Poets for Ayotzinapa 2

Anylu

(Anylu Hinojosa – Ayotzinapa)

1: Names to Faces

Row after row, 43 stares aim out from behind the till at fruit shops, from newspaper pages, from thousands of placards, from every second post on every second Facebook feed.

Kids who slept on cardboard mattresses on cold floors. Kids whose shared extension leads tangled like vines out of the walls. PSP addicts. Novice heavy metal guitarists.

Kids who fueled study binges with Fritos and Pinguinos from the small grocery stores. Kids who grew crops from dry fields. The killed grass like so much raw wool.

Kids from the poorest states of a brutally unequal country. Kids who sometimes didn’t even speak Spanish before they enrolled at the Escuela Normal Raul isidro Burgos, Ayotzinapa.

The Normal is more than just a teacher training college. For its scholarship students, the school a bridge out of generations of subsistence farming. For budding activists, the school is a revolutionary hotbed: Mexico’s Che Guevara, Lucio Cabañas, is the school’s most famous alumnus.

Until September 26, 2014, the normalistas were best known for stealing buses to drive to protests.

The practice was so widespread that bus companies turned a blind eye.

As of last September 26, though, Ayotzinapa has joined the grim atlas that maps Mexico’s recent past. Tlatelolco. Acteal. Aguas Blancas. Atenco. Juárez. The ABC fire. El Halconazo. Tlatlaya. San Fernando.

That night, normalista students hijacked a bus with the apparent aim of driving to Mexico City to attend that year’s Tlatelolco commemoration. A focal point on Mexico’s protest calendar, the annual gathering marks the night in 1968 when the Mexican army opened fire on protesting students.

The students’ route was to take them through Iguala. María de los Angeles Pineda, wife of then-mayor José Luís Abarca, was due to give a speech in Iguala that night. The speech was widely looked on as being her bid to succeed her husband in office.

Iguala is a narcomunicipio. Three of Pineda’s brothers – two are dead – are known leaders of the Guerreros Unidos cartel, which has taken over many of the duties of the local police. Bélicos, they call them. They wear uniforms. They carry guns. They look like police. They act like police. They aren’t police. The whole protect and serve thing doesn’t really happen.

Iguala is a medieval fiefdom, except in 2014. The ruling couple’s acquisitions in the town included a mall built on land donated by the Mexican army. Pineda has in the past threatened to cut journalists’ ears off. Abarca himself is accused of shooting local activist Arturo Hernández Cardona in the face.

You don’t interrupt these people lightly.

You don’t even do it by accident.

Tipped off by a bus driver, a blockade of uniformed men was waiting for the students to pass through Iguala. They opened fire. And not in the air like before.

When the students and other bus passengers fled, the men in uniforms followed them. 90 minutes later, six people lay dead – one with his face cut off – and 20 were wounded.

Another 43 have not been seen since.

 

chairs

 (Livia Radwanski – Untitled [Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa])

 

Horacio Lozano Warpola – Three Poems

 

I
Where I’m from it’s normal to vanish.

One day, as you make your way to school or work,
somebody decides your freedom’s worth a damn.
After this, it’s normal never to be seen again.

Shooting-star type of thing.

So where do the disappeared go?
The same place as shooting stars?

Where I come from it’s normal
to hope you’ll see those stars again.

 

II

Where I’m from bodies turn up in secret graves.

The rains drag their smell over hillsides.
Their neighbours know this smell well
And so they go put some tortillas on a pan

And heat these to ash patties
Until one smell cancels another
For a little while.

Although of course the first smell
soon creeps back again.

 

III

If I were a riot policeman I’d name every one of the little shits I hit for work

If I were a riot policeman I’d go live in the forest and swap my nightstick for a flannel shirt

If I were a riot policeman I’d cultivate a yen for peaceful marching

If I were a riot policeman I’d sell my badge and hat, buy a few chickens on a spit, polish my C.V.

If I were a riot policeman I’d take up ballet to learn that my body is mine and mine alone and not like anybody else’s

If I were a riot policeman I’d conduct torrid affairs with anarchist girls

If I were a riot polieman I’d write smoke poems with tear gas

If I were a riot policeman I’d hit the nearest beach, feel the sand between my toes, feel proud to wear Speedos

If I were a riot policeman I’d pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming

If I were a riot policeman I’d use all my gear to re-enact Star Wars

If I were a riot policeman I’d be covered in bruises shaped like desert islands

If I were a riot policeman I’d cry every night after work

If I were a riot policeman the thoom of Molotovs would shake my inner child up out of his nightmares

(Translated by Tim MacGabhann)

 

David Guillermo Soules – Avant-Garde

 

In the afternoon we went out among the dustclouds

with measured step / chest

throbbing

– a hoarse silence

took us prisoner –

Eyes puffy from so much sun.

A weapon tatooed on our wrists.

 

In step with nostalgia’s drumbeat.

Fingernails staked into the earth.

 

That was when we saw what’s never seen

a wink forked across the sky

a whip that stung across us

the torrid impulse of those who are not dead

but fallen.

(Translated by John Z. Komurki) 

 

Carmen Zenil – here, the wind turns

i prefer eclipse
i can’t stand the sight of blood
i can’t cry in human words

words beat themselves quiet
against a wadded gag
no turn of phrase can jink past

*

freedom’s a beaten child standing
in a burned orphanage
but her manuscripts won’t burn

*

from her notes:
the behind-the-back tricks
death pulls on life

the eyes that wince from light
this body that flinches at heat

*

i wanted words on a new page
while this moment held
while my country trembled in the cold
while my hand could keep steady

so the cry went inwards,
crossed hills and valleys,
walked through a besieged city

i work until i thaw, burn

*

here, places shed their names
ashes drown
the hills are graves

here, the gods are stone
and there are no phoenixes

*

here, the wind turns
among vanished faces

*

but here, too,
poems don’t burn
love won’t burn
these ties can’t burn

*

the words’ hot quick sting
coming out

might die like sparks
when the wind lifts

*

the wind is like an animal

*

here
there are words
you mustn’t say
and mustn’t hear

*

i hope this wind will turn
and lift
and chase

(Translated by Tim MacGabhann)

 

Captura de pantalla 2015-02-18 a la(s) 09.51.54

(Andrea Arroyo – 43 Wings
Ink, paper, public performance, New York City
Photo: Irene Ortíz)

 

Krsna Sánchez – The Government’s Sweet Lie

 

On the table was a sugar skull. Its candy jaw brilliant and grainy. Red spirals unreeled around the empty sockets. A glazed flower bedecked its nape. On its forehead was the name Mexico written in tricolor letters.

“This is all we’ll find from the missing,” said the Attorney General, emphatically, without a quiver.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

2: 43

The question is why this matters. Why, in a country where 100,000 have died and 30,000 have disappeared since 2006, 43 people matter so much. Why, in a state where the hills are studded with burn-sites and mass graves, the hunt for the 43 has been so tireless.

The missing 43 mark the point where too much starts.

Their disappearance has shed light on the murky nexus between organized crime bélicos and municipal police; on a government pantomime that’s satisfied to match any names to any bodies if it’ll make everyone stop asking about the police.

Row after row, count to 43. Old eyes, young faces.

43 nicknames.

Smart kids: Copia, for his memory; Pila, for his late-night working habits.

Big kids: Chukyto, because he wasn’t ito at all; Comelón, who always had a packet of biscuits open; El Komander, for a tough exterior – inherited from his cousin, Lucio Cabañas – that hides his love of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Kids and their younger brothers and cousins: Charra, Magallón, Chivo. Kids who look like cartoon characters: Shaggy, Pato, El Espaíder. Kids who look like the state governor, like Aguirrito, and who beg for a different nickname.

Barely visible to begin with, their disappearance has made them impossible to ignore.

The missing 43 are everywhere and nowhere at once.

 

Mónica Hernández – Two Poems

 

Untitled

 

The one with brown hair nods-off-drow-zy

on the bus.

It’s a girl who’s felt 43 for hundreds.

I don’t know if she’s going too far

or if she’s chatting in the early dawn.

“They say that’s why they took out the bridges,

to avoid buildups of things:

From trash to people,”

says the man sleeping beside her.

 

Magical-Political Youth

 

Give me something magical, you say.

I give you a unicorn and a police officer holding a plush truncheon.

Give me something shiny, you say.

I give you a pug dressed like E.T. and bangs full of glitter.

Give me something blooming, you say.

I give you Lana del Rey’s head and a PRI-PAN-PVEM-PT-CUZITSU tongue

Give me something stellar, you say.

I give you an astronaut cat and a satellite head

Tell me something violent, you say.

I tell you, love, a kiss.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

jack littt

(Jack Little – [Visual Poem]) 

 

Dylan Brennan – and what is my heart

(a radical reworking of the Irish Medieval poem The Mothers’ Lament at the Slaughter of the Innocents)

 

and a woman said:

my breasts are milkless

my eyes are damp

my skeleton is frail it rattles

and what I want is this:

I want you to kill me

to kill me now instead

and another woman said:

what am I without my child

and what is my heart

from this day till the last

a cold clot of blood

 

Edgar Lacolz– They Came

 

First they came for the dealers on the corner. But I didn’t care, because I wasn’t a dealer. Then they came for their kickbacks. And I did not speak out, because they didn’t ask me for a kickback. Then they disappeared men, women and children. And I didn’t care, because I didn’t know them. Then they came to take power. I didn’t speak out, myself, because I am not powerful. They’re still there right now, but we are finally figuring out that we’ve always had it figured out, and things can’t go on like this.

(Translated by John Z. Komurki)

 

Edwin A. García – Children of the Earth

 

The earth, a last embrace

of rugged and sterile affection.

The earth, a mother

tucking in her children before bed.

The earth does not discriminate,

but only absorbs.

The cries escape when the shovel finds

pearled flashes shine in the open tomb.

Lives, names…

dust and bone.

To go back to the land of the socially unable:

to change a number for a face—

if you’ve fared well.

The earth is generous and vile.

She gives rest to battered bodies,

but brushes off their families.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

jorge iz

(Jorge Izquierdo – Untitled)

 

Francisco Aguilar Rosas – Ayotzinapa

 

The mouth’s darkness

swallowed

forty-three

bitter tears

 

and spat up

fifteen-thousand

pairs of feet

crying out for justice

in Ayotzinapa.

 

The eyes

and lenses

bark

invisible and

reddened

in the eardrums

of dancers

 

beating the rhythm

of ire

 

they let loosen the rein

 

and the weeping

the fear

the pallor

the tempest

of panic

set off

 

amok

with a hand

in the air

or a pocket

fisted

numb

 

and the full

certainty

that blue

can lead

to red.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

Sandrah Mendoza – PUZZLE 43

 

I am the Mediterranean dusted with snow a torn

up sheet of paper crying to the stars for justice

the palpitating density of my perpetual blood

that becomes the ink of a polymorphous

octopus when I write]

I rustle between the frenetic time of my generations

I am the savage poppy whose

pores foam rage for my

brothers I shout and sob

(43 times, each morning)

my spine has been rotted

by the damp song of mother earth

and a wind from the mothers (43, each morning)

because they know that bones don’t

flower when they’re so gravely out of tune

and not even torrential rain can blur the suffering

nor make the innocent guilty,

because the essence of truth is conscious.

