Saint Gabriel García Márquez, the Smirker

My phone was bursting with the sound of Rommy’s uncontrollable laughter. There was joy (and a touch of Latina mischievousness) in her mirth.

“Speak now, or forever hold your pieces,” I said. This usually entices her to start singing my name in a mixture of terrible opera and exaggerated Spanish accent (yes, we have issues). But on this occasion, it had no effect. She just giggled… and snorted. “What is it, woman?”

“Candles!” she said. “I found a shop that sells candles of sainted writers. Oh my gods, Magaly, wait until you see Saint Gabriel. They don’t have Terry Pratchett, but Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling have also been sanctified. I’m getting Gaiman and Rowling. I have to.”

She sent me the link to Saint Gabriel’s candle, and the moment I saw his smirking haloed face, I roared until I nearly choked. I mean, look at that expression!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Candle (1)
If you’ve read Love in the Time of Cholera, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, One Hundred Years of Solitude… or pretty much any of García Márquez’s tales, you probably already know that his dance with religion—particularly South American Catholicism—was always bedecked with layers upon layers of satire and humor.

“I think he would have found the idea of himself as a saint completely hysterical,” I said to Rommy. “I’m getting him.”

In the end, we decided to make things extra special: I got Saint Rowling and Saint Gaiman for Rommy, and she got Saint Gabriel for me.

I’ve placed my smirking sainted writer candle next to my little brother’s ashes. Something tells me that both, my little brother and Gabriel García Márquez, would find the whole thing amusing… And nothing is holier or nobler than good old jollity that makes the belly rumble.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Candle (2)
After the thought of this post first kissed my mind, I spent some time wondering if anyone would find the idea of a sainted writer candle offensive; and if so, why might they feel that way? What do you think, my Wicked Luvs? Speculate away… and don’t forget to wave at Saint Gabriel García Márquez, the Smirker.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Candle (3)

Mightiest of Beasts

The missus got home
from a women’s suffrage march
red-tempered, fiery-cheeked
and shouting across the yard.

“I’m mighty pleased our Jimmie isn’t a girl.
Had he been born woman in this hell of a country,
and grown up to marry a fool
who throws up as much idiocy
as you do, Todd Seth Doyle,
I would turn murderess in a church lawn;
murderess, I tell you!”

Once she crossed our threshold,
I sent our Jimmie to his room,
grabbed a clean shirt and my old cane,
and got ready to deal with Doyle.

“No, my Séamus,” she said,
her cheeks wet with rage.
“If you go out there, I lose what I’ve gained.”
My confusion must’ve shown,
because she touched my face, and added,
“Lucy stayed in Washington,
and Doyle filled the paper with nonsense
about his wife leaving his bed
without his permission.”

I squeezed her strong arm,
kissed her lightly on the mouth
and took our Jimmie to the circus
just outside town.
But my heart was heavy;
the circus always made me think of ice,
of dead sons and of firing squads
aimed at my blood…

I was lost in thought,
when little Jimmie pulled on my sleeve,
and pointed towards the ice sculpture tent.
My heart sunk
to get squeezed between leather and sole.
I tried to bring our Jimmie closer to me,
but we raised a boy with his own mind.

“O! Look papa!” he said,
“See that strange cow,
with his horns in his mouth,
eating hay with his tail.
Isn’t it the mightiest of beasts?”

“It sure is mighty, son.”
We walked fast towards the animal,
and I was happy.
Our Jimmie didn’t only notice the elephant
in the world’s room,
but his eyes could also see
a truer beast.

Process Note: on March 3, 1913, thousands joined the Women Suffrage Procession in the capital of the United States, to “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women [were] excluded.” I invented Jimmie’s mother, but I’m sure such women raised their fists in Washington, D. C. Her comment about Doyle’s nonsense isn’t fiction (see images). Séamus’ preoccupation with circuses and ice are an allusion to the first line in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” Yes, my muse truly enjoyed birthing this piece.

for NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero 2015, Day 13 –  Poetizing the News… of 1913: Write a poem based on a headline from April 1913. Please provide a link to your source, when possible. It would be interesting to read it after experiencing your poem.

Truer Beast

Notice!Truer Beast” and “Notice!” were extracted from DigitalNC

Crashed Angel Full of Lice

I saw a crashed angel
full of lice,
and a priest who wouldn’t see him.

Someone (a girl of nine, perhaps) screamed,
“You dunghill of a man, help him!
Don’t you see he’s dying?”

But the angel was judged filthy,
too unprofitable, too un-helpable, not holy at all—
Heaven needed none of his broken ribs.

I ran to get help,
climbed a fence between two houses,
and bumped into a little girl:

she was as mean as a goose, and
dressed in the same color
for Sunday Mass…
But her brothers had wetted all the white
with red liquid pieces of her,
and were watching her dry on the clothesline.

Decades later,
after tongue dancing to
“The Song of Despair”,
I write the hurt of a filthy angel,
while wondering about vacant-eyed boys
and their air-dried sister goose.

NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero, Day 1 – The Birth of Your Art: “Base your first poem on the first work of art that inspired your creative addiction.”
My love for reading and writing fiction began after experiencing Gabriel García Márquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and Horacio Quiroga’s “The Decapitated Chicken”. Poetry came much later, through the words of Pablo Neruda; particularly, Memoirs and Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.

from the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and NaPoWriMo 2015

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings