Narratives of Silence

I fail to fear the consequences of exclusion, for those who cannot
deal with the fact that I spit truth and fire with my tongue, were
never meant to be a part of my life

In the battlefield of narratives we can make a conscious effort to
tell truth from our perspective or alter it in our private interest.
The narrative is always in relation to the past and it continuously
reaffirms our identity no matter how tarnished it is. Meaning that in
order to survive, find strength, or safety, we modify the reality of
our past to fit our present needs. However, in modifying our narrative
we oppress and silence those who lived the same experience, never
getting to express their truth–reality as they lived it.

Therefore let us not prioritize the importance of individual memory
but that of a collective memory, preserving the voice of those who’ve
been forced into silence by those who fail to include and/or to listen
to their narratives. Narratives filled not simply by the conjunction
of words, but composed by lived experiences.  And in the face of truth
and justice, if we rely on a single story we become more likely to
rely on those who alter narratives in their private interest to
reflect their present needs because their past in relation to truth
and reality at some point became unbearable enough in the necessity to
lie–a careful and intentional alteration to distort truth for their
own benefit.

The past holds an intangible sense of space that continuously
reaffirms our present identity, but always in relation to others;
therefore creating spaces that are nevertheless highly affective.
Spaces that are shaped by feelings in conjunction to those who once
shared and lived an experience with us, part of a collective truth,
but now choosing to exclude collectivity and asserting power by
imposing silence.

In choosing to silence those who at some point shared a sense of space
in collective truth we transform the past from an intangible space to
one of a reality. The detriment in the pervasive power to exclude
narratives is one that relates to historical erasure based on a
hegemonic stance to maintain power by unmistakably avoiding discussing
truth in a collective manner. And those who are willing to inscribe
into a false consciousness and internalize what they hear as truth
without ever questioning its factuality become manipulated into a
false past and actively participate in the exclusionary visions of
truth for the sake of support, but rendering into false assumptions.
Such narratives might be met with support or resistance. And
resistance usually comes from those who have been silenced and framed
as antagonistic, while support will more than likely come from those
who assume an imaginary neutral position and fail to actively seek a
desire for collective truth.

In the act of unquestionably accepting someone else’s story we are
actively participating in the silencing of someone else’s lived
experience that becomes othered. And if we agree that silencing the
other is an act of violence, the act of failing to listen to a
collective truth is an act of violence itself. There is no neutrality
in the battlefield of narratives, just like there is no neutrality in
the battlefield of social justice–either we chose to oppress or fight
against it. Now ask yourself the following question, how do you
actively participate and perpetuate the cycle of silence?

Keep Ya Head Up

When the fears start to reveal themselves, but your no longer afraid you’re just so sad it took you this long to understand. Then the tears run down your face because of all the pain you put yourself through, and you wonder how you managed to pretend you were so strong when clearly you were wrong. It’s like a self-inflicted wound that gives you ecstasy, but drains and brings along so much pain after the fact. But no one is there to kiss your scars, and until you find a way to love yourself in the aftermath of this craziness you’ll never allow anyone to come close enough to. You’ll spend your life pretending. Not trying to pretend, but you’ve become so disoriented that any idea of comfort or love fills the void he left when he took your most prized possession.

You go over and over it in your mind, blame falls on yourself each time. Because society tells you it’s your fault you got drunk, and that you wanted it. So you feel at a loss and things no longer feel the same. You’re in search of an emotion you can’t describe or never had, see he took away that chance too. You begin to look for that love and connection in every encounter you have. Although with each encounter you feel more and more drained and your energy and aura are no longer the same. Some will lie and you’ll fall for it, and it will make you feel even more lost when you discover your illusions have fallen ill. It becomes so bad to the point you feel it’s best to be alone, but the inner innocence that is still left in you tells you that there is more out there, there must be.

The dreamer in you believes in hope that someday women won’t ever have to go through this, and men will cherish the creators of this world. That the patriarchal society will someday break, and things go back to the natural order. That people won’t judge what they won’t ever come close to understanding being that, that person can’t even begin to figure themselves out, because a big piece of them was taken. Losing all self-worth one day I hope they will begin to see their true selves. I hope one day I’ll be able to see my true self.

Damned Ignorance

They peddle the documentary DVDs
like political leaflets, presenting them proudly
as they solicit support and monetary contributions
for the cause.
They are vending a symbol of gender subjugation;
a film that is stained with allegations of sexual assault;
assertions that were muffled; claims that were
minimized; and cries that were choked in the name
of the cause.
They have contaminated the cause and
have even attempted to hijack it.
Damned Ignorance!
Does the end justify the means?
No, not here!

