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Category:  Articles » Arts & Culture » Poetry


The Mad Coffee Lady (In English and Spanish)

         Views: 2399
2007-07-17 15:20:35     
Article by Dennis Siluk

But you My Mad Coffee Lady had God's Pity
Ah yes, you passed once our way
Some said (must have said): "They are all one
These vagabonds! " (A pest!) This was their song.

Her feet bare, frosted, benumbed
Chilled veins, like chains of iron
Hacked heart-yet she weathered the winters
With the night, ice cold waves of air-
"Victoria the Mad," of Huancayo: homeless.

Yes, yes! Slight were her arms,
Yet they held a tin can for coffee, sweet beans,
Or fifty-cents, a beggars cry-,
(also held out for water and mud))
Her hair was caked with such)): yes, yes!
Soft as spring winds, she loved her coffee,
This Mad Lady from Huancayo...!

No man could paint such a picture
No man could paint such things, who did not know,
And now she's gone, who was her Cyprian-
(for we were her audience);
Her photograph left me cloaked, wrapped in gauze.

"Go from me," I said to the picture
But I still held the mutter, its tang...
The figure of this dead lady spoke to me, said:

"See they return, one, and by one,
Now only half-awakened, they come
Now dead, they accept me, a timorous
Wrench of a woman, they called me,
In the cold light, in the darkness

"Come; let me pity those who are
Better off than I was, come, my friends,
And remember, fate enters with little feet
Then this hour of cold poise, breaks the knees
To the heels-it did me...!"

No: 1842, May 23, 2007 (Legends made in Huancayo)

Reference: â? Cyprian: Related to the worship of Aphrodite on Cyprus

Note: She, the Mad Coffee Lady, was known as Victoria, and walked the streets of Huancayo, Peru, homeless, in the 1960s into the ´70s. She was called "Victoria the Mad" I call her the "The Mad Coffee Lady," I suppose the reason way, is because she loved coffee like me. We had this in common. Looking at her picture, at an exposition in Huancayo, 5-23-2007, I could not help but write a poem of her, for her, for you, for me. A man stood by my wife, and she asked him if she knew the lady, and he said he did, added "She suffered so much, the government should have had a way for her to end her life." I went to ask another question, but he quickly left, I suppose memories were hard on him. I asked my sister-in-law, Mini, about her, and she said, "She would take food and ice-cream from the children and run away with it." Then as time went on, she was used as a pun, "If you kids do not behave and eat your food, we'll get Crazy Victoria...." And that would normally scare the kids into behaving.

She washed her hair in mud, took dirty water in her can, and poured it over her head and if children tried to get close to her, she'd toss the tin can of water at them. She wondered aimlessly in sections of Huancayo. Edwardo Mayta, a resident of Huancayo, was just a young lad back then, and remembered her quite well. It was by a creek, where she would plaster her face with mud from it, as if it was a cream, and she'd stutter he said (Perhaps over excited, or a past trauma, or perhaps at a point of stress).

In addition to her peculiar behavior, she painted her self with cosmetics at times, extravagantly, highlighting her lips, so an old friend of mine, taxi driver in Huancayo told me, Alfonso Berrios.

Thus, looking at this behavior it would seem to me she was a lost soul in a city unable to help her (or unwilling, I must not past judgment, for I do not know), or perhaps she didn't want help, I don't know, so I mustn't point fingers. But her behavior indicates to me a woman of a certain beauty (which Edwardo has indicated), whose mind went haywire in her teens, and thereafter, got worse, as often times schizophrenia seems to foster and develop inside the minds of such persons with the above behaviors. Furthermore, her manners would fit the disorders of her being bipolar (or manic with depression).

Paola, whom I met at a frame shop in Huancayo (5-25-2007), remembered Victoria quite well, said in so many words: her can was also used for empting out holes filled with water in the road, slowly but surely. She hung about in and near the Plaza de Arms, General Muñiz Paola one day asked where Victoria was, and she was told "She died...," thus, as she had lived, inconspicuously. Her home was wherever she found herself wanting to rest.


