El dulce flotar de Consuelo

Recuerdo el día cuando mi abuelita Consuelo se desmayó y la sostuve en mis brazos.

Me preguntó al despertar si acaso la muerte sería como ese dulce flotar hacia el vacío que acababa de experimentar.

“Porque si así es,” me dijo con su inteligente y alegre sonrisa, “ya no le tengo miedo a la muerte.”

A ese dulce vacío voló hace un año mi abuelita.

Ahí estaremos un día, como siempre lo estamos…

Como está la casa de tejas y rayos de sol con humo de leña.

Como está su cuarto con risas de niños y paredes de santos.

Ahí, en ese vacío detrás de las memorias

donde se resuelven vivencias

donde la historia se vuelve viento

donde lo antiguo reverdece entre pájaro y grillo…

Ahí nos espera el consuelo eterno de su vela perpetua.

La quiero por siempre, Abuelita.

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The loud roaring silence

As a child, sitting at the beach of El Espino in El Salvador, I would look ahead of me and I would see a horizon where the blue water kissed the blue sky. And I would wonder about that line that divided the heaven and the ocean. It was thin—maybe not really there.

It was there just so I could see it and imagine a separation between the two. And as I tried to penetrate that almost visible barrier, I would notice that the periphery of my eyes would widen, almost as wide as the ocean. And I sat there with my small eyes, with my small mind, in this small world, almost able to hold the immensity of the ocean.

It was vast. Huge. I could not hold it in my thoughts. Any thought I begun to have about it would be washed away with that roar, with that sound, deafening all over—a busy silence. Before every thought formulated in my mind: silence. After every thought: silence. And all around the thought, that loud roaring silence of the ocean.

I crossed the border, because I am free.

Many people in this country tell me I do not belong here. I do.

They tell me to go back outside the imaginary border they set over my people, and they tell me that I should not come over here. They say they will build a wall, and that they will criminalize my existence if I live here as a free human.

I say they are wrong about this. They say that their fear of terrorism and crime justifies their wall, a wall that will keep me and other worthy humans out. I say their fear is not reason enough. Why? First, because their wall, as their border, is already a way to divide my people, to keep the poor poor, and to justify violence over the people. It has been the case ever since the conquerors divided the land by violence, rape, and enforced poverty. The borders currently existing did not evolve from the natural growth of communities. They were imposed through inhumane violence, and maintained by institutional violence.

The reason I had to come to the United States was directly because of the violence of the Reagan administration against me and my people. This is no political discourse, I demonstrated this in a US court, and it was determined that it would be a violation of human rights to expel me. I came here illegally, when all I wanted was to live in my land. But I had the right to live, so I came, I crossed the border illegally, because my right to exist and live free takes precedence over the right of the United States to draw a border.

Living here, does not make me a criminal, as many are wont to say. Living here without permission is only a misdemeanor, not even a crime according to the laws here. But the wall is designed to keep many worthy people out, like me and most people I know. It is designed, moreover, to cast a shadow over my people, to stigmatize me as illegal, as dangerous, as criminal.

Looking at today’s messages on Facebook, in just one day I have personally been called criminal, brown, ignorant, dangerous, illegal, and terrorist in the walls of at least 5 friends. All because these people commenting want to find a reason to build a wall. The wall won’t protect them against crime. Crime has always been part of the human condition. It won’t protect people from terror, for terror is executed first by those who build walls and define borders. It is meant to protect people’s prejudices and inhumane acts against the marginalized, the free, and the outsider.

I say, that all people are free to live on this earth, as it was for all our ancestors, as long as they do not thwart the rights of others.

I am a free born human being. My freedom and humanity takes precedence over any immigration law, any racist ideology, all artificial borders, and the economic interests of any nation, class, corporation, or crime syndicate.

I am a human being.

I am here.

Freedom is my home.

What the system has over you

This is an excerpt from a talk I gave at UCR on “what is a revolutionary?”:

“Forget about yourselves…it’s not about you…not about your education…not about your money…not about your wages…not about how hard it is to go to college. At the end of your lifetime, nothing that you have done, accumulated, published, is going to count; only what’s in your spirit. If at all.

It’s not about you. Change that orientation. The ‘me first’ attitude is the shackles that the system has over you. The fear of losing your lifestyle is what the system has over you.

If you have nothing to lose, what can you do? If you owe nothing to church or government, if you have no money to lose, if you don’t care about what car you drive, what kind of freedom can you have?

