I Swore My Heart Away When I Was 14

I Swore My Heart Away When I Was 14.
I remember lying in bed rogandole a la virgencita to please keep my dad safe from harm
hoping for a call I knew I wasn’t gonna get.
Praying I wouldn’t get a phone call that he’s been found dead by some dumpster.
I remember a night in particular when I got tired of praying for him
So I prayed for me.

Le pedi que me isiera no quererlo mas
Que lo sacara de mi corazon

I cried big heavy tears that soaked my pillow and mixed with bugers and saliva.
I woke up the next morning disappointed because I still missed him, con coraje, like every other day but missed him still.
Eventually I didn’t think about him so much and I forgot about my prayers I didn’t cry at night and I could sleep in complete darkness
I had long forgotten my pleas and gone on with my life

Three boyfriends and many sexual encounters later I remembered my prayer.
The one where I begged Mi Morenita to take my heart out and lose it in the cosmos
I realized Im 20 years old and have had 11 men walk in and out of my life, use and dispose of my body. Told them I loved them and hated them all in the same breathe.

I didn’t care to notice when they left or how three boyfriends and eight sexual partners who I’ve never even been with long enough to know their last name had gone through me.

My first boyfriend took my virginty because I guess my eyes said it was up for grabs the moment I let him lay on my bed. We dated two weeks, had sex for about 10 minutes, said see you around and I never cared to see him again

I regretted losing my virginity to him

So I told my second boyfriend he was my first. He was older… Way older. Like ‘ready to settle down and have kids’ ready. He saw me as the type to wife up and use my child bearing hips to carry his off spring. I couldn’t stomach the idea of having his kid and having to keep a piece a piece of him forever. So I didn’t. I ran away as fast as I could from that situation by blaming everything wrong with me on him. Made myself unbearable because it was easier for someone to leave me than it was for me to walk away. Even when I can’t love I can’t leave, the guilt of not being able to give back holds me.

My third boyfriend was accidental. We weren’t meant for each other but when it’s so cold out and someone shows you warmth with their own body, one tends to think thats a special trick no one else can do. To have someone want you for sexual favors makes you feel of use or somewhat important to someone and that can sometimes even make you feel special. It had been a long time since I could make a man happy with just a kiss.

I don’t remember how this ended I just know that it stopped.

After him I didn’t want anymore boyfriends. I wanted to keep thinking i was of use. I wanted to feel wanted. But I didn’t want to love. The trick is to always keep your eyes shut.

I thank my dad for teaching me body parts are just as disposable as whole bodies. He removed his daughter to find happiness while I simply removed my heart.

Leave Love Left Where Love Died

Because I thought I could change you with ‘the right kind of love’, I took whatever you gave me.

Because drunk meetings in dark closets and rooms were romantic enough to let you take off all my clothes.

Because I thought that you holding my hair back while I gave you head meant you cared.

Because after spending an entire day right beside you, secret eye signals kept me content.

Because I thought that when you told me stories about your mom and dad, you gave me keys.

Because when you really did give me keys to parts of you, you didn’t want to deal with holding mine.

Because I still reply to your late night text at two in the morning and ask what’s up, even though I already know.

Because I always hope that we’ll have another drunken night like when we laid there and talked about leaving.

Because you can easily say lets stop doing this and ignore me but I can never let go so I patiently wait.

Because I know you’ll call two weeks later using some cheesy pick up line that I’ll call stupid but will still swoon over.

Because ill save your text messages as proof that I’m not crazy and you really do hit on me.

Because when someone caught us you threw me under the bus.

Because I expected better from you.

Because you still think that after three years of being secret nothings, we can still be friends.

Because you really thought that during those three years we were actually friends.

You were never my friend.

Because Love don’t hate.

Because I’m walking away and leaving whatever you wanna call this where it should’ve died years ago.

Because last time I said bye I really meant it.

Stop drunk dialing me, stop texting me, stop pretending we’re still cool,
Leave love left where love died.

La lucha, they say, is no place for love letters

It´s finally sunset on top of the mountain but the shades of red are simply the sky’s reflection of the anger in your words: “I don’t understand how your mind works. I don’t like how your mind works” you said. Between shades of silent frustration, I hear again and again the echo of those words, as I  struggle to ground myself in the poems and tales of those who were abused by their compañeros within the movement. La lucha, they say, is no place for love letters.

