Friday, November 25, 2016

CUCA







He could still remember the moment he became a pacifist, an animal lover and a defender of animal rights. From that moment on, he also turned into a better person.

That day, while playing in the backyard and armed with a flyswatter the young kid squashed a butterfly with it. His big brother witnessed the act, became upset and sad, and began to weep. Then, he gave a lecture to the younger sibling he would never forget.

“That butterfly probably had a family; it probably had babies that needed to be fed. Everybody loves butterflies, they’re beautiful to see, and they are tender creatures. The way they fly and the way they move bring happiness to everyone. All living creatures have a right to live. They were made to live. Even if it is a cockroach or a mosquito, or a bee, you should respect their lives as much as you can. If you are attacked by any kind of animal you should defend yourself. But only then, the animal becomes your enemy. And only then, you would have a valid excuse to kill the attacker.”

His big brother was twelve-years-old, Gregg was seven. It remained in his mind forever. It affected him for the rest of his life. He didn’t like violence. He was never involved in a fight in his whole life. He was patient and peaceful. He reasoned with measured actions. Since he received that lecture, he never, knowingly hurt any living animals.

That lecture sure had an impact on him. He became a teacher. He studied biology, zoology, and became an entomologist. He had many books on animal behavior. And he loved his pets and all animals that crossed his path, even after his big brother got killed by a bear on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. 

The first time he saw that cockroach on the blackboard, was the first time he’d seen a roach in his house. His immediate reaction was not normal, like calling the exterminating company, or like running to the store to get a can of Raid or Combat or even a Roach Motel. But he wasn’t too happy about it either. He knew how they propagate if you don’t take the proper steps. His house was clean and organized. He barely cooked at home. His kitchen was impeccably clean most of the time. He lived alone and hardly dated anyone. He was introverted and loved his solitude. He left the bug alone.

In the following weeks, he saw the cockroach a few more times, always on the blackboard. He hoped it was the same one, and the only one. He struggled to decide if he should get rid of it. He thought that if he saw more than one at the same time, he would take action. Not directly himself, but he would call an exterminating company, and leave the house for a week. He would order the company to fumigate the house and remove all evidence afterward, insects, bugs or pests, or as he would say, “creatures.”

His blackboard was always full of notes and writings. Every week, he would scribble all the highlights about the next test or exam. After a few weeks, he noticed that the roach was always at the center of a word. Having all the time in the world, he decided to check what its favorite words were. The first two letters of the first two days he began to take notice were h and i. The teacher smiled and said “hi” in return.

The next letters the roach ‘used’ in the next four days, caused an indescribable sense of stupor on the teacher, “f o o d”, that was too much of a coincidence, he thought. At first, the teacher didn’t do anything about it. Until the next day, when the cockroach stepped on the same four letters.

This was so absurd, he thought, he needed more proof, much more.

Baffled, and still in shock, the teacher put some bread crumbs on the board next to the chalk holder. 

The logic and common sense disappeared after those ‘conversations’ with the cockroach. All rationality a normal teacher is supposed to have, vanished in an instant.

Curious, but still in doubt, the teacher erased all writings on the blackboard and left it clean for a few days. The cockroach disappeared for the same period. 

The teacher knew that cockroaches could survive a nuclear war, or that they could live without food for around thirty days, and without water for about a week. But his good heart wouldn’t allow the poor bug to die. He assumed that his house, being so clean, his little friend would starve to death, or move out of the house. Both outcomes would cause great misery in his heart.

He couldn’t bear his guilt, and after a few days, the professor wrote on the board again. And right away, his little friend showed up and resumed their ‘correspondence’.
“Food”, wrote the hungry insect in a minute.

With tears in his eyes, the teacher ran to the kitchen to get some bread crumbs.

After that, he stopped all experiments, and during dinner time he gladly shared his food with “Cuca”, that was the name he gave to his new friend, which was short for ‘cucaracha’ or cockroach in Spanish. 

The teacher knew that cockroaches preferred dark places, and for that reason, he began to close all curtains and blinds in the morning. He started to give small chunks of rotting food to his new friend. And he also began to write a journal. He had never been so happy.

When the professor was in sixth grade, it took him a week before he could decide to dissect a frog, he loved science class, but whenever they had to experiment with small insects he just couldn’t do it. Until college, he began to overcome the phobia. Visits to the Zoo became more enjoyable the more he learned about animals. He supported PETA, and regularly volunteered his time to the local animal shelter.

