August 9, 2012 § 6 Comments
This is not a love story. Nor is it a story with a happy ending or a story to leave you with a nostalgic feeling of pleasantries and goodwill. I was born in the slums. Guatemala to be exact. It is a place that fills the gaps between the poor and the wretched.
Born into a family of nine, as Maria Santos Gavantuez, I was not needed. I was merely a burden placed on the shoulders of my matriarchal figure. I was sold into the world of sex and drugs. Dirty old men used me to fulfill their perverted sadistic fantasies. I wondered sometimes how much I had cost. How much money did my mother make, and was it worth it? How many meals did my worth put on the table for my exchange?
My earliest memories were of my beloved brothers watching over me. It almost seemed like they were my parents. My father was rarely around. I think he was a field worker on the cocoa plains. My oldest brother, Salvador, would lull Spanish hymns to me at night. He would sing, “My dearest Maria, don’t fret, don’t cry, God loves you, God loves you tonight, tonight.”
The day I left was a surprise. My mother, dressed in her finest rags, took me to the city. I had never been, so needless to say, I was really excited. Although my mother stayed sullen the entire drive, it wasn’t anything outside her normal disposition, so I didn’t question the intent of the visit. My face stayed glued to the window. I peered out, letting my hands grasp the half opened window pane. The wind blew against my face and I had never felt so free. It’s almost ironic — that moment would be my last glimpse of freedom for a long time.
We pulled into a stucco building and I remember seeing Dobermans around the property, including one on the roof. My mother yanked my hand and pulled me inside. There was no lighting, only the daylight breaking through the windows. I sat silently on this unstable wooden bench along with three other girls my age. The smell was putrid and dirty, like my grandmother’s house after a fresh livestock slaughter. My mother walked out of the room and said, “Stay, mija.”
From that moment my jubilant complexion was crushed by the reality of the situation. A tall masked man grabbed my innocent body and threw me into the back of his truck. The road was bumpy and uncomfortable, but nothing compared to the vexatious circumstances I was about to endure.
Flies and maggots take the form of a human shape. The stench of homemade hooch and petrified ruins of what was nothing. This place was a nothing. Nothing good comes in this hellhole and nothing good comes out this plagued city of the doomed and decrepit.
I didn’t want to be a part of the traffic, but here girls are born into it. Most of my childhood is now blocked. The images I can recall only consist of brutal beatings and women rolled in a batter of subservient chauvinistic dominance.
No sugar coating here. The things that happened to my juvenile body would make the most heavy-hearted man cringe and weep.
Ten years young and already working a full time job — this is not a childhood. Fernando Zavala Lopez bought me off. He was a political frontrunner in the city. Behind closed doors, however, he was a filthy, sexually deviant lowlife.
As I lay on the cold concrete slab, my only serenity is my tattered gown to which I cling. My brief salvation rests upon a dim glimpse of light struggling to break through the shattered, boarded-up pane. Too desolate and dry for tears, I mourn in a fetal position and grasp tightly to my frail knees and rock back and forth.
I am fed twice a day. This is considered a delicacy compared to the others. One slice of bread and a sandwich made with what seemed like the corner deli’s expired goods. I am allowed one glass of water and copious amounts of red wine, to keep me inebriated at all times.
He holds me tight and covers my mouth. The excess saliva drips out the corner of his chapped lips as he penetrates my vision with his foul, dilated eyes. I shall not cry this time. I am numb to the stress my body endures, and the pain is normal now. Night after night I am a salve in his circus. We were captive mongrels to his three-ring freak show.
Some of the girls scream and moan in distress, but not I. I surrender to my silence. One day we will get out, but not today. Today we huddle quietly, not saying a word, but we are all thinking the same thought. Whatever happens, he cannot take away our minds. We keep these sacred as our tender souls are violated and destroyed.
I wish I had a mirror. Just so I can see what I look like. It’s not for vanity, but to know I am still alive, and that the color of my skin is not red and blue.
I have no concept of time. Was I a teenager yet? How long had I endured the violence?
It was like a lucid dream, complete with cold sweats and frightful terrors. A dream so real that your heart beats faster than a crooked politician on redemption. So real, you can feel it all and cannot escape. That’s my life.
