Originally written September 1, at 3 p.m.


Tranquil. That’s how I’d describe the moment. But not a good type of tranquility: it isn’t the kind that simply drowns out the background noise and let’s you get lost in your own thoughts; it’s not the kind that soothes every nerve to the point of ecstasy. This tranquility is almost superficial. It is what is imposed on you by the elements – by circumstance.

It is the dead calm of the day. It is the single and distant bird whistle or squawk. It is the all-too-audible humming of some machine. It is the lonesome white butterfly making its way through the wind, seemingly lost. The sky torments me: the dead, grey lump above me that threatens me with a deluge, but dares not move a muscle. It doesn’t even breathe hard, for the trees don’t dance. A few shake their leaves slowly, almost like a nervous wave, but they don’t move like in times of life: when you feel alive in Her Bosom. No. Now, they just wave stealthily, as if hiding.

But from what? Perhaps from the same thing that everyone else seems to be hiding from, whatever it may be. This desolate place speaks loudly enough. The lonesome and lost white butterfly reflects this place – this moment in time, which is naught but confusing and lost: it glides back the other way now, flapping its tiny wings in the opposite direction, hoping – really hoping – to finally find its way…a path. But she’s blossomed already; she flies with full confidence, even in the face of error, for she knows to always search. Not the rest. Not these larvae, still cocooned in their homes, fearful of the dead calm outside their doors. Like me, they mourn this tranquility, but they fear it to the point of death and paralysis. They dare not storm the beaches; to come out of their vessels – of their cocoons. They remain larvae. But my Wings Are Tearing Skin.

And, as they say, that a butterfly’s wings in one place births a hurricane in another, so has my metamorphosis begun. The skies are parting and the oceans’ reflection begins to emerge. Somewhere, the sun shines, for change is inevitable. Evolution never stops. Still lost and nervous — “dizzy and unable to stand on my own” — but flying. My wings move to the tune and winds of the “Great Magnet”  — to wherever it may lead. Avoid the wasps along the way by manoeuvring skillfully: the white butterfly glides, flies, weaves in and out; she knows to survive to see the Ocean in all its glory: gleaming under the twilight.

Alas! Wings are Truly Earned!

An Eternally Broken Heart

MOON TALKWhen I looked into her eyes, ever so deep and wide, I saw nothing but despair;

So I took her broken heart, calloused fingers wrapped tight, hoping it weren’t beyond repair.

But in a moment of vacillation, as I mended fatal wounds,

She took me by the hand, and pleaded I not move.

“Leave me be with this here torment,” she begged of me – a voice ever so tender.

“For it’s man’s eternal pain that I’ve placed upon my shoulders;

“And if I weep and sigh – if I feel the time draws nigh,

“It is because by Morning’s splendour, your sins will not be mine.”

And it was then I understood, on that lonely and breezy night,

That life without the Moon, would be serenity denied!


Itamar, my brother, walked into my room and asked me to help with a problem he was having. His eyes were red and watery, which went perfect with his worried expression. It was night, probably past 10 PM., and he had just arrived home from school. My parents were watching television in their room just down the hall from mine, with their door open, so we could hear them talking. I think I even heard my brother saying ‘hi’ to them before coming to see me.

“Hey man,” he started. “I need some help.” Normally, it wouldn’t have worried me so much to hear him say this, but his expression, as I’ve already noted, was one of turgid worry. “Sure, man. What’s up?” I asked.

He began telling me his problem, which had to do with his girlfriend. It was a typical problem between young lovers, so it was only my advice that he was after. While I listened, and in between snippets of suggestions, I kept looking for my pipe, which I distinctly remembered putting down a few minutes before, as I watched television. But now it was impossible to find, which I found weird, but didn’t give it a second thought. I gave up on that task and just sat by my window as I took in the rest of his story, looking out into the dark from time to time, so as to ponder what he was saying as I admired the curious way the Moon seemed to be shimmering that night.  

Suddenly, as he spoke, I began feeling my mouth get filled with something. My cheeks swelled up and I immediately began spitting, not able to contain it any longer. It was then that I realized, to my great and horrifying surprise, that it was in fact my teeth that were falling off the gums like ripe oranges being plucked invisible hands. Completely befuddled and terrified, I spat them all on my hand, leaving a trail of blood and saliva dangling from my lips and finger-tips.

