Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Guitarra armada | Song vs war

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Arnoldo García

 Guitarra armada | Song against war

The vatos always laughed at me in disbelief because I’d always show up with a guitar.

They would always show up, their backseats loaded with bats, knives, chains, steel knuckles, rocks, the car jack or the occasional gun for the brawl, the rumble, the showdown with the other gang, who you didn’t really want to kill; maim maybe, hurt yes, intimidate away if possible so that you too wouldn’t get hurt.

“Whose ass are you going to kick with the guitar, ese,” someone would mockingly ask.

They didn’t know my guitar was the main weapon. I could strike down anyone with it; but it’s too valuable for one smash.

My guitar was a womb, a movie camera, a grand canyon to record and sing out the next corrido of the street wars.

You can’t really impress the girls with a knife or a gun. Maybe with a bruised face or a blackened, swollen eye.

But pull out a guitar before her, during or after the chingazos, and the girls will come to listen.

You sing a short corrido of the blows and then switch to a bolero to tell them how you really felt, why you fought – to protect her or the barrio’s honor. And no one in their right mind would think that the guitar is a weapon, much less the most powerful weapon.

The bullies scoff at it – you can’t be a romantic when you’re always threatening someone. The vato locos appreciate it cuz someone with a guitar will always sing their great deeds of valor. The armed dudes, well they know who has power and that it don’t grow from the barrel of a gun but from the fists of the man with a gun for added protection.

And you can’t hide a guitar like a 9mm.

You carry the most dangerous weapon in full sight. You carry it through the crowds, you stand at the front and wail away, getting in hits and licks on where it hurts most – in their hearts and souls.

After the fight, the guitar would heal us, soothe the hurt away with a beer or two and the rucas waiting for their song, their turn at my heart.

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