My mother’s name is Carmen Lydia Pérez. She was born in McAllen, Texas. She doesn’t accent her surname, as I did just now, and her maiden name, Guerrero, doesn’t appear on any government documents.
When my mother was a young woman, she weighed less than 100 pounds. She traveled with the rest of her family to Michigan to pick strawberries, seasonally.
The mother my mother came from was named Adelina Guerrero Fuentes. Her first name means «nobility» & comes from the Spanish, though I read somewhere online, while researching her name, that it originates from Ancient Germanic.
To this day, no one has been able to tell me where my grandmother was born. Her daughters trace her beginning to the state of Tamaulipas, along México’s increasingly walled-infrontier, but can say little more.
In Tamaulipas, my grandmother, who everyone called Nina, eventually married a man from Montemorelos, Nuevo León, which is a small city nearby Monterrey, in this same part of México that’s also known as the North. His name: José Guadalupe, with a diacritic on the «e».
I’ve always been drawn to the name Guadalupe. It’s religious (Our Lady of Guadalupe) & unisex while also Arabic (wadi: river/valley) & zoological (lupus: wolf).
The one story I know about my grandfather’s life in México is that he saw his brother crucified to a tree during the Mexican Revolution.
Sometime after this story, my two grandparents married. They had 5 children, first a stillborn, then Enriqueta, María Guadalupe, María Isabel, & Albino, before they fled to the United States, where they had five more: María Herlinda, Carmen Lydia, Juan Antonio, María Rosa, & Raúl. My mother says, & this has only been told piecemeal & within the past few years, that my grandfather lost a bet, or built up some other kind of insurmountable debt. There was also an altercation, a mysterious car accident, possibly murder, or at least death.
In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, once my grandmother & her family had settled, she opened a 2nd-hand store & sold glass bottles of Coca-Cola out of an ice cooler. She tended a garden full of grapes & peaches she was very proud of in the front yard of her house, & in the back patio, her husband raised fighting roosters in a homemade coop.
Despite all her years in the United States, my grandmother never learned to speak English. She called me Cristóbal, not Christopher. Only years later, after she had died, did I realize it wasn’t my name she was saying but hers, holding onto my mother tongue.
Today I’m watching La Poesía en Nuestro Tiempo on YouTube. Filmed on August, 26th, 1981, Jorge Luis Borges appears in conversation with Octavio Paz & Salvador Elizondo in the Capilla Guadalupana del Palacio de Minería in Mexico City. The three writers are discussing the enigma of time.
In the video, Borges is already blind. Octavio Paz, who’s moderating, fidgets in his chair. The third writer, Salvador Elizondo, smokes & drinks against a backdrop of the chapel’s mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
I look past the three writers to the golden cherubs surrounding the Virgin, behind them. A large part of the enigma of time asks that we be somewhere & translate what has been said elsewhere, at another time.
At least this is what I gather from Borges whose attempt at understanding our time can only come by way of example. Surprisingly, the writer known for infinite libraries & dreamt worlds within worlds thinks concretely.
«& the red winds are withering in the sky», I repeat after Borges who’s quoting Poe.
Borges is claiming that Poe was a mediocre poet who had the good fortune of being translated. One of his friends, he says, made the mistake of translating this line literally.
In the video, Borges, reciting his friend’s translation, gets stuck on the last word, maybe unwilling to inhabit someone else’s language, verbatim. It’s also possible he’s choking on a syllable that disagrees with him or that bad verse is injurious to the writer’s health. With one hand on his cane, the other shakes. Elizondo hunches over, too meek before the Argentine’s literary stature to know how to respond. He’s trying to make out what Borges is saying, but the sounds the octogenarian emits come from somewhere other than the tongue.
Later, I scroll down the video’s comments. Someone’s posted that Borges is speaking his alien language for the first time.
«Y los vientos rojos se desvanecen en el cielo», I say in my alien language, a Spanish that is familiar but has never felt quite natural or right.
You see, if Poe had the good fortune of being translated, someone tried finding the words to say what Poe was saying, elsewhere. Octavio Paz claims this is why Baudelaire saw himself in Poe. Poe wrote down what Baudelaire needed to translate into his own time.