I am the celestial firefly that blows thousands into pieces

retina distracted by puddles of hell

but this time there’s really no fear in the streets

we all see each other go out naked, with only our souls as raincoats

exposing our tendons and voices to veteran snipers.

I don’t want any more dead people…

I don’t want any more dead people sleepwalking round my grave!

Why will our house be at peace, then, all this life

of the yahoos who strung up

delirium and did not extinguish the hope

of those who blew up, cementing

the connection between jellyfish.

I don’t want my poets stuffed or numb

I want them awake among planetary satelites

although it always sounds like incoherence

because I am she who flies among ants

and I was born in nineteen ninety poetry

although today they strive to silence us as in prehistory

but the barbarity isn’t now it’s from before

from the chronicles that set off from a red and bitter afternoon

I am made of minute hands shouting out for justice

(43 times the clock turns)

I am made of a locomotive

sound I will never repress because

there is no more murderous absence

than that of a voice

extinguished in the silence of the sirens…

We – cannot – go – on – like – this,

/ stagnant /

standing there among the same

when we are the dancers who can launch

fireworks from our mouths

and light up the essence of this nation that seems so broken

and that proclaims

I – don’t – deserve – this.

I don’t want a curfew

or to pertain to an anesthetized people

that no longer flowers.

(Translated by John Z. Komurki) 

 

nora 43 final

 (Nora Linares)

 

Lauri García Dueñas– Thirteen

(Tim MacGabhann’s translation of/ poem-in-dialogue-with Lauri García Dueñas)

 

0:

Oh to live in the white gaps between newspaper columns.

To live on the blank margins

of all that bad news about ourselves.

Find there a blue pizzeria by a throat of cobbles.

Town’s edge. Hinterland. Margins.

The cove’s roar, you can hear it from here.

Oh God make that space.

1:

Oh God, but we need to talk.

Talk war with no war on words.

Talk about children without the word dead or refugee next to them.

Oh God, just to see a child who doesn’t carry a backpack or a turbid face.

Oh and to be without the cold ceramic Latin cold of res. Real, reduced: these weigh too much.

2:

The news is a flagrant type. Chews our words. See: meat flitters on lips, in teeth.

His facts burn holes in paper. Flung from a height, speck pages with ash blanks. Holed with burn. Singe margins.

3:

Oh to sing smooth empty vowels. A white music that falls and spills.

Oh for words so liquid they rinse the berry-red smush from sheets and newspaper columns.

For words that thread like electricity or water.

Smoke unknits letters. The speech that’s left is the colour of pulped pages. Shapes left, only.

Oh for the big white dissolve like when mist creeps in off the sea.

4:

Oh to go out/be in the street/beg pardon from neighbours/not come to blows.

Oh, impressive how much people can sleep.

Read joke communiqués or communiqués that should be a joke or look at redcheeked curlyheaded

Kids that are other people’s.

How much they can walk streets. Find no symbol overload in stones, leaves that have dropped free.

5:

The wind is no Sibyl. Finds nothing in all that sift and shuffle.

And me either.

6:

A kid you can fit in a bag.

Bodies. Dam back no. Promised end.

7:

The burn/blackout/burn of one million screens.

I watch that photo rain.

Rain, white noise and cancellation.

8:

News words scuff no boundaries. The barbed letters throw dagger shadows.

Oh for say to become the opposite of do.

Or the like.

Oh for heavy Xerox drifts to fall. Like the snow’s soft-pedal on cove noise.

9:

We ought to

table

potential invasions,

imminent incursions,

the irascible, the impassive, the unimpeachable.

And we ought to have called time on

so much more than this.

10:

Bullets’ full stops cut short all broadcast.

The news’ face is all fogged.

He totes his bag of smoke

and teeth.

Some bones in, also.

11:

And you know there’s this irascible hurt spreads so quick it throws you out your door / into the street / to watch leaves drop free.

But. You know. You have to breathe. Hashtag things.

#GazaUnderAttack or #ImTiredAlready.

11:

Splayed limbs crosshatch-angled.

Bombed sentences bagged in crumpled sheets.

The syntax jut like snapped bone. Screens’ mortuary white.

Anaphora goes global

to every Gaza, to every Iguala,

to wherever news happens to a kid / to kids / to boys / to other people.

12:

Wherever the news happens to other people

there’s the parents who walk the hills and wait for pits to open.

These hills loll like oceans.

Oh let the hills give up their dead.

The parents wonder to whom they must render their apologies.

Cry at / pray to / beg from the sky.

Oh for the sky to frown and lour.

The ash clouds in their grey confusion.

In their hush and sibilance.

They are that word sympathy.

13:

One side of the curb there’s cobbles.

On the other leaves drop free.

Drift up.

A mute weight lifts.

 

Francisco Zetina– Us and Them

Them,

them who look at us in scorn

from the tallest closed cubicles,

should be the ones to sweat tires,

see nothing but sulphuric smoke,

live in stormy places

in rooms with broken windows,

stepping on enormous, black cockroaches

when finishing their showers.

They should ride on scorpion back

to every meeting

and listen to the unison screech

of all the world’s butcheries

during their working-lunches;

smoke through the eyes and kiss through the nose.

