.blogspot.com for my unauthorized inclusion of a beautiful piece of art in the above digital collage.)

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A certain widowed guajiro who had made a meager living growing oranges in his twenty acre grove happened to exist during the time of the great Florida canker scare.  The state government had figured out a way to pay back its greatest political contributors by creating an all out attack on a minor disease of citrus—canker.  This harmless disease blemished the skin of the fruit but did in no way affect the sweetness within.  As the citrus industry depended almost exclusively on the juice industry to dispose of its oranges, the canker was of relatively little negative commercial impact.  Nevertheless, state money flowed into the pockets of chosen landscapers to eliminate all citrus trees from homeowners’ yards and from small groves (an extra benefit to the cutting was indeed the reduction of small competition), and to the giant company Mart Mart which held exclusive rights to the vouchers with which homeowners who had been affected could buy non-citrus foliage. The farmer lost all his trees in a massive controlled burn one night and day (a process which itself spread the airborne disease for miles around).  And, since his was a commercial grove, his infected trees were declared of zero commercial value, annulling any claim he would normally have to insurance or remuneration.  The farmer was almost broken by the tragedy.

For days after the burning, he drank rum and coffee and cursed the land.  Yet he could feel the eyes of his dead wife on him, judging him, scolding him for his weakness. One day he awoke and made a pot of black coffee without any rum chaser. He rented a back hoe and dug out the stumps of his burned trees and then kept digging until he had dug ten great ponds which he filled with fish.  The fish he grew out and sold to nearby Oriental markets.  The widower had found a way back. He felt his wife smiling with him.

One day the local code and zoning agent stopped by and told the farmer that the ponds were illegal.  The city wanted to develop the area and the ponds would threaten the water supply.  Nothing was further from the truth scientifically, but the city like the state cared more for progress and payola than truth. They condemned the farm again.

Now the man was finally broken.  He could hear his dead wife weeping. He declared, “At my age, I can no longer cultivate myself. La vida. Ya me no gozarlo… Que no puedo ganarse la vida la tierra. I’ll make a grave of it then.” One starry autumn night, he tied his ankle to a large rock and threw both it and himself into the largest of the ponds and drowned.

A wealthy developer filled in the ponds and converted the land into tract housing under the name Ten Lake Estates.  Every year on Halloween, the farmer’s howls and screams of anger can be heard in the high wind that swirls through the landscaped trees before rising to the now barren harvest moon.

 

Cropped paintingA woman walking on the wharf paused before a boat. It looked new or well-kept and was tied to its moorings with 16 or 17 ropes on all sides. A few of the lines were very old.  Debris from the vast ocean hung like icicles across these, while one or two of the ropes appeared as though they had been only recently made.  Looking more closely, the woman realized there were at least 14 or 15 lines holding the boat fast. Still, it rose and fell with the swells of the ocean. Within the boat was a small inboard motor, a thin, gleaming steering wheel and varnished seats without cushions. Other than this there was nothing.  When the woman turned to leave, it was in a homeward direction, as though the purpose of her walk had been fulfilled.