Xicana Travelougue: Week 1
Sarah Rafael García
Ireland was one of Papi’s travel tales. Although Papi himself never traveled beyond Mexico and the United States, he infused my mind with limitless opportunities to cross over different borders.
“Mira mija, you’re American, tu vas tener la oportunidad de conocer ese país. Imagínate, one day you’ll go there!” His ink-stained fingertips tapped on the newspaper page that told of some green countryside in Ireland. Papi worked in the print room of the OC Register for 10 years; along the stories printed he also shared the lives of the other immigrants who worked with him. Needless to say, Vietnam, Samoa and Colombia are also countries on my travel list and he is the reason I share my stories.
Finally, at the age of 40, here I am. Writing in Ireland. “Si Papi, I know, I know you were right. It’s more than I could’ve imagined back then.” But from this point on, I have to learn to live and write for myself. I have chosen to present a final piece to him in a country that struggles with preserving their identity—as many of us do.
I’m in Cork, Ireland on a study abroad experience through early August. I look forward to sharing this country with you in the weeks ahead.
Thump, thump. Thump, thump.
The odor of musk resurrects the past.
I turn my head for an escape,
agony unearthing the stones at my feet.
Wish it away! Wish it away.
Find solace in the damp grass.
Inhale until the malady subsides,
fill all the crevices within.
It’s not even past!
The clucking of life,
Rising, quietly, misty view ahead.
Shiny mudflats adorned with winged spirits,
savoring sweetness of grassy hues.
The buzzing at my head,
the earth pressed in my palms.
In such stillness, life goes on.
silence echoes—swaying to and fro.
a whispered name.
Shhh…listen to it again.
Once a prayer, today a reminder.
Peace will never be.
Nor here, nor there,
the past is never dead.
Forever in my thoughts,
“May his soul be at God’s right hand,”
because I know I am not.
(A response to a visit to Timoleague. Inspired by "The past is never dead. It's not even past." -- William Faulkner & "Timoleague Reveries" by Steve Wilson.)
Her writings have been featured in Connotation Press, Label Me Latina/o, Brooklyn & Boyle, LATINO Magazine, Santanero Zine and Flies, Cockroaches and Poets. Sarah Rafael is currently attending Texas State University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Her works promote community empowerment, cultural awareness and global sharing. www.sarahrafaelgarcia.com