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27 March 2012

Jethro's Dawg

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

If you want to know about my dog, Rosie, then sit back awhile and I'll tell you all about her. First off, it is a damn miracle the dog is alive today, because when I found that mutt, she had a fractured pelvis, two broken teeth, and the bad attitude one develops after having been run over and then spun backwards onto the tarry asphalt by an SUV piloted by a former architecture student on his way to pick up his kids, late, from some daycare or other near the airforce base.

Now don't get me confused, as it weren't I that run her down and the fella that did was certainly polite enough before he left me there on the side of the road to look after her.
Rosie bit me through the hand when I approached and damn it if I didn't scream in agony and give a bloody finger to that nice man, as he headed south, in a hurry, on San Mateo Boulevard. I knew in my heart that la jura would show up at any minute and so set my mind to thinking how I was gonna get that angry heap of bones and fur out of the road before another truck rolled by and did her in. It came to me that I might as well take my shirt off, so that I could throw it over her head. But it was last day of summer and I was just starting to get my winter fat developed. 

For a moment, I feared being seen in all my corpulent glory. But the hell with it says I, as I peeled off my top, yelled out an ancient Aztec battle cry and made my move. She didn't put up much resistance because she was plumb scared nearly to death, pobrecita.

At the emergency vet, they told me I ought to put her down, but I resisted, produced some Franklins from out my pocket and told 'em to do their best to save her. Those bills worked wonders and the next morning I got to take her home. The vets were glad to be shed of Rosie and told me she tried to bite just about every soul in the clinic. She was nice to me, though, and curled right up in the back of my 1987 Saab 900 for the ride home.

The year I found Rosie was the year my old man died and it so happened I spent the night waiting to hear about her fate by going to a New Mexico Symphony Orchestra concert where they played a thing called the Firebird Suite by a guy name of Stravinsky. I was using up the last of my father's season tickets and mostly thinking after him, how he was lying in a bed at the VA and dreaming of baseball and freedom and so forth and so on.

Well, my pops, who was also named Rudolfo, died that Thanksgiving. By then, Rosie had got herself healthy and plump and became the top dog at mi chante. She liked to follow me around and growled at anyone, kin included, that came near me.

I took her just about everywhere with me. She couldn't stand the folks I worked with, thought they were representatives of the devil, excepting one. That would be the quiet freelance music writer I had a secret crush on. Rosie the dog would wag her tail like it was dinnertime whenever that woman walked by my office.

Just about ten years have passed since all that came to pass. I lost my shitty sales job at that old place and went on to become what others call a formidable writer and artist. Just about everyone reads my mierda and thinks it is something fine, I hear. Off course, the most beautiful thing was I ended up married to the gal I told you about.

The only problem is with Rosie. She developed a sort of cancer during November of the warm winter that just passed. She has what they call a mast-cell tumor and it sure don't look good. The surgeon says he'd have to cut her leg off to cure the cancer, which the mutt told me was out of the question. He also said there was some hope for remission and so I am counting on that and keeping a close watch on her.

So, I've got her on prednisone and now it is springtime. Four months are a long time for a dog, I reckon. The trees in these parts are busy budding and today I saw that we've got bees in the back yard, just waiting for the apple blossoms to come out. And Rosie is sitting by my side as I type out this story. Her eyes are still bright. She still gets up every morning to visit with the sun and the sky, baring her teeth at anyone that stands between me and her.

And I don't know how this story I am telling you will end. I could guess at it all day and all night, if I was so inclined, and so might you. But, instead of pondering quantum outcomes, you all just keep her in your thoughts, as I am wont to do.

Be Seeing You.

14 March 2012

La Neta According to One Old and Trumpetlike Burqueño

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo

I live in a magic world. Everyday, usually just after the sliver of earth upon which i reside slides celestially into the sunward position called daylight, I place a wizard's hat on my head. The hat is made from aluminum foil and has little black stars and crescent moons that I drew on it with a sharpie.

Once I have donned this arcane accoutrement of the brujeria practiced by outsiders, artists, punk-rock musicians, certain writers, as well as magicians of every conceivable level, from charlatan to time-lord, I walk ceremonially out into the town contained within the arc of land I told you about in the second sentence of this text-string. Out there in Albuquerque, leaves are erupting from the trees and the homeless people I share the bus with are leaving their jackets and blankets behind and wading in the Rio Grande, chasing after the ducks that stayed behind to feast on the shoots of fresh grass that are common and brightly supple as they grow in mid March on river's banks.

I decided to be a magician in the third grade, while my family was living in Gallup. My brother and I bought every magic trick you could come up with back then in the middle of the nineteen seventies and learned how to make them work. Our bag of incantations came from the Winrock Mall, from a place called Toys by Roy. We'd visit every weekend, when my folks drove into town and away from their lonely and spectacular outpost at the foot of the hogback mountain.

When we finally had a chance to perform before an audience, things went awry. Though my mother bought us wide collared shirts at JC Penny and made us capes from her mother's mystical trailer-house curtains, cards flew out into the space of the school auditorium like unfamiliar and wild butterflies and the silk scarves refused to change color. The rabbit got lost and never got to the venue. I think she ended up as a roadside attraction at Chief Yellowhorse.

Anyway, after all of that, and forty years later, I wander around this place, my New Mexican home, mi chante, el mundo, with the idea in my head that I am at least going to make a decent attempt to solve the great problems of humanity and the earth and all its creatures and plants, too. But since I am made of flesh I really can't do much. I can't cure cancer, for instance. Or find a way to mitigate genetically transferred autoimmune conditions. I know my limitations and they are woeful deficiencies to be sure, but life in the shadow of the unknowable has made me brave. Hope is my reliable weapon of choice, though one night I dreamt I carried a silver dorje on my back to scare away ghosts and demons.

