The Nature of Love: Janis Joplin, Cassandra, and Los Peces con Tres Ojos De My Middle School Yard
By Krizia Puig
...come on and take it
take another little piece of my heart now, baby
Oh, oh, now, break it
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling!
You know you got it if it makes you feel good
Click here (for real): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uG2gYE5KOs
Janis Joplin - Piece Of My Heart
The water is always brig green, and it has black veins that know how to move. They are never still. It always have a sort of “radioactive” glare, no matter the day. But at night—the oil and other chemical pollutants, the duckweeds floating around, and the reflection of los “Relámpagos del Catatumbo,” make of this toxic scene a breathtaking place—breathtaking in many senses.
This lighting phenomenon that occurs at the end of the Catatumbo River allows you to see —on the horizon—hundreds of pumpjacks extracting oil (sigilosamente) from the soil beneath the Maracaibo (n: [maɾaˈkaiβo]) Lake. The patio of my middle school was at the shore of that lake. I read The Iliad and The Odyssey at 107 degrees, eating cepillao (shaved ice), hearing Janis Joplin on a walkman I inherited from someone I called “aunt” who is not my aunt, and imagining that the trojan horse would have look—probably, like one of those pumpjacks.
I was also surrounded by “peces con tres ojos” —the fishes with tree eyes. The third eye was always a sided eye growing togetherwith the big eye. The third eye was an eye with a purpose, a sneaky eye, oriented toward something. When the three eye fishes appeared death in the shore, they were always in group—togetheralone, in communalsingularity. —Maybe Cassandra just wanted to die “togetheralone”—I used to think while looking at those fishes.
Then, I started to question why people did not believe Cassandra, why love was always painful and toxic— and if the Earth feels something when we take things from them. Why Cassandra just did not leave? Why she was willing to give that much of herself, regardless of her being wounded, imprisoned, deemed mad? Why Joplin was so willing to be broken, so many times? What is the value of what you know that you cannot prove—of a hunch, a premonition, a presentimento—de la intuición, una revelación, a hallucination? Why are “valued presentimientos” a privileged for the few? Why the future is only reachable for the “mad”, materialized by the crazy ones—those with a third eye? Can I see the future? Why love is made to break ourselves apart?
Why was that eye placed there—on the side, growingwith another eye— not in the middle like the goddesses from other places? What is that eye meant to see within that toxic evergreen and always black water? What is Cassandra meant to see within her future that was lost? Why the Earth keeps giving so much to us? Why love is always so toxic, so sad, so exhausting? Am I unlovable? Who is deemed unlovable? Maybe the third eye is just to look at each other, I used to think—maybe it is to recognize each other while swimming in the darkness—among the unlovables. Then, I started to imagine Cassandra (And Janis) with a sided eye growingwith another eye—an eye with a purpose—I started to look at/for the eyes of the Earth, and started to long for a third eye. I already had it...but that is another story.
Cassandra, Joplin, the three eye fishes, me —eating shaved ice made with contaminated water questioning for the first time the value of knowledge, if I was “crazy,” if I was able to make future(s) happen and the price of that. Me, questioning the nature of love, and the pumping jacks sucking energy from the Earth 24/7. In that memory, there is a connection between different forms of exploitation, different forms of loving and giving, the ways in which different perceptions/experiences of reality shape experiences of love, and the value we are socialized to grant to different forms of certainties within and in relationship to those exchanges.
At the beat of that “take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby!” that magically and manically fits with the rhythm of the pumpjacks sucking the oil from the heart of the Earth—I might have started to have the suspicion that there is a relationship between the ways in which we are set to relate to each while breaking ourselves apart; the ways in which the energy of our bodymindspirits is used as fuel to sustain and perpetuate socio-economic systems of inequality; and the ways in which we keep breaking and breaking Earth’s heart.
Can exchange without exploitation exist?