As odd or delusional as it might sound, I am somewhat jealous of Huckleberry Finn. He has the Mississippi River, after all. A blatant symbol in the real world that centers him every time he visits.
Huck doesn’t argue with the river. It goes its own way, and he simply enjoys floating along its course. Huck doesn’t argue about the river, either. No one can dispute that the Mississippi is real and it is there. Sacredness in feeling and in fact. No wars are fought in the name of the Mississippi. No hypocrites invoke its name on the TV or radio in efforts to seduce audiences for money.
Then again maybe that’s wrong.
People have always found and will always find reasons to war, even over the Mississippi. Things got pretty dirty between the native tribes and the colonizers. The early days of the riverboat business probably had its fair share of gangsters. Environmentalists and businessmen find themselves at odds over it too, I’m sure, dragging all the local politics into the muck with them. There were twenty levee breaches in the Mississippi River Gulf alone during The Storm, after all. And as far as invoking its name goes, there has to be a whole history of advertising devoted to the exploitation of the Mississippi’s particular charms.
Hell, even the existence of the river might be in question should you happen to get into a discussion about it with whatever random quantum physicist you happen to come across in your travels. At least if a monk f—-d with you like that you could tell yourself it was symbolic or metaphorical. That bastard physicist might actually have you believing that the whole damned river is a lie.
So let me edit my jealousy and crop its scope so that it merely encapsulates Huck. I am jealous of how Huck has the river. I mean Big Money, Inc. might own all the land the river runs through and the nearby developments, etc. but Huck has The River. Inside he has it. Acallin’ to ‘im unconscious-like. All the way from Lake Itahsca in Minnehsohda on down t’the Delta in Nawlins.
But, of course, Huck isn’t real, is he? And my interpretation could be off too. I mean, I haven’t read the book in a while, maybe he does argue about the river. There’s just too many damned editors in our brains, trying to make our intellect their property. That’s what makes us crazier than anything else might. So damned worried about being wrong. S’why dey ain’t no God no mo’. E’rytime summahdy gets’im sum happy summahdy else wanna come ’round’n'pick it apaht ‘n’ twis’it. Dey dun pick’n'twis’d God t’death. S’why dey’s so many devils been loosed ‘pon de world.
Or maybe we’ve been the devils all along, wishing something better was watching over us. I stare long into the night sometimes thinking about that. God, if he exists, just seems to echo my silence.
The truth is I keep dreaming of a river. And I don’t know why. And I dream of the many voices along its bank. It could be the Mississippi. Or the Nile. Or the Tagus. These rivers all seem to flow through the Earth and through me like tears and bloodlines, tributaries into my heart.
But the editor won’t shut the f— up.
Those rivers don’t run together. They are not tears. Tears are salt water and most rivers are fresh water. They don’t flow from eyes they flow from lakes and mountains. They are not bloodlines. Those rivers cannot literally flow into you. Even if they could – which they can’t – your heart could not accept such a massive intake without expanding inside your chest, bursting, filling your lungs with water, and killing you. Check your facts. Stop being so maudlin.
Shut. The Fuck. Up.
Yo soy el Yaque. I am the world. History runs through me in a romance of freed slaves and wild natives, emptying out of my mouth in the northwest. I stretch backwards through the prism of time into the spectrum of peoples of the Earth. I am the open wound of their never-ending civil war. I still bleed.