"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sh*t they say in Alburquerque

While doing some research, I Googled "Burqueños" mainly so I could copy and paste it onto a page I was writing. That's the only way I know to get the ñ onto a printed page. So what pops up, but a forum from Duke City Fix, and let me tell you it didn't take long for me to realize why I fucking hate that site.

Right about now, someone, somewhere is thinking "Hey! I saw Dirt City Chronicles listed on DCF's blog roll" yes it is and I'm also a member. Let's just call it a lapse in judgement and move on. The post that caught my eye was from some random guy named Zane. Here's what he brought to the table, 

"This may have been discussed on this site in the past, but what's with calling people who live in Albuquerque "burquenos"? I'm a native New Mexican and Albuquerque is my hometown, and I've spent most of my life there. Growing up I never heard ANYONE say "burqueno". Same goes for "burque," as in, "We sure have some beautiful sunsets here in burque." To me these words are pretentious and silly. They seem to be used quite a bit at Duke City Fix (and the Alibi). Is it considered hip to use these terms?"

First off, Zane... if you have to ask if something is hip then you're a lost fucking cause. Zane is a native New Mexican who has lived in New Mexico all his life and yet has never heard anyone and he means ANYONE! use the terms 'Burque or  "Burqueños" before?  Zane, have you purposely spent your entire life avoiding all contact with local Hispanics?  Seriously, at some point in your  life, someone, spoke those words in your presence. I mean, you do get out of the house, right?

But, I don't really want to ridicule Zane, I want to educate him. The use of these terms is not some recent trend started by The Weekly Alibi or Duke City Fix (har har) The use goes back hundreds of years to colonial New Mexico, Burque was derived from Albuquerque's original name "Alburquerque" did you catch that Zane? I added an extra r to Albuquerque. The city was named after The Duke of Alburquerque, not Albuquerque.

At some point after the stars and stripes were raised over New Mexico,  the r was dropped from Alburquerque. But, to New Mexico's Hispanics, especially in the outlying villages, the locale was still known as Alburque (over time this became El Burque, which was eventually shortened to 'Burque.) It's not some silly or pretentious trend, it has actual roots in New Mexico's Hispanic folk traditions and history. Pay attention, Zane! that's why you didn't learn this in school.

In Southern New Mexico, the use of Burque was spread by ex-cons returning from prison stints up north (the same for Santa when referring to Santa Fe, España when talking about Española) or by locals working for Brown & Root on road construction crews along I-25 and I-40. The first time I heard or used the term myself outside of New Mexico was in 1974, while I was enrolled in summer classes at Pitzer College in Claremont, Ca.

Several of my classmates were  from Las Vegas, N.M. (they pronounced it ElBurque, as one word) The Chicanos from Albuquerque would simply say Burque. In 1978 when I was stationed at Travis AFB, Ca. I met up with some New Mexicans from Bayard (pronounced Ba-yard by the locals) who immediately told me "You must be from El Burque"  I could go on with endless examples, but even Zane must be getting it by now.

The point I'm trying to make is that in 1974, in California the term "Burque" was already in use. The terms Burque and  "Burqueños" have been in use as long as there have been New Mexicans. And as Zane should know, because he's a native New Mexican, that goes back over 400 years. Here's my advice to Zane, the next time you get bored, pick up a history book, before you start talking out of your ass. Class is dismissed!

By this time I guess you've figured out that Samara Alpern no longer has your backs. I can't say that I know her personally, but I do know this about her, she has a big heart. Too big for the state of New Mexico to contain.  "So she's goin' down to Mexico, where there ain't nobody gonna tell her what to do"  I wish her well, Samara has inspired me to write more times then she'll ever know. 

The following letter was written to The Weekly Alibi, it was my response to an article written by Samara. Even as I wrote it, I knew it would be filed away in the recycle bin. So, I post it now as a tribute to Samara Alpern.  New Mexico's been here a long time and it will still be here if Samara decides to return, let's just pray it's not called New Arizona by then.

"And then I'm gonna grind me a White Castle slider out of "Burque's sacred cow"

Rest easy Alibi readers, Samara Alpern has your backs. So, you mopes are free to move about the city without giving our ever growing drug problem another thought. Samara has triggered the early warning system, but the majority of "Burqueños" are deaf to its strident tones.  The Alibi does need a swift kick in the ass, it's refreshing to read something (Samara Alpern) other than the fluffy, trendy scribbles that make up any given issue of this "alternative" publication.

Shit Burqueños Say? how about, Shit Burqueños put in their arms!  While it's not a trendy subject, it is trending. Meth and heroin (they compliment one another) have ripped through our social fiber, like crack through Compton. A government conspiracy?... no!, New Mexicans don't need any help when it comes to self loathing and debauchery.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned and that fanzine won't staple itself. People are wrapped up in their own bubble boy orbits, caring and empathy are becoming scarce commodities. Alternative is now defined as being bland & selfish. I've recently run across several posts on FB that rip the Alibi a new exit hole. I'm not sure what's eating at them (something about Best of 'Burque and local bands) But it would probably be wise not to ignore the rising swells of protest.

I won't give you the gas face, but I will offer this advice, sticking a colloquial Spanish phrase at the end of a sentence does not make you an Hispanic writer,  Adios cabrones!

Ernest D. Aguirre

Editor Emeritus, Fear of Agraphia & Dirt City Chronicles

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