They should live a hundred lives without even living one

get lost in their own sitting rooms

going out the kitchen when heading toward the bathroom

pissing in pots of boiling oil

after never finding the ties they wear

while lying on national television.

Them,

it should be them for robbing us brazenly

not in the future I’ve no clue of,

but in the so clear and inarguable

present of pain

and tired backs: on despicable chairs,

or toasted under a merciless sun

in dry fields of wreckage,

or broken on the daily grind of bellowing machines

with enough to make the day,

survive a little tomorrow at least.

They should for the kilometric cemeteries

in a country disarmed in dregs

turned into pits weighed with no identity, memory

and faceless death,

before the calumny of senseless numberings

and speeches

and pacts

and police charges

amid the statues of forgotten dignitaries

drooling broken quiet

clamoring liberty no more.

Them,

them it should be for all the persons not only morphed into

but always seen as

fertilizer and flies,

productive sweat,

unresolved factory of a redundant idem

and deaf voices,

the simple waiting of others

aborted like unfinished tales

blank pages of a book

full of illegible plastic rather than paper.

But us,

us,

us who let ourselves get trapped

in the graph of another’s life

tired dreams and wet socks

turning our eye crust into mildew

and laughter each purulent cut,

us, who’ve allowed them everything

who’ve given them our blood

in fields and classrooms,

factories and streets,

offices and parks,

what more do we have to sweat

but outrage?

or hope to see our siblings live

to take the squares

in fury and joy

because we’re all of us

because we’re done.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

Livia Radwanski – Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa

At the end of november of 2014 I took a trip with reporter Carol Pires from Piaui magazine in Brazil to understand more in depth what was happening in the state of Guerrero, in the context of what happened in Iguala on the tragic night of the 26th of september with the students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa. We spent three days, talking to students and parents. In mid December I returned with journalist Heriberto Paredes from Agencia Subversiones and spent four more days with the students, camping with other journalists in the dormitory-changing room next to the pool, home of 4th-year student, Yoni. This selection of images showcases the home and learning center of the the 560 ( minus the ones killed and disappeared in the past 3 years)  students who are in the process of becoming teachers, soon to be the ones to educate children in the most remote areas of Mexico.

 

IMG_2135

IMG_2112

IMG_3656

IMG_2588

IMG_2812

IMG_2592

 

3: Terminologies

“I felt neither alive nor dead. I cannot say what then I was.” – Dante Alighieri

“They are neither dead nor alive. They are the disappeared.” – Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla

“One halves around loss. The loss of the loved one is a ring fetter [entrave] too tight to tug free. And so the subject flows in and around this ring. Recall that the self is a machine to want in. The present self watches this apparatus of other, older, past desires slowly wear itself out. Then it lowers the dead self out of sight, like a coffin down into a rain-flooded grave. Mourning is the mind turned funeral. Melancholy is mourning without the body.” – Thibaut Marchand, Sur le rivage de cendres

“The distinguishing mental features of melancholia are a profoundly painful dejection, cessation of interest in the outside world, loss of the capacity to love, inhibition of all activity, and a lowering of the self-regarding feelings to a degree that finds utterance in self-reproaches and self-revilings, and culminates in a delusional expectation of punishment.” – Sigmund Freud, Mourning and Melancholia

 

Roberto Peredo– We’ll cry for years

 

We’ll cry for the cluttered death, yes,

and for the jarringly bureaucratic order

that triggered it;

but we’ll cry, above all,

because mourners have been left alone in mourning.

We’ll cry because there were no half-staff flags

or official moments of silence, which are so practical…

so practical when you yell

and nothing echoes; when you yell

and let out only sap and spit

from a narrow hole,

…mucosity…

Did you know before today

that grief can eat your words?

Did you truly know before today

that grief exists?

We’ll cry for years

and not even the heaviest teardrop of our cry

will help assuage the smallest remnant of pain

in anyone (nor wet the most trivial remnant of ash).

Neither my weeping, nor yours, nor anyone else’s will help.

The pain has just begun and it won’t help

my weeping, nor yours, nor anyone

assuage the shattering, combustion, and burning

inside the father,

mother, sibling, and friend,

mostly for lack of a national day of mourning,

or half-staff flags (our Nation’s representatives

prefer a slumbered Mexico:

investor and ecotourism trap,

creator of jobs and harassment,

of jump-start trains and reservoirs

for any liquid: water or blood).

Who, if not the one you chose,

will walk with you,

now that your genuine cry has begun?

I’d like to say I would, but I’m ashamed to feel so little,

to be such bad company, this far away, and heed much

laughter here, because nobody, not one

custodian of the Charter meant to shroud us

has ordered the beginning of silence.

We’ll cry for years because our Homeland

did not embrace on time

those who stay awake today,

crying atrociously when hardly a sound

is coming from Ayotzinapa.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

Grau Hertt– Presents

 

“A man whose level of culture

is unequal to the creative effort

implied by the invention of the rifle

has no right to use one.”

César Vallejo

I have to be because you’re not

I stain the centre with the words I don’t want

I also wanted to follow them, but to honour their works,

 

today poetry, art by you too

is beaten, you never let us speak

of brief glories, of deep heroes and not celebrities.

there’s a bunch of you, and instead of recognizing you one by one

they’ve given you one sole name, no more than a number

 

they push us constantly, they bring us together

in pain, misery, tragedy

and we’ll always tell them the same thing

their fight is behind us and our fight is in front

but don’t attack us from behind because we are all facing forward

and all battles become one battle,

which is the same whatever it is,

to make life grace

to make life dignity

to make life love, freedom,

equilibrium

 

I care about neither explanations

nor justifications,

I want them back

in order to fall silent

and stop being as coarse

as you, who yap and yap

about those absent

from your present.

