Borders borders

When I went through the border I heard a man
speak his name, speak for his freedom and the freedom of those around him
and I saw a soldier standing behind him
who was there to kill, disappeared, repress, impoverish, murder, steal, lie, thieve, die
sometimes too, everyday inside he died, that soldier, I saw it in his eyes
soldier funded to stand there, given money, by a government that I “have” somehow to call “my own”. 
… I Pledge Allegiance…
But I can’t I can’t I cant I cant I cant I cant I cant I cant
 
When I saw that man and heard his sweet voice and saw the look of recognition between the people, their hearts and their lives,
then I felt my spirit renew, I felt my heart come alive,
I felt the pains of the people, I saw the pains of the ages, and I saw all of Life speak together
and their song was beautiful,
and the deeper it went their lives intertwined with that of the suns’ life, the plants, the bats, jaguars, agua y oro tambien
 
…..
Borders borders
 
When I came through the border aiport security of the land called “US”, I felt screaming silently and erased
though not erased
 
That
I am not the murderer. 
Not the one who goes to other countries with paid boots and guns to [insert propaganda]
No not me
And I am not the one who thieves, who goes and pays for bullets to go into the bodies of children in lands maybe I’ve never seen.
Not me.  No not me.
I’ve seen the bodies of children afraid of bullets marked USA-made
I’ve seen those kids and I loved them, I laughed with them, I told them all I could,
I don’t believe they should be murdered, I don’t believe in the destruction of their bodies or Hearts or Minds
I believe they should live the depths of their lives, I believe they should live the magic of their childhood, and the magic potential of their lives.
 
And I am not the one thinking that raping lands and lives for money is worth the profit$, and fuck the deaths and fuck the depths of the losses.
Not me. Not me.  I feel that loss, I see it, I watch it as the earth has started to bleed onto our feet
While the rich line their pockets with forgotten denials that
they don’t have the right to thieve/profit of/f our communities, to thieve/invest themselves in the stealing of our lives, our dreams, our visions sometimes even too.  They don’t have the right to thieve/profit of/f the loss of another, off water, off the earth…
 
And I want to scream into the well that I see you liars
you thieves
you stupid capitalist imperialist bastards who forgot where home is
you jerks who took my water bottles and threw it in the trash, who made me take off my shoes, put my shit on a belt, open my bags for you, put my hands up inside a machine,  made me watch every foreigner get doubled fingerprinted and photographed, and told me You were “keeping the skies safe,”
I want to say to you that the border has long been reached. 
The Emperor with
No Clothes
has been spotted,
has been spotted,
spotted,
spotted,
and I’m screaming that I see you, and I don’t Pledge Allegiance
 
I don’t lie for you, my “US” government, I don’t excuse your behavior, I don’t cover for your forced and constant “mistakes,”
I won’t put my hand over my heart for the rulers/thieves/liars/murderers/sick capitalist imperialist bastards
I would rather give my allegiance to those of this life who are striving for Life
Because my heart still feels So Much Love
And Because I still do believe in the visions
 
I am not the one who behaves like my Rights obligates me above all others,
and my Right to profit, and my Right to lie in your face and make you behave like you’re the criminal.
That’s not me.  That’s not that man I saw standing in front of a soldier calling for the right of the people to live in peace.  That’s not her I saw striving with eyes so wide open, with heart open striving bent on the strength of her vision.
I don’t Pledge Allegiance.
I want Liberation.
I want Liberation.
 
The other week in Tucson I gave $5 to a man who looked like he could use it,
and he cried and hugged me and spoke of Robin Hood,
and we spoke about the idea of Robin Hood, (hey we need more Robin Hoods)
and when I told him I wished him the best
He gave me a depth of a look
and he told me, “Everyone says that to me.  I’ve just stopped listening.”
And my heart felt a fracture, felt to be precariously shackled to a depth opening beneath my feet.
And I felt like something slipped between us two and said “That’s just the way it is.  Somethings can never change.  That’s just the way it is.”  Came to haunt us two, and beg for our votes, and told us not to trust each other, and told us we could never be free of this Hell called U.S.
instead
instead of us two, three, all of us, us us us, we one.
 
