Day One Vitacura, Vespucio St.

, 18:24 On the Run LAST NIGHT I DREAMT THAT CHEPA HAD DIED AND I WAS CRYING AND TRYING TO GET TO HER FUNERAL. WHAT RIGHT DID I HAVE, SINCE I’D DONE NOTHING TO STOP IT, SINCE I HADN’T EVEN WATCHED THE NEWS, OR GONE TO THE MARCHES AND THE PROTESTS? I WAS TRYING TO BE THERE, EVEN IF A BIT LATE. I HAVEN’T EATEN ANY FOOD NOW, AND MY STOMACH IS RUMBLING. THIS FAST WHICH COULD BE CONSIDERED OUT OF SOLIDARITY, IS PURE VANITY. I SEE PEOPLE STUFFING THEMSELVES WITH FRENCH FRIES. I’M HUNGRY! BUT I HOLD OUT. Alonso de Cordova Ave., 18:54 Starbucks Coffee The beautiful people come for a sophisticated cup of coffee, juice, or a slice of cake. They come to feel more blond, more white, more exclusive; as far as possible from the smell of sopaipillas of the working class neigborhoods: from everything that isn’t exclusive. They come to forget, for a while, who they really are. It’s the time for afternoon tea. I can’t eat anything but I can drink one of these expensive teas and write on these ex-trees, cut down by some forestry company. Are we, those who write, accessories to the crime, then? As it happens, Chepa was accused of burning down a forest, as far as I understand it, since I’m none too clear as to whether it was because of that or “associating with terrorists” that she was arrested. We’ll all be a little bit terrorist, very soon, if we stop looking like the people happily strolling along Alonso de Cordova Avenue. I can’t eat anything, but I can listen to this beautiful music with its English lyrics, and believe in Success, believe that nothing Mapuche, nothing indigenous, flows through my veins. I can forget the rivers, the sea, the glaciers, the blue sky. I can think of more modern things. Or, better, empty my head. Relax, anaesthetize myself. Drink a cup of tea.

Night, 23:45 Patagonia, Alma del Sur The smell of fish with mixed herbs, wooden tables, the imposter image of a country for export. I haven’t eaten anything in 17 hours. Just water. The body is supposed to be eliminating all the built-up toxins from inside. Prices are high here. Not just anybody can sit down to eat at a table in this restaurant. In fact, in the real Patagonia there are more foreign tourists than Chileans. The rest of the inhabitants – many of them descendents of the Huilliches and the Mapuches – came to work: the men to fish and the women to nanny. Day Two January 26th, 16:25 Rincón Jumbo Restaurant Hunger’s a powerful drug. It makes you delirious, and turns you into a worthless figure as far as the marketplace is concerned. Sometimes, when you manage to think of anything other than food, clean shards of lucid thoughts come to mind. Lack of appetite has its own exhumed aesthetic. Sat. 26th January, 16:41 Gelato’s Café The tongue turns green or yellowish from all the toxins that you are purging. Hunger makes you act irrationally or, maybe, according to another logic. The waiters look at me as if I was from another planet: sitting there, writing as if I was possessed, eating nothing. Nothing at all. 37 hours without food. Colors seem brighter; the smell of bread, more intense. My eyes almost feel like they’re popping out of my head. I experience my joints differently. (Read the complete version at January 26th, 17:49 Huracán Food & Bar I feel as if I’m failing this test. In just over two hours I have to finish the other 79 napkins. Will I be able? That aside, I’ve just ordered some juice, freshly-squeezed —with no sugar, of course— which I presume means I’m continuing my hunger strike, though not as stringently as before. I didn’t have the strength to walk. I’m a zombie moving through the city on a starvation route. Hunger – famine – fast – malnutrition – diet of the poor, of the yogi, of Lent, of the Jews. apetite – voracity – debauchery – eating frenzy. And, someone who hasn’t eaten in days lives only to eat. You have to withstand the misogyny of reggaetón that insults us for no reason. I’m thinking of 2666 —the theater version of Bolaño’s novel— a brutal denunciation of the hatred of genre we have to endure in our daily lives. It’s strange, but seeing this piece (half-asleep for an eyelash flutter during the 5 hours of the performance), the idea of collecting these napkins came into my head. The idea of fasting arrived the next morning. That night I’d dreamt of Chepa, the woman on hunger strike. I dreamt she was dying and I cried bitterly. But I’d done nothing to stop her death.