(Translated by John Z. Komurki) 

 

Lou Beach

(Lou Beach – Waiting for The Mountain)

 

Mariana González Quintero– Freedom of Repression

 

One September night

they made them into shadows.

Who?

43 disappeared

a nation enraged.

 

Revolution silenced

a people fumbles for answers

in the gloom.

Mexico: orb of murder, of blood.

They turn the page, wipe away the traces.

You take a ticket and await your turn.

 

Streets stained with injustice

they echo with shrieks

sobs flood them

mourning saddens them.

 

They give out death wrapped in organdy

one more oblation

there is no mystery

it was the state.

They sow murder

they’ll reap rebellion.

(Translated by John Z. Komurki)

 

Irene Vega– To the Students

Let the others be silent
Why should I be silent

Let the others be silent if they wish
Injustice

Let them live, let them sleep beside it

And little by little themselves become

Pure injustice

Let them wrap themselves in it, let them breathe through it

Until they are rotten with it

And injustice drowns them

Seeping out from all their bodies’ holes

And pores

‘Ya me canso de llorar / Y no amanece’

‘I tire of crying / and it still isn’t light’

We live in the night

I stretch out my hand and blind fingers

They touch darkness: solid, asphyxiating

What if it never gets light again?

Might it be that we lack the eyes to see dawn with?

A Chinese philosopher says that the time of Revolutions has finished

I know only the Revolution of Pain

Of eternity

Of two pairs of hands putting together breakfast in the dark,

Tell me if there is any other

In Tlatelolco there was one, in Monterrey, in Ayotzinapa

But now most are dead

The rest of them, flayed

Tell me if there’s a Revolution

That is sweet and luminous

Like spilled honey

And if there is: I’m all ears.

(Translated by John Z. Komurki)

 

Cristina Arreola Márquez– Memoirs of a Lost Voice

 

i’m searching

inside this affronted body

there must remain a voice

i’m searching

for the cry that cannot rise

from this indelible stain

 

Impossible to know how many years this fugue has been playing. All I remember is being handed this trampled nationality at birth. I lay there naked as the disintegrated cobwebs of a rusted nation rained down about me.

 

there is a muffled cry

insistent

that buries itself in my ribs

it comes up from the earth

these ashes

it’s drying out my mouth

 

a bitter wail

 

They say we are hundreds; they say we are so many that we’ve become indistinguishable for our putridity. They say that now they are weighing us en masse, they say I died a month ago. They say the day I disappeared, my mother’s eyes gave up and sank, as though getting a head-start on the inevitable. They say I was washed away with the rain, that for weeks people saw my photo stuck up on a lamppost. They say it was the same rain that erased my face. They say I lost my face before I died, they say I am unrecognizable. They’re saying now it was in this street that they killed me, but perhaps it was just where I left my last footprint. They say that torture leaves a mark; I believe it did cause my mother’s eyes to sink, my mother who since the kidnapping hasn’t been able to stifle her tears, her cries, her drowning.

 

/how many more?/

/why are they burying us?/

when they found the first of us

they gave him my name

but I’m still here

nobody could find me

i listen to footsteps

and hear voices

nobody can hear me

how absurd my pleas

/i’m down here!/

when they found the second one

everybody panicked

i wasn’t me anymore

now names didn’t matter

suddenly we became numbers

dates of death

distinguishing marks of violence

soon they didn’t know who to look for

we were hundreds

 

when they found the sixth pit

the pain

asphyxiating…

they lost their nerve

/i’m down here!/

i insist

maybe one day somebody will find me

and give back

my mother

her dark eyes

(Translated by Johnny Crisp) 

 

Veracruz 3 - Version 2

 (Jessica Maffia – Veracruz 3, Version 2)

 

Leticia Luna– The Autumn Declaration

Written after the official report that the

43 missing students from Ayotzinapa were dead.

The parents did not accept the government’s version of the events.

 

To the students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa

 

We were shot! We were battered!

Our bodies burned,

our ashes dumped in the San Juan river.

 

Father Solalinde was right

the television’s morning lies confirm

43 days later

43 youths the government disappeared

 

I’ll wear black 43 months

43 years                                 43 centuries

Has anybody seen my son?

Has anybody seen my brother’s corpse?

 

—We’ve kept vigil all night, waiting for them

had a prayer each day

knocked on the doors of the corrupt government

that delivered our sons to be murdered by drug dealers

but no: They must live!

 

—Alive they took them; alive we want them back!—cry the people.

 

No! I haven’t the strength to fit the weeping inside me!

All the blood charred in the fire’s steam!

 

The San Juan River was murdered 43 times

43 cries           43 voices in its jaws

clamor in the skin among the hidden bodies

 

Curse them!

 

We were tossed in the garbage like the rats they are

were flayed

our lives torn away in dregs of trash

 

Not even the tears of a thousand rivers

can erase our tracks

our battle of visionary dreams

 

But we’ll rise among the fallen

like a single heart

the children, youths, women, and men of this country

and we’ll dance on the ashes of the dead

with our songs of hope.

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

sabrina

 (Sabrina Zarco – My Sons.
Embroidery, paint, beads, buttons, trim, fabric. Machine and hand quilted.)

 

Chary Gumeta– Ayotzinapa

 

In Mexico,

your right to speech is perilous

and hushing is colluding.

Let’s just sit there and look pretty—

it’s better for the State.