 

“I don’t like how your mind works. I don’t like how your mind works”. I try not to silence my memory and reuse my dry seeds to replant ideas of healthy relationships between comrades. I gather my tears and save them for communal sorrows as I repeat a survivor’s mantra: My mind is powerful, my mind is beautiful. Your mind, mujer, is powerful; it´s beautiful.

 

That mind , tan  hermosa, tan coqueta, that seeks  foreplay, excitement and climax in ideas of liberation.

 

That mind where thoughts of conspiracy are being nurtured with the most intense political sense of rebellious motherhood.

 

That mind, that subversive mind, that is never competent with half answers and incomplete sentences. That mind that screams with rage at historical inaccuracies and euphemisms that hide genocide.

 

That mind that can trace the origin of myths and dogmatic perceptions that keep our collective consciousness hidden between pulpits that preach fear.

 

That mind that challenges orders.   

 

That mind that questions power.

 

That mind where gardens of decolonization are watered by  banned books and guerrilla lover letters.

 

That mind where poems are born.

 

That mind where songs are sung.

 

That mind, the engine of this mouth, that chants for freedom.

 

That mind, compañero, that mind that you claim in anger to not understand is where our everyday revolution is consolidated in love.

That  mind that today firmly replies, in my mother tongue, adiós.

Let the revolution continue…

And on that day without plans

We all had agreed that a revolution was the goal

Angela said that a revolution lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. And Malcom agreed with her—by all means the revolution would take place with or without us. But Marcos had the last words, stating that we would always be able to question the means but never the revolution itself. That is when the words of Marx resonated in our heads. I remember him telling us that a revolution cannot be judged by its consciousness, but by its contradictions.

                           

It all made sense now.

 

So when did the revolution contradict itself?

We got too caught up on the revolution’s definitive statement

We forgot we were the catalysts

We forgot we were the tools

 

We didn’t want nothing short of a revolution

But we stopped growing

As soon as we stopped caring

We lost balance

And we stopped healing

We forgot about the process

Unwilling to seek truth  

We chose to not deal with our pain

…no more

And with that we lost sight of the revolution

 

We perpetuated the antithesis that has now become part of our process

To unlearn the tools of the oppressor 

Realizing we were hurting ourselves all along

 

All we have left now is to hold one another accountable

Acknowledge how we perpetuate and contradict ourselves

Admit that the revolution contradicted itself

As soon as we began contradicting ourselves

 

Altogether we lost sight of the revolution because

We forgot about us

We forgot about we

We forgot about you and me

 

It makes sense now

The revolution contradicted itself

As soon as we thought a revolution only took place on the outside

All this time we forgot about the revolution within us

 

Let the revolution continue

Lets remember about us

Lets talk about we

And lets us take care of you and me

Audrey told me that’s a part of self-preservation

 

Lets help one another move beyond survival

To heal

And relearn to love

To be brave

And to see beauty in our existence

 

 

Let the revolution continue

At least within us

Between you and me

With us

together we heal 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting Love In

I caught glimpses of her through sugar cracks in ripe yellow walls.

Her presence makes me want to paint mixed-media murals, on her skin, with found objects.

She said we came from the same cloud.

I’d say the same thing, if I hadn’t already known my semilla sprouted in soil.

She comes with fire & water from the west. Like desert monsoons, she digs rivers out of dry beds and electrifies the night sky.

Our elements intersect like our identities, to teach us lessons we have yet to learn.

Life Lessons, Love Lessons.

like

what it means to love ourselves first.

and

how to love people who look like us.

or

what it feels like when we let love take up the space that fear usually owns.

 

I hope that love squats in these spaces long enough to turn them into homes.

Homes with walls built from earth to protect the love that lives inside, not keep it out.

Where deep roots grow in backyard gardens of kitchens, where abuelitas feed five generations from one olla.

 

When she sings I can hear voices of ancestors we’ve never met.

They make music together with chords that were never played and keys that were never sung.

The spiritual needs no rehearsal. Synchronicity is greater than science.