One day, Cuca spelled “ugly” on the board.   

“Me?” The teacher asked. 

“Yes,” Cuca replied. 

Of course, Gregg agreed. It was obvious to think that every species of animals thought the rest of the species were ugly. What a gorilla could think about a hyena? Or a chicken about a snake? Or a peacock about a crocodile? But it was a little different for humans. To humans, a lot of animals were beautiful, like doves, eagles, Blue Jays, deer, even elephants, and whales. And what about butterflies? 

“What about pain?” asked Gregg. 

 “?” Cuca answered. 

“Can you feel pain?” Gregg asked again. 

“?” replied Cuca.

Okay. Cuca has never felt pain, Gregg concluded. How fortunate.

Then, Gregg had an idea. He went to get his magnifying glass. He thought about meeting Cuca up close and personal. When he returned he opened the window to let some light in. It was a little after noontime. The sun shone on the board, it was perfectly bright to meet Cuca for the first time, face to face. When the professor put the magnifying glass near Cuca, smoke emerged from one of its wings. Cuca vanished in a fraction of a second. Gregg opened his eyes as big as it was possible, he also opened his mouth. “Ah!” He yelled. In shock and saddened as never before in his life, he threw the magnifying glass to the floor breaking it into a million pieces. “Oh no, what did I do?” He said as he began to weep uncontrollably. 

Cuca didn’t come back for an entire week. And when it did, it spelled “Pain”. 

When Gregg approached the board, Cuca reluctantly stayed. Gregg offered excessive amounts of food, for an entire colony. He wished Cuca could bring all its family and friends; he didn’t care if they caused the worse infestation ever. He was that sad. It took another week before all things went back to normal. Cuca healed nicely, it only left a small black mark on its wing.

One day in the afternoon when the teacher was returning from school, he met the cleaning lady as she was exiting his house.

“Good afternoon professor,” she greeted him. “I need to tell you something; I just killed a cockroach on your blackboard. I think you need to call the exterminating company before an infestation invades your house.”



"Just because a subject is serious doesn't mean it doesn't have plenty of absurdities."
 -P. J. O'Rourke 



Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. Nov-25-2016







Sunday, November 20, 2016

HALF



“Half” is a strange word. It’s not an exact word. Half the people use it wrong.

Half the people say they don’t lie, but some do, so, it’s not half the people.

Half the people in the world are sad. The other half say ‘they’re happy.’

Half the people are wrong. Half the people are right. Some are neutral.

Half the people are alone. Half the people have company, but they’re lonely too.

Half of all living creatures in the world are animals. The other half too.

Half the people in the world are dumb, but they don’t know it.

Half the people are Republicans. Half the people are Democrats.

Half of them are ignorant, the other half don’t know what’s going on.

Half the people are good. (Sometimes) Half the people are bad. (Constantly)

Half the people are in love. Half the people are in hate.

Half the people are violent. The other half, not yet.

Half the people in the world are poor. (They have nothing.)

Half the people in the world are rich. (They have nothing.)

Half the people have good hearts. The other half have hearts too.

Half the people are going to hell. The other half is there already.

Half the people lie. The other half too.

Half the people are male. Half the people are female. Nobody should be alone.

Half the people in the world are hungry. The other half wastes half their food.

Half the people in the world are in pain. The other half doesn’t have any feelings.

Half the people are suffering. The other half is in denial.

Half the people belong in Heaven. The rest of us, don’t care.

Half the people don’t believe God exists. The other half exaggerate.

I'm not half awake, I’m half asleep. Good night.



Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. Nov-18-2016



Friday, August 26, 2016

QUIERO










Quiero volver a nacer. Quiero ser niño otra vez. Quiero ser adolescente otra vez. Quiero ser ciudadano universal, sin color ni bandera. Quiero noches turbulentas y días acelerados. Quiero montar una motocicleta o un caballo. Quiero defender injusticias y ofender injustos. Quiero vivir sin morir. Quiero a Diego (sin derramar una lágrima) Quiero derramar muchas lágrimas sin sentirme triste. Quiero ahuyentar tristezas e invitar emociones, viajar en globo, nadar el Amazonas y el Nilo. Quiero nadar hasta la luna. Quiero más nicotina, más alcohol, poesía, libros y música. Quiero experimentar contigo y sin ti. Quiero alas y volar al centro de la tierra. Quiero conocer el cielo y el infierno, y luego decidir que es lo que quiero. Quiero una eternidad efímera que dure un segundo y continuar viviendo un siglo más. Quiero el abrazo de un niño. Quiero necesitar amor. Quiero que me echen de menos, pero antes de morir, no después. Quiero conjugar todos los verbos, pero con acciones. Quiero que Dios exista y que la maldad desaparezca. Quiero que Dios sea mujer, y nos guie mejor. Quiero amor en todos los corazones. Quiero que el amor sea la moneda de cambio. Quiero lanzarme en paracaídas. Quiero descubrir héroes reales. Quiero correr un maratón alrededor del mundo. Quiero ser vampiro y morderte el cuello. Quiero cancelar el odio, la envidia y el rencor. Quiero escenas bonitas y noticias buenas. Quiero mil cosas para ti y nada para mi. Quiero que los niños sean inmunes al dolor y al sufrimiento. Quiero repartir mi amor y compartir tu dolor. Quiero donar mi corazón para que crezca. Quiero pedir perdón sin mencionar mis pecados. Quiero que el futuro esté presente cuando mi pasado sea juzgado. Y aunque parezca difícil yo quiero ser bueno. 



Si no eres egoísta tus deseos valen más. 



Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 8-25-2015




Thursday, August 18, 2016

Jealous of Me




The couple was lying in bed still and silent. Sadness invaded their faces. You could hardly find another adjective to describe the expression on their faces. 

While caressing her face with tender care, he began to talk.

“Honey, your face is so cold,” after kissing her cheek, he reached for her hands and began to rub them, he tried to warm them with his breath. She remained still, sunken deeply in her sleep. The night had been comfortingly cool. He loved the way her cold skin felt. Whenever they went to the movies, he urged her to wear a short skirt so he could slide his hand between her legs. He had always loved that feeling. Her skin was always a few degrees cooler than his. But this morning she was a bit colder than usual. 

“I had a nice dream,” he continued, “but it wasn’t completely nice. It was bordering between good and bad, between sad and happy, between suffering and joy. A little bit sadomasochistic, you know what I mean? Let me explain. I was flirting with you, but I wasn’t sure it was me. And when you responded to my flirtations I felt cheated, and got jealous . . .”

Her eyes had remained closed the entire time, but he knew she was listening to him. She was that way sometimes, pensive and profound; she had the quietness of a tender poem, yes, that’s the right description.

And he proceeded, “. . . and then I had a complete affair with you, we shared our love and had a glorious climax. But I wasn’t sure it was me, so I felt betrayed. And the happier I saw you, the more miserable I felt. You displayed enormous joy, yes, your enjoyment had been clearly immense, but the love you felt seemed illicit to me because I wasn’t sure it was I, who was giving it.”

She remained immobile as if concentrating and relishing the conversation.

"I know it sounds silly, but my dreams are so real I woke up with tears in my eyes. I'm sure you know that before you I had loved no one. I belong only to you." 

He was tempted to lift the sheets and caress her legs, but he refrained and continued talking. 

“The last time I made love to you felt like the first time and the last time combined. Just like every time we make love. It seems that our love, instead of disappearing it accumulates. Honey, I love you so much I would bet all my love that you could not love me more than I love you. And if I'd lose the bet, I’d be happy too. I owe all the happiness of my life to you.”
 


*****



He was profoundly asleep when she awoke. But she wouldn’t have dared to interrupt his dreams. He’d been working hard the day before. He seemed like a baby, sweet and innocent. And he truly was like that all the time, sweet and innocent. She loved him more than she loved her life, she wasn’t afraid to love him more that he loved her. She wasn’t selfish. She knew life would cease to exist for her too, the moment her husband would die.

One of her fears was that someday the love for him would stop growing. It made her sad to see other couples fall out of love. She wished them all the happiness she was having. She wished she could interfere and send them back to the moment they first fell in love. 

She also wished to be inside his dreams, to participate in his dreams and desires. She wished she was the only object of his desires, even in his dreams. 

She knew that even a train passing nearby could not make enough noise to wake him up. Still, she began to talk to him gently, as if singing a lullaby to a baby.

“Honey, I want to tell you that my love for you had been increasing every day since the day I first met you. I love you more today than yesterday. And tomorrow I will love you more. I want to tell you that I need a bigger heart because my love for you is overflowing. And you're not helping because everything you do makes me love you more. Every morning when I open my eyes and see you next to me, I ask for nothing else. My happiness is complete.”

