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El Santo de Xilitla

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"To 得 Barclay tried not to have documents declare his name as Anthony Barclay. He wasn't always successful. At his university they refused to allow him to write himself in as To 得. As a Marine his fellow Marines all called him To 得, but all official documents had him down as Anthony.

"His great Uncle, To 得 Carrasco, was a man famous in the highlands of the Huasteca in Mexico. He had been an unapologetic Carrancista assassin during the Revolution. His widow would tell how he was unafraid of death or bringing others to it that deserved it, but he was terribly frightened and appalled by the aroma of death and would douse himself with expensive cologne before he would go out to kill.

"The tales of Tio Carrasco would typically begin with the teller crossing them self and kissing a holy medal. The narrative would always start with the recounting of his exploits as an assassin. Male raconteurs were more likely to go on about the details of the assassinations. Women would quickly speak about the assassin and then spend the majority of the telling about 'El Santo de Xilitla.'

"To 得 had killed in Afghanistan. To 得 had killed in Iraq. To 得 had killed in Pakistan. He wanted, he needed the part of the story about Tio Carrasco that explained in reverent, beautiful Mexican vernacular and accomplished Castilian prose how he became a holy man; a spiritual man that no longer needed tequila or expensive cologne.

"To 得's dreams became a cinema of his Great Uncle's life. Distraction and searching and confusion followed him from place to place like a faithful family dog. He sought out a well-respected professor of philosophy on the campus of his University. Dr. Barbas was also a poet and filmmaker. Dr. Barbas listened patiently and with genuine interest to the stories of Tio Carrasco.

"'Mr. Barclay would it offend you or cause you anxiety if I were to explain, after your sincere and well-articulated recounting of the exploits of your family member, what I imagine to be the miracle of your Uncle's life?' asked Dr. Barbas.

"'No, not at all, please go on,' said To 得.

"'He was a creator of miracles. He created the miracle of his own forgiveness. He created a between-world where he could see the divine; the mystery in the tragedy of his life. By living, he created a new world for the dead, a world ripe with the echoes of the beautiful moments of those passed on. He painted the living with the healing, proud, mundane, horribly tragic, multi-colored blood of the deceased -- he didn't truck in absolution -- he was a creator of his own cosmic moment -- he wore the ample garments of free will. Those and we that chose and choose to travel with him may find peace in his moment, a moment that flashed in the beginning and that will burn furiously at the end, a moment called God,' said Dr. Barbas..." From "El Santo de Xilitla" by Franklin Cincinnatus.

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Kevin is an Artist, Writer, Carpenter and Gallerist in Texas.

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