Today Carlos and I have been married 13 years. As usual, we don’t have enough chirilicas to buy anything for each other – but that’s okay. No amount of money in the world can buy what we have together and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
This isn’t to say our marriage is perfect – far from it! Truth be told, we can be downright dysfunctional. There is passion – passion that leads to some of the hottest fights you’d never want to see, (though the passion is good for other things, too.) …One thing is for sure, it’s never boring y ojalá our love for each other will always win out in the end.
Ya tú sabes, te quiero un chingo, Carlos.
El Guanaco + La Güera
(a poem for Carlos)
What more can I say,
que ya no te dijé,
me gusta como dices
“pata” en vez de “pie.”
Tu Caliche makes me crazy
y tu familia de otra manera
aunque me llamen “Traisy”
I’m proud to be tu güera.
Sabes que te agradezco
for all the things you do
Tú trabajas muy fuerte
To buy mis Bubu Lubus.
The truth is that without you,
(and our two cipotes)
Yo ando bien perdida
igual a Don Quixote.
Ahora voy a decirte,
In front of all these gente,
Eres mi guanaco,
Yes, it’s that time of year again – National Pupusa Day!
I wish I were able to celebrate by eating them but Suegra is not here and our local place is, (for reason’s unknown to me), not making them anymore. I would attempt to make them myself but the fruits of my labor are not worth the effort. (O sea, my pupusas are not as good as my Suegra’s pupusas… yet.)
Ni modo – We must commemorate this day in some way. Luckily I stumbled upon a clever poem called “La Oración a la pupusa Salvadoreña”, by Mauxito Lemus, and luckier still, Mauxito is generous enough to share his poem with the world by allowing it to be re-printed with attribution. (Gracias, Mauxito!)
ORACIÓN A LA PUPUSA SALVADOREÑA
by Mauxito Lemus
Dios te salve, pupusa sagrada, de tu seno hemos comido y engordado; eres el maíz que cultivamos, el frijol que nos sustenta, el chicharrón que adoramos, el quesillo que se derrite, el platillo que nos alimenta.
Tú vienes a nuestros hogares queridos, bien doraditas, bien rellenitas, bien calientitas, con curtido y salsa, y hasta con gaseosa.
En tus adentros figuran rellenos extraños, las hay de camarones, de papa o de jamones, de chorizo o de zanahoria, cochinito y papelillo.
Pupusa, en cada pupusería pedimos a la pupusera que se apure, que eche más pupusas y que nos atienda luego, grande ella, dulce afecto a la señora pupusera que nos nutre con gran amor.
Pupusa, tu historia, tan autóctona cuscatleca, reseñas el robo de los hondureños; tú reverencias el acta que te consagró como platillo nacional, y marcas el segundo domingo de noviembre en que la justicia y la libertad nos llevan hacia vos.
Pupusa de mi patria, platillo sagrado de El Salvador, te saborean las nuevas generaciones.
Para tí, el fuego flameante de los polletones, los comales de Ilobasco, los curtidos de Izalco.
Para tí, el respeto de tu pueblo y el toque de sabor, que hoy torteamos para que siempre nos alimentes.
For more pupusa fun:
How to Eat a Pupusa (video/post Latinaish.com)
O.P.P. (Other People’s Pupusas) (Post on Latinaish.com)
Pupusiao by Crooked Stilo (music)
Make pupusas (recipe)
National Pupusa Day celebrated in El Salvador 2010 (news via ElSalvador.com/El Diario de Hoy)
Last night a man Suegra knows showed up on our doorstep. His name is Ángel. He entered the house shyly, apologizing for disturbing us, and only sat down in the living room at our insistence. “I’m not here to stay,” he said, “I only have something I’d like you to bring with you back to El Salvador, to deliver to my family,” he said to Suegra.
So as not to be rude, I sat down, too. I was only being polite, was anxious for him to leave so I could get back to the kitchen where a pot of Sopa de Res simmered. Suegra and Ángel began to talk though and within minutes I forgot about the soup, becoming completely lost in his story. He stayed for over an hour, and during that time I came close tears. His story is not unique, which makes it sadder still. If you don’t have the opportunity to meet someone like Ángel, allow me to introduce you. The following was inspired by him.
deserving of the name,
works another day in the factory
the acrid chemicals burn his lungs
the scent of hot melted plastic
made into fancy bathtubs for rich people.
He sends money to his family in El Salvador,
even as he coughs up blood.
He finds work in a kitchen instead,
worries the bathtub factory has already taken years off his life,
(“pero ójala que no” and “Primero a Dios” he says)
At the restaurant, he washes dishes in hot soapy water,
and talks like a Mexican,
“No por vergüenza,” he says, “Pero, sólo que los Mexicanos no me joden, entiendes?”