“Ahhh!!! What the fuck is going on!!??” I began screaming, shoving my hands full of teeth in front of his face. “My fuckin’ teeth are falling off, man!” Itamar, apparently entirely unperturbed, dismissed what I was saying as not important in comparison to his own troubles, and demanded that I shut up and hear him. “It’s nothing, man,” he was saying  as he waved my histrionics away. “You’ll be fine…just listen!”

Of course I couldn’t pay attention to what he was saying anymore, and I wasn’t sure if to be more shocked at the terrifying events unfolding or at the fact that he didn’t seem to care. I looked desperately for a mirror and, upon finding one on the back-stance of my bed, I looked at my disfigured countenance in horror. My mouth had not a single tooth in it, but only fleshy and bloody gums with holes where the teeth should have been. I examined every orifice carefully, pricking the empty gum-sockets with my fingers and agonizing in pain. I yelled in horror again, but that feeling quickly subsided…

The following realization happened in fractions of a second, as my brother’s voice continued piercing my ears in the background. Despite my terror, I was nevertheless able to realize that what was happening simply didn’t make sense. “This can’t be,” I thought to myself. “I’ve seen this happen to me…many times before….” I tried getting a hold of myself before I finished that thought by taking a deep breath. Then I looked into the mirror again, this time more calmly, as I knew what to expect. When I saw that same disfigured face, I studied it carefully, blocking out Itamar’s words and just trying to really focus on the gruesome image in front of me. “The teeth of a 24 year old don’t just fall off in real life,” I thought to myself again…”And I’ve seen this happen to me before…over and over again…in…” And again I trailed off.

But as I continued to make these connections, the sound of my brother’s voice came rushing back with a booming, resonant echo, like hearing waves crashing against rocks from inside a tunnel. He was still completely uninterested in what I was doing – unaware even! I then looked squarely at him and, with a soft and resolute tone in my voice said, “Holy shit, Itamar….I think I’m dreaming.”

Now, usually around this part, I would wake up abruptly in my bed, perhaps spitting, thinking I really had loose teeth trying to fall off, or perhaps with a violent jolt, caused by that feeling of falling, and then ponder in the dark about what I had just seen, typically disappointed that I’d woken up at that crucial moment.  But this time, I remained in the dream.

Itamar kept talking, starring straight at me as if convinced that I was listening to his every word. It was almost as if he had not even noticed that I was not paying attention to him anymore  as I fumbled with my bloody gums. In fact, it was as if I was watching the entire thing from above, or literally like a fly on the wall. I couldn’t see my body – I guess it was floating, attached to my eyes; but I could see everything else in the scene, including Itamar, positioned as if I was in fact still sitting there, in front of him, listening. Itamar spoke looking in the direction I had been sitting, completely uninterrupted in his tale of woe, and his face, mannerisms and everything he uttered said that to him, I was still sitting in front of him, listening attentively.

I then heard a voice interrupting him again, trying to convince him I was dreaming….At first I couldn’t see anybody, but then I realized the voice was my own.

“It’s just a dream, man! None of those problems are real!” I looked all around the room, taking advantage of the bird’s eye view I had, but I couldn’t see myself. Yet, Itamar answered back, still starring in front of him, as if talking directly to me. “I told you already: shut up with that! I have a real problem! Are you fuckin’ high right now!!?!?”

“Why else would my teeth be falling off, man?!?!” I asked him with a desperate lilt in my voice, though I suspect I was trying to convince myself more than him. As soon as I said this, he turned quiet and just sat back. It looked at first as if he was getting ready to continue his tirade, but something was happening, which seemed to put me in control of the entire scene.

I said to him, this time calmly and resolutely, as I began examining my entire body and the walls and the floors and even himself: “No…this isn’t real.” As I was saying this, the entire scene seemed to stall for a second – to lag for just a fraction of a second, but long enough for me to notice that something had changed; it was like a small glitch in a video game that makes the screen freeze for such a tiny second that if you blink, you don’t even notice it, except that I did notice it. Itamar was in fact getting ready to continue his diatribe, but he was moving with such an exaggerated slowness, like a movie in ultra-slow motion, that I would’ve been able to run around him a thousand times before he got his first word out, because I myself could hear, think, talk and even move at normal speed. And again, he seemed unaware of my apparent out-of-body experience.

Realizing I was now in control, I shut my eyes tightly and braced myself, as if I was getting ready to jump into an abyss, but sure I’d make it. When I opened them, the scene’s speed had returned to normal, and Itamar kept talking as if I was still in front of him listening. Apparently nothing had changed…though I felt different…renewed.

