Sunday, December 26, 2004


spanish labor posterGuadalajara to Azuquequa de Henares, Cercanías Train

On the train a young punk girl sits across me. Her presence is anachronistic because punk “belonged” to the 1970s. Her presence is also common, all too common and not anachronistic at all, because the statement she’s making -- of not fitting into the Spanish mainstream -- well that’s as old as the first gypsy that set foot in Spain.

Her dark, short black hair and overly-done eyes don’t distract me. It’s the cheap cloisonné pendant with the image of Che Guevara that makes this ordinary train ride seem like a colossal tear in the fabric of time: if she only knew what my parents went through to flee communist Cuba. She’s wearing an emblem of a history she never lived.

How easily teenagers adopt the struggles of others, when they’ve got no struggles of their own. Some day she’ll wipe that make-up off with cold cream. Yes, I see it clearly: some day she’ll wipe that make-up off for the very last time and she’ll see her own face for the very first time. She’ll have her own struggles, with her own beautiful, tired face as its symbol.

In Memoriam March 11, 2004 Victims of Terrorism


Patricio Texidor said...

I came across your post on Babalu. I can relate to the description of the teen on the train...I'm a high school art teacher. I was impressed by how your perception of her went beyond the here and now. This is something of which a teacher dealing with kids every day needs to be reminded (they will grow out of adolescence someday and become like us). I was also reminded of a trip to Spain back in 1993. We "studied" at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for three weeks. And they say New York never sleeps! I'll have to resurrect some of those memories for a blog post someday.

You write very well. I encourage you to keep it up.

Yoli said...

Great observation. They don't know, a lot of people have no earthly idea. It sickens me what I see as artsy. Che was handsome to a fault, if he were a troll, I doubt they would be wearing him on necklaces.