June 12, 2010 by The Citron Review
by Michael Zapata
On March 15th 1979, Juan Cortazar disappeared from Jorge Rafeal Videla High School in Buenos Aires. He was my history teacher that year, and the last thing any of us ever heard from him was when he said, in the middle of fifth period, that he was finished with Argentina and its god-damn Guerra Sucia. He told us to close our books and, instead of a lecture on Gran Colombia, he lectured about battlefields and empires and the landscape of collapsed empires, which resembled ruins and labyrinths inhabited only by zombies. He sat on his desk and calmly told us that we were zombies, who wandered like zombies, who could only remember with terrible electric shock the horrors of how an empire was wasted away, who could only dream of the year 3021, which is to say, he told us we were zombies who could only dream of time when the world would be covered entirely by a Prussian-blue sea. He said he was finished with Argentina and he was going to Mexico City and if we had any sense, if we had any god-damn sense at all, we would do the same. That was the last thing Juan Cortazar said to us, and all I know is that I should’ve listened to him.
Michael Zapata is a writer and educator living in Chicago. He is a co-founder and was fiction editor for MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine (2003-2009). He has produced and written for comedy revues at Second City’s Donny’s Skybox, The Viaduct, The Trap Door Theater, and the Apollo Theater Chicago. He is also a 2008 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship recipient for Prose. Currently, he is working on a novel entitled Children of Orleans and his column Last Evenings on Earth can be found on Isgreaterthan.net.