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, a few hours ago, if I remember well, 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 lose my 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 people could love the way I do, wars wouldn't exist. The word 'hatred' 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


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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


“Why did you kill him?” The FBI agent asked the suspect in the interrogating room, as he sat and put his gun on the table.

“He was bad for America. You know how some psychos blame the devil for their crimes? Well, in this case, God made me do it.” The suspect answered.

“Okay, but what was the reason?”

“He was creating another Holocaust. He was deporting tens of thousands of immigrants every month. He was a racist ignorant. Half America wanted to get rid of him. Let me tell you, America had always had its share of racist and hateful people, but they were mostly hiding behind the shadows. We used to think they were the silent minority, but after this guy appeared, they started proudly sharing their hatred. He divided America in the worst way. And they weren’t a little minority after all.”

“Did you have any accomplices or did you plan it all by yourself?”

“God was on my side, He was guiding me. I was never afraid of failing.”

“Are you a religious fanatic?”

“Not at all, believing in God doesn’t mean being a fanatic.”

“Have you killed anyone before?”

“No. He was the only person I hated in the world.”

“Did you enjoy killing him?”

“No. I enjoyed getting rid of him.”

“Do you consider yourself a hero?”

“Not at all, but let people decide. In any case, I don’t care.”

“What punishment do you think you deserve?”

“Are you kidding me? Heaven will be my reward. God’s going to give me a break, I’m going to heaven. And my victim will be fighting for supremacy in hell. Too bad hell doesn’t have beautiful walls.”

“You sounded like a terrorist for a second when you said, “Heaven will be my reward””

“Oh yeah, you’re right! . . .  but I know I’m not.”

“Now that he’s gone, do you think you helped him prove his point, to say you are rapists and criminals?”

“You can’t blame ten million people for the actions of one person.”

“But, don’t you think he could have changed?”

“It’s impossible for an asshole not to smell like shit all the time." He said, as he stood up and looked at the camera.

“Well, I can’t say I approve or disapprove your actions, but I think you’ll get the death penalty. Or maybe you’ll spend the rest of your life in prison . . .  Good luck.” The agent stands up and exits the room, leaving his gun behind.

 After a brief moment a shot was heard.

"The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people."
-Noam Chomsky.


Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. May-10-2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Anchor Baby

Pancho was the main source of the family income, they worked equally hard. Jose was an excellent craftsman, making spinning tops, cap and balls, puppets, and other wooden toys, all made by hand. The quality of the toys didn’t match the low selling price. The toys were a good percentage of his profits, but still, Pancho was an essential part of the business. Pancho was an alcoholic for sure, and he was also his partner, his best friend and most importantly a crucial element on his show. The donkey carried a sign hanging from its neck that said, “Pancho”, and all the tourists at the beach loved to see him drink beer. 

The donkey had been loyal to Jose for years; he carried the merchandise and entertained the crowds, and he got paid with beers. Most days, it appeared that Pancho was too willing to go to work, but Jose knew that in reality Pancho had a hangover, and all he had in mind was to go to the beach and get drunk again. The happy appearance of Pancho was misleading; Jose knew he was in fact exploiting Pancho, even though the donkey had a constant smile on his face, but the smile was provoked by his addiction.

Jose’s wife was in the last days of her pregnancy and for the last two weeks she couldn’t join him and stayed home. They made a decent living in Tijuana. Their modest house didn’t lack any of the essentials for a happy living, but Jose wasn’t too proud of his way of living, or the options and example he would give to his future child. Jose and his wife had had serious talks about how to improve the chances for the future of their child. And the decision was final: the child would be born in the United States.

From Tijuana to Central America and beyond most people blamed the U.S. for their eternal misery. The graffiti on the poorest slums proclaimed: “Yankees go home”, in contrast to racist signs near San Diego, showing immigrant parents with a girl with ponytails running and crossing the freeways. In their eyes, the U.S. was the clear villain. Indeed, the U.S. had been robbing them of all their natural resources, including silver, gold, oil, lumber, produce, and everything in between, even cheap labor. Taking with them all the stuff the country produced and living them with increasing debt. 

