by Lewis den Hertog

¡VAYA CON TIO BIGOTE! When the ill heat of breakfast sunshine turned your tummy and then from your belly smuggled half-digested burrito across the border between the body and the bitter Juarez dirt, not smuggled but bursting through singing through the threshold oh the brekkie 'rrito bailing on the cosy belly bailing out the peaceful guts and leaping out into the void *yeeeaachhk* something like racking retches, a second birth splat falling in a shrubbery now bubbly oozing with the upchuck off a dusty car park overlooked by a *blurp* 2A0 poster of Jesus Christ, *huergh* something like a puddle that was in you formerly a foodstuff sold to you for pesos, *bluuuergh* formerly a scattered combination of animal, vegetable, tortilla, you asked yourself a question on that convergence of elements uniting of kingdoms something on the previous night’s tequila *hic* something on a deeper nausea about the normalcy of homicide mundanity of femicide in the place where you were heading *gulp* something like you emptied yourself and the universe filled itself like the time when you were twelve and you filled your pants in France *squelch*. Say O Death, because for a time that masticated beef wrap was incubated in tú and a part of tú that fed tú, it gave its nutrients to you and you rejected it or it rejected you for these reasons I’ll suggest to you: Uno, you had the night before in search of nihility consumed un putero tequila with the good people of Juarez and it was that which now ransacked your itty-bitty tum-tum; Dos, the raw confounding unknowing of what ought you and what you ought not to think of such a spot as Juarez, where there is such a thing as a Monument to Murdered Women, manifested itself in a gastric reaction rather than that of emotion, which is fairly, well fairly-fairly, not uncommon; Tres, the burrito half-dissolved resolved to escape its newfound continuity with you to acutely teach you something about inside-and-out, body-and-world, digestion-and-death, decided to no longer be Tio Bigote’s breakfast, to no longer be Uncle Moustache’s food baby, decided to faster meet its destiny, faster join in, faster recombine, with the mud of the universe. Chapotear! Anyway.Wherefor comest thou Tio? Did some Mexico bellow to you across that Atlantic diagonal; “Come live inside my mouth awhile, Tio Bigote, as Alcofribas inside that of Pantagruel; eat the dainty morsels of my meals, and shit down my throat. I will show you Deaths of every size and colour.” And you saw something then, you and your camera then, I hear you now and then, now at home, now recounting tales, now charming your friends with wonders, now gassing tales magical to tell about this wonky place, gassing something along the lines of“…wishy wishy and in the Yucatan Peninsula be folk of great stature, something to do with radiation from the Chicxulub Crater, the folk are as giants and they be hideous for to look upon and they eat nothing but raw fish, and in Huatulco toward the south dwell folk of foul stature and of cursed kind that have no heads and their faces are buried within their chest and are so short of temper that they are regularly screaming and running in circles like as if possessed by some lunacy and they are found to drink double their weight in sweet coffee every day and in another such region be folk that are like suckling babies but such a scale as an elephant, and who are perpetually eating, weeping, shitting and singing accompanied by guitar all at the once, and have teeth of pure silver and in Juxtlahuaca be folk of foul fashion and shape that have skin of such elasticity that when they sleep in the sun they cover themselves with it as if under a blanket and are forever eating the dried skins shed by scorpions and the dried husks of Lengua de Vaca, and they speak not, but they make a manner of hissing as an adder doth, and they make signs to one another as the monks doth, by the which every of them understand the other, and they were kind enough to email me when I left my toiletry bag in their apartment and in Azcapotzalco elsewhere there be little folk, as dwarfs, with skin as a riverine horse’s, but merry, and such a welcoming and musical people, and a great comfort to me when I had missed the last bus back to Tlaxcala. And what a volcanic sensation was upon my guts bestowed by their dishes, such that I was through sheer force erupted inside-out, and the contents of my bowel - accompanied by a sample of each of the four humours and a clump of my cerebellum - flit with such spicy haste as to all but tear asunder my world-weary arse hole. And my, the books and poems and songs I read and heard and wrote on those roads, their titles in no particular order: 'The Rancheros Had Their Roughage'; 'The Ribbed Condom Of Tourism'; 'The Fat Milner Farts In A Sombrero'; 'The Ringworm of Cultural Appropriation'; 'I Ate My Weight In Chapulines'; 'Beasts Of Mince And Gravel'; ‘No Omlette For My Cracked Huevos'; 'How Do Graverobbers Sleep At Night?'; and 'You Can’t Get Cantos Out Of A Matafuego’.”Por supuesto, very good Tio, tell them your own Mexico leave us to ours, mamigo. My Mexico, O Mexico, lo-que-sea letting yankie Trust-Fund-Timmy legit get his shit jimmied on your peyote spirit journeys dragging his frathouse knuckles across the Wirikuta desert tripping his flipped lid and thinking he’d an inkling of our ancestor’s attempts at transcendence how close did he come to pegging it stone dead alone in that desert how close did he come to being locked up crazy in the manicomio, baby, O Mexico, letting bloated bad bitch nasty