#2: A Road trip that follows the beatnik movement across the country

By Nicolas Vergara

The first time that Vivian read something about gangs in Toronto was Christmas 2010, in Ireland, when she was nineteen years old and studying English Literature. The gang in question was MS-42 and its name appears in a draw that she found in one book at Temple Bar Book Market.  The name of the gang was written in a bookmark, and the complete sentence said Peace for MS-42 or something related to pigeons. In one of its corners, the bookmark also said Toronto, 2007, and something about donations or charity. 

She google the gang and found this:

In the middle of November, David Dang, nineteen, was kidnapped on his way out of a Blue Jays game. Although the street was far from deserted, there were no witnesses, except for five David’s classmates, who saw him head to a Tesla car, where a person in sunglasses was waiting for him. That afternoon, David didn’t come home and his parents filed a police report few hours later, after they had called few of his friends. When he was found, two days later, his body shows unmistakable signs of strangulation. A Greek immigrant found his body near Thomas Merton School. The greek was accused of the homicide and spent one week in a cell, at the end of which he was released. When he got out he was a broken man. He was asking for his son, and a month later they left together Canada, via Niagara, to the United States. The police report said that the Murder was made in the name of M-42.  In January 2009, five members of M-42 gang were arrested. they were accused of several murders committed after Davi’s one. 

From that day on, she became an enthusiastic follower of that gang, and set out on a quest to find more information about them. For years, she thought that Canada was a peaceful place, but she realized that was just ideology —as her professor loves to say—.  She told this story to Andres, one day that they were having a picnic. That day, they were also doing a map about On the road.  

The map looks like this one:


Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto. 

London, Ontario. Paris, Texas

By Nicolas Vergara

Many years ago, Andres watched the movie Paris, Texas. Before that, when he was 13, in a Library in Serbia, he read these wise words: good novels are impossible to summarize. The words came from W.H. Auden, but they could belong perfectly to a German Literary Critic or an English one in the 80s, for it sounded wistful and convincing.  Andres, like many people from his generation, believes that you can easily apply ideas that come from literature to movies; and when he watched Paris, Texas, he decided that that was a movie impossible to summarize, and then he decided it was an amazing movie.

Four years ago, he tried to write a story about Paris, Texas. The story began in York University. In the story, Wim Wenders was smoking a cigarette at the main entrance of the University. A young woman stopped by him and asked if he could sell her a cigarette. He offered one, and then she started to tell him why she was so sad and frustrated about a recent exam that she couldn't pass. Wenders gave her some advice, based on his experience as a filmmaker. As a consequence of that, she told him that she went to the same school as Justin Beber, and even she was about to go on a date with him, but that didn't happen because her mother asked her —that night, that unlucky night— to take care of her little brother. 

He had other scenes in mind that he didn't get around to writing. Mainly meeting and visiting, and one that happens in London, Ontario. In London, Wenders was walking by the highways that go to Detroit. Nobody knows how the filmmaker got there, and how he was able to avoid the Grizzly bears, which everybody knows are more frequent than snowy days in that area. He was walking, and in a charging station for electric cars, he found a Tim Hortons. He felt asleep at one of the tables. The manager —a Nepali guy tired of being called Indian— tried unsuccessfully to wake him up. He decided to call the police. 

The police found Wenders’ brother address and they called him. Wenders’ brother was living in Yukon, where he had a publicity company for road advertising. He lived with his wife and a child. He drove his car to find Wenders. When they finally got together, Wenders’ brothers asked:

—Where have you been these last 15 years? I’ve been raising your child since then. 

The filmmaker seemed confused, and he was just able to reply: 

I need to go to London, Ontario.

Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto. 


By Nicolas Vergara

This story is very simple, although it could have been very complicated. Also, it is incomplete, because stories like this doesn't have an ending. It was afternoon in Eugene, Oregon, and it had been raining all day. The rain stopped and almost immediately, it started to smell like very deep frozen seaweed which smitten(?) Andres and Vivian with feeling of utter happiness.

The barn was closer to the mountains. The job advertising appeared in Craigslist, and they decided to apply because they also offer a place for living.

There are at least three different ways of taking care of an animal, but my favorite —Vivian said—it’s the one that you rescue an animal from dead or at least from an ominous life. I’ll give an example, Vivian said, and here we have the example:

You find a baby raccoon by itself in the forest. You take it with you, with the same feeling that inspire some parents towards adopting a child from the third world. You give it a better life at your home. If you are lucky, the animal won’t get sick or won’t be killed by another animal. Nature has always been a school of the uncertain, and bad luck in nature is one of the way that human drama enhances it. The rest is Disneyland (including, for sure, ecology).

The horse was as tall as a basketball player and as white as a wise old man. It was running in circles, leashed to a big stick. There was also a woman. She was saying or broadcasting something that was obviously addressed to the horse. If the aim of her work was making the horse run, she was successful. The barn was humid and its high roof made it look like a streetcar storage. 

Ninety days in one country is enough time just for tourism or journalism (who are, at the end, professional tourist or writers). They should wait for the same amount of time for being banished from the U.S. because the didn't get married when they should have. Then ask for refugee visa in Canada, that was the plan.

What happen if we get attached to the horses? In the scale of separation, it is easier leaving a horse than a dog or a cat, unless you were a horse riding fighter or a peasant. And our couple was just a couple trying to stay in Canada.

Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto.