9.13.2008

How come Mexicans don't like negative space?

I was thinking about this important question looking into a huge bowl of menudo at Delicious Mexican Foods to Go on Fort Boulevard. It was my Saturday morning pilgrimage. I go there in the firm belief that I will be the only güero in the place and I will be listening to Mexican music and will be hearing only Spanish spoken. As usual, I was right.

The menudo was stuffed with pozole and tripe submerged in soupy red sauce and then I threw in chopped onions and cilantro and dried chili pepper and salsa verde and whatever that green dried herb is (oregano?) and then I squeezed a half of lemon on top of the concoction. The nice lady also gave me chopped ajo crudo (raw garlic for what ails me), two buttered bolillo buns hot from the oven and a glass of water and a cup of coffee. There was no space left on the table for anything except hunger. I began to eat. The menudo was glorious. But in the midst of my reverie, my little table crowded with menudo and its supplements got me to thinking about Diego Rivera and the Aztec Calendar and Frida Kahlo and even Pancho Villa for God’s sake. If any of them saw even a little bit of negative space, they would fill it up with paint or blood or prophecy about the end of the world. It was like they wanted to answer every question there is to ask. Then Japan popped into my head. The Japanese love negative space fertilized with unanswerable questions--like miso soup and strange little sushi on a big platter and Zen and haiku and inked scrolls showing some monk sitting on a stone dwarfed by the totally empty void.

The wild cornucopia of Mexico’s visionaries and the subtle emptiness of Japan with its Zen Buddhism and gardens of rocks and sand.

Suddenly inside my head I found the beginnings of a world championship lucha libre bout. I ate my menudo and wondered who was going to be the techno? And who was going to be the rudo? Or maybe they would be a tagteam struggling together against the Beasts of Gringolandia, George Bush and Sarah Palin? They would be the two-headed avenging angel of my imagination, the ying and the yang, doing battle against the globalization of greed in the 21st Century. Together they would put an end ot the murderous war in Iraq, together they would rip out the wall between the U.S. and Mexico. At least in my own heart.

No wonder I can like Mexico and Japan so much at the same time?

So this was my little Saturday morning epiphany at the Delicious Mexican Food to Go.

Am I crazy or what?



I sent a version of this as a question to Gustavo Arrellano of Ask a Mexican fame. He says he's going to answer the question. Stay tuned.

3 comments:

My son! said...

The Bobby Byrd Blog!? This could change my life...

Lisa said...

bobby, you bring up a very interesting point. graphically, there's not much that comes out of design shops in mexico that has white space. i used think el paso magazine looked like a pinata! was i bringing my anglo, love for white space, ideals onto a product that was busy and colorful serving a largely Hispanic audience? i've got to think this over!

Anonymous said...

as a poet and a public figure, it would be great if you took did something to show your opposition to the war and the wall. too many people talk or write and do nothing.

no disrespect to you. this is written in the hopes that you will take a stand so others will follow.

peace