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Souvenir from the jungle of the Tacanas

Souvenir from the jungle of the Tacanas

By Pablo Cingolani

What I am going to write is so happy that I don't know where to start… If the warm waters of the river that entertain you when you go and navigate them with that splendor that only rivers treasure. If for children who are raised on horseback and one dreams of them always rebellious, always free, always children.


If anything for Anastasio, and his house of adobe and dignity, his wife and children, and that gift that he alone possesses, that of caring for the well-being of bodies, of being concerned also with the health of others.

Which makes us even happier, all of us.

Sometimes what is around is like this: happy and tumultuous like the current of the river. It happens that you are capable of putting sadness and longing in a handkerchief, in a box, an old almanac. And dedicate yourself not to miss, to not suffer what is not your suffering. And to see what is foreign and what is own, what is beautiful and what is no less beautiful because it is not yours. What belongs to everyone and what belongs to none, the jungle in short, and the people who live there, in the jungle.

Why do trees and their roots and their lianas and their flora resemblances happen that climb from your hands to your designs to your thoughts and there is no anguish or anything that hurts or future pain or less price that harasses you?

Zenón Limaco -not Elea's- comes, the man standing upright and declares on the rocky beach, with a voice to listen to himself: “I apologize in case yesterday I offended whoever it was. Yesterday was a binge. Today is destiny "

Those are the words that you have already forgotten in the cities, aren't those the words that you should remember?

This memory of love, of respect, of good people is long

Could it be that the forests provide food for the soul?

Could it be that they do not hide and if the jaguar appears, they speak to him?

Could it be that we have already forgotten what a forest is, what a tiger is, what it means to celebrate the forest and the tiger?

I go back and forth along the trails, I go look for him to Anastasio

He welcomes me with his smile full of sand and wind, a vegetable smile that is impossible to surrender, the smile of a man who cannot be beaten, humiliated, prevented from laughing, prevented from being a tacana.

When I find him, at the end of our world, in the center of his, he tells me about the miracles that he does every day, with an aspirin or a plant and I not only believe him, value him and love him, but I think how many Anastasios it will take to be able to change the world.


I realize, when I add, when I remainder, when I multiply (Anastasio by a thousand, by millions) that Anastasio there is only one, and that he is in front of me.

Every man should change the world. Each person in his figure, his being and his infinite being should, at least, try as Anastasio does in his village, in the heart of the jungle, in the Amazon of poems, but that is only his.

It was then that night fell and Leoncio came and hugged me in the Communal House and hugged him and he told me like this: I didn't know, Pablo, if you were going to remember me. And I hug him, and he hugs me, and I tell him, brother ... How could I forget about you? How could I forget when the river almost ate our camp? How could I forget those clandestine Peruvian nights of the fears we had together, the rice we ate together, the joys and moons we shared?

We are getting old, Leoncio, but forget, we will not forget, all that never happens in the jungle, all that happens to you when you return to the jungle, to that jungle. San José de Uchupiamonas was so close to my heart and I did not return for nine years. You lock yourself in tinsel and other people's dramas and you exile yourself from the people you love so much. You rust with the poison of modernity and you do not know and do not respond to the reason that matters most to you, the most appropriate.

You are deceiving yourself and you do not know how to reach an outcome, a good one, a bad one, even one. You look for the vain, the absurd of this existence that they imposed on you

Is there no poetry in time-worn corners?

Can't you find it if you don't see it, in the metaphor of the snail, which is always ready?

What I wanted to write is so happy that I don't want to twist it, I want it to find its way, inside your home, in yours. I don't know, but one loses so much of life while farewell to what has not been lived. One welcomes what is unfortunate, what is cruel and does not cause you anything. Nothing is born from nothing, this you should always remember.

I say all this that I write because it is born, it is born to me. Because I have come back from the jungle, from the jungle of the tacanas, from the jungle of San José and I remember Zenón, Leoncio, Anastasio and perhaps this will help - will it? - so that no one will forget them

No one should ever ever forget men with courage. No one should ever ever forget them. Like Santucho [1]. No one should forget it.

Nor should anyone forget the hero within [2]. It is hidden, in your jungle, the inner one, crouched, like a tiger that you must tame, it does not speak or low line, but it is rebellious, revolutionary and it is yours, it is inside you, waiting for you. There is a jungle and a hero. Inside and outside. Are yours.

Río Abajo, September 8, 2012

[1] Santucho, Mario Roberto: was the former commander of the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP) of the Argentine Republic and of the world socialist armed revolution. He died fighting with arms in hand in 1976, days before the possibility of all the existing guerrillas in his country merging into a single political-military organization. He was from Santiago and of Quechua roots like Sixto Palavecino.

[2] "Far from the big city ... I did not lose honor / he is the hero in me", Norberto Napolitano, Together in tandem, my homage to the eternal Carpus, the eternal Pappo. Nietzsche said it more or less like that, but I don't give a damn about the German philosopher. Long live and glory to one of us.


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