I discovered Pedro Linares through a recent Google doodle recognizing his work. The festival of alebrijes captured in the photo above shows just how vibrant his legacy is today in Mexico. A contemporary and collaborator of both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, this Mexico City native invented a form of papier-mâché figurine – they are named after the refrain chanted by mystical creatures in a fever dream he experienced in 1936.
My first encounter with the artist very fittingly led to a lucid dream of my own, and I wanted to commemorate that connection with his imaginary world by writing a poem about one of his fantastical creatures. Here is that short poem, inspired by a rabbit carved by one of many Oaxacan workshops continuing the alebrijes tradition.
dance rabbit, dodge and prance
move those ears, toss your feet
handstand – saffron haunch, green
blue breast, long face, dark dreams
nothing stays as it seems
– run rabbit, dig deep, lie
to save your alibi
but run, hide, never sleep
dance, dive, whirl and leap
brown electric night skies
“alebrije” – hear that?
dance rabbit, catch the cat