I don’t know when I started buying historietas mexicanas. An historieta’s a comic book in Spanish. I’ve always thought the word it comes from, historia, is ambiguous in everyday contexts. That’s because historia is cognate with history in English but can often be translated to story, a different word with a distinct meaning.
Stories incorporate fantasy, often taking part in fabrication & lies, all of which someone’s expressing subjectively in their telling, not unlike how it happens with history, really. But, in English, what the word history promises that the word story doesn’t is a speaking authority.
What’s nice about the Spanish word historia is that it seems untethered to maintaining these semantic & ideological differences, so much so that the irony is that another word for story in Spanish, cuento, continues to confuse what’s supposedly history & what’s merely story (puro cuento). Nonetheless, if you’re going to count (contar) anything you have to order it, & so even stories become habits of accounting. It’s somewhere here, jutting up against these ambiguities about fantasy & authority, about telling stories as part of history, & about translating for yourself whatever remains fabricated in the telling, that I read these Mexican comics.
In 2004, for example, the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, then Head of Government of Mexico City, printed 2 million copies of Las Fuerzas Oscuras Contra Andrés Manuel López Obrador (The Dark Forces Against Andrés Manuel López Obrador).1 With a cover page featuring a black shark lying in wait before a crowd, he wrote himself into a story about the battle between the right & the left, turning it into a history of good & evil.2 This historieta followed the heels of Vicente Fox’s administration’s publication of El cambio en México ya nadie lo para (Change in Mexico Can No Longer Be Stopped).3 [p25-26]
But most historietas aren’t about politics, at least explicitly. When I was young, I used to secretly ogle them at the local supermarkets in my hometown in Texas, moving one eye slowly toward the small, square booklets while the other remained fixed on my mother’s shopping cart. At the time, the gun-toting men & curvy, helpless women, along with the titles in garish type that I silently read in Spanish, were forbidden. These stories, in a language on the cusp of being linguistically, but not culturally, foreign to me advertised the words «for men» («para hombres») on their cover pages.
Nowadays, my collection of historietas, poor but slowly growing, includes two issues of El Solitario, a prized copy of Las Chambeadoras, & a handful of El Libro Vaquero. The latter circulates more than 41 million copies per year.1 The best-selling historieta features various, nondescript white protagonists who adventure in the so-called Wild West.
How these blonde heroes translate the stories of a miner in Hidalgo or a bolero (shoe shiner) in Jalisco or a carpenter from Puebla, freshly emigrated to New Jersey, depends on a rare feat of the Western genre that, unlike speculative fiction’s para-worldly exophora, places itself at a frontier that makes up a history of conquering & policing all context. This history, in any case, recounts this all-too-familiar story to all of us who live on the frontier, even if for anyone living here, the extremity of «here» is only partially located by stories about conquering & policing. That’s because the wild condition of storytelling that comes hand-in-hand with living on the frontier foments an anti-domesticating & anti-cultivating orientation toward history. Whether this condition is artificial or natural matters little. I can say that it’s at times impossible to live here. Why? Because what’s told about the frontier erases what’s always been here, & the Western genre, in particular, is good at finding a way to view this place as if it were a tabula rasa for the American story.
In «Cazador de Indios», No. 1504 of El Libro Vaquero, the story begins with the Comanche Lucero de la Mañana (Morning Star), who escapes from Apaches who wish to rape her. Forced to enter a river & jump from a waterfall to save herself, she washes up unconscious along the riverbed at the bottom of the waterfall. A gold digger (un busca fortunas) then rescues her.
There’s nothing to say about this man, Donovan, except that his hair’s long & blond & that his jaw’s square.
Upon waking, Lucero de la Mañana falls in love with him for saving her and gives him her soul & body. What follows entails Lucero de la Mañana’s jilted lover, Puma Loco (Crazy Puma), dueling with Donovan to restore his honor. Puma Loco loses. The tribe chief Venado que Corre (Running Deer) then commands Donovan to capture Hacha Rota (Broken Axe), a traitor who has sided with the «Indian hunter» Herman Taylor. The hero must free himself of the Comanche tribe by completing Venado que Corre’s demands. Only then will they allow him to carry off Lucero de la Mañana into lontananza.
