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There are no words to explain/Why there are 2,666 women/Lying dead in a desert

April 27, 2014




I hardly ever write anymore. Usually just fragments, sometimes in my notebook, sometimes in word or google docs. I never take the time to craft something, or finish anything I’m working on. Crystal’s birthday was this Friday, and she invited a bunch of us Olivetree Alumni to join her at Coffeed, a coffee shop (with wine and beer!) in LIC for an open mic. It was great to be around so many of my friends, and to recreate the open mics we used to have once a semester back in college.

I started writing this on the street, thinking about how Crystal and I both like Roberto Bolaño’s work, and how haunting it can be. I’ve been thinking about literature a lot lately, and especially with the news of Garcia Marquez’s passing, I am reminded of how much literature can mean to a people who’ve had their lives written out of history. This is why I studied postcolonial literature in college. I wanted to try to understand what writing the self, and writing in response and resistance to empire, means.

I went to a panel the other day as part of the Brooklyn Zine Fest. Nia King and Daniela Capistrano were there. I asked a question about the zine as ‘object’. With the explosion of blogging sites, and social media, what does the zine mean? Why does it persist? It must have to do with it as a physical object. I posted the above photos because they’re physical objects tied to this poem I started writing, and that I’ll hopefully edit and polish up. There are quotes and allusions in here, consider credit given where it’s due.

I wanted to read a poem about
Ernesto Cardenal y yo
Roberto Bolaño y tu
But there are no words to explain
Why there are 2,666 women
Lying dead in a desert
No words to explain
1,956 miles of border, barbed wire and walls
A raised scar between nations,
Open only to exchange
And pounds of flesh

There are no words to explain those
En los dos lados de la frontera
When Dalton nos dijo,
La poesia es como el pan, de todos!

The words are woven into the walls
Robbed of breath, style and substance
Dancing up and down
Haunting the last man to read them
In a room in Macondo
Awakening to an eternal return,
The inevitability of all things

Those are where the words are
Creeping through jungles
Outrunning trains filled with bananas
Bananas and the dead
Bodies filled to bursting
Piled high
They are silently watching

Pacing, hungrily
Como una puma
In the barrens of Quitratue
Waiting for us to
Sober up

I wanted to read you a poem
About love
The beautiful things
Flowers, children, tables heaped
With color and gold

I wanted to gift you with words
Palabras como amor, belleza, vida, esperanza
But those other words,
Muerte, odio, fealdad, desesperacion, pobreza
Are lying in wait for us
Obscuring tenderness
Sinking their claws into literature
Giving purpose
To poets

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