Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 21, September 2012)

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I walk around Chicago, transposing the ghostly murmurs of the people of Juan Rulfo’s Comala, who were destroyed not just by the bureaucracy of the church but also by Pedro Páramo, the {failed} village capitalist, the guy who owned, or pretended to own the entire town.

I walk around Chicago, drive west on Montrose Avenue past all the boarded up store fronts, and I hear the murmurs of the ghosts of Comala.

Destroyed, broken there, collapsing: obliterated neighborhoods riddled with ghosts.

And I think about the scene when Susana San Juan, Pedro Páramo’s lover, is about to die. She is receiving her final communion, and Father Renteria, the corrupt priest, whispers in her ear:

“I swallow foamy saliva. I chew clumps of dirt crawling with worms that knot in my throat and push against the roof of my mouth...My mouth caves in, contorted, lacerated by gnawing, devouring teeth. My nose grows spongy. My eyeballs liquefy. My hair burns in a single bright blaze....”

These words the last she hears in this life.

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