And with his raw red hands,
he sends money to his family in El Salvador,
He works and sleeps, doesn’t have a girlfriend like some men he knows.
“I’m not like that,” he says, showing us a photo of his family.
With the money he sends to El Salvador,
a nice house has been built, in a neighborhood with no pandilleros,
a house where his children are growing up without him,
and his wife sleeps alone, (he hopes.)
Sometimes in the middle of the night
he remembers his journey through the desert years ago,
the days were hot-hot,
and the nights cold-cold,
but nothing is colder than this quiet apartment in the United States,
just a place to sleep before another day of work,
so he can send money to his family in El Salvador.
In celebration of El Salvador’s Independence Day, here are some of my favorite songs about El Salvador and by Salvadorans.
Also, I know “El Grito” is a Mexican thing, but I can’t help myself…
Vivan las pupusas!
Vivan los guanacos!
Viva El Salvador!
(And happy Independence Day to the rest of Central America, too!)
Warning: Some songs contain strong language. Sorry, that’s just how I roll.
Crooked Stilo – “Mi Tierra”
Pescozada – “Sí, Somos Guanacos”
Code Blue & Most High – “Caliche”
Real Akademia – “Mi Gente”
Pescozada – “Una Ilusion”
This song is by a Mexican-American folk singer but it’s beautiful. Dedicated to all of you out there who are missing someone far away.
Carrie Rodriguez – “El Salvador”
This one is also by a Mexican music group, (who needs no introduction.) This song explains how difficult it is for Salvadorans to immigrate to the U.S.
Los Tigres del Norte – “Tres Veces Mojado”
Poema de amor
by Roque Dalton
Los que ampliaron el Canal de Panamá
(y fueron clasificados como “silver roll” y no como “gold roll”),
los que repararon la flota del Pacifico
en las bases de California,
los que se pudrieron en las cárceles de Guatemala,
México, Honduras, Nicaragua,
por ladrones, por contrabandistas, por estafadores,
los siempre sospechosos de todo
(“me permito remitirle al interfecto
por esquinero sospechoso
y con el agravante de ser salvadoreño”),
las que llenaron los bares y burdeles
de todos los puertos y capitales de la zona
(“La gruta azul”, “El Calzoncito”, “Happyland”),
los sembradores de maíz en plena selva extranjera,
los reyes de la pagina roja,
los que nunca sabe nadie de donde son,
los mejores artesanos del mundo,
los que fueron cosidos a balazos al cruzar la frontera,
los que murieron de paludismo
o de las picadas del escorpión a la barba amarilla
en el infierno de las bananeras,
los que lloraron borrachos por el himno nacional
bajo el ciclón del Pacifico o la nieve del norte,
los arrimados, los mendigos, los marihuaneros,
los guanacos hijos de la gran puta,
los que apenitas pudieron regresar,
los que tuvieron un poco mas de suerte,
los eternos indocumentados,
los hacelotodo, los vendelotodo, los comelotodo,
los primeros en sacar el cuchillo,
los tristes mas tristes del mundo,
La niña sits
snuggled close to her father
A stranger’s smile
sends her burying her face
into his cotton dress shirt
which smells of sunshine
is set on the table
hot! – hot!
(caliente y picante both)
oily circles float on the surface
looking like the puddles at a carwash that Papi says not to touch,
but this, he says,
Eat. Coma. Andalé pues,
and puts a warm tortilla into her hand.
- Tracy López
I hope the author of this fantastic poem doesn’t mind me posting this. We all know “The Night Before Christmas”, but check out this version which I discovered in the pages of a book called “Wáchale!: Poetry and Prose on Growing Up Latino Today”.
Twas the Noche
by María Eugenia Morales
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa
Not a creature was stirring, caramba! Qué pasa?
Los niños were tucked away in their camas
Some in vestidos and some in pijamas.
While Mamá worked in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.
The stockings were hanging with mucho cuidado,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children both buenos and malos
A nice bunch of dulces and other regalos
Outside in the yard, there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito
I ran to the window and looked afuera,
And who in the world do you think that it era?
Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!
And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
‘Ay Chato! Ay Pepe! Ay Cuca! Ay Beto!
Ay Pancho! Ay Chopo! Maruca y Nieto!’
Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho,
He flew to the top of our very own techo!
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea,
Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala;
He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the niños had been very malos.
Then chuckling along, seeming very contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like el viento.
And I heard him exclaim and this is verdad,
‘Merry Christmas to all, Feliz Navidad!’