 

To be alive in Mexico

is already a win

and, from a political standpoint,

a threat to national security.

 

They say we’re making headway against crime

and I believe it:

Larcenists in the government

are morphed white-collar burglars.

Politicians with bloodied hands,

a hope ephemeral and fake.

 

Rebellion is a synonym for troublemaking

to bribed newspapers mistaking our rise and rage.

 

Enough shunned obscurity.

Now our consciousness walks willingly,

born before fears and self-scorn,

the negligence of precedents,

cleaves a nation, whole.

 

Cry free of the filth

that ruins us and squanders opportunity,

selling the miserable’s needs.

 

Stand up, Mexico, not for God’s sake, but yours!

(Translated by María Cristina Fernández Hall)

 

4: Disappearance / Mourning / Melancholy

Disappearance puts warps in language. Ask the parents of the 43 what their sons were like and you’ll hear them shift back and forth between tenses. Is. Was. Is.

To disappear is now a transitive verb. You can be disappeared now. It doesn’t just happen. It can be done to you.

Disappearance pivots on uncertainty. You don’t know if it just happens or if it’s done to you. You don’t know if the lost one is or was anything.

When a loved one dies, the mourning ego slowly writes that object off as lost. Mourning can start, because we can be sure the death has happened. And mourning always ends, or at least slows. The pain cools to grief. On, then, to something like calm. The gap can be built around.

Disappearance rob us of mourning. The parents of the 43 cannot know if they will be back or not. Mourning cannot begin until you’ve fully reckoned the loss, until you’re fully sure you have lost something. Until you have a solid object to let go of.

What descends instead is melancholia. An ash-fog. An uncertainty. A grope onwards. A hope burn that never cools as far as grief. No way out because no way on.

Disappearance is a weapon. Freud writes that “[i]n mourning, it is the world that has become poor and empty; in melancholia, it is the ego itself”.

Rafael Ramírez Duarte disappeared on June 9 1977, a victim of Mexico’s “Dirty War”. His wife, Sara, says “[she] felt like a leper, an outcast”. Like it was her fault.

If you don’t know who disappeared your loved one, then you look for someone to blame. If the causal chain breaks, you tie yourself in to the gap in the links. Mourning becomes melancholia and can never end.

These poems are a refusal to let disappearance become a weapon.

These poems weave themselves in to that gap between what happened and why did this happen. They try out answers to those questions which are meant to soothe rather than to silence. 

These poems are melancholy, to be sure, and sometimes manic:  cold air and dust-clouds, ash, fog and erasure, spangled pugs on broke-up sidewalks, giant public-transport scorpions, shadows, echoes . But they are too fierce, too serrated to remain mere expressions of mood.

These poems are fragmentary. They shatter on the ear. They shunt hard up and down between registers. They yell. They wail. They sob. They never stop. They wear black. They cannot go on like this.

They are here because so many are not. They are what poetry always tries to be: speech in search of the absent.

They are – we hope – something like sympathy.

(Editorial essay by Tim MacGabhann)

IMG_2705

 (Livia Radwanski – Untitled [Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa])

 

 

Andrea Arroyo is an award-winning visual artist who works in a range of media including painting, drawing, illustration, site-specific installation and public art. She exhibits widely and her work is in private, corporate and public collections around the world. Ms. Arroyo’s public artworks include permanent indoor and outdoor projects for a New York City subway station, two schools, and other private, institutional and corporate spaces. Honors include New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, Global Citizen Award Artist, Clinton Global Initiative, 21 Leader for the 21st Century and Outstanding Woman of New York. She has received grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the Puffin Foundation, the Harlem Arts Alliance and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her artwork has been published extensively including in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and has been the subject of over one hundred and fifty features in the international media. /// andreaarroyo.com ///

 

Anylú Hinojosa-Peña studied Documentary Photography at School of Visual Arts (NYC) and has a bachelors degree in Early Education at Universidad México Americana del Norte (MEX). She began her photographic training with professors such as Francisco Mata Rosas, Eniac Martinez Ulloa, Patricia Aridjis, and Miguel Angel Camero. Anylu has thought entry level, basic and night photography in México since 2009. In 2012 she has her first exhibit “Ojos no vemos, de corazones si sabemos”. She has also collaborated in different collective exhibitions in Reynosa, Guadalajara, Tampico and Guanajuato during International Festival Cervantino with iphoneography “Al Vuelo”. Colloborated with different news outlet such as news paper El Mañana in Reynosa Mexico, and online in Reynosa & Tampico Cultural and was official photographer during the International Festival Tamaulipas in 2009. Her work was also part of the annual Diary Rendija in 2011 and 2012 as well as the collective online “A Photo Per Day” in Salta, Argentina. Anylu was recipient of the PECDA scholarship (Programa de Estímulo a la Creación y Desarrollo Artistico de Tamaulipas in 2012) under the category Young Artists with her project “Clave Baja”. Currently her work is part of a project titled “Del Golfo al Pacifico” showing in Guatemala and El Salvador.

 

Carmen Zenil was born in Mexico City in 1985. A creative writing student at UACM, she is the author of De Juárez a los jovenes, De mujer y hondo cuerpo and Eros y las espinas de Tánatos, and her work features in the anthologies El libro rojo del 68, La Erótika and Moebius. Her next book Trastiempo is forthcoming from Crayola Literaria later this year.

