Mural Primavera/Spring 2020

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Primavera 2020

MURAL MURAL is a trilingual publication at the University of Chicago that seeks to embrace and celebrate Latin American perspectives through written and visual arts in our magazine. Throughout the year, we host and collaborate with organizations on campus to bring diverse cultural events and programming, including open mics and art fairs. We seek to create artistic avenues that break from the normative use of language and explore the dynamism of latinidad. MURAL is looking for writers, artists, editors, translators, and designers. Send us an email at if you would like more information. And of course, we are seeking readers to continue to share in and support the work of MURAL and our community. Enjoy! MURAL es una publicación trilingüe en la Universidad de Chicago que busca celebrar perspectivas latinoamericanas a través de las artes escritas y visuales en nuestra revista. Organizamos y colaboramos con organizaciones para traer diversos eventos culturales y programación como open mics y ferias de arte. Creamos vías artísticas que rompen con el uso normativo del lenguaje y que exploran el dinamismo de latinidad. MURAL busca escritores, artistas, editores, traductores y diseñadores. Escribenos a para obtener más información. Y por supuesto, buscamos lectores que continúen compartiendo y apoyando el trabajo de MURAL y nuestra comunidad. ¡Disfruten! MURAL é uma publicação trilíngue da Universidade de Chicago que busca celebrar perspectivas latino-americanas através das artes escritas e visuais em nossa revista. Organizamos e colaboramos com organizações para trazer diversos eventos culturais e programações como open mics e feiras de arte. Criamos vias artísticas que rompem com o uso normativo da língua e que exploram o dinamismo da latinidade. MURAL procura escritores, artistas, editores, tradutores e desenhistas. Se quiser mais informações, escreva para E estamos sempre procurando leitores que continuem a compartilhar e apoiar o trabalho de MURAL e da nossa comunidade. Aproveitem!

E d i t o r i a l B o a r d a n d S ta f f Ed itor in Ch ie f K ri s t e n I z q u i e rd o Ma n a g in g Ed itor Ro m a n Ru i z Lay ou t Ma n a g e r S i lv i a P a t ri c i a D i a z Tra n sla tion s Ma n a g e r R o m i n a V a rg a s B e z z u b i k o f f Tre a su re r A li n a G u t i é rre z Comm u n ity Coord in a tor Da y a n Vi z o s o Secre ta ry A ri a n n a Q u i n t e ro B a u m a n i s

contenido reflections sm all Christina Ford Ce ce

Kriste n Nob le

a .m .i .a .d .a . Silvia Pa tricia Dia z Blinkin g a t Se lf Portraits Re e m a Sale h Oa sis Arianna Quin te ro Un title d Ka thia Rod ríg u e z Ap e llid o Rom ina Varg a s Be z zub ikoff Whe n the thou g hts d on ’t com e Rom an Ruiz X añ os , y tod avía e stoy a quí Silvia Pa tricia Dia z

Coronaviru s Re fle ction s Je rse y Fon se ca

a r t e v i s u a l


f o t o g r a f Ă­ a s*

Kriste n Izquie rd o Am y Me d rano Silvia Pa tricia Dia z Rom an Ruiz

*Distributed throughout the issue



small Christina Ford I don’t remember how young I was when this happened, but my dad was still drinking, heavily, so I must have been young. We were celebrating something at my uncle’s apartment. My dad and my uncle loved to drink together. Dinner ended, but the drinks kept coming. Slowly people started leaving the apartment to go home, and I was getting tired, too. I kept telling my mom I wanted to go, but we couldn’t, because my dad was the one who drove us there, and my mom didn’t feel like she could drive his car. At some point, someone convinced my dad to drive us home. He was still drunk. I don’t know how he managed to drive straight. When we got home, he was fumbling with the keys and couldn’t figure out the right one. My mom left her keys in her other bag. She must have tried to help him, but my dad yelled at her to stop involving herself. I started crying; I just wanted to go to bed. He threw the keys into our garden and said if I didn’t shut up we wouldn’t ever go inside. If this was pre-smartphone, we found the keys with the pale light of the flip phone. If it was post-smartphone, we used the phone flashlight. I stopped crying to help my mom find the keys, and we got inside. ** We rarely ate together, because my dad worked late shifts. He worked two jobs, technically, doing the same thing: lab technician at a hospital. I’m sure his work was important, which was why they needed people at all hours of the night. When we did eat together, it felt like I wasn’t there. They would talk to each other, or watch the news. My dad would get progressively drunker, and talking turned into yelling. One day he got so mad he punched our printer and broke it. He was about to break the TV too until I hugged him and told him to stop. He was bleeding. We still had that printer, until I left for college. ** I learned to make myself small, because it was easier that way. Out of sight, out of mind. On the rare occasion they would try to talk to me, I would start agreeing, rather than fighting back against their problematic viewpoints. At dinner, they would argue, and I would finish my food and walk into my room. Most of the time I was just in bed, waiting for the hours to pass. I would try to get my room so dark that I couldn’t even see the things around me: my swim trophies, awards from school, and toys from my childhood. They were