Number 1557 of El Libro Vaquero, «Búfalo Blanco», takes a slightly different approach. It centers the story of Ojo de Halcón (Hawkeye), a Shoshone «brave» who’s accompanied by his lover Torcaza (Eared Dove) & his white friend Kenny Ponder on a vision quest for the white buffalo that’ll turn the protagonist into a shaman, thereby restoring his destiny after he unwittingly killed the tribe’s current shaman, Mahpiya Ska (White Cloud, according to the historieta), when protecting the campgrounds from a Cheyenne raid.
The adventuring trio’s enemy is the gold digger Mitch Beadwell who’s teamed up with the sour, defeated Cheyenne after discovering that a coveted «fire necklace» makes up part of the booty.
Of course, the heroes defeat their enemies. Ojo de Halcón & his company then return from the mountains, blessed by the white buffalo. Siyotanka, a «wise woman» (wikahunka, says the historieta), bestows the new medicine man with the fire necklace. In a clever wink to El Libro Vaquero’s readership, the necklace turns out to be made of gold, Mexican coins. «Rojos no estar atados a metal amarillo», Ojo de Halcón says, giving the necklace to his white friend. The two part ways & the story ends.
By now I’m sure it’s obvious that I like to read El Libro Vaquero. The tropes it relies on tell me about the failure of inhabiting a place that’s resistant to classifying the laws of who’s what & how. Like a hawk soaring with a bird’s-eye view, or a caterpillar awaiting metamorphosis, I’m at the frontier, a place where stories entangle our histories until they even become foreign to us. Disentangling how El Libro Vaquero pits the Shoshone against the Cheyenne while it also portrays Donovan as a white savior dressed-up for a Mexican readership continually at odds with mestizaje might be one way to examine part-for-part how stories in the historieta get told. Still, the wild(er)ness of the frontier turns my attempt at telling this story into a desire for what lies beyond its made-up history.
I’m trying to find the words to say that it isn’t who we are at the frontier but how we live what becomes of it that causes us to reimagine our uninhabitable place in storytelling. Just look at how the various indigenous peoples portrayed in El Libro Vaquero all speak a Spanish that’s limited to the use of infinitives. Unbound by tense, the language giving shape to their experience refuses to agree with storytelling. Even if & maybe because El Libro Vaquero stereotypes agrammatical speech patterns to signal so called primitive alterity, it inadmittedly creates a chink in its story. An ulterior one now becomes possible to tell outside of history.
When Lucero de la Mañana, naked & enraptured in Donovan’s arms, exclaims, «¡Ooh, Pálido! ¡Al fin, tenerte! ¡Y-Yo morir de gusto!», are her uninflected verb choices of «to have» & «to die» equally unlimited & indefinite in their embrace? Are they conspicuously infinite? Is her expression of pleasure unbound to the time of its enunciation, as well? & is she neither regimented by history nor indicating to her white lover her subservience to his settler temporality?
Might she be translating for everyone outside of the colony’s history? Or could it be that she is seeking not a primitive but a prehistoric & preternatural speech-act that un-domesticates her being? What if, then, the wild condition of storytelling ambiguates language’s inflection of time & turns it into an account of how history is unable to tell the story of bodies at frontiers?
This is a tall order for El Libro Vaquero or any other historieta, for that matter. El Libro Vaquero’s «Búfalo Blanco», reserves the last 30 pages of its issue for a mini-historieta from the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (Office for the Treasury & Public Credit). Even so, each issue forms part of the story of a lone reader like me who’s now in the thick of it with everyone else.
When Hernán Cortés came to conquer México, he wrote back home, saying he saw mosques. This account is relayed in Primera Carta de Relación to Emperor Charles V.
This is one of the wildest stories I know, & it is one that I always tell.
Seventy-two years after Primera Carta de Relación, Juan de Cárdenas, a Spanish scientist, wrote in Problemas y Secretos Maravillosos de las Indias:
I first read this quote from a soaking wet page, in Mexico City’s rain. I was stuck under a cybercafe awning in the neighborhood Narvarte. Juan de Cárdenas’ 1591 indictment of peyote made up one of the three epigraphs for José Vicente Anaya’s book, Híkuri, which I had bought that day from one of the book’s editors, having traveled to her home to pick up the small & hard-to-find edition before I caught a flight back to Palestine the next day. It was 2016, & the 2014 reprint of the book, first published in 1978, formed part of Malpaís Ediciones’ Archivo Negro de la Poesía Mexicana, a collection containing reprinted works like Kin Taniya’s Radio: poema inalámbrico en trece mensajes.
