Sunday, June 18, 2006
Homes & Histories of our Ancestors
I hear the anger of young adults trying to act like the cliché of football players, and later, alone, one boy confesses he once witnessed a murder.
When asked where he lives in his self-portrait, he points to branches in the yang part of the yin yang where it looks like a cracked eggshell, blood-veins in eyes, like baked clay in desert.
The fronts of survival enter another kind of barbed wire. Reflection: waiting hours and hours for the heart and mind’s bus to come by. It's been years.
Action: tufts of angora caught in cruel fences but the goat escaped underneath... now free.
The backdrop to this much larger. Don’t know why many want to sell out and sell each other out, why many want to shop in corporate caca, like they wished they lived somewhere else but feel stuck so they want to bring what they wish they had (corporate garbage and false sense of community that gathers around marketing trends not open-air market of necessity for oranges and medicine but whatever trend needs selling to increase city tax base at the expense of destroying a community's history), what they think they’re missing, what many youth think they’re missing as too few of us teach our history and we’re still uncovering it, the continual damage of its secret.
“There’s hope for you as long as you keep on being terrified by history.”
The late Stanley Kunitz knew this first-hand.
We need leaders upon leaders of struggle, humanities, art--not more corporate crapaccino disguised as coffee.
This is about hard suck candy vs. deep kissing or thinking.
And too many presidents, politicians, non-profit and corporate leaders selling out the communities that seem to bring them shame when out-of-town families come around and want a tour of the “other” side of town. Around here, little historical value attached to adobe homes beyond the neighborhoods living in them--too few value this art form anymore, as if we were blessed with so much wood in the desert. I saw a wood-framed house under construction fragile like a paleta stick casita with poker cards taped onto its pressed skeleton, our bones stronger than the telephone wires that hold up red finches. My grandfather’s adobe will last longer than any of us as long as each new owner finds it valuable and as long as it doesn’t fall prey someday to eminent domain--eminence for dominance. Engage all community members in the political process. Leave culture in paz and help build it back up. Businessmen and politicians who pretend they care about substandard living conditions now that the land beneath housing is perceived valuable to out of town investors, friends. Is it easier to demolish homes when residents are abstract concepts, or am I too generous? Residents clear as bells they want to ring elsewhere.
Scorpions and spiders find their way in no matter what security system you install or what bored IQ hacks into my computer screen or what tyrant screams at his employees. I’m talking about the fear instilled in employees and community members, and how some college students reply ‘but that’s the government’s choice’ when questioned what they think about policies. Who taught them to submit? I’m talking about so-called allies threatening careers when we speak our minds which are bright enough to sniff out true intentions, true intentions under the guise of helping the community to ease guilt while promoting one name and one name alone while everyone else does all the work. A teenager recently asked me what the word “revolution” meant, had never heard of the Mexican Revolution or the French Revolution or the love revolution, didn’t think that anything in the world needed changing. And the overwhelming beauty of youth filled with hope and whose parents encourage this path rather than pit bull companions.
Jobs and health insurance dangled like carrots as “leaders” ride people like horses with bits in mouths and reigns in riders’ hands. Elegance and beauty in the running, in strength, before the will lost in the racing. Bosses, parents, white collars, the patriarchy, vendidos, machistas, and so-called allies expecting homage, expecting their desires be perceived as laws and anyone who questions them better watch out, better watch what they’re saying or retaliation in order for "insubordination."
Then there's the black dog in the cemetery where our ancestors buried, the dog who thought he could get to the water puddle in sticky mud but instead plopped down under a pine tree on top of a grave and rested his paws on a cool headstone, the heart beneath it gone but the paws and the heart of the dog finding it in the energy of the shade in hot El Paso day where the air is desert-still and rain clouds sharpen the sky in the p.m. We want it to rain and fall down on us as we sit here dissatisfied because all we want to do is communicate and can’t provide enough information that will help ease confusion, not push decisions like the door-to-door politician rhetoricians.
Struggle for clarity, uncover it, voice it. Anne Carson says Sappho called love “sweetbitter” not the translated “bittersweet”--in love first comes sweet then bitter not the other way around... so terribly true.
Need to learn how to love again after the bitterness. Need to help each other find the tools to communicate, think critically, struggle for change--there will always be struggle, it will never end, because there will always be fear and hate and jealousy and insecurity and hypocrisy and perceived superiority out there... the list goes on. Writing brings sweet sadness and sometimes it's sweetbittersweet or somewhere in between.
The drums of justicia beat down on the pavement--foot, feet, heat, heart. Elemental alchemy. The saxophone reed frees beauty as blue-gray sky brushes ancient and newest blush of heart, salmon beauty pumping, thumping like a fish on packed sand, tail and belly fighting for return.
Release us as we release you.
Corazons, we are heat running from sky. Heart running home.
(rant written a few weeks ago... still working on confonting my naivete. 2006 has been an education, to say the least.)