I want this stupid Fucking “US” government to stop thinking it has the right to make the most money
Because I hate the costs of the deaths
And Because I love the
Depth of the Lives

Hace mucho tiempo te quise

Hace mucho tiempo te quise.
Fuiste la mujer de mi vida.
El amor más grande de todos mis pinches 27 años.
Tú me decías que era muy joven
Y yo quería crecer y ser la mujer perfecta para ti.
Quería que me gustaran las cosas que te gustaban.
Quería alcanzarte y gustarte.
Yo sé que te gustaba.
Me decías que me querías.
Sé que lo sentías…
Que lo vivías.
Te gustaba besarme.
Me gustaba mirarte.
A veces nos gustaban las mismas cosas.
Pero nunca fue suficiente.
Tú querías otra cosa.
Otra vida.
Tal vez otro cuerpo y no el mío.
Otro amor.
Una vida normal
Sin mi y sin dolor.
 

Men Threaten

Men like to threaten, to loom over us
to show they’re bigger
stronger
I’ll beat you to a pulp, little girl.
They use their loud voices
push tobacco-scented
onion-flavored
beer-laden
breath in your face and
I’ll show you who’s boss. Who da fuck you think you are, bitch?
worst thing you can call a man
“a girl”
“womanly”
“feminine”
“C’mon, ladies” — sneering football coach/drill sergeant — the biggest insult
 
Men say threatening things on your blog
and send revolting pictures
horrible pictures
of other women
beaten cut bloody headless bruised and battered
This could be you, watch out, stay in line
don’t speak your mind
STFU
stop speakin
truth-telling
challenging the WAY IT IS.
 
yeah, yeah, I know women threaten people too
women hit each other, are cruel and sharp and fuck you up.
But but but
we all know the but
women-hating is what societies are built on
it pumps men up, makes them men
to put women in their place.
threaten us with extinction
Who the fuck do you think you are, bitch
 
And yeah, yeah, I know it’s not all men,
there are good men.
 
But if you are breathing on this planet
if you are hearing my enraged words
you know a man like this
he’s in your family (he’s in mine)
he’s at your work (he’s at mine)
he’s watching you across the library (he’s watching me)
he’s bullying you on Facebook (he’s bullying me)
 
change it. stop accepting it
To the good men:
say no to woman-hating woman-silencing  speech
no laughing at wife-beating jokes
“rapeable” is not a compliment
step in when other men act badly
stand next to us, the women
and say not in my name.
 
men can change
But they sure do like to threaten us
 

Soundless Song of the Corn Maiden

She stood there
at the top of the mountain overlooking the valley
The city and all its people inside.
A skin tight black dress flowing
flowing,
breathing,
as she stares up to the cosmos and brings down her
clenched fists- and soon the sky burst forth and you heard
that first damning sound of thunder while the acidic scent
of moisture in contact with earth entered your nostrils,
as she cries out in pain,
“Bring on the storm!
I, simply known as Malinche, who rides the winds as swift
as justice, am opening up these vaults
of pure and utter chaos!”
Forever ripped apart to the seams by the fires of judgment,
silence and betrayal- she held up her staff and the
darkness roared as the murderous heavy clouds
made their way towards each and every individual
down below the valley.
Swiftly.
Hearts panicked, breathing stopped, thoughts reconsidered-
Those who heard in the distance that tell-tale sign
of the coming storm.
She alone-
this lonely, lost, little girl-
all by herself
Caused this anxiety in men among men
For the truth.
Her truth-
would eat everyone alive with her.
But silently- like an echo,
like a kiss
She sees the valley below and sees the deep shadows surrounding it,
deeper than her own.
Perversely anticipating that first rip.
Sticky, oozing, iron and uranium shadows.
Parasitic shadows
that would strive off the chaos of the storm-
ride these winds untouched to later feast upon
the rotting carcass of this once vibrant community down
below the valley.
She stops,
she breaths,
she lets go.
She flies. Away, away, away and beyond.
Her fabrics turn amber and her smile is that
of the sunset now- the most beautiful time of light
before it disappears to the night.
The mysterious, shifting, reinventing and forgiving night.
She is at peace with her mountain, with her valley
with her storm.
As the clouds slowly disperse
to welcome in a cleansing rain that soaked
into the minds of those with parched souls. 