This won’t stop it either. And me being hungry, writing on napkins for two days won’t change the reality of this country; won’t influence any politician. It will only change me, maybe. Would that be enough? Maybe it’ll oblige me to connect with reality. Make me use the paper napkins that could have otherwise been used to wipe someone’s MOUTH. Sat. 26th, 18:47 La Piojera Keeping on the hunger route, I’ve arrived at the Mapocho neighborhood. This dive doesn’t disappoint. There’re always regulars ready to drink one Earthquake after another. “You’re looking good, mamacita,” some guy says to welcome me. I sit by myself at a table, the surface of which is scarred with the mementos of previous patrons. The voices of the people are heard with a kind of distortion effect. “Why’s it called La Piojera?” the punk and his friends ask each other. “Must be we get lice from drinking so much,” says the punk with the spiky blond hair, in boots, with multiple tattoos. They ask for music. I don’t ask for anything. “It’s really famous, authentic, the only one in Chile” —says somebody in the other group to his foreign friend (at least, he seems foreign). Because there’s no toilet paper, you have to wipe yourself with the same napkins I write on, every time you go to the bathroom. The friend I’m waiting for is so late that I’ll have to give up on him to keep going with the 45 remaining papers. ‘Bye, Rodrigo. 44 to go.’ A.R. On public transport I see women give their seats to men, as if being given an order which finds them shocked and out of place, they obey.

Sat. 26th, 19:25 Bar Nacional By the second juice, the hunger has eased. I feel like I’m cheating. What if I can’t collect the 109 napkins? My companion arrived, finally, now eating a fried empanada before my eyes, with hot sauce. Any food smells are more intense, and melted cheese looks more delicious than ever. My companion tries to distract me. The body feels stronger. “Why don’t you write one more?” my companion says. “No. That would be doing it for form’s sake” I argue. “If nothing else comes to me, I can’t keep writing,” I lie. Sat. 19:48 Dunkin’ Donuts In the vicinity of Paseo Ahumada: folk music and a bombo drum that imitates the sounds of construction.

Sat. 26th, 19:54 Nuria Restaurant The waiters standing in the doorway. The plates of plastic food in the windows. The clock’s counting down (the event starts in one hour). Sat. 26th, 22:02 Kudasarus Shushi At this point, you start forgetting that you’ve eaten nothing. All the same, the memories of the last two days start getting jumbled. You start to rave, to delirate (Is that in the dictionary?). Night, 22:15 Café Dante WHILE THE POETS READ, I WRITE. I DON’T READ. I’VE NO VOICE. I CAN’T. I COULDN’T. I DON’T WANT TO TURN MYSELF INTO AN AUTHOR (IN CAPITAL LETTERS). I’D RATHER PUT ON A PSEUDONYM MASK, A NAME THAT’S GROWN REPETITIVE FROM OVERUSE. 22:30 BY NOW, EVERYONE WILL HAVE EATEN WITH NO SENSE OF REMORSE. THE SENATORS AND DEPUTIES WILL HAVE GOBBLED SUCCULENT DINNERS WITH THE CASH OF ALL CHILEANS. THE PRESIDENT, SHE’LL HAVE EATEN. THE MINISTERS WILL HAVE EATEN. WHILE SOMEONE SPENT THE DAY LOOKING AT FOOD WITHOUT TASTING A BITE. 23:50 Lecherías San Francisco de Loncomilla Not much left for it to be 110 DAYS. VERY LITTLE LEFT. THE BREADS IN THE FORM OF PISTOLS ARE SHARED AND MULTIPLIED. AND THE MONEY FOR THE WINE. SHOULD I TAKE COMMUNION? I’M ALREADY FADING dry hunger strike or with water? that’s the current discussion. Does it matter? 110. ALREADY.

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