Juliana Aragón Fatula


Sin Fronteras

Sin Fronteras


juliana at work on the beach

Juliana Aragón Fatula
Sin Fronteras

After Carlos Almaraz’s Night Magic (Blue Jester), 1988, oil on canvas

She don’t regret nothing. Don’t apologize for a thing. An alcoholic, high school drop-out, hippy, cowgirl, Indian, Mexican, Mexican- Indian, Native American, pocha, misfit, statistic, survivor of sexual abuse, of domestic abuse, survivor of “I should be dead, but I’m still here,” best friend, wife, sexaholic, bad friend, bad wife, bad mother, bad daughter, bad sister, rebel, la Chicana-feminist, la feminist-Chicana, la Mexica, la Mestiza, la india, la mujer, la llorona, la Virgen de Guadalupe, la student, la teacher, la writer, la chica, la jita, la jester.

She yells at the crowd at the bus stop, “Don’t call me Hispanic! Or girl. Cause I’m a woman. La mujer, la chola, la vata—but don’t call me girl. You can call me la chingona but don’t call me Hispanic.” Between many worlds, she lives sin fronteras.
She stumbles onto the bus and rides through the north side of Denver. Sees house after house for sale. The cantinas gone, the segunda replaced with Gently Used Shops. The dark night streets flashing red lights. Police versus barrio boys.
Candlelight in windows flickers like falling stars, fallen angels, gang bangers, hookers. Children jumping rope on the corner where she rode her bike to la tiendita to cash in her pop bottles for candy money. The cement steps, the metal rail made from recycled plumbing. She would swing upside down on the pipe, her hair sweeping the ground, her hair blue black in the twilight. Now demolished.

Her community speaking Caló: órale vato, simón hermano, cálmese ése, o calmantes Montes, ay te wacho, ésele, a toda madre. The new neighbors speaking only English, arriving in Hummers and Subarus. The gardens where the flowers once bloomed silver, azure, peony pink, hollyhock white, Indian corn, now a parking lot.
She stares out the window of the bus. She doesn’t recognize a soul. Where are her people? Where have la gente gone? Why did they leave? She gets off at the stop in front of her old house. While she was sleeping it disappeared. Poof. Like that.
She asks a stranger passing by, “Excuse me, mister, what happened to the people who lived here?” He says, very matter of fact, “The couple died. Mr. and Mrs. James Harris bought the house.”

She stands until she can’t and then sits on the curb. “How long was I locked up? What day is it?” She feels like she’s in a black and white movie that’s been digitalized and technicolored. The magnetism and zeal of that time turned into a bad Disney film. The Harrises were not the Romeros, nor the Martinezes nor the Valdezes. Where are the Valdezes, who lived next door?

She laughs and says, “I’ve come home to casi nada, no gente, no carnalismo. No le hace. El barrio es agringado.”

The neighbor’s house with the front porch swing, revamped into an art gallery with a mural painted on the brick wall. She recognizes the painting. It reminds her of the last painting she saw. In a book, in a classroom. What was the name of it? The Blue Fool, no, no Blue Jester. No. Night Magic. She lifts her head to the heavens, can see it so clearly in the dark blue clouds. Rips of color in random shapes. Triangles, spheres, silhouettes of faces. Smears of light cast shadows. The black skyline turns blue. Dilapidated buildings in decay. The artist hides in the corner and paints the velvety darkness. The crippled man wears his Panama and carries an umbrella to keep the stars from falling on his skull. The blue jester lifts her halo to the cityscape. The second blue jester frowns into the mirror. The ceiling collapses. He tries to hold it up with his left hand. The pit bull, silent but attentive sits in the smoke. The homeless man sneaks and peeks from the alley. The red hue of taverns behind him like flames. The flashing police car lights wash the buildings in yellow, orange, green, red. They throb like the heartbeats of the city.

She listens to the wind and hears her mother’s voice: “Listen, you’ve been gone too long and everything changes, everything evolves. Like the day turns into night. Like young turns into old. Remember? Those were your words. That’s what you told me when I asked where you were going: out in the night, mamá, out into the blue magic night.”

Western Humanities Review · University of Utah · Department of English
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© 2019 · Western Humanities Review


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