all slowly collecting dust, since I never cleaned them. They were just reminders of who I was, things I used to care about. On any given day, I wouldn’t touch any of the things in my room, except my bed. In the dark, I would turn my thoughts inwards. ** I hated myself. A lot. I would look at myself in the mirror and wish I could be better. At first it was surface level things: I wished I could be smaller. I wished my thighs were smaller, that my arms were a little more defined, that my stomach wouldn’t stick out as much. I tried skipping lunch and exercising religiously in my bedroom. Then I wanted more to change. I wanted to be smarter, to be respected. I wanted to know how the guys on my robotics team were confident enough to command a whole room and have everyone listen to them. I wanted to know how they could speak with such ease, and not trail off at the end of their thoughts. I stood in the same place as they did, in front of the room, and found myself floundering every time. People respected my authority, but I was always looking for validation that I was a good leader. I started to hate attention. My worst enemy was photos. I hated looking at myself and thinking of myself. The last thing I wanted was to see a picture of myself and ruin the memory of the moment. Because to see myself would be to see all the parts I hated about myself. In the photos of our team winning the regional, all I could focus on was how ugly I thought I looked with my hair in a ponytail. For the championship, I cut my hair short so I wouldn’t have to tie it up. I wanted to love myself. I wanted to love myself, because I didn’t know if anyone could love me enough to make me feel okay. Once the external validation ended, I felt like everything I had worked so hard for was starting to come crashing down. The memory of someone telling me I was doing a good job would be drowned out by the yelling in the distant background, which I thought maybe was my fault too. Once I was lying in the dark, no one could see me. I was in pain, and I wanted people to know I was in pain, but I never wanted to show them, in case they would stop loving me. Who would want to love the sad girl if all she did was fish for compliments? I had to love myself. Lately I’ve been taking more pictures of myself. They’re mostly mirror selfies. Sometimes I keep them, sometimes I send them to my friends. Most people don’t acknowledge them, but it helps me hate myself less. I find things about myself that I like, and try to keep them in mind. Even if no one else can see them, at least I did, right? Every morning, I try to be proud of my reflection. Sometimes, I try to be proud of the things I’ve done. I started putting things in my room to make myself happy, let more natural light in, and try to stave off the darkness. Sometimes it works.

sentimiento Amy Medrano

Cece Kristen Noble Cece was young when she married her first husband, though young is a relative term. In the village, she was an appropriate age to marry and run her own house. So she married her first husband;, he was her age and died within a year. He had been climbing a tree to get leaves for his horse when he had the misfortune of misstepping and breaking his neck. It was a couple of months after his death that their first child, a girl, was born. He was the type of man to get the best leaves for his horse, and the type of man to neglect the danger it imposed on his family’s well-fare. So, this is how Cece with an infant daughter found herself in need of a second husband. Her second husband was an improvement in that he survived well beyond their first year of marriage. He was also considerably older than her. They had several sons together, which to the village was a sign of fortune and betterment. Those sons grew up to be men before passing away from influenza. Admittedly, the term ‘grown men’ is also relative: that is how she saw them and how they saw themselves. We would have called them adolescents. In the years that soon followed she would find herself married to her third husband, after her second died of a sickness that was unrelated to his sons’ illness. She had another son with her third husband and this son survived to be an old man who lives to this day. Cece outlived her third husband by two decades and over the years the details of his passing would blend with the second, so that who fathered which child hardly seemed to matter. When she was braiding her granddaughter’s hair, (a child from her only daughter, who married a man not from the village and thus not approved of), Cece pondered a fourth marriage. But, the men she would have married were either dead or old; she did not like the idea of being outlived.

a.m.i.a.d.a. Silvia Patricia Diaz And if I wanted to end my day Minding your place in my life, I would put you in the sunshine, Amid children’s morning laughs and the warmth of the bakery. Damn, I miss you, And the affair we had.