Love without walls…

I never understood the concept of love how my friends and family defined it or maybe I just had a different conceptualization of what this meant.
 
Because growing up I felt unloved by my own mother, the person who gave birth to me yet who also wished for my vanishment was hard. I grew up thinking that love did not exist, at least not for me. That love was only meant for others, but not for me. From an early age I decided to redefine the concept of love. 
 
Redefine the concept of love not as forever, but temporary. Not as with one person, but with many. Not as possession, but an experience. Not as anything someone said to me or I said to them, but as something I felt and something I acted on. Not as something that someone gave me, but I gave myself and shared with others. Not as something I thought, but lived. Not coming only from within myself, but learning and appreciating that love goes beyond person to person, it is an act that we need to learn to acknowledge because it surrounds us. 
 
The hardest part for me is being able to accept love. Because if my own mother couldn’t love me why would you? So I put up walls taller and thicker than anyone was ever willing to take down. Walls I protected and reconstructed throughout the years because I wanted to make sure that love would not go through those walls, at least not for me. 
 
As the years went by I decided to take them apart brick by brick. It has taken way too long to deconstruct them and I got tired. I forgot about them because I got so used to living within those walls–a prison that became a home. I was safe; safe from the world, but not safe from myself. 
I became my worst enemy, while thinking I was only protecting myself but unknowingly perpetuating my own unlovableness because I thought I didn’t deserve it, at least not from anyone but myself. 
 
Your love came to me like a bomb. A bomb that exploded all those walls and I was inside, scared, naked, and vulnerable.
But my pride and prison state of mind kept me within the walls you tore down because I still imagined them. I kept you away. I was too proud to say that I loved you too. I was too afraid to accept that someone could love me the way you did. I kept your love away. I kept my love for you within me, hardly ever sharing a drop of it. 
 
I was too proud to let go of everything I had worked so hard for…too much pride to just let you in like that.
I am once again redefining the concept of love, but this time without walls. 
I am tired of breaking my own heart…

Girl Code, Responsibility, Accountability and In Lak Ech

I didn’t believe my friend when she was raped.

……

The last few years in Tucson have been a struggle to survive. With the battles in our communities and legislation targeting brown people of color on indigenous land – we have nearly killed each other and the work and the fight and the fighting has made us all sick – susto. It deserves writing that will never end now that it has started. Through it all, I now reflect on two moments when I know I fucked up. I monumentally fucked up and hurt other women. When it first happened, she was and we all were sorting through statements and over ‘what does this mean to this movement’ shit. She may have at first said something(s) and later they changed which isn’t uncommon with sexual violence and doesn’t delegitimize what happened to her or her voice at any given moment. Sexual violence is haunting and what happened to me with a family member fifteen years ago took me almost a year to tell anyone about. My mom. She knew and never questioned me aloud, but my family raged in confusion. My grandparents led my smear campaign.

‘The divorce and custody battles were just really hard on her she has got to be making this up for attention. Her father, our son would never do this.’

But he did and I still can’t name it. I never filed a report, never told a counselor, I didn’t bring it up in custody hearings, and haven’t explained to my friends who insist that I masturbate but I DON’T FUCKING WANT TO because touching my naked body disgusts me (for a number of reasons) and I haven’t talked about it with anyone the way I go over it with myself. I’m sure it accounts for my inability to have physical intimacy, even hugs are uncomfortable when they’re unwanted and they’re usually unwanted.

