battered wombs

December 29, 2012

As I read through my social media feeds on the recent events in New Delhi, India and the rape of the young woman who has become known as “Brave Heart,” I am overwhelmed with emotions that reopen old wounds. I have been looking up facts and numbers; trying to see if I can “enlighten” myself and others. Trying to find some “light” in this darkness. Only to feel less powerful.

So I turn to writing, my source of strength, to see if I can continue this life long healing process (the wound now almost thirty-years-old). I feel enough anger today to share a very personal story with you.

It took the death of a dear uncle of mine almost five years ago for me to tell my mother and the rest of my family what his brother had done to me when I was just five-years-old. My aunts asked why I didn’t say anything. I just told them that at that age you feared saying anything because somehow you actually believed you had done something wrong. That somehow, it was your fault or you asked for it.

In my head, I also feared that my family may “have the reason” for my queerness. That I was gay because this happened and so I never shared it, except behind the closed doors of therapy rooms or to close friends. I never wanted my family to feel like they had found the “cause” of my gayness. One has nothing to do with the other.

I share my story because my voice will not be silenced.

His name is Frank. I have no need to keep his name a secret, I refuse to give him any power today. When I was five he was a giant. And I feared him. Today, I stand at 5’4″ about two inches MUCH taller than him. He’s actually a pretty sad excuse of a man. Like somehow his creator ran out of everything needed to make a human and put together the scraps of hate-filled limbs and ugly together and called it to “life.” I mean really, raping a five-year-old? Any rape is horrific? But a fucking five-year-old? But you’re a sick bastard and I have no time for psychology.

No worries though. I am standing. Filled with Love and laughter and family and friendship. Fortunately, he was never able to have any offsprings. He lives in Puerto Rico now. He is the uncle of six of my cousins. Most who have kids and that is why I told them, to NOT leave your children with fuck face.

I wish I could tell you that I have healed entirely. Until I read about another woman who was raped and my anger erupts like a volcano. I have always been a patient person. I have always been forgiving. I have always tried to find peace. But for some reason this is one of those things I wish I could take into my own hands. I wish I could be in the room with Frank now. Me, him and a Louisville Slugger. Yes, there is that much anger. I’ve thought about it (I will omit the remainder of those details because my nieces and nephews read my work). Still, it would be a beautiful thing to line all these sons of bastards up and have a day.

I saw Frank at my uncle Tito’s funeral. My cousin Danny was with me and he knew the story. When Frank came out of his house and started walking towards me, my body grew strong and angry. And if it wasn’t for Danny reminding me that this wasn’t the time or the place (seeing that my uncle’s body was at the church across the street), I would’ve had my day. But I walked away; my grief and Love for my uncle Tito was stronger than my anger at that moment.

Some of us keep waiting on the law. Some of us keep praying, chanting, meditating… waiting for something to change. But fuck this man’s world filled with men who stand idle and don’t do shit about this. Since the beginning of time it has been the way to defeat us, to deflate us, to demoralize us. They whip out their hard rods and ram it inside of us, bashing up against our fragile walls, they tear down our internal structure… leaving us hollow. Empty. Confused. Guilty. Our voices silenced.

And the horrific event of the woman in New Delhi is something that happens every. fucking. day. in. every. part. of. this. fucked. up. world.

The men stand idle. And the women can’t do shit because every authority figure is male. And the men can’t go against their own, even if his dick ain’t feigning for the thrill of abuse.

And if she decides to take a stand her husband will kill her. If she decides to fight for her daughter, the governments have nothing in place to protect her. If she decides to try and make her way to a better life, six men will feel the need not only to rape her but the beat her senseless and leave her without life or Life.

For every man who rapes, let the sentence be castration -testicles and all. They value that more than they value their mother.

I want no mercy. That’s God’s job -and today, I don’t feel like God’s child.

**Brave Heart, may the Light of your Life shine on long enough so that history doesn’t repeat itself in the battered wombs of our daughters.