I approached the mirror slowly with my eyes shut as Itamar continued talking; I wasn’t sure of what I was going to see, but I felt as if, for some reason, I knew…I opened them slowly…

In the mirror, there was a face full of teeth starring back at me, and I realized it was my own.

I had made my teeth reappear….


La bestia peluda y blanca, caminaba por el bosque delante de mí; pues de vez en cuando me asaltaban ganas de detenerme para apreciar el paisaje. El frío ciertamente se dejaba sentir con toda su saña, aunque todavía no había logrado congelar los arroyos, cuyas aguas cristalinas centelleaban mientras fluían debajo de finas capas de hielo, rugiendo quedamente, como un pequeño animal que duerme. El resto del bosque, que durante el verano alberga estos arroyos con flora gruesa y lustrosa, ahora, en el invierno, tenía un aire surrealista, casi como un cuento de adas, con velas de hielo extendiendose desde las puntas de los árboles desnudos y cubiertos solo con una cobija de nieve que brillaba como el agua; el terreno un tanto montañoso, daba al viaje un aire aventurero, al tener que caminar, escalar y hasta gatear a ratos, bajo el sol, cuyos rayos penetraban intermitentemente por entre las ramas de los eucaliptos, los arboles más altos en el bosque. El viaje tenía un aire encantador, pero en las noches y bajo un frío glacial, la oscuridad entre los árboles era macabra; parecía escucharse susurros al acecho, emanando de la nada. Por ahora nos hallábamos a salvo; arrullados por un concierto orquestado exclusivamente para nosotros – una mezcla de sonidos provenientes de la naturaleza, que aún podían penetrar el invernal frío amargo y confundirse con el rumor de las aguas, en el aullido ronco del aire y en el resto de los ruidos que sutilmente se escondían en el fondo. De todos modos, no había mucho tiempo para quedarse quieto puesto que la bestia blanca era joven, vigorosa e impaciente… asi que debíamos continuar. Ademas,permanecer estático en un lugar, era como recordar a los huesos lo frío de aquel paraje, a pesar de lo hermoso del paisaje.               

Cuando finalmente llegamos al confín del bosque, donde mi compañero sabía que estableceríamos campamento, el sol comenzaba a desaparecer lentamente detras de los arboles en la punta occidental, iluminando el cielo encima de ellos con llama entre violeta y anaranjada, lo cual me hizo tener la impresion de que estábamos siendo quemados vivos. Mi peludo companero, lleno de energia y completamente equipado para no solo soportar el frío, sino más bien para prosperar en él, corría frenéticamente en circulos, aullando y ladrando muy exaltado en un ataque aparentemente descontrolado. Cuando hube terminado de installar el campamento, comenzamos a jugar juntos, como dos hermanos – despreocupadamente, libre de azares y aprehensiones, llenos de mutua confianza-. Pero a medida que se acercaba la noche con oscuridad que como gigantesca boca devoraba todo a su paso, nos acurrucamos en nuestro nido cerca de la fogata, y preparamos nuestros ánimos en espera de todas las maravillas y terrores que sobrevienen con la noche, y más ahora, tratándose de estar bajo un cielo abierto e implacable. El frío estaba asombrosamente dominado, por lo que se nos hizo menos duro arrostrar la inclemencia de la noche sin haber tenido que sentir nuestros huesos su incompasivo efecto. Creo que habré dormido, o tal vez simplemente me perdí en la quietud de la noche, porque cuando me di cuenta, observé que mi compañero se había ido. Me levanté en seguida y comencé a llamarlo, pero no tuve respuesta alguna, asi que me encaminé hacia la densa oscuridad enfrente de mí, donde sabía que solo había árboles y alimañas de la noche.

Al acercarme a la oscuridad, lejos ya de mi fogata, comencé a oir el crujir de las ramas al quebrarse y un gruñido que en seguida supe que era el de mi compañero. Cuando finalmente me aproximé lo suficiente para distinguir la silueta enfrente de mi, asiéndome de la piel blanca de mi compañero, pude notar  que jalaba algo que sostenía en su boca, y cuyo otro extremo estaba firmemente ligado a algo que aún no alcanzaba a distinguir. Llamé a la bestia, pero no hizo ningún caso; simplemente continuó jalando a su víctima y gruñendo. Acercándome aún más, y con el auxilio de la tenue luz de la luna, pude ver que solo se trataba de la rama de un árbol, y sintiendo alivio de que no se haya tratado de alguna víctima viviente, suspiré profundamente y descancé contra el grueso tronco de un árbol, todavia viendo la escena enfrente de mí. Y eso fue todo… A continuación, solo observé a la bestia jalar la rama hasta que finalmente se quebró, produciendo un sonido como “THWACK”, tan fuerte como el sonnido de un balazo resonando en la espesura del bosque hueco. De repente, una siniestra sensación se apoderó de mí en torno de toda la escena: fue algo semejante a la impresión de haber disfrutado de la acción de la bestia arrancando la rama sin razón alguna, por lo que me sentí rodeado de gran perturbación.

