All Souls

Also from TCP. A reflection: Body as Trash/Trash as Value-Bearing Medium.


I had been dragged through the living middle of the parade, absorbed into the temporal life-form that was built of remembrances of death. In Tucson, Arizona, the Day of the Dead – Dia de los Muertos – is celebrated not only in the traditional, private manner borne of Aztec ancestor-worship and Spanish Catholicism, but also in a public event, the All Souls Procession. This is not Halloween: it is not an effort to ward off spirits, but rather, to attract them, to guide them home. There is no line one must or mustn’t cross: to be present is to be assimilated.No folding chairs line the streets, full of spectators, like the parades of my youth back east.

Families and groups and lonely single entities clustered together to proclaim their own, personal dead. A group of people, family of soldiers killed in Iraq, held up a sign that said this:

 “We Died in the Desert”

Vendors sold candy skulls, which are meant to be exchanged; I will eat the skull which bears my name, and you will eat your skull. We are to consume our deaths, to consume our bodies, through the artifact of food, consecrated by the magic of the name, the word, the low logos, least bright but shining nonetheless.

Through the trash-strewn streets, past masks of death and drums that promise to bear it, always to bear it, whipping past demons on stilts and into little sugared artifacts, our names have broken into being and are inscribed. We commune. The drums continue. The clocks do not stop.


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