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kissing freckles

December 19, 2012

“that’s my favorite freckle,” she says,
as she turns to another of the many freckles
she’s said that to already,
leans in, and kisses it gently.. tenderly.

she’s just as hopeless a romantic as me
-“cheesy” –some choose to call it. the kind
that leaves Love notes in my wallet
or hidden in my night stand drawer.
fills my inbox with Love songs
or stories about her day.

i nap on her bed
she wakes me up with flowers.

her eyes. her smile.
remind me, that every step towards Her
was worth it. that nothing was ever a mistake.
that i am perfect. whole. and complete.

she Loves the way i Love.
accepts my perfect imperfections
and expects me to be nothing less
and nothing more than who i am.

she reminds me. i am enough.
for me. for her. for us.

she believes in me. sees the woman
i am and Loves her.
forsight.
she sees the woman
i will become and Loves her even more.

she celebrates Me.

she is fully aware of my insecurites,
the stuff i’m working on and working out.
full disclosure from the moment we met…
she has yet to flinch.

solid and grounded. she anchors me.

and i can’t wait ’til the summer,
when the sun multiplies my freckles.

su voz

December 13, 2012

escuche su voz.
en ese instante la reconocí.

sonabas como amanacer de campo,
sonabas a lluvia en las montañas,
sonabas a gallo mañanero.

hola, ¿que tal?
hola tu.
dos horas y seis minutos,
la primera conversación
(de esta vida).
entre risas y cosa pequeñas,
mi corazón se hacia mas grande.

todo tan natural. como rio
camino al desemboque.

me dormí pensando en la dulzura de su voz.
amanecistes en mis cuerdas vocales
como canción de cuna,
tierna y recíen renacida.

queria gritar.

llevo años soñandote.

encontre rastros de usted
en otros amores
pero siempre faltaba mas.

y es que, Usted…
Usted condensa mis deseos
y anhelos en su mirada.
en sus ojos se refleja
mi alegría multiplicada
a la infinita potencia.

y yo caí rendida
en su voz.

This year started very nicely. I set some reasonable goals. Some I met, others I didn’t. But I was always aware that while we have plans, the Universe has others. So I am not disappointed in the ones I didn’t reach this time around or the ones I had to alter. I say this constantly, “Life is not linear.”

My health dwindled a bit but I paid attention to it quickly enough to avoid any set-backs. I started working out, eating healthier (trying to be more mindful of what I put in my body so that I may fuel it with foods that nurture it), and talk-therapy.

I dated on and off. I took on some “old behaviors” and I tried to force many parts of it into something that I have always wanted. It was never labeled. There were so many parts of it that were so uncomfortable and I didn’t voice it, say it, or express it. Instead, I pushed.

I pushed until I couldn’t anymore and realized that I wasn’t happy. Things should happen naturally, right? This certainly wasn’t. And so when I let go and finally decided to really let go (since there were several attempts), I learned so much about myself and I opened up to the Universe. I decided to wait for what I deserved; for what I was really seeking/needing/wanting in a partner –it’s amazing how quickly the Universe can turn things around for you once you get out of its way.

Along came Her. I wasn’t even looking. As a matter of fact, I was pretty much done (though my Loved ones will always tell you that I could never be done). But with confidence and certainty, I have found my twin flame. Without hesitation or reservation. Perfectamente a mi medida. Tal y como se la pedí al Universo.

I strengthened friendships. In particular three people whose lives I wanted more of in mine. I wanted more of their light. And I have found them to be so instrumental to getting through some tough days this year. Their constant support, encouragement and their way of “keeping it real” when they needed to nudge me was perfect. Friendships evolve. They morph. If they morph their way out, so be it. If they evolve into something stronger, embrace it. Either way, celebrate it.

I decided to start my journey to nursing school; to change careers entirely. I enrolled in pre-requisite courses and have been holding my own after 12-years of being out of the academic setting. If finals go as planned, I will have aced both classes this semester and have already registered for the next. I have also started applying to programs. This has been an interesting experience, especially the part where you write your personal statement. I am amazed at how much I have learned about myself along the way. Every step I have taken has brought me to this place and I am ever so blessed and thankful because even the things I labeled as “mistakes or missteps” where actually not at all. Everything is in Divine order.

