A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
ODE TO MERCEDES SOSA
La vieja liked to torture us with her folklore: the contraband vinyl she had amassed working at Broadway Records in Buenos Aires, 1969. Los Chalchaleros, Los Nocheros, Los Grandes Exitos de Jorge Cafrune, and Mercedes Sosa records alongside Lou Reed's Transformer, Black Sabbath, and Credence.
I like to think my mother and Mercedes Sosa were going to retire together and build schools in Nicaragua, ghost write harlequin novels with a protagonist that looks a lot like Ernesto Che, or head up a casco azul (ONU) batallion devoted to rescuing child slaves or adolescent prostitutes or albino HIV orphans.
Anything but Sosa's death in a Palermo hospital at the age of 74, even though she had gained an immense amount of weight in the last couple of years.
Anything but my mother, a phlebotomist in a rude bloodmobile, or the proud mother of two gringitos born in Brooklyn and raised in the People's Republic of Miami.
My sister and I would put cotton in our ears as "Gracias a la Vida" or "Alfonsin y el Mar" pounded out from the speakers; we despised both ladies greatly, and meditated on ways of giving my mother an aneurism by ice-grilling her.
She had to be stopped from making us listen to Sosa at ungodly decibels as if we were cosmic peasants or filthy industrialists with blood on our hands or deliberate serial busses of her musical affinities!
We despised my mother's crazy, but we respected her nostalgia; after several years of trying not to listen to Mercedes Sosa, la Negra's juju spreads over my crying throttle. And I imagine how lonely my mother and her sisters are at this moment.
Especially since my mother and Mercedes Sosa are both negras from Tucuman.
They both know exile, knew tierra lejana, forever singing to each other as they tidied their homes, forever tethered to Tucuman, el Norte, and the nickname, la Negra.
My mother the ancient Commie and Mercedes Sosa the world's guerillera lyricist.
Sosa with her vermillion poncho, her indigenous mask of skyscraper cheekbone, the voice that could lay the sea out, that diaphragm wisdom plus plans to spank the generals and lay bare the official memory.
My mother in her bloodmobile, a virtual stranger in a lab coat, finding that vein that is the you ore, slipping in a proboscis of very fine and sharp metal, and extracting the song in the blood.