Monday, November 8, 2010

Xénesis (Chapter 1, Verses 1 - 25): A Story of Lesbianas, Love y Revolución

[Written for and performed at the opening weekend of Queer Xicana Indígena performance artist, Adelina Anthony's groundbreaking tryptic La Hocicona Series.]

(1) In the beginning God created the Cochina and the Perv. (2) Now the Perv was intellectual and cocky, lust was over the surface of her fingertips, and the Spirit of God was hovering over her belly.

(3) And God said, “Let there be lube,” and there was lube. (4) God saw that the lube was good (silicon base), and she separated the flavored from the unscented. (5) God called the lube “AY,” the codeword for more. And there was the Pervertida and her perversionsthe first day.

(6) And God said, “Let there be dental dams, even if just for pretend, so la date will think she’s prepared.” (7) So God made the Pervertida and the expectation of a multi-mujer loving dyke. And it was so. (8) God called the dental dams “¡no mames!” And there was lube, and there were dental dams—the second day.

(9) And God said, “Let the Pervertida hover over a Cochina’s face, and let dry lips dampen.” And it was so. (10) God called this act “Love,” and the gathered waters she called “.” And God saw that it was good.

(11) Then God said, “Let the Cochina expect reciprocation: let the pillow-queen Pervertida work, let her worship mujer of the same image, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. (12) Las mujeres produced vegetation: orgasmos bearing raindrops according to their kinds and a u-Haul bearing furniture, expectations, and cats in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (13) And there was la Cochina, and there was la Pervertida—the third day.

(14) And God said, “Let the lesbianas move-in, separate from the girls on the prowl, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days, and years, and years, and years, (15) and let them process, garden and volunteer to give light on the earth.” And it was so. (16) God made two great lesbianas—the greater Pervertida to govern her own body and the greater Cochina to govern hers. She also made the straights. (17) God set them in the sea of heteros to give light on the earth, (18) to learn to love freely, defiantly in the day and in the night, and to separate love from the State. And God saw that it was good.

(19) And there were lesbianas, and there were heteros—the fourth day. (20) And God said, “Let the jotas gather and form collectives, and let them ponder on matters of revolution, let them raise banners and paint the sky.” (21) So they created the great movimientos of lesbianería and every living being with which the queerness teems and that moves about in them, according to their kinds, and every tortillera and marimacha according to their own kind. And God saw that it was good. (22) God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number, and fill the co-ops with patchouli, and let your gatos be neutered for this is right.” (23) And there were tortilleras, and there were gatos —the fifth day.

(24) And God said, “Let the land witness living creatures according to their fluid kinds: the butchas, the high femmes who move along in tacones, and the resistors of butch and femme, each according to their kind.” And it was so. (25) God made the multitude of lesbianas according to their fluid kinds, the butchas who mostly bottom, the high femmes who always top, las otras who are greedy. And God saw that it was bien good.

Note: La Pervertida is inspired by a talk-back of Cherríe Moraga in Santa Ana this summer, La Cochina, pues, from La Educated Cochina. May we all retain or reclaim la pervertida y la cochina in us. Amén.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Ones They Waited For: A Reflection on Día de los Muertos

I once detested the ignorant comparison of Halloween and Día de los Muertos— as if sugar skulls were synonymous with jack-o’-lanterns, and altar cloths were the same as ghost sheets. As with other traditions, the honoring of our dead needed to be described through the lens of Americanism, translated into a coding of consumption. This morning, I found myself longing for such days of ignorance.

Today, sugar skulls carry barcodes where the names of our ancestors were once etched between pink and purple swirls. Calaveras are mass-produced as if to match the rate at which we die. Do-It-Yourself Papel Picado kits sit in market aisles, as if to ensure centuries-old traditions of elder teaching remain in our history, vaccinating our bodies against the threat of memory.

Caught between Altar-In-The-Box marketing ploys and those who will never know the name of José Guadalupe Posada, I walk passed buckets of zempasuchil and remember my abuela’s garden of crisantemos in Chihuahua. I remember the yearly ritual of racing against the sun to harvest the bushy flowers before dawn. I remember la viejita insisting they be cut before they wake to welcome the morning rays. As if moved by the rhythms of early morning rooster choirs, we rushed to place the flowers in old buckets, covered them with recycled fertilizer bags and waited to greet the sun.

Piled between old brooms, shovels and buckets of flowers, the procession of trucks made its way from Estación Adela to Valle de Allende, the head of the municipio and meeting place for our dead and our living. In the silent celebration of memory, we fervently brushed, swept and watered tombs that held more than our ancestros’ remains. We were there to unclutter and revive memory, to resurrect the proof that we once were, and awaken the hope that we continue to be.

It is today, years and miles away from the mute celebration of the life that dances around, weaves throughout and breathes within the flesh of our spirits, that I realize why I call this the most sacred of holidays. To have been robbed of land, of identity, of water, of ancestral spiritualities, of healthy food and of life, death would not be stolen as well. It was in the zigzagging of brooms and tears that we claimed, laid hands on, and conjured the spirits who led the way— as if knowing they hold artifacts of our truths.

Para mí, el día de los muertos is more than a fiesta of calavera-painted faces and non-organic Chocolate Abuelita. It is the opportunity to caress the spirits of those I love, those who have transitioned yet continue to guide me, walk with me, and hold me through the coldest of nights. Despite the annoyance of celebrating a hyper-commercialized holiday, I am reminded of the opportunity that is life, the sanctity that is death and the blessing that is possibility.

Today, I honor, remember, hold close and slip into the arms of my muertos. They were the ones they waited for; perhaps I am the one who follows.

[Photo: Altar I co-built with Saúl González, a founder of allgo, a statewide queer people of color organization in Texas. The altar was dedicated to the many people who were a part of the founding and building of allgo, which, at 30 years old, is one of the longest standing queer people of color organizations in the U.S.]