From Victoria's picture, she looked to me to be a long leaning black corn stock of a woman, narrow, regularly browbeaten. Perhaps at one time she was well made, but in the picture I have of her (which shows a tinge of her shoulder bones and muscles, to be somewhat youthful), she was not weighty at all, perhaps brutal looking if she would have produced her face in the photograph-brutal I mean, because of her demise, yet beyond her ragged cloths, and knotted hair (all soaked in mud) somehow I can see her wondering eyes, connected to her cynical posture, and mud-like end, perhaps peeping at everyone quietly.

I suppose all one could do back in those days was helplessly stare at her, whisperingly, watching her unhurried manners as she walked the streets throughout the city.

If in, the entire world, nothing whatever save the taste of coffee existed, she was happy for that little perk.

In Short, perhaps I have drawn an unsatisfactory description of Victoria, yet it is derived from the picture I have of her, and the folks that have shared with me their experience in seeing her, talking and witnessing her. Plus, there is no other description of her, in all my searches. In addition, my hungry mind of course plays a part in all this, sadly, in grating, but down-to-earth creating an intonation to Victoria's existence.

Speaking to a distant relative, Jose Arrieta, he explained to me: she died in the early 1980s (between 1981 and 1983) or at least that is when she was last seen. He remembers her when she was around 26-years old he said, a handsome woman, he was perhaps five years old then, which would make her close to 60-years old now or thereabouts, if she was still living (around my age)) or born approximately 1947)). He said he remembers her using a cane.

Spanish Version

La Loca Señora del Café
(De Huancayo, Perú)

Pero tú "Mi Loca Señora del Café tuviste la compasión de Dios
Ah sí, tú pasaste una vez por nuestro camino
(Algunos dijeron, deben haber dicho: "Ellos son todos uno
Estos vagabundos" (¡una plaga!) Esta fue su canción.

Sus pies descalzos, helados, entumecidos
Venas frías, como cadenas de hierro
Corazón traspasado-aunque ella capeaba los inviernos
Con la noche, heladas olas de aire-
"Victoria La Loca", de Huancayo: sin hogar.

¡Sí, sí! Menudo eran sus brazos,
No obstante ellos sostuvieron una lata para el café, frijoles dulces,
O cincuenta centavos, un grito de mendigo-,
(también lo sostenía para el agua y el lodo-
Su pelo estaba endurecido con este): ¡sí, sí!
Suave como vientos de primavera, a ella le gustaba su café,
¡Esta Señora Loca de Huancayo...!

Ningún hombre podría pintar tal cuadro
Ningún hombre podría pintar tales cosas, quién no sabía,
Y ahora no está, quién fue su chipriota-
(ya que nosotros éramos su audiencia);
Su fotografía me dejó enfrascado, envuelto en gasa.

"Vaya de mí", dije al cuadro
Pero todavía contuve un murmullo, su sabor fuerte...
La figura de esta señora muerta me habló, dijo:

"Mira ellos vuelven, uno, y por uno,
Ahora sólo medios dormidos, ellos vienen,
Ahora muertos, ellos me aceptan, un temeroso
Esperpento de mujer, ellos me llamaban,
En la luz fría, en la oscuridad"

"Vengan; déjenme compadecerme de aquellos que fueron
Mejores que yo, vengan, mis amigos,
Y recuerden, el destino entra con pies pequeños
Después esta hora de porte frío, rompe las rodillas
A los talones-¡esto me hizo...!"

Nro. 1842, 23 de mayo del 2007 (Leyendas hechas en Huancayo)

Nota: Ella era conocida como Victoria y anduvo por las calles de Huancayo, Perú, sin hogar, en los años 1960 a los años 1970. Le llamaron "La Loca Victoria" yo la llamo "La Loca Señora del Café", supongo que la razón del porqué, es porque le gustaba el café tanto como a mí; teníamos esto en común. Mirando su retrato, en una exposición en Huancayo, el 23 de mayo del 2007, no pude menos que escribir un poema sobre ella, para ella, para ti y para mí. Un hombre se paró junto a mi esposa, y ella le preguntó si él conocía a la señora, y él dijo que sí la había conocido, añadiendo "Ella sufrió tanto, el gobierno debería haber tenido un camino para terminar con su vida". Iba a hacer otra pregunta, pero él rápidamente se marchó, me imagino que los recuerdos fueron muy duros para él. Le pregunté a mi cuñada Mini, sobre Victoria, y ella dijo, "Ella le quitaba el helado u otra comida a los niños y se escapaba". Entonces con el tiempo ella era mencionada para asustar a los niños, "Si ustedes niños no se comportan bien y comen su comida llamaremos a la Loca Victoria" Y esto normalmente asustaba a los niños y se comportaban bien.

