Onions, cuts of thin beef, ground chorizo hiss on the worn black griddle. Tortillas de maiz are dunked in a low bowl of oil and slapped down- "tacos! Bistek! Quesadillas, gorditas!" The taco lady who is now a closer friend than one should have with a pusher of heart stopping goodness yells to passerbys. She fans the fire and we talk about politics, 3 men sit on buckets eating quesadillas without quest...a strange chilango phenomena. Chilangos are those from DF, la ciudad de México. The men discuss family affairs. The eldest man's son recently moved to Monterrey. The rain thins and the patter on the umbrella softens, the light affixed to the pole sways oh so gently with the spring wind. Smoke and steam billow down the street. Headlights shine off the puddles on the puddles of la calle de la republican de Cuba.
Time again I pass through spaces of brown faces without a guess or my true origin. Elbow to elbow at a taco stand or slurping soup down in a cafeteria counter where I'm from? Who knows?
Sunday I stand with the crowds entering free to the "painting the revolution exhibition" at the Palacio de Bellas artes. We stare intensely at the life size slideshow of D. Rivera's mural telling the story of the Mexican Revolution.
Along one hallway a painting by José Clemente Orozco pulls me in. It is titled "La Casa Blanca"- a dark painting, a broken tree, fleeing figures, and a still white adobe house. Depicting the terror of the revolution, upwards of 10 million perished during the near decade of conflict. 10 million bleeding bodies that fed once again the insatiable appetite of Huitzlpochitli. The hummingbird 'god' of the mexica empire.
During the revolution family stories tell that my great, great grandfather, a blacksmith in Piedras Negras repaired the rifles of Pancho Villas army before a crucial battle. Yet sometime between then and the final years of the conflict my great grandfather Trinidad at 16 took what he could carry and went north to Texas. What became of his family it is suspected to be death in the hard years of the revolution.
I stand for a long time staring at Orozovo's rendition of a family home left empty with its inhabitants fleeing in terror. An old man joins me. All I can do is wonder.
A jaguar screams across the plaza. Drums pound, copal smoke wafts through the city air, the dancers reverberate across the courtyard, their steps shake like rain with the shells strung around their calves and wrists. In the shadow of a 16th century church a tradition defiantly lives on. The drums still beat, a mutation of history that crescendos with the mixing of fire and water- Atlachinolli. The perpetual movement, the mexica dialectic- inked on my left shoulder since I was 19. All things come in turn. We call that revolution.
Lowriders in the zocaló, an Ayotzinapa 43 camp erected before the DA's office, Christopher Columbus' statue had a bleeding hole in his metallic chest; Punks and pulque screams, mezcal moans and mariachis pierce the night. Ancient warrior and the bourgeois (of a lighter complexion) eat tortas on the same street corner.
DF is a sinking circuitboard from outer space. Indigenous and virile.
I walk home in the rain, translucent lights shine across the black street night, my black boots shimmer like a Texas heat wave.