The cause.
We were all clear
about our cause.
It was wrapped around keeping our precious
Mexican American Studies courses that
enable our youth to gain relevant knowledge
to successfully catapult forward in a
self-awareness.
Remember?
Students were and are at the
center of the cause; at least for us.
After all, what we learn is empty
without knowing who we are.
MAS courses allowed all content that
was learned to stream through a perspective
that brought definition to it.
We honored one another (In lak ech)
in our learning spaces.

The film was meant to tell the story of this cause,
in truth (panche be) through student and teacher voices.
The film was meant to offer protection to our youth from
further oppression through our united voices.
The film was meant to help rescue our perspective.
All of these voiced intentions were merely propaganda
upon which nothing but exploitation ultimately took place.
The intentioned promises were all broken.
We knew that the antagonists- Horne and Huppenthal-
and others with like-lower consciousness, were the ones
with the scheme to remove the Mexican American perspective
from anything taught, keeping us forever bound
in Damned Ignorance.

Gradually, as most revelations occur, it became clear
that our cause was not at the focus of saving ethnic studies.
Internal antagonists within our movement took on an assault
within our trusted movement.
A deep contamination of the cause took place through

the elevation of male egos;
the Frankenstein-like creation of a hate-based attack blog;
the exclusion of womyn in decision making;
excessive consumption of alcohol at functions;
the persistent exploitation of young womyn;
intimidation tactics to silence any word of sexual assault;
the lining of pockets with total lack of accountability;
excuses for a man with a known and legal record of domestic violence;
cheap and wrongly founded blog attacks on activist womyn;
a “destroy all-nuclear” strategy in the event of legal defeat – one that has  embraced  loss and proclaimed the death of MAS;
the ill formed notion that one segment of the movement was
thee movement;

and the list goes on ad nauseam.

With the many unfolding revelations,
many left the corner of deception, misogyny
and Damned Ignorance.
Energy shifted within the movement.
We stand here
NOW united.
And the external and internal
antagonists, alike in so many ways,
are all recognized
for what and who they are and
what they have done.
The recognition itself is a form of accountability.

The cause is the path;
not the tyrannical attorney;
not the regressive blogger,
whose multiple muddles
have minimized him from three to zero;
not the moth-eaten sexist bato activists who
desire nothing more than to resurrect their egos;
not the documentary that epitomizes
the drastic wrong turn on this path.

The cause is the path on which most of us have remained.
The path is clearer and conviction is more solid.

this is what the worship of silence looks like

“White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged to feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; Mass media is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to ‘protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat.’ This is what the worship of death looks like.”  ~ bell hooks on George Zimmerman

Malintzin, malinche, mala. Vendida o vendio?

We are not co-opting our movement. We are not dividing our movement. We are not defeating our movement. We are making our movement stronger, better, more durable and able to stand defiantly alongside our values of social justice and  openly confront and dismantle all forms of oppression. Our words may be hard to look at, may be hard to swallow, are not pretty and may make you shudder with unease but are essential in all periods of growth and reflection. Yes, we will be the reflectors of things that go bump in the night and make your heart go pitter-patter. That boogeyman, the cucuy of all those silent screams in the darkest midnight hours from all the womyn who absolutely collapsed from the inside out because no one had faith in her words, because capitalism doesn’t have faith in womyn and capitalism is a sickness we breath into our lungs each and every day.

It’s not about trying to change other people, it’s about building what we want with those who want it too, and not building for the sake of something so light as egos, but building for something that honors all things, all Life, all us- we who have a spark of life in them and who want that spark to grow. This is to those people, who I know sometimes feel that they litter the lands with dreams that they are forced to walk over and over and over.  But those dreams keep lifting, by their own weight they float, and this is to Life we know that wants the better things to grow.

Its 2013 and we have no justice. It’s important to remember the realities of our ancestors, the “justice” system in this country has never and will never protect us. It didn’t protect Trayvon Martin, it didn’t protect Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, Saleh Elamareen, Brisenia Flores, Carlos Lamadrid, Aiyana Stanley-Jones or Emmett Till. It will certainly never deliver justice to queer womyn of color like us. When and where did we learn to sell out our sisters to protect our ideals? Fuck that, remember who you are, who we are and where we have been. Our legacy of love, rage, sadness, dignity and strength we inherit through our mother’s blood and tears. We are no longer silent and we are not going back. We are growing. We are many. We are strong.  We are not afraid. We are walking the walk and talking that talk. We love ourselves, we love you and this struggle, this resistance, this transformation. We always have and we always will. We are dedicated, we will not back down.  We are your sisters, your mothers, your aunties, your wives, your lovers, your friends, your comrades. We are valid and we are right. We are crazy and we are telling the truths. Don’t ignore us, don’t cut us down, don’t fuck with us or you will only be fucking yourself.