 

Chary Gumeta (Chiapas) studied education and Latin-American literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is part of the Chiapas poetry movement “HeliKon Dorado” and has been published in Finisterra de Sinaloa, Universa, Cronistas de Chiapas, and Inn Magazine, among other magazines and anthologies. She has coauthored several history books and currently directs literary festivals and events in Chiapas, including the Mesoamerican Poetry Festival and the International San Cristóbal de las Casas Poetry Festival.

 

Cristina Arreola Márquez(Colima, 1988) iscompleting a master’s at the University of Guadalajara. She has worked as a journalist and editor, as well as in cultural promotion. She has also been an invited speaker at the VI Encuentro Nacional de Escritores en la Región de los Ríos (2012), the V and VII Festival de Poesía de Manzanillo (2010, 2012), the V Encuentro de Investigación y Promoción de la Lectura en México (2012), and in the Coloquio Internacional “Erotismo, cuerpo y prototipos culturales” (2014). Her work has been published in anthologies including A la rosa, muestra de mujeres poetas en Colima under care of the poet Sergio Briceño; Mercado de cuentos cortos; Antología de minificción; Detrás de la puerta; and Antología de textos eróticos. She now serves as editor in chief of the literary review Monolito. She wrote the plaquette Nínive in the Ourobus de narrativa collection (UdeC, 2010).

 

David Soules (1984) graduated in Hispanic Letters from the UANL. He specialized in publishing, literature and writing for theatre. He was the editor of the Memoria project at the Fórum Universal de las Culturas in 2007. He won second place for poetry in the 2007 Cuento y Poesía Joven (IMJUSAN) prize, and first prize in the 8th Certamen Regional de Minicuentos CRIPIL, (Bicentenario del Nacimiento de Edgar Allan Poe, 2009). He published the chapbook Emblemas in 2008, and in 2011 the collection of poetry El cielo de noche es un crucigrama. He is part of the CONARTE Nuevo León Padrón de Artistas y Creadores de Literatura and is Associate Member of the Academia Latinoamericana de Literatura Moderna. ‘Avant-Garde’ is a section of ‘Sin Rostro’ (‘Faceless’), a long poem about the Ayotzinapa massacre.

 

Dylan Brennan is an Irish writer currently based in Mexico. His poetry, essays and memoirs have been published in a range of international journals, in English and Spanish. His debut poetry collection,Blood Oranges, for which he received the runner-up prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Award, is available from The Dreadful Press (the good folk behind the wonderful The Penny Dreadful Literary Magazine). Two signed copies of Blood Oranges are still available at Under the Volcano Books. /// www.dylanbrennan.org ///

 

Édgar Lacolz (Torreón, 1987) studied Philiosophy at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. He collaborates with the fanzine Palabracadabra, and is co-founder of La Tolvanera Ediciones. He is author of two books: Esto no es un Lacolz (DMC, 2013) and Retrato esperpento (G latina, 2014).

 

Edwin A. García Escobar, 29, has a degree in Tourist Business Management. Though a bureaucrat (he has to make a living somehow), he always looks for the precise word.

 

Irene Vega (1991, Guadalajara, Jalisco) is a student of Hispanic Letters at the Universidad de Guadalajara. Her writing has appeared in Revista Numen, Himen and La Cigarra. Second place in the OMC Concurso de Embajadores de la Juventud, 2012, with an essay titled ‘Liberalism, Multilateralism and Postmodernity’.

/// viololareal.blogspot.mx ///

 

Francisco Aguilar Rosas (Colima, 1992) studies International Relations at ITESO University. He coordinates Dime Poesía, a cultural venue for poetry readings.

 

Francisco Zetina (México, 1982) studied history at the UNAM. He is a poet, researcher, and storyteller.

 

Grau Hertt (Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1984) is a co-founder of the Nulú Bonsai imprint. He has published the collections  Necamesia (Nulú Bonsai, 2009, with Sebastián Goyeneche), La otra campaña (Nulú Bonsai, 2010), La vida cultural (Nulú Bonsai, 2012) and Una simple historia de amor (Nulú Bonsai, 2014), as well as the chapbooks Dolorizonte (La fuerza suave, 2014) and Salir a pegar (Subpoesia, 2014). /// unactodeoptimismo.blogspot.com.ar /// nulubonsai.com.ar ///

 

Horacio Lozano Warpola (1982) authored the books Neónidas 2006-2008, Lago Corea, and Física de Camaleones y Gestas (coming soon). He writes in /// warpola.tumblr.com ///

 

Jack Little (b.1987) is a poet, translator and the founding editor of The Ofi Press, Mexico. He has lived in Mexico City since 2010. /// www.ofipress.com ///

 

Jessica Maffia is a mixed media artist born and raised in New York City. Her art seeks the poetry in the mundane. She is excited by “the everyday” and honors the overlooked. She has been exhibiting her work throughout the US since 2009 and most recently participated in a show in at AIR Gallery in Dumbo as well as in Chelsea at the Denise Bibro Fine Art Gallery. Her work was featured on the cover of Fabio Gironi’s philosophy book Naturalizing Badiou: Mathematical Ontology and Structural Realism in December 2014 and several of her drawings can be found in the flat files of Pierogi gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Jessica has been awarded 4 artist residencies this year at New York Mills Arts Retreat, Byrdcliffe Art Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and Brush Creek where she will continue working on her series of photorealistic pencil drawings of decay, cracks, and residue on walls. She is honored to share her work with the readers of Mexico City Lit.

 

Johnny Crisp is a freelance journalist, translator and writer currently living in Mexico City. He’s also an editor of The Grain – a UK based arts collective publication.