Now, I am going to turn the volume down on the poetically satirical, yet plaintive post I just typed out for your consideration. I am going to be brave and tell you my opinion on some stuff, cultural items of the local variety for the most part, that I stumbled upon whilst skylarking, as above. If you don't like those words and ideas, then you can go to the devil. While you are chatting with old scratch, you might want to ask him for you own wizard's hat

  • For starters, all this business about how Burqueños talk is bothersome to me. It was funny at first. But, like the episode of Gilligan's Island where the mad scientist accidentally transfers the spirits of Gilligan and the Skipper into a dog and a cat, it has worn thin with repeated iteration.  Not all of us speak in funky malapropisms and vaguely defined terms. Those of us that do risk inflaming the souls of our ancestors for indulging in such stereotype-reinforcing mierda.
  • There was a discussion on Duke City Fix (one of my former digital habitats, I must shamefully acknowledge) wherein two regular commenters bemoaned the state of affairs at this once noble cyber-destination. One said that the site "is circling the drain", while the other added "...the reason the site fizzled is because they took away the morning fix and regular blog posts and changed the format. Its not their fault, its a lot if time for non paying work." I am sure I said something similar when I channelled Criswell on this channel last summer. I'd like to add that said current circumstances are the products of poor creative and editorial choices. Combined with a slant towards so-called new comers and transplants (I'd employ the terms carpetbaggers and paternalistic orientalists here, but shall instead let my better angels guide my criticism) at the expense of local, native, and authentic voices, this has resulted in the rise in a bland and vanilla-flavored version of DCF which is haunted by wingnuts and characters from Portlandia. It seems a mockery of what I used to read five years ago.
  • The Valencia County animal shelter is overwhelmed with stray dogs and had to kill an inordinate number of adoptable animals this past week. Listen, fellow humans, I know times are rough but I'd be mighty pleased if - when you get through that last curmudgeonly paragraph without condemning my flamy rant outright - just one of you would go out to your local shelter and adopt or foster a dog or cat. For one thing, that action of yours would help me stop crying tonight. For another, it would serve, to me at least, as proof of some sort of magic in this world.

Be Seeing You.

10 March 2012

The Day We Left Gallup

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

I am not aiming to elicit anything controversial here and so will use the word sparingly, in a manner opposite of my old man. He always prefaced his own lamentations in and with the press as "controversial" - and would bite his tongue and draw blood from it in a manner that unconsciously mimicked the pissed-off and forlorn priests of the aztec idol Huitzilopochtli - before warning his progeny of the news of his latest exploits.

When that solemn ritual was complete and after he had washed his hands with hot well water and Ivory soap, my father would offer up the local daily rag for immediate and familial perusal. This was mostly so his wife, sons, and daughter could gawk and twitter about this or that record of the fluidic and bellicose utterances made by the fat man from the sea about progress and urbanization. They were uttered in the beatific, bureaucratic patois of all federal employees hellbent on destroying the last remnants uncolonized America; a tone, a jargon, an intention that the sailor had mastered in his land-locked middle years.

His words were immortalized by the inky work of a group of scribes located in the smoky and lightly vodka scented newsroom of the Gallup Independent and we read them and just about every damn thing else in that collection of pages and words. We looked for meaning in that place and through that medium from the time I was about four until we left for Burque; those years came and went before I really knew what water was.

Here's a good one. The editor of that paper had a weekly column. It was called Up and Down the Perky. The "Perky" was what some folks out there called the mournful excuse for a river tributary that sometimes passed through town. I say it was mournful because the only time I can recall it being really perky was during the monsoon season. On those occasions, it would usually overflow and flood the north side of town. Besides that, the Perky also carried the heavy green leftovers of the mysteriously glowing giants' farms that were hidden here and there in the immediate vicinity.

That's why my old man was out in the western lands, why we were doing our thing in the shadow of the hogback mountain. He was part of a US government team that was going to design and deploy a sustainable flood control system for the city while also assessing and measuring the hot mess left behind by another US government team.

So, when Coronado's men walked through that part of the world - about four hundred and fifty years before the older version of Rudolfo Carrillo stood in his ranch style kitchen with avocado-colored appliances staring at the Gallup Independent with a scowl of disappointment on his mustashioed face -  in the sixteenth century, they wept blood and anger, calling that ephemeral and unreliably wet ribbon of life el rio puerco. Then they probably watched the dirt and waited shamefully for their reflections to bubble upward from cracks in the dry earth and into the air, towards heaven.

They forgot about all those sly and nonsensical symbols of redemption and trod heavily, in grandiose costumes and metal suits, eastward to the big river.

In their absence and amidst the roaring vacuum created when one culture forcefully deconstructs another, only to be swallowed whole by the pale fish of western hegemony, I reckon that words like puerco became perky.

Anyway, the day we left Gallup, after my father's project ended in a drought year, the year of the small corn, my brother noticed a stagnant pool of water filled with hundreds of tadpoles setting across the street from our house. It was the end of summer and the rain was gone.

He asked me to help him. He wanted to drag the garden hose over to the little pond. He wanted to give the frog children a couple of extra days. We spent our final moments on the mesa giving temporary hope to a colony of doomed amphibians.

The hose was the last thing to go into the moving van. We drove away to Albuquerque. As we passed  the Ciniza oil refinery, my father rolled down the driver's side window and removed some white feathers from his pocket. He let them flutter in the breeze before releasing them into the airy wake the car was making in its stormy progress along the interstate highway.

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