Thursday, August 10, 2006


I have not written much this week. I fear sounding whiny and ungrateful about the future when I am extremely grateful. But the truth is truth when sadness arrives... I see the tan and white adobe homes form a window of sky and happiness between a streetlight where mosquitoes gather under stars and moonlight. It's damn hot and I'm alive.

Some grass is growing for the first time in the soft soil after all the rains. Not much, just the tiniest patch is a surprise. Yards changing every day with the sun and elements.

I'm usually a packrat of paper and memory.

The past was my forte.

This past year has been my present more than ever.

Right now the future feels distant. I will discover it and embrace it once I have finished up things here. I'm feeling resistant to release my life from this beloved place.

I didn't anticipate crying today when we said good-bye.

I always assure them it's okay to cry if they need to, and this time around I stopped my tears and apologized.

No good-byes when words and memory fill our lives.

What I wish for them: healthy, safe lives. Freedom from violence. The big day of opportunity will arrive for them soon.

There is change and struggle every day.

In my life, when the big changes come, the ones that are supposed to improve my life situation, I welcome them as much as anyone. I've lived and moved all over with great happiness and excitement. This time is much more difficult because this place has become home. I don't want a release date from this place or the work I've begun here. It comes down to funding.

I suppose it is good for a writer to always desire a home and not possess.

I feel like a place cannot be possessed (although I know too well the reality of history and present day land grabs).

I should say I feel like I should not want to possess a place.

I have never felt quite home like this.

I remember the children crying 50 years ago in the greyhound bus as they left their life here for another one in another desert, a hotter place in another state. From adobe to HUD housing with indoor plumbing.

I remember this as my mother's memory.

This isn't about leaving family since my dear ones still live in Cali. I "returned" to this place of distant memories (in EPT) not my own, but somehow the most necessary in me making my own.

I didn't anticipate making my own memories. I'm past anthropology.

I haven't checked the graves in the old cemetery after the rains. I will soon.

I will keep this casita as long as I can, and return when I can.

I started this blog this summer to help me work toward what I anticipated facing right now. This has been a very trying week, and I've kept silent and trying to get thru.

I'm thinking of tortoise.

I'm thinking of love, how it is something that arrives with deep respect, through continuous struggle, with honesty, and acknowledgement. Acknowledgement of the past, present, and future--the beautiful truth, the ugly truth, and the struggle. Acknowledgement of life's tiniest warriors. Scorpions and hungry eyes. Acknowledgement is different than tolerance. Without the continuous, changing acknowledgement and struggle I believe it is difficult to truly love. Without acknowledging one's own place in it all it is difficult to love.

I never thought I would love a place as such. Perhaps place is a state of mind, but I don't believe that right now. I think I have finally experienced Aztlán, my way, without ever thinking I was searching for it as such. Mentioning Aztlán in this context does not capture exactly how I am feeling, or maybe I am shy to admit it in this way, as it has always been a concept I viewed as observer, a critical reader of texts, with acknowledgement of others through the lens of history. This is the first time I have ever thought of it in a live way that applies to me here and how I am feeling in this place, right here, right now, in El Paso, in Ysleta, in this exact neighborhood, this dirt, this sweet damp smell when I walk outside. The changing pattern of soft dirt cracking in the backyard according to the weather. The sewer smell of past summer nights. The streetwise, lifewise animal staring at me not quite mammal, part devil, thoroughly mammal, thru the window, eyes refusing to soften. The roosters a constant cry of life and the globemallow plant always grows back each rain. The kind neighbors who wave hello and goodbye and hello, the ones who remember my family here 50 years ago, the ones I wish I visited with more. International bridge just down the road but it is quiet here. It is quiet here though I know that people of all ages, especially youth, out and about, everywhere, seeking acknowledgement. This is not about myth or Aztecs.

I can say in all honesty, that this has been one of the most meaningful years in my life. Right now I'm thinking about John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Maybe because the first part of the suite, 'acknowledgement' readily comes to mind as it builds towards the other sections "resolution, pursuance, and psalm." But it's not about language. Some of it is online right here.

Peace is around us.

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