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12 October 2011

"But won't we all parade around and sing our songs, a magic kingdom, open-armed."

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

On my way home and whilst navigating the very periphery of the academy, I decided to allow myself an anomalous deviation from what I considered tried and true, roaring through the green light at Yale and steering my motorized symbol of complicity in everything that is evil and bad for the earth into the parking lot of McDonald's.

In case you didn't know it, that place is the penultimate iteration of a process that begins when an innocent and well-meaning animal is tormented and killed and then processed into a slow form of poison that just about anyone you ask in this nation will gladly admit to savoring, one way or another. I am the last step in the process, unless you want to count the fellow that runs the sludge-clarification machinery down at the city works. But that would make the whole system seem cyclic, which I am dead set against at this moment, having decided instead, on a vector.

Across the street from the charnel house is the encampment of folks who call themselves Occupy Albuquerque. There were a couple of bright lights high up in the trees and a heap of signs calling for an end to this and the reform of that. The lights got their power from a process that began with the destruction of large swaths of the earth in order to extract from it all the stuff that burns. The signs were hanging on ropes and chords that dangled and wagged in the breeze. All of that material was probably made from the stuff that burns, too.

And I gotta tell you, the scene seemed sorta mournful and lonesome to me on account of that realization, from the other side of the road. Just about everybody over there was in the shadows, so I really couldn't make out any faces and that didn't help matters.

Well, in order to pass the time and so as not to have to think about the unfolding tragedy of the decline of Western Civilization, I started leafing through a copy of the Daily Lobo. I had it along to use the glorious corporate hamburger coupon that was ofttimes printed within the pages of that venerable publication, but reckoned it could also serve as entertainment while I waited to be presented with my own greasy albeit temporary symbols of acquiescence to a system that frightened me, but which nonetheless provided me little green pieces of paper that I could readily convert into snacks.

I was drawn to the editorial page and settled on giving the letters to the editor a whirl; it was late after all and I still hadn't had my fill of outrage for the day.  One fellow wrote in and was going on and on about how the university had violated the first amendment rights of the protesters, how that's against the law and so forth.

 Well, says I, that's a common name in the local blogosphere and ain't that the guy that strongly implied in this blog and that one, that he was all for running stop signs and that paying attention to traffic laws, being a bicyclist, "makes absolutely no sense". I don't know about you all, but that sort of conflict of interest, choosing to be a scofflaw when it comes to local law, but being more than willing to invoke federal law when it suits one seems on its surface to be sketchy, as the kids are wont to say.

Plus which, referring to UNM as a banana republic made me laugh. Ain't a banana republic a place where they don't take the rule of law seriously? Well then, what do you call thumbing ones nose at certain city ordinances that one finds distasteful, for any reason?

It does not seem likely to me that these sorts of preoccupations will result in progressive change, but what the hell do I know.

And to me that affair points to a central problem, that the protesters, Jah bless every one of them, need to clear up; that of credibility and consistency of vision. A poet's entitled  consternation don't hunt, especially when it ends with the admonition that you are either fer or agin us.

Now that's all I gotta say tonight; I already missed Carson's monologue and I'll be damned if I am going to miss tonight's star-studded line up. Supposedly, Criswell's gonna come on after intermission and predict the end of the world.

09 October 2011

"Welcome to the Camp, I Guess You All Know Why We're Here"

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

Actually I really did not know for certain why they were down there.

I had some ideas that had formed in my head. I got them by scrolling through a few pages of status updates, videos, photographs, and statements read by crafty teevee celebrities - and then doing some thinking on my own about what all of that meant.

By the way, those sources of information I just mentioned were being piped into my home through a vast and intricately organized network of wires and circuits, digital transmitters and receivers. When they finally reached my end of the void through which they travelled, all those signals, symbols, signages, and other electronic intricacies transformed themselves into useful data whose output was governed by an assemblage of absolutely huge corporations.