This year I made the most difficult decision of my life. I had to decide to put my sweet Beagle to sleep. She was suffering from congenital heart failure. It’s no wonder to me it was her heart that gave out; there was so much LOVE in her. It has been an emotional roller coaster of days since August 31. The lessons the four-legged Love taught me where plenty. Here are a few:

  1. Find the perfect spot where the sun hits your body gently… feel its warmth on your skin.
  2. Greet people as if you haven’t seen them in years.
  3. Forgive instantly. Like NOW.
  4. Enjoy treats.
  5. Nap every day.
  6. Cuddle hard.
  7. Give unexpected kisses.
  8. Bark at the mailperson; all they do is bring bills anyway.
  9. Keep Loved ones company. Especially during difficult times.
  10. Sit in silence. Your presence speaks for itself.
  11. If you’re happy, wag your tail.
  12. Love unconditionally; without reservations, restrictions or fear.

She is always with me. I still find her hairs all over the house, the car and my clothes. But I hope to be to my friends and family, what Bailey thought of me –loyal, full of Love and fun.

I am not setting any resolutions this year. I am not setting goals. I am simply letting go of all that is not conducive to my spiritual, emotional and physical growth (that may include people folks).

I am keeping my arms wide open. Because if I simply walk with purpose and if everything I want and need I already have… then 2013 is the year to bring all of it forth.

Ashe.

i speak in spanglish tongues.
it is the sound of two cultures
that burst in my mouf’
like pop rocks.

mouf’…

like, take a baf’.
like, do your maf’ homework.
’cause the “th” sound
was too soft for the strength
in abuela’s tongue.

guen’ you are raised here
(en los estados unidos),
your tongue splits
and you find yourself
between “correct english”
and the sound of your cultura.

“mamita, que no se te olvide tu idioma,”
your Titi reminds you.

pero the english teacher tells you
to slide the tongue below your top teeth
so that ju’ can enunciate correctly .

enunciate?
sounds harsh.

so we created spanglish.
a place where they bof’ dance
comfortably. without judgement.
or correction.

sounds like,
caserio and projects.
barrio and town.
ciudad and suburbs.

it is the last romance language!

you can speak it. whisper it. shout it.
you can woe someone to Love in it.
you can awaken the social justice conscious
of sleeping giant with it.
you can put it in the lyrics of a song
and watch music play a cuatro
while an electric guitar falls
en clave.

ta. ta. ta. tata.
ta. ta. ta. tata.

la boila’ is broken
we have no heat.

code switch.

parkea’ el carro
then meet me
en el rufo’,
a few of us are gonna’
janguear’ and have a few drinks.

spoken word poets
have brought spanglish
to open mics
closing lyrical lines
with coños and “y tu abuela aonde’ ‘ta?”

abuela, i could never olvidar mi lengua
she dances in my mouf’
like celia cruz on stage
with a tumbao’
“my english ees’ no’ bery gu’ lukin’!”

pero i grew up here. in the land
of gringos. ’cause you wanted something
mejor for mamí.

so i had to learn this idioma
to fit in and assimilate,
while you continued to make rinconcitos
of Puerto Rico on tenement fire escapes.
palm and avocado trees fought with
taller buildings for a little bit of that sol.
a small clothesline had tio’s pantaloncillos
dancing salsa in the wind.
and a flag that waved hello
to transplanted seedlings
that played a combo of
la rueda mas hermosa
and red-light-green-light.

we stop. we go.
in and out.

we wrote a new idioma.
something the oxford dictionary
couldn’t add to their collection
of borrowed tongues.

something that was ours.
it honored our history
and accepted our new reality.

our tongue
debated and deliberated
a new sound.

spanglish:
a funny-often-times-hysterical-combination
-of-english-and-any-given-variation-of-spanish-
that-sounds-like-Home-and-home-and-Love-and-love.