“Within its small circle one finds life, death, ambition, despair, success, failure, faith, desperation, valor, cowardliness, generosity, and meanness—all condensed into the actions of a single afternoon or even a single moment.” Conchita Cintrón, (matadora)
She climbed out of bed, shook her head, and stood steady.
Twisting her torso, tipping on her tippy toes,
Selecting her most colorful clothes,
She smiled at the sunlight through wide-open windows.
Yesterday in school, never expecting her path to be blocked by a very, very, large un-reeling bull, snorting words in puffs of curses and personal innuendos; of her color, her religion, her weight, her choice of clothes, her friends, and the painful statements of her heritage, mother, father, stepfather, stepbrother, uncles, and aunts.
The bull pushed her mentally and physically with such ignorance and arrogance of stampeding shame, Angelica relinquished.
Feeling demeaned, gouged, her heart bleeding and sore
By the misunderstanding,
The miss-handling of life that allowed itself to snort,
To spit, to bare its teeth, and then, become completely,
Unbelievably cruel with pain.
Rushing home, closing the door to her room, her head buried in a tear-dampened pillow, no longer able to cry, she fell asleep. On a small table by her bed, laid a dry red carnation taken down from above her headboard’s framed poster of “Conchita”
In her dreams, sitting in a wicker chair
Between the bed and her clothes, left on the floor,
Appeared Conchita “matadora.” Visibly aching, poked by a mean bull
They called “Chiclanero.”
From situations to experiences, from the offensive to the pervasive, to mistakes made and recapturing sensibility, their stories and Conchita’s occasional swishing animations of a flowing red muleta, filled the room in the spirit of lifting anger and disappointment in gestures without conciliation, with the tip of her fingers, closing the door, revealing her struggling life, as a perfect Matadora. No, as a perfect matador.
Softly ending into dawn.
Their conversation subsided
In a night filled with excitement and adventure.
Conchita, whispered why they met
And what to forget, in a kiss good-bye;
Saying “what makes bleeding stop is within the strength of gentleness, perseverance and dignity, in one stroke of a kind, brave, and… in an unimaginable act”.
[A Historical Note About Conchita Cintrón:
She intended the final corrida of the 1949 season, in Jaén, Spain, to be the last of her career. She appeared in the ring together with the matadors Manolo Vázquez and Antonio Ordóñez. After performing on horseback with the bull, Cintrón rode to the box of the presidente and asked for permission to dismount for the kill. Permission was denied. This was her signal to leave the arena, and leave the killing of the bull to the novillero assigned to her for that task. Instead, she dismounted, grabbed his sword and muleta, caped the bull and prepared it for the kill. She actually went in for the kill and then dramatically let the sword drop to the sand. The bull charged. Cintrón stepped from his path and simulated the kill by touching his shoulders with her fingers as he rushed by. Pandemonium erupted in the stands and the audience threw hats and red carnations at her feet. ]
Angelica climbed out of bed, shook her head, and stood steady
Twisting her torso, tipped on her tippy toes,
And smiled at the bright sunlight through wide-open windows.
She stepped out of her room in her most colorful clothes;
(Dressed with the sword of precision “La Diosa de Oro” left behind.
Rushing to school, that morning, she knew
Her famous day had just begun.