Signs Preceding the End of the World Quotes

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Signs Preceding the End of the World Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
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Signs Preceding the End of the World Quotes Showing 1-14 of 14
“We are to blame for this destruction, we who don’t speak your tongue and don’t know how to keep quiet either. We who didn’t come by boat, who dirty up your doorsteps with our dust, who break your barbed wire. We who came to take your jobs, who dream of wiping your shit, who long to work all hours. We who fill your shiny clean streets with the smell of food, who brought you violence you’d never known, who deliver your dope, who deserve to be chained by neck and feet. We who are happy to die for you, what else could we do? We, the ones who are waiting for who knows what. We, the dark, the short, the greasy, the shifty, the fat, the anemic. We the barbarians.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“Nosotros somos los culpables de esta destrucción, los que no hablamos su lengua ni sabemos estar en silencio. Los que no llegamos en barco, los que ensuciamos de polvo sus portales, los que rompemos sus alambradas. Los que venimos a quitarles el trabajo, los que aspiramos a limpiar su mierda, los que anhelamos trabajar a deshoras. los que llenamos de olor a comida sus calles tan limpias, los que les trajimos violencia que no conocían, los que transportamos sus remedios, los que merecemos ser amarrados del cuello y los pies; nosotros, a los que no nos importa morir por ustedes, ¿cómo podía ser de otro modo? Los que quién sabe qué aguardamos. Nosotros los oscuros, los chaparros, los grasientos, los mustios, los obesos, los anémicos. Nosotros, los bárbaros.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“...pero tenía la impresión de haber soñado dos ciudades perdidas: literalmente: ciudades perdidas dentro de otras ciudades perdidas, deambulando todas sobre una superficie impenetrable”
Yuri Herrera, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo
“I’m dead, Makina said to herself when everything lurched: a man with a cane was crossing the street, a dull groan suddenly surged through the asphalt, the man stood still as if waiting for someone to repeat the question and then the earth opened up beneath his feet: it swallowed the man, and with him a car and a dog, all the oxygen around and even the screams of passers-by. I’m dead, Makina said to herself, and hardly had she said it than her whole body began to contest that verdict and she flailed her feet frantically backward, each step mere inches from the sinkhole, until the precipice settled into a perfect circle and Makina was saved. Slippery bitch of a city, she said to herself. Always about to sink back into the the cellar.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“Their gestures and tastes reveal both ancient memory and the wonderment of a new people. And then they speak. They speak an intermediary tongue that Makina instantly warms to because it’s like her: malleable, erasable, permeable; a hinge pivoting between two like but distant souls, and then two more, and then two more, never exactly the same ones; something that serves as a link.

More than the midpoint between homegrown and anglo their tongue is a nebulous territory between what is dying out and what is not yet born….a shrewd metamorphosis, a self-defensive shift …. if you say Give me fire when they say Give me a light, what is not to be learned about fire, light and the act of giving? It’s not another way of saying things: these are new things. The world happening anew, Makina realizes: promising other things, signifying other things, producing different objects.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“They play, said the old man. Every week the anglos play a game to celebrate who they are. He stopped, raised his cane and fanned the air. One of them whacks it, then sets off like it was a trip around the world, to every one of the bases out there, you know the anglos have bases all over the world, right? Well the one who whacked it runs from one to the next while the others keep taking swings to distract their enemies, and if he doesn't get caught he makes it home and his people welcome him with open arms and cheering.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“Makina had never seen snow before and the first thing that struck her as she stopped to watch the weightless crystals raining down was that something was burning. One came to perch on her eyelashes; it looked like a stack of crosses or the map of a palace, a solid and intricate marvel at any rate, and when it dissolved a few seconds later she wondered how it was that some things in the world — some countries, some people — could seem eternal when everything was actually like that miniature ice palace: one-of-a-kind, precious, fragile.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“All families had started off in some mysterious waay: to repopulate the earth, or by accident, or by force, or out of boredom; and it's all a mystery what each will become.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“They want to live forever but still can't see that for that to work they need to change color and number. But it's already happening.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“They might be talking in perfect latin tongue and without warning begin to talk in perfect anglo tongue and keep it up like that, alternating between a thing that believes itself to be perfect and a thing that believes itself to be perfect, morphing back and forth between two beasts until out of carelessness or clear intent they suddenly stop switching tongues and start speaking that other one. In it brims nostalgia for the land they left or never knew when they use the words with which they name objects; while actions are alluded to with an anglo verb conjugated latin-style, pinning on a sonorous tail from back there. Using in one tongue the word for a thing in the other makes the attributes of both resound: if you say Give me fire when they say Give me a light, what is not to be learned about fire, light and the act of giving? It’s not another way of saying things: these are new things”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“He leaned in toward her, and as he gave her a hug said Give Cora a kiss from me. He said it the same way he gave her the hug, like it wasn't his sister he was hugging, like it wasn't his mother he was sending a kiss to, but just a polite platitude. Like he was ripping out her heart, like he was cleanly extracting it and placing it in a plastic bag and storing it in the refrigerator to eat later.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“Rucksacks. What do people whose life stops here take with them? Makina could see their rucksacks crammed with time. Amulets, letters, sometimes a huapango violin, sometimes a jaranera harp. Jackets. People who left took jackets because they’d been told that if there was one thing they could be sure of over there, it was the freezing cold, even if it was desert all the way. They hid what little money they had in their underwear and stuck a knife in their back pocket. Photos, photos, photos. They carried photos like promises but by the time they came back they were in tatters.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“First there was nothing. Nothing but a frayed strip of cement over the white earth. Then she made out two mountains colliding in the back of beyond: like they'd come from who knows where and were headed to anyone's guess but had come together at that intense point in the nothingness and insisted on crashing noisily against each other, though the oblivious might think they simply stood there in silence.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World
“It was nighttime when she awoke. The boy’s whimpering had stopped; all you could hear was the engine of the bus and the snoring of passengers. Makina could never be sure of what she’d dreamed, in the same way that she couldn’t be sure a place was where the map said it was until she’d gotten there, but she had the feeling she’d dreamed of lost cities: literally, lost cities inside other lost cities, all ambulating over an impenetrable surface.
She looked out at the country mushrooming on the other side of the glass. She knew what it contained, its colors, the penury and the opulence, hazy memories of a less cynical time, villages emptied of men. But on contemplating the tense stillness of the night, the darkness dotted here and there with sparks, on sensing that insidious silence, she wondered, vaguely, what the hell might be festering out there: what grows and what rots when you’re looking the other way. What’s going to appear? she whispered to herself, pretending that as soon as they passed that lamppost, or that one, or that one, she’d see what it was that had been going on in the shadows. Maybe a whole slew of new things, maybe even some good things; or maybe not. Not even in make-believe did she get her hopes up too high.”
Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World