We see shadows from the smoke of burning medicine under the moonlight, as we dream, dance, laugh, and love.

Mujer, I call you magic and I mean it.

A Letter to the United States People

Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom 
 
Open your eyes.  No matter how painful the sight, look at it.  Look at it!
2 million in cages?  Masses of children being medicated for “mental disorders”?  Masses of poor people being medicated and told that everything they face is their individual problem and their individual fault?
War after war after war after war after war
like tv show after tv show after movie after film showing the same violence scene
and We Love it, do we?
…And it doesn’t look like war violence, cause by the way, folks, you can’t sell that shit
It’s too brutal, makes your stomach ache, makes you weep and vomit and rage.
That’s why they NEVER show you that shit,
just your pretty entertaining violence
and even torture scenes a lot these days, so I’ve been told,
and We Love it, do we?
 
Sometimes I want to scream bloody murder but
I wonder who will hear me.
I wonder who will know what I’m saying.
In the United States I feel like I’m in a tomb
that lives and breathes denial.
 
Hey People, did you forget
That you stand on Holy Ground
and that the Ground makes you live?
 
Hey People, did you forget
that everything built here is stolen?
You can try to bury it but the memories do not forget
They remember and remember and remember
and watch and watch and watch
 
When I look around sometimes
a rage boils in my being
and I want to scream bloody murder
I want to make a cut in this fabric
make it open up
some
instead of the same old long ass bullshit
like we ain’t never admitted shit
never said that everything we hold is stolen in this land
and that we are stealing it
We
We
We
 
Cause that’s what this country is.
And Pledge Allegiance to that
And your Soul be Damned
It was citizens who murdered countless Indigenous Mothers Children Fathers Families
It was their hands who committed genocide to
take Land to take Rivers and Forests and Coastlines and”Wealth” as those hands saw it.
And now here today
We stand here on stolen, poisoned ground,
on ground on which so many desecrations have occurred,
believing in voting and petitions and courthouse steps
living dying deaths
delusional
and vain.
Sometimes I want to scream bloody murder
but I fear my own voice echoing across atomic bombed landscapes
a voice crying in the desert
to ears clouded with garbled messages
 
We gotta get real folks
And anyone who can hear me
Get real
Get honest
Nothing less will do
 
We won’t salute those who choose to sink on the ship
who choose death instead of life
and easy delusion instead of painful truth
who lie themselves to sleep
and caused the world to starve
and bleed  
 
Americans, stop lying to yourselves about your government
Stop being silly and delusional.
Hello?!
Ya’ll heard any stories
about this here government
that make your knees tremble a little?
Ya’ll notice that everyone’s real real afraid of the government?
and no one really wants to admit it
because the government is very violent and sure wouldn’t have a problem killing us.
I notice that.  I notice that people play at struggle, pose for struggle.  I notice that there is a war against the earth, against the oceans, rivers, against water.  I notice this.  I see it. 
We defecate in water
That’s what we think of it.
We refuse to even touch our defecation, and we defecate in water.
Creature comfort bought and sold and screens mask your eyes from soldiers’ guns and funs
from children slaves making these products, impoverished hands crafting your riches
from the actual sight and feeling of war and genocide
yes the sights and feelings of genocide
 
Americans, you are displaying this denial to the world
And everyone can see
that products don’t buy wisdom
and money doesn’t make you good
 
Americans, as you sit hurraying on your thrones in the last throes
of this lifetime of death
Open your eyes
 
I don’t speak to all of you
There’s so many who will not even listen
But to those who do
who have,
who know,
Open your eyes
Speak from the depths of this place and time
That is where the Power flows