This is to all those (all of them: birds, crickets, rivers, all of them) who want the profane death to stop. How is it that those who want death seem to hold all the power and we have none? Because we forget that our allegiance is with all of Life, All of it.  And all of Life is in alliance with us, so we should stop forgetting, and start again Honoring all that is and could be, was, will be. All of Life wants to live, Trust in that.  

This is for Saleh Elamareen, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, last wintertime in Palestine,  16 years old, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers (identities unknown) funded by U.S. Government money while walking along the Apartheid Wall in the Aida Refugee Camp which is now literally hemmed in – like curbside in front of your house – on three sides by this Israeli/U.S. military wall – sniper towers and all. In Palestine the United States government is paying to see death and to see destruction, and it’s a sickness because the U.S. government is trying to destroy the Palestinian people and they have no right to do this, to profane anothers’ sacred land and ways.

This is for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez,  16 years old, shot 9 times in the back by  U.S. Border Patrol agents – Identities Still Unknown despite camera footage in the possession of the FBI which is “currently undergoing” a 9month+ (and counting) thorough investigation into the matter with their associates, the Border Patrol. Jose was walking beneath the Wall on the hill dividing Nogales between two colonial governments called the United States and Mexico between whom money flows like bullets do, like drugs do, like war does, and like lies do too

This is for Trayvon Martin, 17 years old, shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman calls 911 to report “a suspicious person” in the neighborhood. He is instructed not to get out of his SUV or approach the person. Zimmerman disregards the instructions. Moments later, neighbors report hearing gunfire. When police arrived they reported finding Zimmerman standing near Martin, who was lying face down in the grass and unresponsive. Zimmerman acknowledges that he shot Martin, claiming it was in self-defense. Zimmerman was found not guilty.

Remember.   Remember.

This is for

All those who suffer

With hope for a better day

This is for Justice which we know is due, and whose debt must be paid.

Our words speak for all these stories and more, stories projected out through the media to further instill in us  a sense of defeat- a sense that we cannot protect our sons and daughters.
We speak in order to counter these stories regurgitated through mainstream media only meant to remind us, justice will not come for folks like us.
And our words speak for all those stories which never left their community, which never left mouths, which only remained in silence.

Attn: Voices Needed

Voices Needed
Because that one time at the bar you felt it was okay to go up my skirt with your hand
Because my drink made me sloppy drunk with a few sips
AND you took advantage
Voices Needed
Because community peeps for ‘social justice’ feel that it’s okay to support a rapist instead of their semillas
Because that movie tells ‘our’ story ‘so beautifully’
AND semillas need sunlight to grow… NOT… shade…
Voices Needed
Because young girls can get raped because they ‘drank too much’, ‘wore that dress’ and ‘were looking for action’
Because those beautiful wombyn find ways to stop their breath
AND they need to keep on…going….
Voices Needed
Because sexism, misogyny, and patriarchy are ‘not a big deal’ and make us ‘lose focus’
Because movements need to keep moving and ‘your shit is a roadblock’;  ‘you’re a manhater’
AND we raise and love men
Voices Needed
Because our stories continue to be questioned
Because we are told, ‘Police report please’ and ‘be consistent with your story’
AND our traumas, our fears are carried so deep inside us nothing… comes… out
Voices Needed
Because I can go on and on with these stories
Because you think you know who wrote this yet it is not who you think because these stories. feelings. are common…
AND they need to be STOPPED. SUPPORTED.
KEEP USING YOUR VOICES.
WE HEAR YOU!

Rest In Peace

Rest in peace.

Past midnight when the sun is no where in sight
There lies the struggle to maintain the fight
Don’t give in don’t stop the try
Tears turn dry I can’t cry I won’t cry
Trying constantly to paint rainbows in the sky
Ghetto streets turn dry as blood spills in endless crime
I can try to paint the rainbows but the ghetto vibes will turn it dry & they will just cry

Dress

She used to wear a dress
                And her dolls watched as she danced
                                And the sun smiled upon her, and her light was bright
People would come and go
                And tell her she was pretty
But HE stayed
                Told her she was pretty too
                                Wanted to show her just how much
HE liked the way her dress was easy
                HE could go in and out
                                Unseen
                                                Not even her dolls watched
But she could feel it ALL
                She could feel her light go out
                                Every time she wore a dress
 
Then HE turned into SHE
 
SHE saw her
                Small and scared
                                And told her she could help
SHE held her in the dark
                Told her not to tell
But she could still feel it ALL
                She lost her light there in the dark
                                And began to disappear
Then days turned into months, and months turned into years
 
She didn’t own a dress
                And never slept in the dark
She learned to live without having to feel anything
                Until
She met the one who turned her light back on
                The one who told her it was ok to be pretty
                                The one who held her hand when things turned black
And with this love, her light began to shine again
                But
She was still afraid of the dark and never wore a dress
             But
She was still afraid of the dark and never wore a dress

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