By Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
Before this world existed there was Yaya, Yucahu, the high spirit, the first cause.
From before the beginning there was the road through the wooded hill, the first cause. Yaya or Yucahu was said to have been his name. He existed before the world, before capital, before private property, before Foxconn. The first cause. Yuca or Yucahu. He who has a mother but no beginning. From before the beginning there was the plastic swimming pool, the heat, the vine that climbs up the pole, the empty offices, the long lines.
His mother was Atabey, Yermao, Guacar, Apito, Zuimaco, Mother of all the sea.
Yaya had a son named Yayael.
Yayael wanted to kill his father. Yocahú banished him for four months, but when he returned, killed him and put his bones into a gourd hanging from his hut or in the trunk of the car and then he buried them behind the house and in this place was born a yucca, and it was good but poisonous, the kind with a blue vein of arsenic that threatens us and loves us like the dark father.
The 4 sons of Itiba Cahubaba the twins of this great mother who died in childbirth, came looking into Yaya’s house and curiously looked inside the gourd, but carelessly let it fall to the ground. The bones of Yayael were transformed into fish, gift cards, appliances, and electromagnetic tape.
From the expansion of its content, the sea, all its creatures, and all the flotsam were formed. We threw it in the river but the river gave it back wrapped in thick paper and plastic molds.
Deminán Caracaracol, the mangy and syphilitic leader of the twins, entered the house of Bayamanaco, asking for Casabe, our bread. Bayamanaco put his hand to his nose and threw towards him a ball of mucus and cohoba, which landed on his back.
The blow produces a painful and sudden swelling, his brothers soothe his pain and extract a female turtle from his hump.
Later he himself pulls a leather barrel. And the women sing with it and the men offer them some weed – but that was not enough and so they asked the shaman for cohoba because they too wanted to have visions, have sex and talk to their dead. But the shaman did not agree. Then their sex became a trumpet flower and they drank this tea from their own sex and traveled alone to Cacibajagua.
We stayed behind, built a home and raised turtles. Then we crushed them and our pets eat their eggs and that’s what we’re paying for now.
Our ancestors came out of the house of origin, the cosmic vagina, a body with three caves.
Most of the people who settled the island came from Cacibajagua. Marocael was supposed to guard the entrance to the cave. But one day he strayed too close to the edge and the sun took him away. He was turned into stone. Others were transformed into copper tubing and wiring, into jet skis, roman columns and others still into college degrees.
Others, having gone fishing, were caught by the sun and became known as jobos or achiote. Others still were turned into plastic cups and rubber tires and so on into all objects of the universe.
Later all the Taínos and not-taínos came out in jeans and shirts with words written on their chest, on the sole of their shoe, on their sunglasses. They did not immediately understand the meaning of these words and symbols but admired them as icons of a new world and were clothed and shod.
But others are still in the cave and will come for us soon.
Guacayarima, was the rear-facing cave. Where the dead and their feces live. This is the area called Coaybay, the house and room of the dead ruled by the cacique Maquetaurie Guayaba, the mythical God of the Dead.
They say that during the day the dead are held inside the cave and at night they will break out and eat some fruit called guayaba. At night, they become the fruit, have pleasure, and go along with the living. Sometimes they attempt to deceive women and lie with them but when embraced they suddenly disappear.
Among the first who left Cacibajagua Taínos are Guahayona and Anacacuya. He tells Anacacuya to look down into the sea to admire the beautiful Strombus gigas and at that moment when he leans forward Guahayona grabs his feet and throws him into the sea. Amazingly Anacacuya was not a good swimmer. He becomes the polestar. Guahayona sends for two magical plants and then invites the women to go with him to the other island.
From his place in the celestial orb he sends the medicine of the gods, our sweet abominable practice, and the door to the other world as Cojoba and sometimes Datura stramonium. For 2,000 years the medicine shows us the future and the past, but one day the bichote vanishes with the federales and the caciques are all arrested and there are no visions only the bridge, the cars, stream still coming down the mountain , and a new television program, starting tonight at 9pm.
Now we have new concoctions to help us escape this world: maría, grass, cocaine, and crystal meth.
But it is not the same as the ancestral cohoba and we look forward to the return of Anacacuya with the real medicine. We wait inside the cave until the day of his return.