At the time, I was searching for a type of poetry beyond the Infrarealist depiction of walking backwards into the horizon. I imagined Híkuri would offer a clue. The book-length poem’s about ingesting peyote. After reading it, I learned that it positions a poet who’s condemned to tell the story of what’s already been told.
Anaya’s like the West African griot. Or, more appropriately, he’s like one of México’s escribanos, a dying profession of community writers who beyond notarizing documents in town squares also write love poems for the illiterate. This kind of poet of scribbled napkins & faithful public service holds onto enough of history to strive to translate everything outside it into a story that has yet to find the right words for its own telling. He & the writing encounter the problem of storytelling.
On top of that, Peyote’s tendency to turn any experience into an entangled account of frontiers trespassed & transgressed leaves Anaya with no other life but one of a pariah, & I think it’s one of the most difficult positions anyone could share their story from. In the final pages of his poem, the poet gives up on the world of writing, stating, «El Verdadero Nombre no se escribe», as if saying what can’t be recorded & accounted for complicates how we fantasize about truth—«Quéntase con verdad», de Cárdenas demands, right?4 [p117]
Truly, the problem of storytelling invites us to confront other narrative paths that mark new ways of moving through our surrounds. For the poet, the fact of enunciation seems to be enough, at least when wayward. He says (writes):
Is it a truism or poetry to say that everything changes space? That «here» is enough of a trajectory to give dimension to everywhere? That visions of lands & peoples inhabiting a river delta, mountains, canyons, arid deserts, & vast brushland along a 1,953 mile border that was once much more amorphous, much more contested, & which included spaces such as Nueva Vizcaya, Nuevas Filipinas, Nuevo Santander, Nueva Navarra, & Baja & Alta California, the last two named after a fictional island ruled by a black queen, along with the places that were also here— the very real Apachería, the myth of Aztlán, the mirage of El Dorado, & so on—provoked a concept of the west that was wild in its telling? That was equally about the unknown of being as well as being unknown, like I have been, here?*
«En esta propulsión de nervios / ¿Qué ves, / en el lugar que pisa tu cabeza?», Anaya writes.4 [p52] These lines were already Antonin Artaud’s when he said, «To take a step was for me no longer to take a step; but to feel where I was carrying my head».6 [p45] Before Anaya, Artaud worked through his own entanglement of the time of storytelling, writing in The Peyote Dance about the body «quartered in space».6 [p9] Written while imprisoned in French asylums, the book records Artaud’s experiences with the Rarámuri in 1936, when he traveled to Chihuahua, México to see who he was calling an antediluvian, «primeval» people among whom he wouldn’t be a tourist but an accomplice to the story.
The Peyote Dance is way more plagued & problematic than Híkuri. It’s also more interesting. The book’s mainly about Artaud, though it’s also about peyote. Unsurprisingly, it turns out to be wrong about a lot of things. Artaud calls the Rarámuri Tarahumara, for one, & not their endonym, which itself refers only to male tribe members. A worse error in the initial pages reveals Artaud’s belief that the Rarámuri descend from the Maya. The book’s chapters, «The Race of Lost Men», «The Land of the Magi Kings», & «The Rights of the Kings of Atlantis», also feel quixotic and picaresque.
