Author: Manuel Arturo Abreu

Manuel Arturo Abreu lives in Portland. They have been published by HTMLGiant, Keep This Bag Away From Children, Have You Seen My Whale, FRXTL, and Thought Catalog. They can also be found on Twitter and Tumblr.

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The Hippies Arrived

the hippies arrived

By Manuel Abreu Adorno (1978)
Translated by Manuel Arturo Abreu (2014)

Don’t ask me why it happened. I don’t have the slightest idea why they celebrated it there in the first place. Neither do I remember exactly when they began to arrive like hordes from the north. They came in groups, of five or six, sometimes more. They arrived in the morning, noon, and night. They arrived to stay the three days the festival lasted. They arrived with their bookbags and tents. They arrived with manes and in blue jeans. They arrived with hash and kief. They arrived with flutes and guitars. They arrived hitchhiking on the highway. They’ve arrived, the braless chicks and shirtless dudes. They arrived barefoot and with flowers in their hair. They arrived carrying the most recent Jerry Rubin tucked under their arms. They arrived making the peace sign with their fingers in a V. They arrived with the words Peace and Love on their lips. They arrived tall and short, fat and thin, blond and dark. The hippies arrived to Vega Baja.

I arrived the same Friday it began. I arrived to the stay the three days the festival lasted. I arrived with my mane and my blue jeans. I arrived without a bookbag or tent. I arrived without hash or kief. I arrived with money to buy LSD. I arrived without flute or guitar. I arrived on a bus from San Juan. I arrived with a long-sleeved blue shirt. I arrived in leather sandals. I arrived with a wine-filled Spanish boot hanging on my arm. I arrived waiting to catch a good position near the scene. I arrived smiling at the blond chicks. I arrived at six pm to Vega Baja.

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It even seems corny kind of

I shoot myself with my webcam, then my phone. Ambient light sucks my face brittle. I do this both before and after you shoot yourself with a handgun. You tried and failed to find a shotgun because of something you had read on lost all hope dot com. That’s not true. I think about third world click farms and the audacity of calling a book The Audacity of Hope.

One time you spent four hours googling “ambigram generator” for a tattoo idea you had. You said none of them were good enough. I said all you needed was something that said the same thing rightside up and upside down. You gave me a look like people give things up and lit a cigarette on a stoveplate.

Mechanitis is a genus of tigerwing butterflies whose cocoons look like shiny napping robots. I was looking at pictures of these and imagining what dating a poem would be like when I found out you jumped off the George Washington Bridge. I want to ask if the air buzzed like filaments that night. I flashed back to when you were ranting about how a donut and a coffee mug are topologically identical.

I miss throwing water balloons at public transportation with you. I loved your intonation whenever you asked “what’s popping.” A new video posted online Tuesday shows what happens when a bottle of coke is boiled.