There has to be a deep surrender to your destiny, a deep knowledge of your personal freedom and an undying love for others. Without this, there is no real revolution. It’s just demagoguery and cheap talk…like this one.”

Soy de un charco de mierda (translated from an English article published before)

No soy americano.

Nací en el continente llamado “América,” si. Pero de alguna manera estos Estados Unidos se han atribuido el nombre del continente entero.

Ronald Reagan rebajó la categoría del resto de este magnífico continente meramente a la de ser “el patio trasero de América.”

Entonces fue cuando yo llegué aquí, a la supuesta “tierra de los libres,” cuando Ronald Reagan envió miles de millones de dólares a dictaduras militares para que usara ese dinero para violar, torturar, y masacrar a mi gente. Yo no quería venir aquí. Ay! Cuánto aborrecí este país tan repleto de restricciones, prohibiciones, y gente mantenida ignorante de su propia historia!

Ya aquí, casi ninguna de las personas que llegaba a conocer sabían donde estaba mi país. Todos parecían asumir que yo era mexicano. A excepción de los mexicanos. Ellos si sabían de donde yo era, y sabían que no podrían sentirse seguros conmigo puesto que, siendo de donde yo era, to tenía que ser un borracho, un violador, un criminal, un ladrón, y un ser humano repugnante. Pocos otros sabían de donde yo era.

Después que Reagan había ya pagado por el asesinato y tortura de 100,000 de mis compatriotas, yo pudo sentar cabeza en este baluarte de la democracia—donde yo tenía que probar a cada momento que tenía el derecho de vivir aquí, que tenía el derecho de trabajar, y pues que también alguien como yo podía tener una educación.

Donald Trump le puso la etiqueta de violadores y criminales a los mexicanos, justo en el momento que anunciara su candidatura; como para enviar la señal a su base que él iba a hacer este país grande otra vez deshaciéndose de toda la mierda humana que está hoy apestando el lugar con su español y su piel oscura y su anhelo de libertad.

No obstante, ese acto no remueve la etiqueta de mí. Después de todo, si él me llegara a conocer algún día, él pensaría que yo soy mexicano.

La verdad es que es difícil para mí decir qué es lo que soy. Nací en El Salvador, y mi tierra y mi gente son sinónimos de amor y libertad en mi corazón. Pero el país mismo es una invención de un invasor proveniente de otro continente. Su lenguaje, su religión, y sus tradiciones fueron impuestas por los invasores, nos las quemaron en el cuerpo con fuego y hogueras. Nuestra resistencia de 500 años ha dejado su marca perenne en un TEPT (trastorno por estrés postraumático) tan arraigado en nuestros huesos que no sabemos si otra forma de sentir sea posible.

Soy salvadoreño, aún si el término haya sido impuesto por España. Soy americano, aún si los Estados Unidos piensan que son dueños del nombre. Soy guanaco, aún si usted piensa que es un insulto.

No soy mexicano. Muchos mexicanos aquí me llaman “cerote”—un pedazo de mierda.

Hoy, Trump estuvo de acuerdo con ellos. Hoy, él dijo que no entendía por qué los izquierdistas insistían en traer gente de esos países charcos de mierda.

Soy un pedazo de mierda de un país charco de mierda en el patio trasero de Ronald Reagan.

Y, de todos modos, estoy aquí. Y vengo de la Tierra de la Joya, del Cuzcatlán, del último bastión de la resistencia.

Estoy aquí y aquí me quedo para transformar esta tierra, este continente entero, a lo que en realidad es: la madre tierra en proceso de despertar.

Tal vez sea para usted un pedazo de mierda de un país charco de mierda, pero yo en usted y en mi y en todos veo la verdadera luz plateada de la mente vacía, la liberación del pasado, la gloria del Nuevo Sol que anuncia la venida del ser humano verdadero. Estoy aquí para compartir ese futuro con usted, querido lector, sin odio en mi corazón, sin resentimiento, y sin ninguna etiqueta que devolverle.

I come from a “shit-hole”

I am not an American.

I was born in the continent known as “America”, yes. But somehow this United States has given itself the name of the entire continent.

Ronald Reagan demoted the rest of this magnificent continent to the mere “Backyard of America.”

That’s when I came here, to the “land of the free,” when Ronald Reagan sent billions of dollars to military dictators so they could use the money to rape, torture, and massacre my people. I didn’t want to come here. Oh, how I hated coming to this land so full of restrictions, prohibitions, and people kept so ignorant of their own history!