Ella se lavaba sus cabellos con lodo, recogía agua sucia en su latita, y la vertía sobre su cabeza y si los niños trataban de acercarse a ella, ella les tiraría el agua sucia de la lata a ellos. Ella vagaba sin rumbo en diferentes secciones de Huancayo. Eduardo Mayta, un residente de Huancayo, era sólo un niño entonces, y la recuerda bastante bien. Era por un riachuelo donde ella enyesaría su cara con el lodo, como si fuera crema, y ella tartamudeaba, él dijo (quizás sobre excitada, o por un trauma pasado, o quizás en un punto de tensión).

Además de su peculiar comportamiento, ella se pintaba con cosméticos de vez en cuando, de manera extravagante, destacando sus labios, eso me dijo un viejo amigo mío, un conductor de taxi en Huancayo llamado Alfonso Berríos.

Así, viendo este comportamiento me parecería que ella era un alma perdida en una ciudad incapaz de ayudarla (o indispuesta, no debo juzgar, ya que no sé), o quizás ella no quería ayuda, no sé, por eso no debo señalar a nadie. Pero su comportamiento me indica a una mujer de una cierta belleza (lo que Eduardo indicó), cuya mente fue trastornada en su adolescencia, y a partir de entonces, empeoró, como a menudo la esquizofrenia parece que se cultiva y desarrolla dentro de las mentes de tales personas con susodichos comportamientos. Además, sus modales encajarían a que ella era una persona con desórdenes o trastornos bipolares (o maníacos con depresión).

Paola, a quien la conocí en una tienda de vidrios en Huancayo (el 25 de mayo del 2007), recuerda a Victoria muy bien, dijo textualmente: su lata era usada para vaciar el agua empozada en los agujeros de las calles, lentamente pero segura. Ella solía pasear cerca de la Plaza de Armas, por la calle General Muñiz. Un día Paola preguntó qué era de Victoria, y le dijeron "ella murió...", así, de la forma en que vivió, discretamente. Su casa era en cualquier parte donde ella se encontrara queriendo descansar.


Del retrato de Victoria, me parecería que ella era una mujer de figura alta encorvada de un linaje negro, estrecha, regularmente acabada. Quizás en cierta época ella estuvo bien. En el retrato que tengo de ella (que muestra un poco de sus omóplatos y músculos, parece que era joven), ella no era gorda en absoluto, quizás una apariencia brutal si podría verse su cara en una fotografía-brutal digo, debido a su final, aunque más allá de sus harapos y de su cabello anudado (todo cubierto con fango) de algún modo puedo ver sus ojos curiosos, unidos a su postura escéptica y final fangoso, quizás echando una ojeada a cada uno silenciosamente.

Supongo que todo lo que se podía hacer en aquellos tiempos era mirarla desvalidamente, susurrando, mirando sus modales lentos mientras ella caminaba por las calles en todas partes de la ciudad.

Si en el mundo entero, existía algo absoluto que guardara el sabor del café, ella era feliz por este poco beneficio.

En resumen, quizás he dibujado una descripción insatisfactoria de Victoria, aunque fue sacado del retrato que tengo de ella, y de la gente que ha compartido conmigo su experiencia de haberla visto, hablando y atestiguando de ella. Además, en toda mi investigación no he encontrado alguna descripción de ella. En adición, mi mente ávida desde luego juega una parte en todo esto, tristemente, enojoso, pero creando una entonación práctica a la existencia de Victoria.

Hablando con un familiar lejano, José Arrieta, él me explicó que ella murió a comienzos de los años 80 (entre 1981 y 1983) o al menos ese era el tiempo cuando ella fue vista por última vez. Él la recuerda cuando ella tenía alrededor de 26 años, una mujer simpática, él tenía entonces aproximadamente 5 años de edad, lo que la haría que ahora ella tuviera cerca de 60 años de edad, si ella todavía estuviera viva (casi de mi edad) o nacida aproximadamente en 1947. Él dice que la recuerda a ella usando un bastón.

See Dennis' web site: http://dennissiluk.tripod.com

Specialized in: Mad Coffee Lady
URL: http://dennissiluk.tripod.com
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