Untitled Kristen Izquierdo

Blinking at Self Portraits Reema Saleh with cinnamon-steeped tea drying on my lips. without the broken eyeglasses swept under the bed. with stacks of journals spilling out half-formed thoughts and sleep-sketched stories. without a fear of long nights. with books i’ll borrow but forget to read. without remembering what day it is. with gnaw marks in my cheek. without that ease lets my father fall asleep nose up in front of the television lightly snoring. with pollen scratching my nasal passages and stinging sunrise-yellow. without a shirt long enough to keep the draft out. with 6,777 unread emails (and counting) cramming in my inbox. without the will to check them. with the smell of argan oil swabbed under my fingernails. without a crease shriveling my brow. with the relief that settles when my mom scratches my scalp and hums, combing tracks in my hair like when i was three feet high. without the nerve to admit i’m waiting ‘til some people are gone to be myself. with a hip that pops thirty years before it should. without letting things go. with love, for strangers, family, friends, and someday, me. without a plan for what comes next. with hope, with me, brimming with memories, sprinting past the dust with scabbed knees and scraped elbows jutting out of the seams.

Roller Skating Boom of 2020 (Filling the Void) Silvia Patricia Diaz

Oasis Arianna Quintero I. El Cuento Cuando era niña leía cuentos de fantasía moralejas y lecciones un entendimiento del mundo en tinta y papel En uno de esos cuentos cortos un rey buscaba al artista que pudiese pintar la representación más verdadera de la paz Uno pintó un valle amplio y verde la briza suave y gentil por la llanura y el sol una mano tierna que resplandecía en el lago más quieto e impávido El otro pintó una montaña escarpada caminos sinuosos por las rocas oscuras e inestables una tormenta violenta y chispeante iluminaba el cielo partido en dos por los rayos Pero en el corazón de la montaña había un nido un hogar intacto en medio del caos una familia de pájaros seguros en paz II. El Valle En el silencio se esconden los secretos en la luz del día desaparecen y el sol en lo más alto del cielo no refleja mi cara en la superficie ¿Cuál es el precio de la ignorancia y de ocultar la verdad en el suspiro del viento? El horizonte plano y puro pero desolado me pierdo en el horizonte sofocante

III. La Tormenta La lluvia me calma los nervios prendidos un ritmo con adrenalina pero el relámpago es un latigazo que no se escapa que no se olvida En la turbulencia mi proclamación retumba el cielo me envuelve en una manta oscura porque la verdad tiñe pero libera y el clamor de mis palabras ensordece IV. El Nido Quizás no pasará todavía la lluvia quizás no saldrá todavía el sol aunque quisiera regresar a la llanura verde en esas aguas no estoy reflejada yo Mientras espero a que calme la lluvia la soledad derrota a el dolor en mi nido sereno descanso mi oasis en lo aterrador

Untitled Amy Medrano

Untitled Kathia RodrĂ­guez

Apellido Romina Vargas Bezzubikoff Mis apellidos no me pertenecen Son parte de una historia familiar falsa Una historia que me sigue Una historia que ni parece real Un hombre sin familia llega a una nueva patria Cambia el chino por el español Y es bautizado con un nombre colonial El de un patrón que no comparte su cultura Otro hombre acurruca a una bebé recién nacida Es su hija pero no lo sabe, y nunca lo sabrá Su apellido es olvidado y reemplazado La niña crece con el nombre de otro hombre que ni la criará Mi nombre es único me dicen Pero no me pertenece Es un mosaico que no entiendo Una historia que se cuenta mal