There was a deceptive magic trick in all the U.S. trades and businesses done with Mexico, and the good old U.S.A. always ended up winning. Mexico had survived centuries of Spanish pillaging and exploitation. Now Spain had been replaced by the U.S. Mexicans were refugees escaping a disguised phantom struggle provoked by the U.S. And in most cases, the only solution they could find was to escape to the U.S. The U.S. had nothing to recriminate. All of it was just a vicious circle initiated by a greedy villain. Talking about poetic justice.

Jose and Pancho had been a permanent fixture at the beach, and tourists had taken thousands of pictures and videos of Pancho and his drinking habits for many years at the Mexico-USA border on the beach. They were never bothered by immigration officers while going back and forth the borderline, invading temporarily the U.S. side a few dozen yards. 

But the following day they had planned to go further into USA territory.

The preparations were made the day before; Maria was ready to give birth. She wasn’t too cheerful her first baby was going to be an American child. She was proud of her race, of her brown skin and her Aztec roots. She even imagined that by giving birth in America, her child would be a white boy, or a blond girl, just like that, automatically by crossing an invisible border, even if the other side used to be part of Mexico. But it had been decided, it was the best for the child. He or she could have access to better education, better medical care, better job opportunities and everything else. He could be a professional athlete, an astronaut or even the President of the Unites States. Yes, it was the best for the child.

Maria was riding the donkey; the donkey had all kinds of trinkets hanging from its neck, not cheap, but inexpensive wooden toys that appealed mostly to poor kids on the Mexican side. Cheap meant low quality, but these toys were good quality, so, they should be called inexpensive. Pancho was having a hard time, carrying the extra weight. He was sweating off a hangover from the day before, and he was anxious to have his first beer of the day. But Jose was not making as many stops as usual. They hadn’t walked a mile on the U.S. side when they were stopped by an Immigration Officer who asked them for their papers, but then another officer showed up and said that it was okay, that Jose and Pancho were allowed to come and go just a couple miles into U.S. territory, and that Pancho had been entertaining tourists from both sides for years. So, they left them alone.

And they continued their trip.

They didn’t plan on giving any shows or try to sell anything; their only goal was to get to a community hospital in Chula Vista. But along the way, they made a few stops anyway, to avoid any suspicions. 

The first stop was unplanned. Pancho decided to stop with a group of teenagers. He obviously was in need of a beer. The kids were drinking from plastic cups. Drinking alcohol was illegal in California, and they were trying to avoid any infractions or being thrown from the beach. Jose couldn’t understand how Pancho noticed the teens were drinking beer. Pancho came to a standstill in front of them and stubbornly refused to continue. He deserved a break, thought Jose. Maria dismounted the thirsty alcoholic donkey. He looked a little pathetic, but soon, with some luck, he would change that look into a smile. The teens couldn’t believe Jose when he told them the truth; the donkey had a terrible hangover. In the end, they had a lot of fun with Pancho; they even bought some puppets and spinning tops. Pancho drank five beers, and before they left, Pancho brayed rather noisily. He was happy again. The teens had a riot when a naive girl asked Jose if she could kiss his ass. Maria didn’t like that. 

And they continued their journey.

All along the beach, there were showers and restrooms and other facilities, including lifeguard posts and free public parking spaces. The ocean water and the sand were exactly the same, the wind and the sunshine too, but somehow the American side seemed to be more serene, less turbulent, more pure, less polluted. Whatever it was, you could feel safer. 

