Saturday, October 10, 2015


      Manifesto for
Día De Los Muertos

In spite of all the hoopla
Being fed by our usual 
Trendy American ways 
Unwittingly making one
More commercialized day 
We must resist and celebrate
Like we’ve done in the past
It’s part of our history and culture
Not a Halloween contest… 
(Disney try to appropriate the Day)

Let the Day be as it should 
No outlandish Catrinas 
Or fancy-dressed Fridas
No meaningless China-made
Trinkets from Walgreens or 
Walmart usurping the Day.

Insure that the candles are lit
Enhancing the altar
And all the fine features
Of fading old portraits still 
Holding the power to bring
Lost smiles and dormant vignettes
Of memorable seasons and dated events.

Insure that the Marigolds are calling 
The spirits and sweet lemongrass is 
Ready for tea and papel picado highlights
The table and altar presenting
La Virgen Morena and Cristo 
Jesús –both flanked right and left 
By a legion of the family’s santos
Greeting our loved souls arriving 
Safely back to our earthly confines.

Insure the copal is smoldering
Enhancing the air…salt grains
Randomly sprinkled reminding us
Our lives will continue on Earth.

Insure freshly-baked pan de muerto 
And  home-made sugary skulls 
Agua fresca in glass pitchers are ready
To appease all traveling souls
Don’t forget the tray of clay jarros 
Each filled to the brim with atole
The bowl of spicy-sweet mole
A stack of blue corn tortillas 
Arroz blanco and pozole
Green and red chiles 
Cheese quesadillas
The bowl of dry cereal
Ripe freckled bananas
Strawberries and cream
Oranges pineapple and figs
And straight from old México
Peeled sweet mangoes spattered
With chile… inviting tongue-licks.

Insure a bottle of mezcal Mixteco
With its meaty worm ready
To be served in Tío Beto’s
Still sparkling original set
Of hand-painted shot glasses.

Insure there on the table abuela’s
black wooden charola 
Brought home from Zamora 
Holding quarter-sliced limes 
To enhance the glow in all
Dead and living enjoying
The toasts of tequila and wine
Flowing down thirsty dry throats

Insure all day long and into the night
We rapture and share fond memories 
and chit-chat and laugh
And cry and pray and listen
To primo Panchito’s guitar
And gaily sing and dance  
To our favorite songs
As we honor the long-
Awaited return of all
Our beloved ancestors
Coming to us once again
From their ethereal abode

And at the end of the day insure…
That together we pray in sing-song
To all of Creation and thank once 
Again for all brought forth

By our Day of the Dead 
A part of our Culture and
Not a Halloween contest...

© 2015, jjméndez

Photo: Typical Home Altar.  unknown photographer

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