puto America that Gargantua chew up your niños and poop ‘em out and make a cabron of you, cholo, the shame of it, now Meheeko te amo dark caballo with your femicide infestation te amo the stripping of the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly that Michoacan hide of yours being buzzed clean of its pine forests to feed that bad gringo lust for such mono-saturated fats as are found in avocados, teyayayamo ay de mí. And what did Uncle/Tio Moustache/Bigote did to you hmm taking snappies of your graves and you, snapping shots of your Abuelo and you, rushing through the cemetery while a hundred of your hungry hormiga militia snap at Tio's feet in defence of you, don’t trifle with us say the ants, don’t trifle with us say the cacti, but Tio got his, got trinkets, got tidbits, got relics, just look at his tokens, his shrapnel of Jalisco his teeth of Chihuahua his bones of Guanajuato, stuffed your rubies into his morion helmet so he did, went graverobbing so he did, and got robbed himself so he did, lost four hundred dollars to a rigged cock fight but we’ve all been there if you know what I mean it’s better that it’s someone else’s cock letting you down if you know what I mean. So, you got your bits and pieces Tio, you got your five thousand snaps amigo, you came looking for death and you found gravestones my niño, but you didn’t get a snap of me my niño. I see you now I saw you then amigo, I saw you keep your nerve when the black van crawled past to intimidate you away from the Narco necropolis, brave Tio, I saw you maintain chill while gathering a range of thugs to hunt down your stolen phone when armed la policia wouldn’t lift a finger, courageous Tio. Dios mio, mi amigo, how in heaven did you miss me though? I’m your old friend Santa Muerte Tio, you heard my little ditty on your eighteenth and thirtieth birthdays Tio, you smelled my smell in an ancient citadel museum and you shivered at the stink of eight hundred years of stony mortality Tio, you thought you ought not to cough the first time you carried a coffin but that was my taste you were tasting it was your throat I got caught in it was me made your mouth cotton Tio, you sickly felt my feel in the icky sticky side of a chemo wiggy Tio, you saw me and smiled that time you got your infected molar pulled out your jaw you thought “ay ay wishy wishy that part of Tio's already pegged it stone dead!”. But the shivering glimpses is better than the snaps, no amigo? You didn’t get my picture but you caught my drift eh Bigote? I saw you at moments let my wordless shiver shake you, not for the moments muy muy peligroso but for the endless stillness of those ancient temples, the dumb stone reminders of that weighty monster cried history, in the susurrus buzzing calm of Tehuacán. And something in that upchuck in the dusty Juarez car park, I tickled your moustache then didn’t I, I dipped a Big-toe in you then didn’t I? Coochie-coo-oo, you stared into my yawning mouth but all you snapped was a snap of the dust and that crap Jesus poster Tio, that bearded puto, vete a la verga, Jesus Christ, yo cago en tu leche, Jesus, pardon my french but I’m Xipe Totec, I flayed myself to feed the people, Tio, while you politely play dominos at the wake my body's defleshed my jaw's agape and the carnival staggers through my rattling dry old ribcage hermano. So you missed me, but after all the fun you've had it might bestow on you un poquito humilidad. Humility, Tio. Humility, you insect. Mosquito conquistador, thou wriggling Columbus. You’re a gnat on the ass of a great fat beast you can’t comprehend, child, and even the chubby blue flies I crawl with dwarf you, boo, it’s me you’re talking to, I’m Mictecacihuatl, I carved the colossal heads of Olmec with my teeth Tio, I was there when Eight-Deer-Jaguar-Claw united the Mixtec kingdoms, I was the lens of that rage which saw his mother throw Nine-Eagle-Jade-Fan out of her wheelchair, the ratings went through the roof for that episode you cabra, it was me who tempted Topiltzin not that prancing crumb Tezcatlipoca, I starved Huemac’s children, took away their new sneakers too, Kukulkan the Feathered Serpent legged it when he saw Santa Muerte coming, when he saw Xipe Totec coming, when he saw Mictecacihuatl coming, shat himself, flung himself in the sea caused an earthquake with his pathetic quivering and I sipped mescal with his daughters, dropped his bluetooth speaker in the jacuzzi, I didn’t plant that peyote but I am the bad trip you niño, I wrote the Codex Mendoza you niño, I wrote the Codex Osuna, and Tlatelolco, and Magliabechiano, and Ixtlilxochitl, I wrote them all, I illustrated them too and took them to the printers you bandito, you caco, I am the Marquis Of The Valley Of Oaxaca, not you, you burro, I’m the Chicxulub Impactor yes I killed the dinosaurs and that other shore is my shore, though you may have thought it yours, Tio. Look upon yourself, clowning perro, gaze upon your works, Don Coyote, en route to either or neither, luxuriating, gratified in the glory of your plunder, you’re back on terra firma now you safe in Edimburga now you left behind the mesas now you sneaky coloniser thou, flew like a pelican thou, another sated gringo now, braggin on your riches well vaya con dios. Ah Hell my Tio, mi amigo, little niño, keep your bounty have the glory tell your stories do your lounging, nap siesta, get some resting. Meheeko abides, the tough old caballo. And maybe you’ll snap at me someday, my Tio. You’ll know when you’ve papped Santa Muerte, amigo. 

based on a true story

Tio Bigote © Lewis den Hertog

Using Format