Tuesday, July 31, 2012

tatiana de la tierra, dura entre las duras

Foto por Ina Riaskov, Producciones y Milagros



Mudo late este corazón. Despacio rozan mis dedos este teclado. Precavido este suspiro. Me uno a los innumerables poetas que hoy derraman llanto a pluma abierta. Una de las nuestras, una de las duras, se une a aquella esencia a la que tanto adoraba.

Quien haya conocido a tatiana de la tierra sabe que para poesía hay muchas, mas ninguna como ella. Yo la conocí en Tucson, en la conferencia de NACCS en el 2001. Pero primero conocí su poesía.

Fue en una sesión de lectura dentro de la conferencia que me encontré sentado formando parte del círculo compuesto de dos escritoras, un escritor (las tres mariconas), y un público sediento. Las primeras palabras que brotaron de los labios de tatiana cayeron como gotas de sudor deslizándose por la espalda de su público, sus amantes. Tomándonos con la lengua y con los dedos de su musa, tatiana nos enramó con decadentes metáforas eróticas, añoranzas colombianas, y desafíos feministas. Nadie le hizo el amor a su público como lo hizo tatiana.

Recuerdo en particular un poema declamado esa tarde en la que describía un trío sexual entre mujeres. Mas no fue lo erótico lo que me cautivo, sino la delicadeza con la que describía este acto, este ritual entre mujeres. Fue al comparar este momento a tres niñas jugando en los columpios de una escuela, que reconocí el arte y la destreza de poetas capazes de entrelazar analogías arraigadas en los recuerdos de nuestra infancia con los momentos más puros y hermosos de nuestra vida adulta. tatiana fue una poeta como ninguna.

tatiana no permitió que la industria poética dictara el camino de su poesía. Manteniéndose una escritora autónoma durante la mayoría de su carrera artística, tatiana nos trajo obras irremplazables como For the Hard Ones: A Lesbian Phenomenology/Para las Duras: Una Fenomenología Lesbiana (publicado por Calaca Press y la misma tatiana), Píntame Una Mujer Peligrosa, y Porcupine Love & Other Tales from My Papayaentre otras. Al haberse esperado a que una industria capitalista le brindara el honor que merecía nos hubiésemos perdido de la riqueza de su arte. Fue por su gallardía que no solo las mujeres a las que sedujera, sino que a nosotros, sus otros amantes, también tuvimos la oportunidad de ser acariciados por sus letras.

Esta noche, la manifestación física de tatiana de la tierra transciende. La mujer nunca deja de ser, se une a todo lo que nos rodea, lo que nos penetra, lo que es.

tatiana fue mi colega, mi mentor, mi amiga, y mi inspiración. Su recuerdo vive en las páginas de sus libros e hilvanados entre las páginas de aquellos poetas, los que la amamos y amaremos.

tatiana escribió para las duras, siendo ella dura entre las duras.


tatiana de la tierra: 
poeta. mujer. amante. 
lesbiana. fiera. cantante. 
sobreviviente. intelectual. erótica. 
bibliotecaria. amiga. 
dura.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Lupe Ontiveros: An Actress We Deserve(d)

I don't remember how old I was when I first saw Lupe Ontiveros on screen. But I do know she was the first brown face I ever heard speak English on TV (yes, even before Edward James Olmos).

Growing up as a brown kid in the 80's, with a father who only spoke to me in Spanish, a mother who only spoke to me in English, and a schooling that taught me that my bilingualism was a deficit to be overcome, making sense of who I was and who the people I "come from" were, was an arduous, painstaking process. Although I didn't quite have the language or understanding to make sense of the experienced animosity toward brown people I witnessed and felt, something in me cherished the scarce moments when brown faces crossed the screen.

Among the scarcity of brown faces, Lupe Ontiveros remained a constant. And as an adult, seeing Lupe on Selena, Real Women Have Curves, and 
Desperate Housewives, conjured childhood memories, and helped put my own experience into perspective. She did so in ways others never did. For what I needed to see on screen were not the heroic Stand And Deliver humans I would never (and have yet to) meet, but the people down the street, the people at the supermarket, the people who raise(d) me.

Lupe wasn't afraid to portray the characters of women, specifically Chicanas, who aren't the most "palatable." From Yolanda Saldivar, to Carmen García, to Juanita 'Mama' Solis, Lupe served Chicana fierceness like no other. Lupe embodied these mujeres by surfacing their complexities and their humanity. From the possessive friend/lover, to the overbearing all-too-concerned with qué dirán mother, to the skeptical daughter-in-law-hating suegra, Lupe gave us raw, unapologetic images of people whose personalities were not without context. Lupe portrayed the women in my life, Lupe portrayed me. Possessive friend/lover, overbearing, still concerned with the pinche qué dirán, skeptical, and untrusting. Through her acting, Lupe gave us the beautiful, the strong, and the, oh, so messy in us. Lupe portrayed Us.

Neither of my grandmothers were universally adored as they were tough, often crass, intentionally irreverent, and at times rude in their own bluntness and clarity. And for as much as my mother tried to teach me to be delightful, respectful, and amicable, I too, am often less than palatable (I am undoubtably their grandchild). Lupe portrayed both of these women with the craft and the corazón that they, and our comunidades, deserve(d).

And while JLo went from playing a Tejana to play sweet Italian girls, Lupe, a Tejana herself, kept serving corajuda, terca, macha, and loving madre/ lover/ friend/ enemiga/ chingona fierceness. Lupe was an actress we deserve(d).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oversimplified Meme #999,999,999...

In light of last night's tragedy, I saw this meme begin to circulate on Facebook. The meme, which I understand was started by the Facebook page George W. Obama, attempts to offer a critique of the President's comments on the Aurora, CO shootings. And while I tend to enjoy memes as a vehicle for public comment and dialogue, I think this one falls short and wanders aimlessly into the offensive.

I would offer that things are more complicated than allowed by a mere comparison between the Aurora shootings and the killing of a "U.S. citizen." On the one hand, I think it's problematic to highlight the one "U.S. citizen" as if that life has more value than the 1,000,000+ non-"U.S. citizens" killed in the "war against terror." On the other hand, there's definitely room to talk, and be critical, about the use of drones and, of course, the war as a whole. And while I agree that the commander in chief serves to protect the empire and the corporate interests that sustain it, and for which it stands (as he has for over 200 years), I still see this comparison as falling short of providing an astute critique. 


A critique I would provide of Obama, however, is the lack of gun control muscle he's demonstrated. Granted, we're talking about a gun-crazed Christo-terrorist-leaning country in which doing anything that might be interpreted as an effort to weaken the 2nd amendment would be considered political suicide. Nonetheless, critiques are important and necessary.