Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Post-Historical Guatemala

In Latin America on November 19, 2004 at 2:12 am

Guatemala is a country of left-overs – left-over cultures, left-over churches and temples, left-over wars, houses and stores made out of discarded billboards, scavenged packing crates and sheet metal, governments made of discarded ideologies. A trash heap of a country where every spot touched by human hands sprouts a deadly, ineradicable mold. It is a country of people leaning in doorways, sitting on steps, peering from windows, milling on corners, waiting for something. But long ago, in the dead of night, when no one was looking, history passed by for the last time. Now the only thing that passes is the time.

Ciudad de Guatemala is a city made up entirely of outskirts. The whole city is an approach to itself that never materializes, every road a siding road, every house an outbuilding, a city waiting for itself to show up, a city that never was and never will be in a nation that never quite was and won’t be again.

Crows flutter and perch in the hot brush on the border where Indians fry meat in black pans and all the dogs are ill and all the men are sullen and all the children dirty. Ghosts in white dresses walk barefoot down the ditches at night.

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