Chicana History: Maria Urquides: Mother of Bilingual Education

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By Anna NietoGomez 2013

Maria Urquides was a third generation Mexican American born in 1908 to parents that had little to no education in the Barrio Libre near downtown Tucson Arizona. Although her parents had little to no education, they were leaders in the community. Her father, Hiliario Urquides was a businessman and civic leader who in 1894 helped found the Alianza Hispano-Americana in Tucson, which became the largest Mexican American, mutual-aid society in the Southwest which subsidized death benefits, social and cultural activities and assistance in dealing with racism. It was a fraternal organization until the 19th amendment was passed in 1919 and women were allowed to join. Maria Urquides would become a member as an adult and it played an instrumental role in supporting her campaign to desegregate the Arizona Schools. María Urquides was raised in a multicultural neighborhood that included Mexican, Chinese, Native American and Anglo residents. It was here as a child that she learned to respect different cultures. Encouraged by her teachers to become an elementary school teacher, after graduation from high school in 1926, much against her family’s wishes but less six years after the 19th amendment became law and women gained the right to vote in the United States, she went to Tempe State Teachers College and she received her teaching certificate in 1928. She financed her education by working as a janitor in the college dorms cleaning the bathrooms, and working as a singer in a local restaurant. After she became an elementary school teacher in Tucson, she attended the University of Arizona during the summers until she received her B.A. in 1946 and her M.A. in 1956. For twenty years she taught at a Tucson elementary school in a poor community that was 98% Mexican American and 2% Yaqui, Chinese, and African-American. In addition to teaching, she spent her energies making sure her students had food, clothing.  The school was inadequately funded and she raised money for school supplies, to maintain the school facilities by painting the classrooms, and planting trees in the schoolyard. In accordance with school policy, students received corporal punishment for speaking Spanish and any language other than English. But María thought she would go to hell when she died if she hit the students for speaking for not speaking English. It was not until after she was transferred to an all-Anglo well funded middle class school in 1948, that she truly understood how poverty and racism played a major negative role in the learning and development of the self-esteem of the poor minority students. In 1955 she began a campaign to desegregate the Arizona Schools and to advocate bilingual and bicultural education. She was often referred to as the “Mother of Bilingual Education,” because of her role in developing the federal legislation for bilingual education that was passed 1968. In her 46 six years in public education she was an elementary school teacher, a high school counselor, and administrator. Maria Urquides was nationally recognized for advocating and developing the field of bilingual and bicultural education. From 1950-1970, she was appointed by five presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon) to serve on national panels and conferences concerning children and education. In 1965, the League of Mexican American Women, organized by Francesca Flores and Ramona Morín in Los Angeles, California, recognized Maria Urquides for her outstanding achievements. In a time when women much less Mexican American women encountered great resistance to holding any public policy positions, Maria Urquides the first Mexican American woman to serve as president of the Tucson Education Association, on the Board of Directors of the National Education Association, and on the Board of Governors for Pima Community College Board of Governors as a member and chairperson. In 1977, Tucson Unified School District named a new school Maria Urquides Elementary School in her honor. As an activist she was a member of the NAACP, the National Council of Christian and Jews, Urban League, the YMCA and the American Red Cross.  She attended and was a speaker at the 1971 National Chicana Conference in Houston.  In 1983, she received an honorary Doctor of Law from the University of Arizona.  She died at the age of 85 in 1994.

References:

  1. Maritza De La Trinidad, Collective outrage:  Mexican American Activism and the Quest for Educational Equality and Reform, 1950-1990, Dissertation published by Bibliolabs, 2011. pp. 162 -169.
  2. Elizabeth Quiroz, The Education and Public Career of María Urquides, Ed. D Thesis, University of Arizona, 1986, pp.43-48,
  3. Yolanda Chávez Leyva, “María Luisa Urquides,” Latinas in the United States, A Historical Encyclopedia, Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sanchez Korrol Editors, Volume 3, Indiana University Press Bloomington and Indianapolis 2006, pp. 780-781.
  4. Maria Urquides
1908-1994. Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Division of the Secretary of State, http://www.azlibrary.gov/azwhf/women/urquides.aspx
  5. 5.       Georgia Cole Brousseau, “1993 Bridging Three Centuries: “The end of one era, the challenges of the next” 1960-1979 Part 4 TUSD District History, http://www.tusd.k12.az.us/contents/distinfo/history/history9309.asp
  6. Francisca Flores, Carta Editorial, Francisca Flores Ed., Vol. 1, No. 24, May 7, 1964. p. 4 and Vol. 2, No. 18, March 18, 1965, p. 1.
  7. Tucson Daily Citizen, April 22, 1983.
  8. Arizona Daily Star, August 9, 1992 and June 18, 1994.
  9. Arizona Bilingual Council Newsletter, February 1963.