Thursday, September 03, 2020

Five Questions

What were the best five lives,

the best five big bangs

the best five galaxies

the best five universes

the best five suns

the best five worlds

the best five centuries

the best five decades,

the best five years,

the best five months,

the best five days,

the best five hours,

the best five minutes,

the best five seconds

of a moment

of your family?

If you hear creaking mattresses

in the night of your home

is it ghosts or the orgasms

of unrequited lovers?

How many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandma’s, grandpa’s, aunts, uncles

have given their lives

so that you may have a shot at happiness?

What happens to you

when you see old photographs

of your ancestors,

do you fall in love with them

or do you wish they could tell you their stories?

Do you know

your grandmother’s favorite colors,

her birthdate,

the name of her first boyfriend,

if she loved someone other than your grandfather

and never left?

Will you be like her,

give birth to twelve children

with a man she may not love?

Will your love be that strong to survive anguish and wars?

My grandmother taught me

that my success was the offspring

of 1000 relatives and ancestors

who failed,

who struggled,

who suffered

and only knew happiness

as a legacy she, he, they gave to me.

I carry the anguish of thousands in my bones,

I get to smile, laugh, be nourished, be hopeful,

because they had no happiness,

only disease, deaths, harsh work

and tender lovemaking that birthed dead or dying children.

All my ancestors are light as an orgasm,

as deep as my belly laughs,

as clear as my tears.

When my grandmother tried to choke to death her husband

she was trying to kill the woman she never became.

She was a woman who loved women,

who loved me,

who loved plants and seeds,

who took care of all children

– because no child could be illegitimate –

who only believed in horizons

and where the waterfalls were her prayer beads.

She said:

You will become a revolutionary of love,

a revolutionary to destroy solitudes,

to resurrect all the old ones who didn’t make it

because they harvested someone else’s crops,

tilled their lands for other people,

who were killed by work and hate,

whose love was never honored,

whose lives mattered because they, she, created more life and lives.

My grandmother said she did not have children so that they would be slaves.

She had children so that they would have lives, not hers, their own.

And she would live in us, in me,

in whatever life we chose

and she would be free, lazy, drinking coffee,

have more free time to debate Protestants

and make her body the theology of the future.

My grandmother made love, made children, made a new god of her body…

[September 2013 | Oakland, Califaztl√°n, Ohlone Territory]

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