Once I came here, almost no one I met knew where my country was. They all assumed I was Mexican. Except for Mexicans. They knew where I was from, and knew they couldn’t trust me because if I was from where I was, I had to be a drunk, a rapist, a criminal, a thief, and a repulsive human being. Few others ever knew where I was from.

After Reagan was done paying for the killings and tortures of 100,000 of my people, I was able to settle in this bastion of democracy–where I had to prove at every turn that I had the right be here, that I had the right to work, and that someone like me, too, could be educated.

Donald Trump gave the label of rapists and criminals to Mexicans, right when he announces his candidacy; so as to signal to his people that he will make this country great again by getting rid of all the human shit that is now stinking up the place with their Spanish and their colored skin and their desire for freedom.

However, that doesn’t remove the labels from me. After all, if he ever met me he would think I am Mexican.

The truth is that it is hard for me to say what I am. I was born in El Salvador, and its land and people are synonyms with love and freedom in my heart. But the country itself is an invention of an invader from another continent. Its language, its religion, its traditions all were imposed by the invaders, burned into us with fire and cauldrons. Our 500 year old resistance has left its mark in a perennial PTSD so ingrained in our bones that we don’t even know any other way of feeling is possible.

I am Salvadoran, even if the term was imposed by Spain. I am American, even if the US thinks they own the name. I am güanaco, even if you think it’s an insult.

I am not Mexican. Mexicans call me “cerote”–a piece of turd.

Today, Trump agreed with them. Today, he said he didn’t understand why liberals want to bring people from those shit-hole countries.

I am a piece of turd from a shit-hole country in the backyard of Ronald Reagan.

Yet, I am here. And I come from the Land of the Jewel, Cuzcatlan, the last bastion of resistance.

I am here to stay, and to change this land, this entire continent, into what it truly is: the mother land in the process of awakening.

You may see in me a turd from a shit-hole country, but I see in you and me and all the true silver light of the empty mind, the freedom from the past, the glory of the New Sun that heralds the coming of the True Human Being. I am here to share that future with you, my reader, without hatred in my heart, without resentment, and without any names to hurl back at you.

TPS rescinded for 200,000 Salvadorans

“Los tristes más tristes del mundo…” — Roque Dalton

Today I rage.

I cry.

I speak to no one.

Today I raise my voice,

loud against the roaring ocean of time.

Today I remember that nothing changes.

Today I’ll wonder all day

What am I doing in this remote land

so proud of her false history

and so used to her frozen heart.

———————————

(200,000 law abiding Salvadorans will be deported after legally being allowed to work and live in this country.

190,000 US born citizens are the children of these TPS recipients soon to be deported. Are these children going to be separated from their families when the parents are deported, or will they be uprooted from the only country they’ve known, sent to a society where they don’t know the language and face poverty and crime? This is a conundrum each family has to face.

Keep in mind, these are no criminal gang members. They have been living and paying taxes in this country for up to 20 years. Their children are US citizens.

Today, once again, I am ashamed of the government we have chosen to represent us. I am ashamed of holding citizenship in this country led by a xenophobic, racist, homophobic, and hope crushing government. Shame on you, Donald Trump, and shame to all the money hungry predators and other spineless sycophants that surround you).

The city awakens

I talked to doves coming down to nest from the dormant volcano of my youth. Sometimes, I walked up the volcano and sit at the summit to watch the city before sunrise. Silence reigns at this time, yet the noises of the creatures of the jungle were there accentuating the silence: some crickets, a few barking dogs, and sometimes noises that I cannot describe. With the Sun came the calls of the proud roosters, the humming of the factories, and the cars going to work. Someone screams in the distance, and someone laughs farther away. A few isolated movements appeared. Then, the sounds began to copulate and mount one another. Suddenly, the cacophony of sound and movement begin to become two, three pitches, two sounds, until only one sound remained. The sound resultant was the humming of the beginning of creation, and with eyes closed then I became one with the humming of a city that was awakening.

Those little worlds floating around.

I find myself at the age of six, walking down a corridor in my grandmother’s house. I wake up before the sun rises and I stare at the ceiling. I watch the light of the morning dawn filter through the rooftop. I witness millions of tiny little worlds floating around, dancing with the sounds of birds and barking dogs, as crickets were just finishing their song and their life. I breathe in the air and though I do not see it, I know that these tiny little dots I see through the Sun beam rush to get into me, and I wonder how many worlds come into me and what happens to them. Do they die? Do they collide? Do they become? Do they not notice it? Do they become me? And if they become me, do they then wonder what happens to all of those little worlds floating around, riding the currents of the solar tides?