Fast forward the unrelenting molestation a few years or so. I must have been developing, because I began to bleed. My life cycle was blooming and not only became apparent to me, but Fernando as well. I had seen girls come and go, and it was no surprise what was next. The end of my existence.
My eyes burned from the sunlight and the warm breeze of the light wind felt so unfamiliar to me. I was uneasy, to say the least. Fernando said one thing to me. “Little nina, you were good to me.” He then laughed at me with the most senile snicker he could muster. He wanted to scare me, but after all that I had been through there was no way a cheap laugh was going to frighten me.
He took me to a barren field, but he had made a mistake. I don’t know if he was stressed with the upcoming election or if he was just getting soft, but he forgot to tie me up. I grabbed the sharpest shard of wood I could and I hawked it down my mouth. The shard left splinters down my throat, but it still wasn’t as painful as the torture I had endured.
We drove out to a remote location and he let me out of the shiny new BMW. He cocked back his rifle and pointed it my direction. I knelt down and asked, “May I give you one last service?” He smiled and nodded. I walked up to him and gave him a tight grasping hug. As his warm body embraced mine, I pulled the shard out from my throat and gave him a revenge stabbing.
I took it straight to the throat. All my anger and and resentment transferred into this projectile death weapon. He bent to his knees and finally teared up and begged for his life. The hot blood spilled out his face like a waterfall I had never seen. I felt no remorse my mind was as cold as the dying grip from his perverted fingers. I reached for the rifle and let out one novice shot to the head. Is it messed up that I took enjoyment in watching his head split open?
I was free at last and took the car keys, sat on his fine leather seats. Before I left I took a moment to reflect. I embraced my surroundings, took a swig of whiskey out of his silver-plated flask and closed my eyes and sighed.
I left that God forsaken city, and just drove. I was ready to get my revenge on those who had done me wrong, and save those who were innocent. Call me a crusader, or a serial killer, I don’t care. I am a self-educated vigilante, an overseer, and a guardian for girls like me. Those who violate the sacred righteousness of a young girl’s life will be doomed to face the vengeance of Maria the spectacular.
July 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
Inside cragged walls, a ruined church, boys are
kicking a ball where a king once crowned his son
and told him, mercy will not save you. By our time,
only the yard around the cathedral walls is left,
and we hump history through the broken arms of doors,
to stone breastplates of sarcophagi worn nameless,
though a flyer says another king was born, died, and then
the church followed. Spaces now open to the sky.
The ball rolls to a stop before our feet and dies,
as shouts go up through the hobbled choir, half-fallen
archways once hung with heavy tapestries,
and now the sounds of boys screaming decrees.
With evening, the ghosts arrive. The son beheaded
by his father, the king, when there was talk
of treason. I snap a shot of the ruptured cupola
as night creeps in. It’s too cool for this season,
but the grass has come to life, the ramparts fall to darkness,
as the boys pick up their ball and head for home.
July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
April 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
Thanks to submissions from many authors, poets, and artists, as well as the work of our editorial advisors and layout team, Volume 3 is now online. We hope you enjoy it. You may wish to click “View this document on Scribd” under the embedded PDF, because you’ll be able to zoom in using the plus sign for easier reading.
Remember, we’ll be posting work for Volume 4 as it’s accepted, so check back here often for more art and writing.
March 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Thank you for your patience as we worked out some obstacles in publishing Vol. 3 of Moulin Review. This will be an online volume, and we will publish it here in the next few weeks.
Future volumes may be online or in print – however, we are adopting a new publication process. Throughout the year we will accept work for publication online on a revolving schedule. If a print volume is published, we will select the work from our online publications.
This means we will be responding to submissions more quickly than before, and will have new material online for readers on a more consistent basis. Check back here in a few weeks for Vol. 3. We hope you’ll love it.
June 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
One of our poets from Volume 2, Nicelle Davis, just released a short film — a beautiful blend of words, sound, and art — she collaborated on with animator/illustrator Cheryl Gross. The music is by Karl Preusser and cover art is by Alexis Vergalla. Circe is published by Lowbrow Press, and is a preview of the book, which will be available in fall 2011.