Self portrait Silvia Patricia Diaz

Untitled Amy Medrano

When the thoughts don’t come Roman Ruiz I’d love to be able to give a detailed description of my thoughts and reflections. I’d love to give a detailed or poetic relating of my thoughts, actions, feelings, and aspirations. I suppose now is a good time to do so, yes? We have a tendency to reflect in the face of change. There’s certainly a lot of change going on right now. There should be plenty on which to reflect. The COVID-19 pandemic. The economic uncertainty. The exhausting continuity of class disparity and racial injustice, and their permeation in every dimension of our nation’s history and social canon. Graduation. A life post-UChicago. Impending full-time adult responsibilities. A turbulent society in the years to come. To reflect is to think on past occurrences, to think of the past self, evaluate the current self, ponder the future self. It is to assess: where have I changed? Where have I remained consistent? What has brought about those changes? Why would they have done so? Are these changes good or bad? Why do I think they are good or bad? Have I changed too much, or not enough? Have the right or wrong parts about me changed? Reflection is good, mostly. It is an acknowledgement of the dynamism inherent to existence. Spaces change around us; we change through adaptation and subsequently change the spaces around us: a cycle that continues ad mortem. In less abstract terms, perhaps to reflect is to think of the change we have made, or the lack thereof, in our own lives and those of others. It may be to think of our own accomplishments, or lack thereof; our past goals, and whether we have succeeded or failed at reaching them; or our current goals and ambitions, how to reach them from where we stand, and why we form those goals. It may be to think of the relationships that have made us into the people we are and the people with whom we created them. It may be to think of oneself in the context of a collective humanity, pondering how one interacts with a broader society, how one’s position in that society influences their interaction with it, and what that exact position is in relation to other bodies in the society. Perhaps now more than most times, at least for me, there should be so much to reflect on, so much to make for intense, insightful, and constructive thought. And with so much put on hold, now especially would seem like a good time to pause and think. I should be able to take time and formulate my thoughts. Thoughts should be pouring out on the page. Thoughts should be describable and clear. Thoughts should be easy to find. Why are they so hard to find?! Thoughts. Thoughts. Thoughts. Thoughts! Thoughts!! Thoughts!!! THOUGHTS! THOUGHTS!! THOUGHTS!!! THOUGHTS!!! But you know, there comes a time when the thoughts simply don’t come out.

X años, y todavía estoy aquí Silvia Patricia Diaz Content Warning: suicide I didn’t think I was going to make it through college. 14-18: Before I even arrived to UChicago, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to make it forty years; my body felt like a temporary vessel cracking underneath the pressures of my world. Forty years felt generous to me. I’d make it through some additional schooling, start a career, maybe find some love before I ran out my allowance of years. 18-19: I was unprepared for the changes that college would usher in. I wanted to keep debt down, so I began a long-distance relationship with my retail job back home. If I had them, I’d arrive to my Friday classes with a weekend bag packed. I mostly left from my residence hall. Running to catch the Green Line at Cottage Grove, getting off at Clinton, sprinting down metal steps onto the street—this was my weekly routine. I rushed through revolving doors, up the stairs, and another set of revolving doors to get to the train platform. Scanning the departure table, I found where my train was and joined the suburban commuters in waiting for the doors to open. I wondered how daily commuters felt about spending so much time away from home. If they were going as far as I was, more than half of their days were spent working or sitting on a train. I wondered how they reconciled where they spent their time to make sense of my own struggle to locate home. Belvidere always felt like home until I went away for school, so school was what was complicating my thoughts. I thought I should transfer somewhere closer to home. “Where’s home?” 18-20: I don’t mind being humbled, but I was mentally bodied by UChicago. I’ll spare you the details of my imposter syndrome experience; just know that I had built my identity off my ability to stay cool, and I was failing to live up to that vision of myself. My sense of self and self-worth were falling apart before my eyes, I wanted to not be alive. I shed many tears during this part of my college experience (the first 2.5 of 4 years). “I don’t think I can be here anymore.” 21-present: I decided to start medication and therapy. I thank my partner and Hermanas for sharing their stories, encouraging me to make those first steps, and supporting me on my journey to be. I also thank my coworkers for being candid with their own struggles and taking care of this adult-on-training-wheels (me) on the days where I fell apart. Yeah, there was that time I stopped taking my meds—sorry, Doc—and going to therapy, which caused me to spiral. But the people I met during the past four years helped pick me back up and hold me together with a love a younger me was unsure I’d ever have. The degree is nice, but the people in my village have made me aim for more than forty. “Thanks.”