Cuando todo hubo terminado, una costra verde cubria lo que quedaba del brazo del pobre arbol, y la bestia simplemente se retiró bailando felizmente con su rama en la boca hacia nuestro campamento. Permanecí mudo enfrente de todo esto dado que tuve la impresión de que había presensiado un macabro crimen del cual hasta había disfrutado, y que había hecho absolutamente nada para detener al perpetrador o para socorrer a la víctima de quien apenas comencé a advertir había sido enteramente indefenso. Me acerqué al pobre arbol destrozado; casi avergonzado de estar en su precensia, para finalmente poner mi mano sobre su miembro herido y cercenado. Fue entonces que comencé a sentirme infundido por algo extraño; a sentir algo dentro de mí….emoción, acaso…si, eso es lo que sentí….comencé a experimentar una emoción que me ligaba a esta victima, y le susurré: “Lo siento…” No sé porque, pero me pareció como que miraba fijamente a los ojos llorosos y suplicantes de alguien que había caído victima de un tirano; me sentí responsable de no haber estorbado la mano de ese tirano cuando vi su acción y cuando tube la oportunidad de acerlo…

Fue entonces cuando me di cuenta de que todos esos temores de la noche a los que me había aferrado hace poco, y que las imagenes de algo horrible que vive escondido en ella, al acecho para arrebatar mi alma o mi mente, nunca se harían realidad. No por ser imposible, puesto que la mente es algo muy poderoso y que tiene la virtud de encontrar el horror que se proponga , sino más bien porque lo único que de veras se esconde alli, en la noche, en los más profundos bosques, junglas,  parques y patios son solo Arboles: Guardianes de nuestra más preciada y urgente necesidad – el oxigeno – y autores de nuestros sueños más codiciados – la belleza pura.


La proxima noche, durante el regreso, entre un frío que carcomía los huesos, la excursión repentinamente se revistió de un aire más vivaz…más holístico….más serio…más solemne…y la noche, solitaria y silente, ya no parecía tenebrosa, si no más bien compasiva y tierna, como un regazo acogedor y tranquilo, invitandote a dormir. Pero lo que realmente se sintió diferente, fue la manera en que estas criaturas gigantescas y benevolentes, quienes nunca se atreven a causar daño y quienes nunca dicen una sola palabra, ahora parecían velar nuestro camino, pintando en nuestro frente un dulce retrato de una magia y una realidad que van mucho mas allá de los limites de nuestra comprension.

Open Letter to My Dear and Beloved Venezuelan Comrades (ENGLISH VERSION)

To My Dear Venezuelan Comrades:

The saying goes that only once every thousand years or so, people like an Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, or a Mahatma Ghandi, or a Rosa Parks are born. Of course, it is a symbolic and rhetorical statement, but it holds an undeniable truth at its core: that these people, unlike most of us, are entirely driven by an ideal that defines and drives them, and which ultimately transcends them, liberating entire generations from backward or outdated policies and practices that otherwise would continue to burrow themselves into the cultural fabric…

I did not have the chance to personally meet President and Commander Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías – or just Chávez, as he is more widely known – when I visited Venezuela a couple of years ago. I would have liked to, but my youth and curiosity (or perhaps indiscretion) got in the way. However, though it now pains me to know that the chance to ever do so is no more, for his physical body now rests in an eternal abyss, I rejoice in feeling a devoted faith to a movement much bigger than himself, and to which the Venezuelan people have so earnestly given themselves to…a movement that never stopped since our first steps on this Earth, but which needed this kind of people – people like Chávez – to awaken us from an unknown though pleasant slumber.

Hearing, or rather seeing, the news of his death was such an abrupt shock that I felt a sickness in my stomach that could only be described as panic. I wanted to think it was a hoax, like all those other cruel ones that have tried to demoralize the President and tumble the People’s Hopes, but which of course, in the end, were always futile. But as I skimmed the name of the newspaper and every other social media news-feed, the sombre truth hit me like a sack of jagged stones. It was unreal feeling such a personal loss at hearing that a president has died. I jerked myself from my stupor and ran to tell my parents in the other room, almost feeling like I was giving them terrible news about our own family. “Chávez has died!!!” I insolently yelled, immediately feeling that I’d blasphemed…but the sick truth behind the words fell atop me once more, crushing me.

