Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: J. E. Rivera

Really I reread The Vortex for class, but it was a true pleasure. Now we will sing the first line: “Antes que me hubiera apasionado por mujer alguna, jugué mi corazón al azar y me lo ganó la Violencia.”


Familiarity begins at the airport where you identify your gate from far off because everyone has a cardboard box tied with rope, and is already dressed as they would dress at the destination. You leave at night and fly for hour upon hour, watching the map as you traverse almost half the globe.

The stamp in your passport is large and once you have it, you walk out to old fashioned smells of diesel fuel and leaded gasoline that give way as you ride out of town to earth and fresh cheese. People wear somber colors in one language and brightly embroidered clothes in another.

Although it is a primitive point of view I still think of flights south as going downwards, curving with the earth, entering a secret dimension as they pass the Equator, going home.


6 thoughts on “Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: J. E. Rivera

  1. It is the anticipation, as you and your countrymen and countrywomen speed off high in the night… and all those unfamiliar pieces fall away into clouds, and the excitement builds. Finally, at halfway in the darkness, they give up talking that other language on the announcements, which is the point at which I exhale.

    “More and more
    Do I yearn for
    The Capital I have left
    Oh, how I envy
    Waves that can return.”

  2. Lessons, what a lovely poem! It is funny, I never think of Americans as my “countrymen” and the only time I get excited flying to the U.S. is if I am to land in San Francisco, or if I have anyone waiting for me. Exhale at the halfway point – only if the destination is Los Angeles or New Orleans, the airports I consider home. I seem to identify with the idea of the “patria grande” (the origin of which phrase I need to learn, by the way).

  3. And my dream of the flight and its results was very romantic – I thought I would be moving back in time – there are Peruvians who make videos in which they reveal that they have the same dream – but we are dreaming of things as they were decades ago, at least in the city! 😉

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