Chicago Blues Kristen Izquierdo

Coronavirus Reflections Jersey Fonseca To my peers and colleagues at the University of Chicago, and especially the Class of 2020: Time and time again this year, I thought to myself, “Will I make a sappy post on Facebook when I graduate?” The conclusion I came to was: “Nah, I don’t post too often, especially not sappy things. A nice sentence or two will be enough.” That was probably true up until a week ago, and after reading so many of your beautiful posts, and after realizing that the world is forever changed. Autumn of 2019 was probably the hardest quarter I have ever had. Friends died, I watched some of my loved ones really suffer, I worked two jobs to pay off bills, I studied and stressed over job applications, and on top of that, I still had to truck through my four not-so-easy classes. On some days, I really was busy from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep. There was no time for friends, and no time for myself. Luckily, I was able to make it through thanks to the support of the amazing people around me. Winter of 2020 was much better. There were wonderful parties and adventures, laugh-till-it-hurts jokes, and pleasing stories. There were road trips. There were fun tinder dates. There were breaking into abandoned buildings and exploring them. And there was getting banned from the University Wi-Fi for torrenting the newest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm because I used the wrong VPN. I’m still banned, by the way. There was apple bobbing, there was an early surprise party for my birthday–thanks a ton, really. There was becoming a cyborg. There was going downtown and getting free drinks because a bartender was impressed that I was a cyborg. There was more poker than I’d care to admit–I’m up big, by the way. There was making Alpha Delt in Minecraft. There was hitting a piñata in our basement and accidentally bonking my friend. There was reaching the top 1% in the world in this game Teamfight Tactics. There was being inspired by my colleagues and finding my passion and what I want to do with my life. There was finally finishing my website–, quick shout out. There was doing volunteer work at a festival my friend organized and feeling the joy of helping others. And there was watching a cartoon I poured my heart and soul into come to fruition with the help of so many students. But life in the University still had its hard times, of course. Again, there were days where I was busy from the start of the day until the end, sometimes pulling all-nighters even worse than the quarter before. Financial hardships didn’t go away, they never do, but there were so many fun moments that made winter easier to get through. But there was one part that really pushed me through the toughest days of winter: knowing that I would have double the good times with my friends in the spring of 2020.

I romantically dreamed of walking outside in my pink tropical shorts and seeing everyone on the Quad throwing a frisbee, reading, or lounging in their hammocks. I would walk out and literally exclaim to my friends, “Oh my god, where have they been all year!” I would look at all my first-year friends whom I told “trust me, spring is worth it,” and scream, “This is it! I told you!” I would luxuriate in the joy-woven sunbeams as they splash onto my skin. My friend would come up to me while I’m busy doing work on a beautiful day and say, “how can you do work right now?” And I would say “you’re right,” close my laptop, and go outside. I would go outside and smile just to see everyone else smiling. I would end up skipping class around 6th week because 90 minutes away from being in the sun with my friends felt like an eternity away from the best times of my life. I would go to the pub every week to get the passport with my friends, and see people who I have known since my first year of college, some of whom I haven’t spoken to in years. I would nonetheless be happy to see their faces, even if our relationships went south at some point, wishing the best for them, and knowing that they wished the best for me. I was going to walk the stage at graduation and be one of the first people in my family to have graduated from college. I was going to celebrate not dropping my Computer Science major when I struggled in classes against kids who had been coding all their lives. I was going to celebrate graduating as a minority who countless times throughout my life, and throughout college, experienced racial bias. I was going to celebrate working up to three jobs at a time at some points throughout college to support myself financially, not even having a phone for up to a year. I was going to celebrate graduating without any financial support from anyone and being completely financially independent. I can go on and on, but at the end of it all, I was going to celebrate succeeding against all odds. After walking the stage, I would hug people that cared about me and they’d look me in the eyes and tell me they were proud of me as we both held back tears. I was going to celebrate the four years I had in Alpha Delt, the community we built, and the lifelong friendships I had made. I was going to look at some of my best friends in the eyes and say goodbye, knowing that some day my children would call them “auntie” or “uncle.” They still will! But it would be okay because we spent an entire quarter preparing for the goodbyes. Unfortunately, many of these things won’t happen. I will still be in Hyde Park, but many of my close friends have already left and I haven’t even had the chance to say goodbye. While there are still people here that I am close to, each person leaving is a void in my social life. Even the people I didn’t talk to very much, but saw everyday and awkwardly wondered if I should say hi or not until it was too late to wave because they passed me. I can’t even hug some of my closest friends who are leaving because of the pandemic.

I will forever cherish the moments we had together, and I hope that we can maintain the friendships we have built, not just in spring, but also for the rest of our lives. You may be reading this and thinking, “he’s not talking about me.” I am. Whether we’ve had one conversation, or a million, good ones, or bad ones, I will miss you, the reader of this post. From the bottom of my heart, all of you have inspired me at some point or another. I believe that you are ALL going to do great things with your lives, and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition. Please keep in touch and tell the people you love that you love them; we are all going through this together. Much love, Jersey Fonseca

Untitled Roman Ruiz


thank you, to the the Center for Identity + Inclusion, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Katz Center for Mexican Studies, the Organization of Latin American Students, and the Romance Languages and Literatures Department for supporting and believing in this publication to the editorial board for the hard work, enthusiasm, and commitment and to you, for reading!

Interested in getting involved? EscrĂ­benos a Meetings: Wednesdays 6:00PM Harper 135

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