Yo Soy, Aurelia Lorca
by Aurelia Lorca

Aurelia Lorca is not my real name.

I, too, have lost myself
in order to find the burn
that keeps everything awake.
I, too, will always be on the side
of those who have nothing and
who are not even allowed to enjoy
the nothing they have in peace.
I, too, am an anarchist
in the best sense of the word.
I heed only three voices:
that of death,
that of love,
and that of art.

Almost eighty years ago,
the great poet Federico Garcia Lorca
did not finish his last play — Dreams of My Cousin Aurelia.
His protagonist, Aurelia, said she could not live
without reading fiction and putting on plays
because the men in the village never laughed.
However, Lorca felt his Aurelia
was a little too obsessed
with the past, and wanted her character
to receive a cathartic slap in the face
to place her in the present.
He wanted to leave her facing the four walls of a house,
the four walls of memory’s constructs.
Yet, the poet was killed before he could finish writing
the final acts of his play.

Lorca says a dead man is more alive in Spain
than anywhere else.
I disagree.
Lorca never heard my grandfather singing flamenco
in the shower after working on the boats of Cannery Row.
Lorca had never been to Monterey, California.
We might not talk about them,
but the dead are never dead.

Make them Americans, make them Americans,
 make them Americans.

On June 5th of 2013,
what would have been Federico Garcia Lorca’s 115th birthday,
I began to wonder: What if Langston Hughes,
who later translated Lorca, and lived in Carmel,
what if he had helped Lorca escape Spain?
What would Lorca have thought
of the Spanish community of Cannery Row,
and the Andalusian women like my grandmother
who worked in the canneries?
However, Lorca never made it out of Spain.

There has been a conflict of light and wind inside of me.
I live inside a continuous ghost story,
which some say is synonymous with Spanish history.
I am not afraid of ghosts because I come from ghosts.
Their forgetting was part of a promise.
Yet my aurora is the horizon of my poetry,
martyred from the world,
troubled back, and very much aware.

PHOTOGRAPH: Aurelia Lorca/Nicole Henares.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aurelia Lorca is the pen name of a woman from the borderlands of the Monterey Peninsula who has been motionless in the twist of time. Aurelia Lorca has been reborn from the mind, heart, and pen of Nicole Henares — an American writer who is the granddaughter of Andalusian immigrant cannery workers, and the daughter of civil rights workers.  Her writing largely focuses on questions of ethnicity and identity and often reassembles narratives from histories that have been forgotten as a way to remember.