After this past summer I even wondered if it’s why V couldn’t force a sexual connection or some shit with me. I questioned myself over and over.

The loneliness of something I can’t even verbalize that was happening in my subconscious made me suicidal about things I could verbalize and understand like break ups. So my moment of attempted overdose or short episode with antidepressants seem unusually common and associated with the moments they took place in but I’ve come to understand that I carry my trauma everyday regardless if I acknowledge it and it shapes my behavior and response.

……

When she said she was raped, she didn’t use that language, in those first days she didn’t say to me, “I was raped”. She told me and one of my best friends at the same time.  I refuse to go over details of what was said and will limit my details because the space to go over this with all of us – belongs to her. Arguably some friends (a word that has become interchangeable to also include: community member, co-worker, social justice acquaintance) thought they probably just had sex, that some of what happened was consensual and she didn’t want to follow through with it and so it was date rape, which apparently isn’t rape-rape in our disgusting shaming language for those who drink alcohol or like to fuck. There is nothing wrong with liking to have sex. We were all friends, all us comadres, going through a lot of shit in Arizona – we deserved to get dressed super cute and go out for drinks. There were nights we drank A LOT. I was going through a break up and thought I was going to die, as usual. Reflecting on the time we had as comadres, a tight inseparable group, it forever transformed me. My home girls, mujeres, had my back and I mostly healed that break up and got through it because of them and jäger bombs. We always took care of each other, took cabs, three or more of us, had our usual spots, and didn’t fuck around with guys. We went together and left together and slept over at each other’s places.  On “Chican@ prom night”, a huge night for our community, it was different. We didn’t carefully plan our night besides our outfits; we’d be with hundreds of our friends and community members.  I suppose we assumed we’d be safe. That there was no way something could happen to any of us around movement men we worked with. We didn’t plan designated drivers or anything like that, the night was predictable except for the predatory behavior of one, who now, obviously had a plan for his night.

We all went to a film premiere and then to a local bar for drinks and dancing.  He was a creep. He was drunk and sloppy and grabbing on women half his age, he wanted to dance; he wanted to celebrate and be the center of attention. Women’s attention. I left before they did. We asked around about rides and getting people home and left.

In the next two days I found out something went intolerably wrong, and I didn’t know what to think of it all. There were talking circles and whispers and meetings and time moved slowly but it  also went quickly. Inescapably slow and quick, so I have a hard time remembering each day. I think for the most part there were young women who never believed her (and still don’t), young women who always have, and those of us who thought nothing at all — who wanted to be neutral.

Neutral on rape.

The privilege of not knowing what to do and checking out. Checking out was easy. There was so much work to do as usual. Subtlety, my best friend and I combined the work we had been doing with work that needed to be done along lines of gender and sexual violence. She was more on point than I was (usually) and I basked in her energy and kind of said “fuck off” to everything else.

……

A month later after some unnecessary drama, I chose to think what everyone else in Tucson seemingly thought and I pulled the same shit my grandparents had done to me and like my former male teachers and people I looked up to,  my only concern was Ethnic Studies. What does this mean for our comunidad, our fight? In my eyes, she did something that allowed for me to minimize her almost instantly and we fought over email exchanges that were cc’d to other young folks and that was that. I was Team Ethnic Studies (how the fuck did that happen and why wasn’t  I just team myself?).

Folks around the country would call me as a respectable mujer and ask if they could show the film to raise money, they heard there was controversy and wanted to hear it from me. I would call one of my teacher/mentor from the movement and let them know and usually my answer was “yes– Yes, if I were you I’d show the movie.” I’m really struggling now with how sick it all sounds because it was all sick. But I was willing to do anything for Ethnic Studies, ANYTHING. I would’ve then and I will do as much now as long as I’m not negotiating anyone’s dignity in the process.

