Tuesday, June 22, 2010

3 poems from the border...

i'm a little more raw than expected and not able to completely explain my experience yet. but i did have 3 spoken word pieces that came out of my time in Arizona and I thought I'd share 2 of them.
-hands full of baptism-

the only radio stations you get
this deep in the desert
play Christian & ranchera music, respectively.
floating through the airwaves are stories of redemption
& love,
both heavenly & earthly.
but only half of them make any sense to me.

sleeping in a desert that's always moving,
yet always quiet,
i only understand half the stories anyways.
the barriers here are unintelligible.
this great nation has woven intricate borders
between us
made of language & idealogy & money & hate
& sealed with barbed wire & promises.
it catches at your heart & keeps you stuck,
like some man-made desert plant
that needs ugly soil to grow.

give me the honest desert,
the space between borders,
where time slips away
& you're not entirely sure
who you are
where you've come from.
i want to leave
the land of beer & honey
for a space
where water baptizes survivors & victims alike
& where we remember our dead
in places as everlasting as mountains,
& just as beautiful.

let us not run from the harshness.
let us bleach our souls in the desert sun
until our ragged hearts are clean.
let us walk without stopping
into a land which doesn't belong to us alone
but which contains our ancestors
our friends
our enemies
our future,
a land where the sun beats down
on the just & unjust.
let us step out of the shadows
with dirty faces,
bleached hearts,
& hands full of baptism.

stepping out into the harsh light of truth,
we look like a busted-up army of seekers.
nobody knows we've got a map on our body
that says where we are & where we're headed together.
all we have to do is face the rising sun
to find our brothers & sisters
& ignore every border we see.
from there, we will tell our stories into the air,
until they form a song all their own,
more beautiful than any airwaves could capture,
& more lasting.

-what i can say when i don't speak your language-

here's a list of things i can say in Spanish:
i'm sorry,
ice cream,

compared to the way words trip off my tongue,
these confines are immense
& reduce me to child-like sentences
& chaplin-esque hand gestures.

but when i look again,
i can say a lot
of what i to tell you,
stuck as you are,
between your world & mine.
i can say:
"i'm sorry."
"your heart is right where you left it."
"feed your revolution with love & food & mercy & water
& leave everything else to la migra.
they're bound to take it anyways."

looking at it that way,
it's all the vocabulary i'll ever need.

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