was the traditional home of the Aztecs, a possibly mythical motherland from which the tribe ventured forth on a one-hundred-year walk. It was a land to the north of Mexico City. Chicanos recognize Aztlan as being in the American southwest, and it came to represent the stomping ground of 'La Chicandada,' or the entirety of the Hispanic west. The Aztecs (Mexica, pronounced 'Meshica," hence 'Chicano') walked south, out of the deserts, on their way to what would become Mexico City. They apparently walked across Devil's Highway on their way home. (77)
All day, at home. Read cover-to-cover Luis Alberto Urrea's The Devil's Highway. Am still recovering--I lived in that desert, my desert, in its subtlety and ritual--its heat, its rains--am still reeling though I know the story, have known it all my life, having lived in it most of my life. My great grandfather was a rock-pick miner who came north from Mexico to join the mining companies in Arizona. A wetback, yes. One of those folks crossing that desert, 110, 115 degrees before noon, if you arrive in late spring or early summer: the desert is very predictable: it's always fucking treacherous by May. Flesh separating from the bone like pigs slow-cooked in a sand pit. That's the image that stays with me. Pigs slow-cooked alive. Pinches Coyotes, they know this. Poor poor people don't. Where do we think we can get to? Snow here: frozen wood and bricked streets laced with ice: my damp hair freezes instantly, my eyelashes and breath too. North and further north of the hundred-year walk and the hundred-year floods and the place where no reeds that I know of grow. I wish I could go back home.