by F. Cane Barca.
Traslation: Silvia Lumaca
Chicago is not for me Delfo! Let’s go to argentina! she said. i think about this on a wall of Haymarket square. i look at the day i look at the sky. it s cloudy and our heads are going to be hit by batons. i hope not. and i stake my life on it. we are wet from the rain the last before the same hot summer… i hope it won t be like yesterday. i hope no one will die. no one of us at least … ha ha! he laughs. Ian Dunne.
Some nerve. May 4th 1886, i will remember this day. We are together on the side of Haymarket Square pretending not to be troubled at all by the previous days of struggle and above all by the police who s staring at us like hungry dogs that drool with glazed eyes to steaming hot steaks. I’ve just met him …dont they ever have enough …what? … i think our blood, they need it, they are vampires, think about survival, injustice is a conspiracy between vampires, they want to drink us all, the indians? They have good blood, they re drinking both of them. We introduced ourselves. I am …Adelfo Colombo known as Delfo shake hands with …Ian, hello …I was born in Genoa in 1846 son of Giuseppe Colombo docker at the port at the beginning of the century. Dunne came in September was working at the Guinness factory and his brother at the Jameson Distillery then unemployment and go to the sea to America to Chicago. And here in front of me … how rare it is to find a good chess player around here, do you know how to play? …no. It s like Bolivar story …if there s an irish guy in the revolution then it will be fine. And Chicago becomes the center of the world for a few days with its protests struggling workers that even the murdered victims wont stop us. occupied chock-full squares invaded streets that we ve taken and beyond the sea towards europe something historic is happening. And i m in.
i help the wagons to go through and they move along the sides of the roads. i help and shift of a few meters at most. Yesterday i fell i’m not limping but the entire leg hurts. They re preparing for the speech. It s raining. Cold Chicago winter is over they say … policemen are closer. everywhere arms behind swinging like penguins as toy soldiers in the hands of a child. someone is standing gazing at the sky with his head. they look around. they check. Dogs rolling about in the dirt have more dignity Dunne says.
Up to forty years ago there were the indians … The madman general Anthony Wayne took the city in 1794: an area of six square miles at the mouth of the Chicago River. Here there were indians until recently … they stopped here before crossing the Illinois River to Lake Michigan with their goods … I cant remember the name. He makes sweeping gestures with his hand while often looking away … It was a swampy area before. The french then arrived. I do not know their names … but you know … there were the indians. In 1794 there were only indians. We are more and more. Each year we grow of a few dozen thousands of people.
He continues. He s talking too much. He s exalted by the times that we re living and i am also. We only show it in a different way. still … In 1850 they were 30,000 and 100,000 in 1860 and now almost one million people. And there’s also been the fire to slow the development. And this development is obviously at our own expenses. And that fire in ’71 … my uncle and my aunt were in the flames too. ok. A few minutes pass and we greet Colangelo telling us he doesnt feel safe at all. … That something is moving and Harrison is pressing the executives … the newspapers are full of crap … Then a few words about the family … how’s Lucia? … No, her name’s Maria … oh sorry … Maria Maria. Then they leave and me and Dunne keep still. We have a good point of vision. Dunne s smoking his tobacco rolling and trembling. tries three times almost succeeds the fourth. the fifth he makes it he offers me but i’ve quit two months ago … May Day is a nice day isnt it? Having the 8 hours … it seems to ask for the moon … 100 years from now in a hundred years it will be different we fight for this too you will see in 100 years, we are only born the wrong century Delfo. As if it were few 8 hours under stress. One after the other squeezed and then substituted. Dunne … you’re right, i can tell you this. I think. that it s work that it s war. Maria. my beautiful and holy Mary cannot wait thinking that maybe i will not come back. i wanted to have her here. Rather that not coming back for a day of struggle. If i have to choose then i will not return today. i will stay at Haymarket square. And i do not think it without fear and then … argentina! Go to argentina because beyond love there s nothing … maybe there is nothing.
Delfo, they re starting. There s Spies. They climb on the wagon and talk …We should not get excited! He keeps repeating. Remember the dead comrades yesterday at McCormick. two. Two of ours enough of theirs i think. It rains across Haymarket Square. Dunne is looking forward …those rats they run they patrol but they re the only danger. And may God forgive me if my daughter were to take home one of these. Armed gangs in the pay of those who pay them …of those who order … Servants in the hands of those who want every drop of our blood one out and it comes another. Italian ok then the Germans come there is no change. Yesterday they killed us because we raised our heads this that we begin today this that we do the heads that they re going to split will have memory and 100 years from now it wont happen again. Safe. Do you want a coffee? …coffee where? …there but I think it s over. I hear Johnson swearing from here. Coffee must be finished …There s mayor Harrison look … sshhh! i cannot hear. I’m looking at them while they do the cordon and a guy next to me pushes my shoulder to show me indicate that the cops become threatening and are stepping forward clutching the sticks. Ready for the heads.
If not the gun… if not the gun…
it was a song that my grandmother sang…
They all scream. They hit.
They are not masters of our bodies
they cannot do whatever they want…
She sang it every time…
A hiss above the head something that… Explosion! One of them jumps into the air his body rises from the ground slamming away. Stop. They shoot! They shoot! They fall to the ground fall a butchering we re holding each others Ian and I he pulls me down when his body falls i run backward i wait for the shot in the back.
Am i awake, am i awake? Poor Ian … Revenge! Workingmen to Arms! This was written in the flyer … i hope they have died at least ten of them … I do not remember anything … they have hit you. I hear answers to my questions, and there s no one in the room. They ve caught 8 of ours. guys. Spies? …August? …Yes, Parson also …Who else? Spies Fielden Lingg Parson Schwabb Neebe August Spies they have hanged him. Perhaps for that revenge leaflet! workingmen to arms! Parson also hanged. It was one of those guys who were doing the gunpowder monkeys did you know? Carrying gunpowder while running. Joined the artillery in a fortress in those years. At sabine pass. then the cavalry regiment in texas … i think the parsons volunteers. Adolph Fischer. he was also hanged. Fischer. He was there at the meeting the other night. With fielden parsons and spies. They put a loaded revolver in his house… maybe not. Then a fuse and a knife. I have a headache. Who s speaking? I do not understand what day is it? Did they hanged them all? But how much time has passed? Engel. Hanged too, they speak of the Monday night conspiracy. Bullshit. But they say he wanted to blow up the police stations. But i was there we just thought about how to help in case of attack. It s been days that they re shooting and killing, they use as evidence legitimate defense. Loathsome. The illinois governon doesnt care. Richard james oglesby. And anyway Engel was playing cards that day. Lingg instead was well hidden … the landlord gave him a blow in the head. He screamed i despise you hang me now! That cigar burst out at nine. He gave some shaking drags and boom, his jaw blew up and he remained there six hours. He died at 3pm. Schwab is waiting. He’s to stay in for life. They wrote to the governor, life imprisonment. He says he does not breathe well. He s sick. Neebe 15 years they gave him. He was not in the square. Think.. he asked to be hanged with the others. His wife is sick. Fielden too all his life they will keep him there. What did he say Parson? I’m tired. I’m falling asleep. Parson said that the day will come when our silence will be stronger than the voices you’re choking today.
We knew who did it.
Yes i know even if you kill them
then…? They paid them, you can kill the betrayer
and the guards of the kingdom,
you can kill the Executioner