In effect, The Peyote Dance hashes out a story Artaud uses to classify what he knows deep down he’s only translating, & yet, somehow, an orientalist spirit fails to grab hold of the book. It’s just so that in a postscript appearing in the middle of it, Artaud revises the way he transcribed Christianity onto every aspect of his story. He blames his mania on his forced religious conversion while in solitary confinement in Rodez. He wrote the chapter «The Peyote Rite», he claims, while undergoing electroshock therapy & poisoned by «at least one hundred & fifty to two hundred recent hosts in [his] body».6 [p43] This same Artaud decided that the first work for the Theater of Cruelty would be about the conquest of México. Its spectacle would broach «the alarmingly immediate question of colonization & the right one continent thinks it has to enslave another», whereby it would question, from the perspective that «everything that acts is cruel», «the real superiority of certain races over others» & show «the inmost filiation that binds the genius of race to particular forms of civilization».7 [p126-127]
I mean, in many ways, the transfiguration Artaud wished for among the Rarámuri in México desired to be as equally cruel & salvific as the transfiguration of Christ. It would take crucifixion or something close enough to get t/here because the surrealist wanted to disaffiliate from Europe or at least exorcise himself of its worst demons that, like Juan de Cárdenas’ description of peyote, spoke of things to come. It didn’t matter if this future foretold rising fascism in Europe, anti-indigeneity in México, or the drab reality of Marxist art. When Artaud wrote, he wrote to find a place for himself in myth, rather than history. But as a storyteller, Artaud could only order the knowledge that comes with appropriating from the experience of inhabiting the other side of the frontier. This type of people(ethno)-writing(graphy) believes in the task of decolonization but finds it impossible to disengage from its own fabricated history aligned with theft.*
Maybe this is why the surrealists loved stealing whatever they could, whenever. This form of transfiguration that culture promised transgressed one frontier after another until the violence it had caused ended up creating supposedly new subjects that, in actuality, the surrealists were only «discovering», «unearthing», «reviving» from places that seemed like a new world. Bataille, for instance, could not be more brutally honest when writing about indigenous America when he said that the Aztecs were «poles apart» from Europe, morally. Because of unthinkable acts such as human sacrifice, Aztec civilization seemed «wretched» to Europeans, Bataille claimed. Artaud, on the other hand, proved how envious the entire enterprise of people writing could be, remarking, «Peyote, as I knew, was not made for Whites».6 [p48]
Prior to traveling to Chihuahua, Artaud published in La Nacional the essay, «What I Came to Do in México». «Bajo pena de muerte, México no puede renunciar a las conquistas actuales de la ciencia, pero tiene en reserva una antigua ciencia infinitamente superior a los laboratorios y los sabios», he writes.9 Translated, he was saying, «Under pain of death, México can’t renounce current scientific conquest, but it keeps in reserve an ancient science infinitely superior to laboratories & scientists». In this same essay, Artaud also claims that beneath Western science are other «hidden», «unknown» & «subtle» forces at work that are not yet under the domain of science—but that could be.
I recently found out that before coming to México Artaud had read Alfonso Reyes’ poem, «Yerbas del Tarahumara», published in 1929 & extant in French translation. The poem’s final stanza ends with the quatrain, «Con la paciencia muda de la hormiga,/ los indios van juntando sobre el suelo/ la yerbecita en haces/ —perfectos en su ciencia natural».10 («With an ant’s mute patience/ the indians go about bundling/ little herbs on the ground/ perfect in their natural science») It presents a story about what Artaud calls in The Peyote Dance «the whole geographic expanse of a race».6 [p12] It’s a poem that begins the fieldwork that would classify Artaud’s schizo-poetic mythos & which would later define Anaya’s reclamation of indigenous alterity & its subject-altering plant, rooted to the nativity of place. All the while, the poem looks from a distance, outside-in, to find a way to translate where that place is.
That science recounts indigenous knowledge in the service of the poem only adds to storytelling’s complicity in all kinds of narrative theft, both historical and ongoing. The poem goes like this: Reyes writes that the Rarámuri have again descended from the mountains after another bad year. He speaks of their unsettling beauty while narrating their forced Christian conversion. Indigenous syncretism, he suggests with either too little or too much imagination, permits the Rarámuri to eat peyote & enter a «metaphysical drunkenness» that compensates for the existential burden of walking the earth.
«Yerbas del Tarahumara’s» key stanza turns the poet into a botanist who lists different native herbs like horseweed (simonillo; Conyaza canadensis), Mexican marigold (yerbaniz; Tagetes lucida), & oshá (chuchupaste; Ligusticum porteri), which the Rarámuri sell in town squares. In the poem, Reyes prefigures Artaud’s deep sense of loss that comes from how non-indigeneity fucks up the story of place when in the same stanza he speaks of the «urbane envy» (Samuel Beckett’s translation) of the city’s whites who purchase the Rarámuris’ secret herbs.
Reading «Yerbas del Tarahumara», I’m like a wide-eyed & confused Artaud. Unknown forces compel me to say that while botany was establishing a taxonomy to identify, classify, & describe plants, like peyote, these plants already maintained an ulterior & ancient—or maybe just simply different—life.
Peyote’s scientific name, for what it’s worth, is Lophophora williamsii. The species fits into a taxonomy of which its genus is lophophora; its subfamily: cactoideae; family: cactaceae; order: caryophyllales; its clades: all of eudicots, angiosperms & tracheophytes; & its kingdom: plantae.
The name Lophophora williamsii, itself completely foreign to the cactus’ region, is attributed to the French botanist Charles Lemaire & the American John Coulter. In 1894, Coulter would publish Preliminary Revision of the North American Species of Cactus, Anhalonium, & Lophophora under the auspices of the United States’ Department of Agriculture who had asked him to «secure a large amount of additional material in the way of specimens & field notes».11 [p91] Making his way to the U.S.-México frontier in Texas, where I call home, Coulter wrote a compendium whose final pages revised the limited Western botanical knowledge that existed on peyote. He offers these words:
Encountering this description, I think about Artaud & his revelation that peyote was not made for whites. I turn to The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacological & Its Applications, which lists over 50 «folk names» for the cactus, many of them originating from various indigenous tribes across America. Apart from Lophophora williamsii, the cactus is called wokowi (Comanche), pee-yot (Kickapoo), azee (Navajo), chiee (Cora), hunka (Winnebago), & camaba (Tepehuano), among other names.12 [p1023] The name «peyote», some might not know, derives from the Nahuatl word, «peyotl». But the Rarámuri, who make up the subject matter & develop the imaginaries of the three poets I have been reading, prefer the word «híkuri».
Elsewhere, a different book I have says that the Rarámuri of Rejogochi believe that híkuri make up a special class of beings that take on human form. These beings either help or hurt the Ráramuri, interacting with them based on a relationship of reciprocity that, if its balance is disturbed, provokes híkuri to retaliate by capturing human souls.13 [p131]
In the Rarámuri of Rejogochi’s taxonomy of the universe, one that’s markedly different from botany’s explanations of belonging, peyote forms part of a group of plant people that accompany humans on Earth.13 [p75] Because peyote has agency, it has a soul too, the thinking goes. Or rather, peyote’s soul, which bears life, creates an agent the Rarámuri interact with, cautiously, & in varying degrees of reverence & fear.
In their language, the words for «soul(s)» are ariwá & iwigá, both also meaning «breath».13 [p155] When the Rarámuri breathe, a portion of their souls enters & exits their bodies that act like homes.
In 2007, José Vicente Anaya read Híkuri to a group of Rarámuris living in makeshift homes on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez, along the Chihuahuan-Texan frontier.14 [p122-123] However strange the experience, the group loved the poem & «the respiratory stamp of the poet».8 For one, it transported them back to the Sierra Tarahumara & transfigured the time of storytelling by disaffiliating it from history. It also gave them a place to breathe.
It would make sense, then, why the Rarámuri don’t traditionally write & instead tell stories. It isn’t a way to resuscitate what’s dead, but one to remain light-footed on Earth, as their own name indicates.
I didn’t write this last story. The author is María Anna Barrera.
I wonder if Alonzo & Abelina in Laredo, Texas faced the immigration officer who 7 years later would ask Vladimir Mayakovsky at this same point of entry, «Moscow. That’s in Poland?» But I don’t tell this part of the story.
I don’t talk about Soviet poetry, revolution, México. I read pulp fiction about the Wild West & research cacti along the frontier. I realize that the same year André Breton excommunicated Artaud, my great-grandfather Alonzo had returned to México to seek El Niño Fidencio’s cure. This was before Artaud would write, «Man is alone, desperately scraping out the music of his own skeleton, without father, mother, family, love, God, or society»,8 [p38] fitting lines for how my great-grandfather would disappear, his last recorded words being «Salúdame a todos allá».
In the last years of his own life, Artaud would end his poem, «There’s an Old Story», with the line, «What the fuck am I here for?»15 [p227-29] They’re questions like this one that make me want to ask which stories don’t depart from anywhere in particular but remain shared. I want to know why my history moves away from itself until the time shaping it becomes foreign even to me. I end up wanting to tell someone else’s story, when I’m from a place where storytelling leads elsewhere. The people here before me knew this, or why else has the frontier’s own story changed, too?
The Rarámuri believe that at the moment of death, the deceased will exclaim, «Everybody died». Writing acts the same way. It articulates a world that passes into an afterlife, arranging & distributing all the things that are said. At the same time, I’m here in this one, translating that story.