Apparently, Pancho had decided to be in charge of the rest stops and breaks they would take. This time, he took refuge in the shade, next to a restroom. And while Maria used the facilities, Jose fed Pancho and gave him some water. They obviously seemed out of place. They weren’t ugly, on the contrary. They weren’t dirty or disheveled, they were just odd. Maria was wearing a long dress, a headscarf and a nice straw hat. Nobody could deny she was beautiful. Jose was wearing a pair of white loose cotton pants, a white guayabera, and brown sandals. He was handsome too. But they definitely looked out of place; they neither looked like tourists nor like natives. 

Before Maria exited the restroom, another lady came out blabbering in a fastidious tone, aiming her venom to her waiting husband just outside the door, “I can’t believe it! These Mexicans are invading us, it seems like the border line is getting closer to San Diego; I can’t even use the restroom without tripping with one of them! Oh my God we need to move to Canada!”  “Yes!” answered her husband, “And look at this, they’re even bringing their burros!” And as they walked away, but still complaining incessantly, Maria appeared, clearly confused and startled.

“I don’t know what happened Jose, I didn’t do anything, but that lady was so offended by my presence, I don’t understand why,” Maria said, as she came out of the restroom.

“It’s okay Maria, don’t worry, you’re not to blame, obviously they’re just a pair of intolerant racists, please darling, don’t be upset, just ignore them,” Jose said, as he helped her climb up Pancho. 

Jose couldn’t understand it either since all American tourists they encountered in Tijuana were extremely polite and gracious; they were always very respectful and well mannered. They’ve never seen such mean persons before. 

And they continued their trek.

Maria kept sobbing quietly for a while, and when her pain appeared to be subsiding, a skinny young man who was jogging, interrupted his activity and asked Jose in Spanish if he could ride his donkey for a little bit. Such a request wasn’t too rare to hear from kids, but this guy was a grown man. But the man was polite, and Jose couldn’t find a reason to refuse, so he let him ride Pancho. And while Jose and Maria sat on the sand to rest, the little guy went up and down the beach riding Pancho with a certain skill. Even Pancho appeared to be having fun; they looked a little comical too.

When they came back, the man sat next to them. And while still laughing, he said he had a great time riding the donkey. He mentioned that he started riding donkeys when he was five years old, back in a little town in Oaxaca, where he was from. It turned out he was a jockey, and in a couple of days, he’d be running a race at the Del Mar racetrack. His name was Martin, he said he missed Mexico, that most of the time he felt lonely and nostalgic. In return, Jose told him their story and the reasons why they had crossed the border and their intentions to try to give a better future to the baby. After Jose finished their story, Martin offered them three hundred dollars to help with the medical bills, which Jose accepted with sincere modesty. They had with them all their life savings, but Jose didn’t know if they had enough. And now he was happy no one would ever call him a freeloader, or a leech. Even Pancho disliked burdens.

And they continued their expedition. 

They were near their destination. Maria was feeling close to her destination too. The contractions were getting too strong and persistent, and she told Jose it was time. While she rested next to a lifeguard's tower, Jose went to get a taxicab. Pancho was not allowed on city streets. The area was a surfer's paradise, on one side the waves were crashing violently against the rocks, and on the other side, as long as you can see, the high tide kept delivering surfers to the beach. One of them saw Maria trying to stretch and relax, but there was nothing that seemed remotely relaxing on the sand, not even a towel, so one of them offered his surfing board, for her to lie down, then other surfers brought more surfing boards, and built two walls around her. Then the lifeguard brought a stretcher and some sheets. Maria couldn't wait to be taken to the hospital.

The beach sure looked like paradise; no one could tell if this was the beginning or the end of the world. The place where the ocean waters were embracing and caressing this beautiful planet was a perfect place to deliver a baby.

The lifeguard and the surfers were good enough to deliver the baby. The healthy boy didn't need any doctors or nurses or emergency rooms. Many surfers were offering their arms to hold the smiling baby.

When Jose returned, as he held the baby and kissed Maria the crowd went wild with cheers.

And of course, they named the baby Jesus.

And thirty-three years later he would have to experience his own journey.

Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 02-20-2016