I walk for you / My original place
Mami Luisa, January 2015
I have been to Perú twice in the last six months because of her. Once alone, and the second time with my brother. He had not seen Mami Luisa in eight years. He was able to hug her, make her laugh, and show her that blood really does hold memory- as he possessed many qualities of Uncle Chino - who has already gone from us to the spirit world. During our visit, I also managed to give my brother a birthday present and took him to Machupicchu and Cuzco for his first time.
Seeing my grandmother and showing my brother other parts of Perú was both a wonderful and difficult experience. We had easy days, when everything flowed and made sense. Then we had days when nothing made sense and there were tears, sickness, and late night cries for help. We shared funny stories with Mami, complained to her about our mother (her eldest), and watched her struggle with her body - while still loving with her whole heart. That was our time in Perú. She was beautiful, she was difficult, she was complex and I will never forget the moments shared. Our hiatus in Cuzco fell upon the middle part of our trip, just enough time to recuperate from Mami's condition and the heaviness that comes with it. My brother and I, we traced an invisible promise in the air - to always love her as she is: difficult and wonderful.
I walk for you my darling grandmother.
I write for you my darling grandmother.
Let's go together now...
* * *
For Perú and it's inhabitants
As a young teenager I walked and danced around your streets. I stumbled my teenagehood mostly through Lince, Mirones Bajo and the center of Lima. In fact, these were all my playgrounds and places of learning. As a young adult, I would visit other parts of you, always feeling like I was searching for something strong; within me or within you.
From a distance I watched you grow into something new, and people spread out to embrace your untouched terrains. This was both wonderful and difficult for you, I am sure. My family sung their songs to remember your smell, and drank red wine when they thought of their lovers left behind. So long ago it was, those funny faces from our better times, we say - we left - we say - to build a new life. I know you think of us. I think of you. We remember each other. Here and there, we remember our words, our thoughts, our desires, what we promised, what we scandaled and destroyed.
We dance around your history as more and more places in your glorious land disappear.
"Remember that place?"
"Ya, que paso?"
"Ya no existe."
New buildings that are modern and sterile overtake the old wooden fences that held onto a bit of our already broken history. The Spanish influenced architectures falling apart amongst paper companies and print shops made for mass distribution. They print calendars, booklets, pamphlets, menus and even graduation certificates for our people. A broken and beautiful people, living amongst the ruins of those who conquered the land. Now forced to watch it fall apart slowly, like a decayed tooth sweetened to the core.
Yet, despite these realities - like many of us who left the Americas - we know you are home. You are strong. You endured. You are now your own. And we are able to return, as immigrants to our own lands - to admire your still natural beauties that linger on like secret gardens; not so secret from the Europeans.
I am fortunate to have you as a home, and fortunate to have a people. My original space, my place of true love and never minds. My Perú.
Photo by stranger.
Photo by my brother.