I remember when he called me, from Save Ethnic Studies, in a panic. He knew then the power I held so he manipulated me and convinced me she was enemy #1.

I’m just a man and I have no say in this, but you’re trucha and if she gets this around, she has eighty some page report on our community. This will destroy us.

Of course he needed me to engineer a solution, a way to exploit young people in the name of social justice education. And I was a pawn in this modern nationalist epic novel. I could be the down ass trucha home girl who was loyal to her Raza, gets arrested, cooks comida, works with the young students and is never mentioned in a history book twenty years from now. This is all so romantic to a young organizer. And I loved everyone involved in this fucked up mess. I even sat down with two women I thought would jump me with words, one being the perpetrator’s partner (I realize I haven’t mentioned that yet, yes he had/s a partner which complicated the situation even further) and tried being – neutral. When we met, she gave me a gift, a fox and chocolates. My friends told me not to do it; she wanted me to be a bridge. I am a bridge in so many ways, I understand that. If I could make peace I would but only recently have I realized that I can’t now and I couldn’t then. Even if my education taught me that I could change the world, I can’t take on every task or every hit that comes my way.

But I still did. I tried to organize a meeting with everyone at the table – all the comadres at least. Like, ‘let’s sorts this out as women.’ I was still in this mentality like it was a women’s job, my job,  to sort through shit, find what was good and exemplify behavior for our community. I do this now, but I also do shit that exemplifies anger and lust and human shit. And CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW it’s not just my job to give a shit because I’m identified as a woman? So in the end, this was all silenced. She went away, literally – she moved out-of-state and out of the country and slowly the whispers became softer and softer. Our community dragged itself forward but this became the norm for all of us. Everything that happened then and since deserves endless words and stories or lessons for future generations and this generation right now.

……

During Freedom Summer, organizing became mundane and everyday. There were moments of hope and of accomplishing what we once had but what happened and was silenced will also be told.

I had a long emotional affair that was overdue to become physical and at summer time it did. When I kissed V I thought of my friend. In feeling like a slut – it was the same friend who named us both sluts after all, I would think of her. I would also think of his girlfriend. My political analysis of what we owe one another shifted in moment’s time. When he tried to fuck me when we were drunk it was because over all of this that I was able to know anything at all about consent and that I can change my mind. I CAN CHANGE MY MIND. When I’m drunk or he’s drunk or I can change my mind whenever the fuck I want. Or I can say no or I can say yes to this and no to that and seriously HE JUST SHOULDN’T HAVE TRIED WHEN I WAS DRUNK to begin with.

……

L and C are now my friends. I think.

L and I had lunch, she poured over journals and emails and texts. We spent a day together too, she’s been around now. It makes me feel alive. It is because of her resilience and resistance that I gather the will to act. When I hug her I don’t understand how she even lets me touch her. Hug her, to be around her glowing smile or share words with me… words to share with any of us.

C, she came to an event recently, she donated ten dollars to malintZINE. She hugged me. I thought her text messages were strategy, to get me to have lunch with her, so she can rip me apart, deservingly, although that’s never been her style. If she wanted to give me a regañada, I would sit and answer whatever she needed me to for her healing. She said she respects me still. I don’t understand. I lent her a book. My copy of Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her.

“The half life of love is forever”

Maybe these things mean not much to anyone other than myself; possibly them. I have and will continue to reflect on these past few years and my own behavior. It is through my reflection that I need to account for what has happened and document. Accountability to me is speaking my truth. Acknowledging the ways in which I can and need to grow. Responsibility is challenging myself to behave in ways that will cause growth to happen. I have a responsibility to L and C to do work from here on that moves towards – NEVER AGAIN. It wasn’t through ethnic studies that I learned in lak ech, tu eres mi otro yo. But through two ethnic studies alumni, both younger than me, who offered me forgiveness and room to grow. Creating some Chicana girl code of accountability and responsibility. To taking care of each other and never assuming anyone else will.  To loving other women and loving yourself.