*Note: The following poem was inspired after I listened to the audiobook of
“Into the Beautiful North,” By Dr. Luis Alberto Urea
Ode to Chava Chavarin and the “Tres Camarones” Team*
What is in a name? I hesitate to say,
But the name, “Chava Chavarin,” continues
To ring in my brain today, anyway —
Though I finished reading
“Into the Beautiful North” yesterday.
Like wind heard in the rain but can’t be seen,
It’s even invited my muse to come ‘n’ stay
And have her way
Long enough to spin out this verse,
For better or worse, today.
So what is in a name? Well, let’s be terse:
It does seem “Chava Chavarin”
Is a name befitting a comedian,
A performer, or boxer in a ring.
Then why do I find my thoughts
Continuing to chant “Chava Chavarin”
Without ceasing, as in a song
You’re compelled to hum or keep singing?
I hear “Chava Chavarin” — with its
Bell-like, incessant ring
Continuing to chime at this time in my mind,
As it entices my muse to turn out more rhyme.
To say the least, it’s afforded
My morning some fun time, like the wind chime
Hanging on my backyard Catalina Pine
That playfully dings its unending
“Ting-a-ling-ling,” at times.
And I can still hear Tia Irma incanting,
“Hey, has anybody seen the amazing human being,
My dream, Chava Chavarin,
In whose memory I wear this precious ruby ring?”
Into the beautiful north, of course,
They were heading, to find and bring back
The male being for a wedding — or a bedding —
Or for abetting their courageous scheme —
Especially the noted Chava Chavarin.
This, I’d say, was a mission especially befitting
Nayeli, the super-quest queen,
And Atomiko, the self-knighted,
I’m impressed with this
Enthusiastic, Quixotic team:
Like Cervantes’ Don Quixote
Chasing windmills in his dream,
They, too, did it their way!
And thank God for Chava Chavarin:
He saved the day
And helped fulfill the scheme
Of the ambitious “Tres Camarones” ring.*
(*Tres Camarones means “three shrimp.”)
The town of Tres Camarones is accosted by bandidos at a time when most of the men in the town have gone to America to look for work. After watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli, a nineteen year old girl, decides to travel to America to convince seven of the town’s best fighters to come back and fight the bandidos
Nayeli and her three friends Yolo, Vampi and Tacho, begin their journey with the financial support of her aunt Tia Irma, the mayor of the town. Along the way they lose their luggage and a good deal of their money. In Tijuana, a garbage picker and skilled fighter named Atomiko helps them across the border. Once across, Nayeli seeks out the assistance of Matt, a missionary who had come to their town three years in the past and left her his phone number. They find two more warriors in a migrant worker camp.
Tia Irma takes a plane to San Diego to meet up with them, and while she continues searching for four more candidates to bring back to Mexico, Nayeli and Tacho leave for Kankakee, Illinois to look for Nayeli’s father, a former policeman. However, they find that her father has a new family, and she leaves without speaking to him. Meanwhile, Tia Irma has rounded up twenty-seven fighters.
The story ends as a boy on the roof of Nayeli’s taco shop shouts that he sees her in the distance with an army behind her.