I'll try to tie that winsome fact into this discourse in a paragraph that will probably come to reside near the bottom of the post. To get there, you're gonna have to read through this, which comprises a series of observations I made whilst visiting the Occupy Albuquerque site currently manifesting itself on the remnants of Yale Park.

In case you are interested, I went down there and walked around for a while this morning. I chatted here and there, but mostly just hung back, watching and listening. I knew in my heart that I couldn't figure the thing out without seeing and hearing it myself, sans electronic contrivance.

The first fellow I spoke with was sitting under an banner that had the word information written on it in big colorful letters. I jokingly asked him to take me to his leaders and even used my index fingers to pretend I had antennae sprouting from my head.

A couple of bearded men in the background immediately chimed in that I was the leader and they were too. Everyone was a leader, one of the hirsute guys said, sounding sorta poetic. I asked how they made decisions and was solemnly handed a piece of paper that turned out to be a printout from part of a Wikipedia article on the subject of Consensus Decision Making.

Just then, an angry cowboy dude came marching up with his kid in tow. He was dressed all in black and was driving a monster truck with sign on it that read "Report Police Misconduct." He wanted to complain about the upside-down American flag he had planted earlier in the day. It was at the edge of camp, but had disappeared, he lamented.

Another heavily bearded fellow appeared from behind the kitchen with the flag. He was wearing a long tie-dyed skirt and explained that some of the protesters were unsure of the flag's meaning and so took it down.

A heated discussion ensued, which mostly went round and round the subjects of how the country was in distress and how proper flag etiquette played a part in that perception; the flag was ultimately returned to its place on the periphery of things. The tragic dark horseman told the crowd that his son had been killed by the police and then drove off in a storm, with The Charlie Daniels Band blaring from his stereo.

Two native kids in full Juggalo regalia walked around shaking hands with the campers who were mostly homeless men. Those ones seemed sunburned and dusty and weary from living on the street. Mostly they sat in front of their tents, patching their broken shoes or talking about how cold it had been at night. Some of them had their dogs along and the Juggalos patted the dogs on their heads, asked to know their names.

A young woman walked up to me and spontaneously offered me a piece of home-baked bread and two teenage girls made up to be flower children gamboled around, passing out flowers and singing songs they must have learned from their grandparents.

After all of that, bells were rung and a general meeting was called. When everyone had gathered into a half-circle, a smoky blessing was initiated and two college types asked the group to follow along and read back the camp rules, so that everyone could hear, all fifty of them.

It was a man and woman doing the talking and they kindly asked that all present make themselves familiar with the anti-corporate declaration that had come down to them from New York City.

I found a copy of the pamphlet and read through it. The word that is most common in that manifesto is the word "They". After listing all they things "they" did to betray humanity, decency and democracy, it calls on "The People of the World" to "generate solutions accessible to everyone."

The thing was, I really didn't see any evidence of active or progressive solution generation going on. Maybe I came at the wrong time, but when I asked about that, the young fellow under the information banner told me, "It took them a while to come up with these ideas in New York City; we'll come up with our own version of them sometime or other."

Meanwhile, cars continued speeding down Central Avenue and occasionally somebody would honk or yell a cuss word out as they passed by. My cell phone started chirping and it was Samantha on the line telling me to come home and help her walk the dogs, as they were getting mighty restless.

On the way back home, the radio was playing a song about revolution and I thought about who exactly "they" might be, reckoning finally, that for all intents and purposes, it might do as well to replace every utterance of that loathsome word with this one:


We brought the corporations to life. We allowed them in our homes. We have enlisted them towards a definition of our own leisure and convenience. We are watching Monday Night Football and listening to Spotify. We are on Facebook. We buy stuff from China, We waste food, We lead countless animals to their untimely deaths. We have friends and neighbors, sons and daughters, wives and cousins who are soldiers or who work as nuclear physicists or bomb technicians. We apparently do not have the knowledge of history to understand that We have done this to ourselves.

And now suddenly, and by invoking a collegial sort of magic, We want to save what We have already ruined. 

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