Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paco Ignacio Taibo II, "And Sometimes We Believe in the Informative Value of Tremors Running Through the Atmosphere," from '68, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith

A movement results from combinations that even its own participants cannot control. And that its enemies cannot calculate. It evolves in ways that cannot be predicted, and even those who foresee it are taken by surprise.

It was raining during those days, and the city had turned enormous. I wanted to capture the moment in a poem but could not. Happily, there were others who could, others who had written earlier, in other cities under the rain. Like the sometimes pedestrian Yucatán poet José Peón Contreras (to us, at the time, the name of an avenue), who had asked: "Where can the beach be that awaits us?"

Since I couldn't manage a poem, I crisscrossed the city from appointment to appointment, rally to minimarch, assembly to conference, brigadista powwow to underground planning session. I went from setting up a mimeograph machine to stealing paper, from a siesta snatched in some truck to hair-raising trips in Galilee, which was Paco Pérez Arce's car, and on to a rendezvous with a bunch of refinery workers in Puente de Vigas. From there to a quince años party in Doctores, where with waltz music in the background we planned a propaganda campaign in the factories of Ixtapalapa, or else to Mixcoac to eat chicken soup as the day broke. Sitting still was a sin--the only sin I can remember from those days. I spent my time picking up the vibes, which I would discuss later with my two ideological gurus, Armando Bartra and Martín Reyes, both in their undershirts, cooped up in an apartment in Lomas de Plateros so full of smoke from the Del Prado plant that you could barely see the walls. 

There was no day or night, just actions, the street, and vibrations that called for interpretation by someone. 

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