a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
The latin word, līmes, comes from many paths and hesitations, all the road, deep channelled river, Río Grande. A fortified frontier, rich in calcium and built for bones. A border line. Birdlime, meaning to catch anything flying north. Grandma sends me for limones, a variation on the word, line, meaning the umbilical cord connecting México to my backyard. I reach, pluck, pour into the té. I hand her the teacup, Grandma sips it warm, says it reminds her of home.
I’m eight, in my el batmane PJs, waking up to my mother and her best friend drinking and singing songs around a bottle… “~Dame otro tequila~” and they’re taking another shot. Remembering the past and all the faces on faces that come with it. I swear, el Vicente Fernández is washing dishes and belching his famous grito. My mom’s screaming that eerie tune too. A war cry dating so far back that the Mexican independence is happening in my kitchen. There’s laughter and crying, a dim light as I’m seeing them from the staircase rail. Someday I’ll have my songs, but for now I’ll grow up on sour cream, too afraid to try out my own scream, slowly learning what it means to be Mexican. Then my mother does her a cry for the ages, and sends a shiver and a chancleta up the railing. I race back to bed.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I’m fifteen when I convince my friends to drink alcohol for the first time, and I don’t mean sips. We’re all placed in the same bottle anyways, I tell them. We might as well drink one. They’re hesitant, say this shit tastes bad. I tell em, salt the knuckle, bite the lime, down the shot. Learn to mask the pain before it hits and not the other way around. Some choke, cough up the city of Tequila all over the living room carpet, others dance in cadence and wave their arms to the music. Yo, it’s like I’m orchestrating the world’s most bizarre Chicano movement. My Argentinian Mateo starts crying, full on weeping. He’s sad cause none of the girls showed up. Although now it doesn’t even matter. Motherfucker’s doing backflips off the fucking coffee table, while Gio starts singing a song about a father he never knew, and I can feel the instincts take over. I line up more shots, immunize us against the pain, then play the soundtrack of past generations. I feel the urge to scream but we end up falling asleep. Brothers in arms with enough courage to start a war.
On the drive home, I become the moon; the every night terror of carcajadas chacal, a laughing jackal. The wolf cry of my pueblo, resounding in every coyote’s dream. A coyotaje of smuggling; years of underground trafficking, sending my people across deserts and rivers, land on land. Land that was theirs. Land forced over after the Mexican-American war, ending in the War Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, a war still dividing me. But 40 years before, a different Hidalgo, a priest, let out the Grito of Dolores. The scream to start of the motherfucking Mexican Revolution. But I’m fifteen, ‘y volver,’ a primitive llanto, ‘volverrr,’ listening to an old car CD, ‘volll-ver!’, playing the music of my mother. ‘Volver, volver, volver.’ Go back, come back, return. To your country, to me, but this is home. Winds rushing in. I’m on the hunt like Hidalgo’s ringing my campana, as if it didn’t take lime and tequila shots to get me here. At the peak of the music, of the moment, and of this part of history, I let out my howl. How could someone be so miserable and still sound so beautiful. How fitting a Father, a Hidalgo, should bring about the revolution. And to all my brothers, I am Mexican. I am here.
Jonathan Amezquita is a recent graduate from Macalester College, MN (2018). He graduated with a biology major and English minor. Currently, he is enrolled in a biology research program at the University of California, Davis.