It’s impossible to think of the hard facts without tears shyly appearing in the corners of my eyes, evoking my own grandfather’s funeral all over again. But there’s an amazing feeling of hope that overtakes me as I wipe them away; a recognition of something so much bigger – so hopelessly sincere – about what the man Hugo Chávez symbolized. Suddenly my sombre look and hard lips also seem to fade away into a smile full of confidence…Yes, it’s a magnificent feeling to be able to think of Chávez not merely as a corpse now forever resting beside his and our mentors; but to simultaneously evoke the images of El Pueblo – The People – in the truest, most practical sense of the word. It is a connection with a cause that Chávez helped us remember existed.

I can almost see the quivering lips of the mother of Eduardo (a dear friend of mine) as she exclaims, “carajo! te nos fuiste mi querido Chávez!…” (“goddamn! you left us, my dear Chávez”); I can see the people gathered in the Plazas Bolivares around the country, all feeling the same personal loss; I can see the old brittle woman who feels the loss of a son who taught her to read even in her old age; I can see the factory and construction workers who now receive their pay and benefits on time, all thanks to their dear old pana and compañero who now rests forever in his grave; I can see the young kids who are now studying and preparing their minds, moulding a brighter future for everyone…And I can see that a smile hangs at the end of all our tears, for we know that his spirit lives in us forever.

And that is the Great Triumph of Leaders like Hugo Chávez . Not that they were superior, or unique in such a way that without them, their efforts and victories die as well. It’s true that men like these are not born everyday; but that is because when one is finally born, he has the ability to transcend his self- to rid himself of the idea that he is one – and in that way infuse an entire generation with Ideas – and Ideals – that will continue to challenge injustice at every step, however arduous the fight. I don’t think there is a manual or time to be a revolutionary, for the potentiality to change that which is wrong lives in all of us, and I think people like Chávez  realize that. But for the bigger changes – the cultural and societal ones – we need a catalyst first; a hurricane; something to awaken that dormant sense of indignation at the obviously unjust; we need a Revolutionary.

President and Commander Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías touched the hearts and minds of millions of people in and outside of his nation. And he did this by going against that most essential malady that universally seems so obvious to deter, yet so seemingly impossible to prevent: Injustice.

Many people are speaking about the “legacy” that Chávez will leave behind. And in a certain romantic sense, it is something to consider. However, in a more real sense, Chávez left himself behind, for even as he ruled the country, he told us, “Yo soy El Pueblo” – “I am The People”.  And he is. He is the face of the brittle old woman who can now read; he is the face of the workers who can now get paid. But most importantly, he is the Firm and Resolved Face of all the Venezuelans and the people of the world that have learned from him and who, like myself, feel a revival of their Faith in the Socialist Cause thanks to Commander Hugo Chávez.

The Idea of Socialism in Venezuela is something that has been implanted through the most essential yet complex human emotion: Love…Love for Humanity.

I do not share Chávez’s faith in God, though someone cited me a verse that helped my tears of pain become crystals of joy: “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” said the Lord. Isaiah 66:9.


Now it is up to us to continue the fight. Now it is time to prove Ourselves! Now it is time to exert the confidence and faith in our own humanity and dignity, which the great leader Hugo Chávez reminded many of us about.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre, Comrades!

Luis Fernando Arce


Threw you the obvious and you flew with it on your back, 

A name in your recollection, down among a million same.
Difficult not to feel a little bit disappointed, and passed over 
When I’ve looked right through, see you naked but oblivious. 

And you don’t see me.

But I threw you the obvious, just to see if there’s more behind the 
Eyes of a fallen angel, eyes of a tragedy.
Here I am expecting just a little bit too much from the wounded
But I see, see through it all, see through, see you.

‘Cause I threw you the obvious, to see what occurs behind the 
Eyes of a fallen angel, eyes of a tragedy, oh well. 

Oh well, apparently nothing. 
Apparently nothing, at all.

You don’t, you don’t, you don’t, see me. 
You don’t, you don’t, you don’t, see me.
You don’t, you don’t, you don’t, see me.
You don’t see me.
You don’t, you don’t, you don’t see me at all.