"So they loved as love in twaine,
Had the essence but in one,
Two distincts, Division none,
Number there in love was slaine."
The Tortoise and the Phoenix William Shakespeare.
For lesbians, homosexuals, transsexuals and transvestites, With admiration and respect.
While reviewing the parchments, I discovered a history that Durito asked me to include in his new book, "Cuentos de Vela en Vela." It is about a letter whose sender is unknown (the signature is illegible). The addressee is also an enigma, although it is clearly noted, it is not clear whether it is a he or a she. Better that you see it yourselves. Upon my soul, if the lack of definition between the masculine and feminine is not quite explained in the epistle itself. The date is smudged, and we do not have the technology here to verify when it was written. But it also seems to me that it could have been as easily written centuries ago as weeks ago.
You will understand me.
The histories of the pirates recount that there were two women, Mary Read and Anne Bonny, who dressed up as men, and, as such, sailed the seas in the company of other buccaneers, taking towns and vessels, hoisting the standard of the skull and crossbones. It was the year of 1720 and different histories have the one and the other living and fighting the eventful navigation of those times. In a pirate ship, commanded by Captain John Rackam, they met each other. They recount that, the one thinking the other was a man, love blossomed and, upon learning the truth, everything returned to normal, and each went their own way.
It was not like that. This, which I am writing you, is the true history of Mary Read and Ann Bonny. I was confided the other history, the one that will not appear in books, because they still persist in spinning only the normality and good sense they all have, and the normality of the "other" goes no further than disapproving silence, condemnation or neglect. This is part of the history that walks the underground bridges that the "others" extend, in order to be, and to be known.
The history of Mary Read and Anne Bonny is a history of love, and, as such, it has its visible parts, but the greatest is always hidden, in the depths. In the visible part, there is a ship (a sloop, to be more precise), and a pirate, Captain John Rackam. Both, ship and pirate, were protectors and accomplices of that love that was so very "otherly" and "different" that the history of above had to cover it up in order for it to be heard by later generations.
Mary Read and Anne Bonny loved each other knowing they shared the same essence. Some histories relate that the two were women, who, dressed as men, met each other knowing they were women, and, as such, loved each other under the affectionate gaze of Lesbos. Others say that the two were men who concealed themselves behind pirates' clothes, that they were attracted to the same sex, and that they hid their homosexual love and their passionate meetings behind the complicated story of women pirates disguised as men.
In either case, their bodies met in the mirror that discovers that which, by being obvious, is forgotten: those corners of the skin that have knots which, when undone, inspire sighs and torments; places sometimes known only to those who are the same. With lips, skin and hands, they extended the bridges that joined those who were the same, making them different.
Yes, in whichever case, Mary Read and Anne Bonny were transvestites who, in the masquerade, discovered each other and met. In both cases, being the same, they revealed themselves as being different, and the two lost all separateness and became one. To the unconventionality of their being pirates, Mary Read and Anne Bonny added that of their "abnormal" and marvelous love.
Homosexuals or lesbians, transvestites always, Mary and Anne
overcame with courage and cast out those whom "normality" would put
in chains. While the men surrendered without putting up any
resistance, Mary and Anne fought to the end, before being taken
prisoners. In this way they honored the words of Mary Read. To the
question of whether she feared dying, "She replied that, as to dying
on the gallows, she did not think it so cruel, because, if it were
not for that, all the cowards would become pirates and they would
infest the seas to such an extent that the men of courage would die
of hunger; that if the punishment were left up to the pirates, they
would have none other than death, because their fear of that keep
some cowardly criminals honorable; that many of those who today were
swindling widows and orphans and oppressing their poor neighbors who
have no money in order to obtain justice would go out onto the seas
to rob, and the ocean would be full of thieves in the same way that
the land is..."
("General History of the Thefts and Assassinations of the Most Famous Pirates" Daniel Defoe. Ed. Valdemar. Madrid, 1999. Translation by Francisco Torres Oliver).
Homosexuals or lesbians? I do not know, the truth that comes down: John Rackam, to his grave when he was hung in Port Royal (November 17, 1720); and the sloop that served them as bed and accomplice, to the shipwreck that rent it asunder. Whatever, their love was very "other" and great for being different. Because it so happens that love follows its own paths and is, always, a transgressor of the law...
I do my duty by telling you this story.
(an illegible signature follows)
There ends the story...or does it continue?
Durito says that those who are different in their sexual preferences are doubly "other," since they are "other" within those who are in themselves other.
I, a bit seasick from so much "other," ask him:
"Can't you explain that a bit more?"
"Yes," says Durito. "When we are struggling to change things, we often forget that that also includes changing ourselves."
Above, the dawn is changing itself and making itself "other" and different. The rain followed, as well as the struggle...
Vale once more, with pleasure.
Salud, and do not tell anyone, but I have not been able to figure out how in the hell I'm going to fit into the sardine can (sigh).
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
The Sup, bailing water out of the frigate because, as you can imagine, it has begun raining again and Durito says that bailing water out is one of my "privileges."
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ___________________ Translated by irlandesa