The first time I sang the national anthem I was very young and stuck in an elementary school in Colonia Portales called Pedro María Anaya in the mornings and Carlos A. Pereyra in the afternoons (the custodian would simply flip over the metal sign that hung over the front entrance). My teacher didn’t like the way I sang, she said I was an apathetic child with bad posture and that she would have a talk with my parents: “ You need to fill your lungs, stand up straight, throw yourself into it and scream “mexicanos al grito de guerra...” as if you were really on the battlefield, as if there were a gringo in front of you who wanted to take your house and your candy and...” the teacher harangued me uselessly, since her most apathetic student just stood there with a bovine stare lost in the distance. The years passed and when I reached the sixth grade I was chosen to be part of the color guard; even hunched over I was among the tallest in that neighborhood of midgets and fat kids, as ugly as I was I was still among the most presentable in that neighborhood plagued with the offspring of mestizo assholes. The flagbearer was named Carmela and she had been chosen because she was the prettiest and brightest girl in the school. More than one teacher used to masturbate to the image of that girl with her flowing skirt and whore’s lips carrying the venerable standard of our nation. Every morning, the color guard would circle the courtyard while dozens of undernourished larvae sang the national anthem. How can I ever forget those days? How can I forget Carmela clutching that bronze pole in her little hands? How can I forget that afternoon after class when we snuck into a bathroom and she pulled down her panties to show me how the hair was growing on her pubis? Carmela, wherever you are, I’ll never forget you. Later on, when I reached high school, the cretins once again chose me to be part of the color guard, a distinction I turned down since I had started getting sick of patriotic fanfare and because I found out that, on top of everything, the color guard would be made up only of boys, moronic, gangling kids, children—like me—of that neighborhood full of losers.
Today, so many years later, when I listen to the anthem of our beautiful nation, I imagine Carmela dressed like a schoolgirl, in her little checked skirt and her white panties, kissing me, sucking me off, whispering angelic things to me while, in formation around the courtyard, hundreds of patriotic children—a tamal in their stomachs—sing a call-to-arms against the invaders.
Text by Guillermo Fadanelli
Translated by Matt Madden, 1999.