Sunday, March 27, 2011

At Santa Eulalia Rio ((Fiesta of the Yunsa)(and murder))

At Santa Eulalia Rio

((Fiesta and Dance of the Yunsa) (Murder!))

The Poem

At Santa Eulalia Rio

The Eulalia Rio—is wild today—

white waters high, rapidly

slapping, rushing,

from bank to bank, and then some.

On the mountain skirts—

the village of Santa Eulalia resides

cuddled by the Andes of Peru!

I love the smooth sound of the Rio

as it passes me by, the warm sun,

warming my old bones of the late morning,

makes me feel alive—

A butterfly, flies by, a bee

is busily, buzzing nearby—

day, just another day to be alive

(that’s how it is this morning

at San Eulalia Rio).

No: 2919 ((3-26-2011) (11:11 a.m.))

The Strange thing was, was that the morning had been so quiet and sedate, not like the afternoon; I do not know why they all didn’t scream at the time. We were in the dance area of ‘Paradise Recreo,’ likened to a countryside restaurant, alongside the Santa Eulalia Rio of Peru ((an hour’s drive from Lima)(it was 11:11 a.m.)), all fifty-two of us, within the group, and there were other folks at this outside restaurant (we all had ordered Pachamanca, a food dish, that is cooked in a fire underground, covered with dirt and hot stones: potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, chicken, pork, lamb, and Humita or smashed corn). We were all on the dance area, after having eaten Pachamanca, drank some wine, the sun was hot, and the Rio was high and the rapids were wild, rushing by—you could hear the sound of the white water rush, it was no more than a hundred feet from where we were. There was a stage to the front of us, a man was singing to background music, and no one started screaming.

Before the incident, Manuel pointed to me to give the axe to someone in the group dancing around this tree that was in the middle of the dance area, it had been cut down, and put into a hole with rocks holding it in place, gifts were attached onto the tree branches as were also balloons, once cut down, the fifty of us would rush to get those attached gifts, it was called the Dance of the Yunsa, meant each person in the group would get the axe once or twice or perhaps even five or six times like I had it, as one person handed it to the next, and took their swing at the tree. Whoever cut the tree down, that is, when the tree fell down because of that last person’s axe thrust, he or she was the person who would—the following year, pay for the next fiesta. It’s how it worked.

Manuel he pointed to me, the preacher’s deacon you might say, and a friend, a most pleasant friend and chap, to my wife and I, said with a smiling face, “You Mr. Evens take it and hand it to someone!” I couldn’t imagine who, then I saw a lady right in front of me, of Peruvian-African origin, and handed it to her and her mate, and she took the first swing.

Then later on when the tree looked like it would fall with one or two more axe swings, I told my wife Rosa, “This man is dancing crazy like, swinging the axe everywhichway, we need to back up!” And sure enough he hit the tree so hard, the tall somewhat hefty tree with all the gifts on it started to fall. This man had ran over to the group from out of nowhere, and someone unthinking, handed him the axe, and as that tree hit the ground, he started stabbing, that is, axing people over the head, in the groin area, in the back, legs, torso, neck: eighteen people injured, killing at least seven. Workers from the restaurant and soon after them, rescue workers from the Municipality had gathered to help the injured.

"The worse,” he said—that evening on the television, the newscaster “were the women with dead children.” Oh yes, most rigorously, I said to myself. You couldn’t get the women to give up their dead children—thereafter. Nothing you could do about it. Although the gender of the seven dead were not immediately known, with two critically injured, and eleven others were wounded. Manuel told the police, and the media:

“The suspect, came here to kill people, none of us knew him.”

And some other person told the reporter, “Early on, he sat at our table, and he said, ‘I’m tired of life.’” And still someone else said,

“He had rented a car in Lima, drove out fifty miles to the restaurant, and it appeared he just grabbed the axe from someone dancing, and he was jumping, leaping while dancing, and chopping on the tree—all simultaneously, and the next thing he was killing people with that axe, and ran off and into a crowd, jumped into a vehicle, and drove off.”

Then there was an old lady, most extraordinary case. I told it to the police, and he said it can’t be true, that I was lying, “There was this old lady,” I said “sitting in a wheelchair, and I couldn’t help but look her way when he ran past her, and just then she died—I assume of fright; he had swung the axe at her, but never hit her, and she went absolutely stiff. Her legs sketch upward automatically, her torso went rigid,” the police officer told the medical personnel, and they told me, it was impossible. But they had taken the corpse out of the area, into the city proper, to its morgue—before I could press my point.

It was as if there had been an earthquake or that some sort of thing –a phantom, had appeared in broad daylight, one we never knew about, they never knew what hit them.

I had sat by the river that morning, at 11:11 a.m., awaiting for the Pachamanca, to be ready, ordered some cheese and corn for my wife, wrote out this poem called “Santa Eulalia Rio,” The river was up, the wind was blowing my hair—I had grabbed the moment you might say—a poetic moment indeed, I got up walked close along the Rio, saw a dog getting wet, drinking from its fresh cold water from the Andes, it evidently was raining in the sierras, because of the white water. I had gotten so dreamy about things. Surprising how a few hours later, it is all covered over with something else; the darkest cloud hell has to offer.

No: 784 (3-26-2011)