The strong desire she felt to touch him surpassed the risk to wake him up. Even so, she began to caress his face and kept talking.

"I know it sounds silly, but if all people could love the way I do, wars wouldn't exist. The word 'hate' would be erased from dictionaries. There would be floods of happiness all around the world. Wouldn't that be wonderful?" she softly kissed his eyelids and continued. "I don't know if I could love another man the way I love you, I mean, if I hadn't met you, would I have been able to love another man the same way? Do I love you so much, because it's you? I mean, you are generating the love I feel, you are the cause, you are the source, the origin. See how silly it is, I can't even explain myself."

Then, with her fingers, she began to comb his hair.

"I must tell you that the reason I enjoy going to the movies with you is because I love to feel your warm hands between my legs. You drive me crazy. I must also tell you that my life is a blessing, and I thank you for all the happiness you've given me. And one more thing, I beg you that when you die you'd take me with you. I know I couldn't resist living a moment without you. I love you, honey." 




***** 



She had been in a deep coma for the last three months. He had blamed himself for the accident. And rightly so, because there was no need to text her. She was right there in the car with him. A moment before he sent the message, he was caressing her legs. She was wearing her favorite skirt. When the police rescued them from the wreckage, they found the phone. The message said, "I love you, honey." It had been three months without her, three months without hope. He chose that day for a specific reason. It was her birthday. A moment before he disconnected the plug, he had taken an entire bottle of sleeping pills.





Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 08-18-2016





Sunday, May 15, 2016

FREE FLOWING



Squeeze my lemons trickle down social insecurities third world project criminal justice injustice three strikes or a homerun prison system mutual terror bucket list priority destroy the world total absurdities my mother was a fish as I lay dying experiment stream of consciousness extreme mind fuck unrequired grammar uncensored thoughts under subconscious and comatose dreamlike visions dormant and inert subliminal messages from the dark side both dumb and smart need not apply a comma here a period there absent and dismissed obsolete comprehension send me to hell he’ll laugh from there while others remain in heaven bored to death pitiful pride useless words inhumane humans voting against earth republicans ignoring democracy conservative donkeys living in the past way in the past centuries behind implanting fear bible in hand frustrating progress preventing advance stampede of fools proclaiming preposterous promises while the opposition opposes most propositions cut to flashback to the future where non-existing scripts kept unedited in perfect literary freedom analyzed and approved with uneducated brilliance free flowing upstream rivers containing regrets that will get stuck by the stubbornness of indifference deviate back to my naked impure thoughts where people will always find meanness in the words offensive and crude the interior monologue never meant to be heard struggles to find the next line stolen by a ghost writer wrestling to avoid a block that impedes his own free flow a conflict of minds trying to invade and plagiarize universal letters and words without legal ownership voicing internal feelings senseless emotions unobtainable dreams reserved only for exceptional persons with genuine talent that cannot be bought or taught eternal envy of simple minds abundant in a world of mediocrity where billions of people swim unaware of misery or wealth but happier than the rest conformism attracts health and joy stream of consciousness think and write whatever comes to mind unfiltered and uninterrupted unafraid of failure absent of objectives aimless freedom oblivious of pleasing results and disregarding unpleasant goals arrive without traveling see all without looking do all without doing and never become a pirate no end in sight no subject is forbidden except inexistent exceptions majestic graffiti adorn the walls of a dark tunnel wasted space a desert on the ocean floor as might as well describe my organs too heart still palpitating reversal of misfortune tune for miss American imperialism capitalism colonialism domestic love universal hate continuous flow the stream found a dam unanswered dialogue voiceless speaker overheard thoughts one way conversation never boring and never clear I could go on forever until I die whichever comes first theories that violate logic a brilliant mind required with bizarre succession of ideas the hell with logical sequence I lost my virginity to a whore this is totally inconsequential and irrelevant but that’s the point if an acquaintance is reading I guarantee this is fiction the rest of you consider it true you lose your virginity once did I mention you’ll never find it back question marked with a perennial tattoo inserted in the interior walls of my eyelids one thing leads to another resume the obsolete task of  building a lifetime of useless resumes describe your failures instead it’ll be more accurate nothing makes sense when you write an autobiography that belongs to someone else young and daring freedom loving fearless punk addicted to excesses school he flunked found love early the free bird also found a cage never ending bliss decreased he then turned to rage lost is the name such accomplished ignorant no more crying I heard daughter downstairs indicating wise advice to kids




Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 05-13-2016