 

Jorge Izquierdo is a visual artist. /// plus.google.com/u/0/photos/+JorgeIzquierdomx/albums ///

 

Krsna Sánchez Nevarez (Michoacán, 1988) studies Literature at the University of Guadalajara. He has published short stories and flash fiction in La Cigarra and El Perro. One of his pieces features in FA Cartonera’s anthology Breavis&Cortus.

 

Lauri García Dueñas (San Salvador, 1980) is a writer, journalist and poet. Her publications include La primavera se amotina, Sucias palabras de amor, Del mar es el ahogo, El tiempo es un texto indescifrable and Cuaderno africano, and of the studies Tribus Urbanas en El Salvador and El asesinato de Roque Dalton. Mapa de un largo silencio, about the murder of the Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton. Since 2010 she has taught in the Creative Writing Program of the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Mexico City and currently teaches a course on Salvadoran literature at the UNAM.

 

Leticia Luna (Mexico City, 1965) is a poet and editor. She served as professor of Literature and Artistic Projects in the National Center of the Arts and has published, among others, poetry books including Hora lunar (1999), Desde el oasis (2000), El amante y la espiga (2005), and Los días heridos (2007), for which she won the Moradalsur International Poetry Prize. She is editor in chief for Ediciones La Cuadrilla de La Langosta. Her work has been published in several magazines and she has performed poetry throughout Europe and the Americas. Her music, poetry and dance group Fuego Azul has toured Mexico and the United States. She was a FONCA-CONACYT resident in Granada, Spain for the project Las voces del agua.

 

Livia Radwanski (Sao Paulo, Brasil) has lived and worked as a freelance photographer and filmmaker in Mexico City for the past 7 years. She has collaborated for the collective El Proyecto Sonidero, for the past 6 years. Her first book, Merida90, was published by Tumbona Ediciones in 2012. She collaborates with writers from all over the world and has showcased and published her work in several magazines in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, England, and the U.S. /// www.liviaradwanski.com ///

 

Lou Beach (nee Andrzej Lubicz-Ledóchowski) was born in Göttingen, Germany in 1947, the son of Polish parents displaced by the Second World War. The family emigrated to Rochester, NY in 1951, and he travelled to California in 1968 where he began his artistic career. Not until his grown children  encouraged him to seriously concentrate on making art again did he embark on reestablishing himself in that realm. A nearly sold-out show at Billy Shire Fine Arts in 2009 saw the reemergence of Lou in the world of fine art along with subsequent showings at Nickelodeon, La Luz de Jesus, OffRamp Gallery (all in Los Angeles), Adventureland (Chicago), and Firecat Projects (Chicago) and a large representation of work at the Metro Show in NYC. A show is scheduled for 2016 at Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco.

 

María Cristina Fernández Hall (NYC, 1991) is a Mexican-American poet, editor, and translator. She is co-editor of Mexico City Lit and La Cigarra. She studied creative writing and political science at Columbia University and has a master’s in translation studies from Pompeu Fabra University. She translates Catalan poetry and critiques Mexican cinema /// cinemexxicano.tumblr.com /// mcristinafernandez.net ///

 

Mariana Jacqueline González Quintero, 16, I am currently a student at the high school of the Universidad de Guadalajara; I have participated in a creative writing workshop given there. I abhor injustice. I like music. Originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

 

Mónica Guadalupe Hernández Mendoza (Guadalajara, 1994) studies Hispanic Literature at the University of Guadalajara. Her work has been published in Radiador Magazine, Metrópolis Revista de Poesía, La Cigarra, and Homúnculo. She enjoys contemporary Mexican poetry, multidisciplinary courses, and running. She loves her orphan pug.

 

Nora Linares, 26, has a degree in design from the School of Design of the National Institute of Fine Arts (EDINBA). She specializes in graphic, editorial and web desgin. /// www.linaresnora.com /// www.behance.net/noraline ///

 

Roberto Peredo is a storyteller, poet, essayist, lexicographer, journalist, and photographer. His poetry books include Nueva Crónica Mexicáyotl (1991); Veinte Desnudos (2003); La dimensión del infinito (2007); and En el jardín indecible (2014), an art, photography, and literature book (tanka). His biography is published in the Biobibliographic Dictionary of Mexican Writers, INBA. Fabebook: Roberto Peredo and Roberto Peredo II. /// www.literatura.bellasartes.gob.mx/acervos/index.php/catalogo-biobibliografico/1221 ///

 

Sabrina Zarco: My Abuelo was from Naryarit, my great grandmother was from Monclova, and my other relatives came from all over the Motherland. I have been working to educate others about injustice. I create in cloth colchas (wall quilts made with stitches, paint, beads, buttons, and found objects). My work tells the stories that the mainstream media ignores. /// sabrinazarco.com ///

 

Sandrah Mendoza (State of Mexico, 1994); writer and Psychology student. Her writing has been published in numerous print and online journals, among them Infame (Mexico 2012), Innombrable (Colombia 2012), Letra Muerta (Chile, 2013), Yerba Fanzine (Argentina, 2013 / 2014), Cosmonauta Fanzine (Mexico, 2014), and the art and culture newspaper Basura. She has participated in poetic performance interventions and eSlams in the State of Mexico and Mexico City. She is an active member of the POM! (Palabra, Oralidad, Mensaje – Word Orality, Message) collective.

/// jodiendomisfalanges.blogspot.com ///

 

Tim MacGabhann is co-editor of Mexico City Lit. His work has appeared in gorse, 3:am m and The Stinging Fly, and is forthcoming in Harper’s Bazaar. His first book of poetry, The Destructions, will be published in translation later this year.