The Words of Melissa I. M. Torres

i couldn’t sleep last night thinking about how a white guy actually drove 9 hours to the border specifically to kill mexicans. as shocked as i feel, it’s nothing new. so, a few more thoughts:

1. he’s a terrorist. stop with the mental health assumptions. white supremacy is not a chemical imbalance and massacring minorities is not a psychotic episode. quit adding to the erroneous stigma that people living with mental health issues are violent and homicidal.
2. everyone saying not to use this as an opportunity to discuss politics or that it’s too soon needs to shut up with that useless and ignorant diversion. terrorism is a political act of violence and naming it while fighting for justice is the ONLY way to counter it.
3. the terrorist said we’re invading texas. we are indigenous to this land regardless of your manmade colonial borders. this IS our land.
4. border towns and the people from there are binational – whether for work or play on both sides, or because our families, cultures, childhoods, and ancestors span both sides. this attack also impacts juárez, a border town with a painful recent history of violence, and family members there.
5. el paso was deemed one of the safest cities in the u.s., even with its interconnectedness with juárez. the white terrorist drove 9 hours to go kill its residents. this was not el paso or its people. this was not mexicans being violent.
6. some injured did not seek help for fear of f’ing immigrant status. some dead, dying, or injured could not have family at their side for fear of f’ing immigrant status. these are victims, yet some banal classification of persons continues to criminalize their mere existence. and, yes, your politics endorse or refuse this daily reality of millions whether you think so or not.
7. 45 AND abbott are both responsible. 45 riles up his racist, second amendment illiterate supporters with asinine build-the-wall rhetoric while abbott literally shames texas residents for not supporting the nra and buying enough guns. their thoughts and prayers are violence.
8. being from the opposite end of the texas border, i wanted to hate el paso when i was working there the past two years. i fell in love with it. fronteriza es fronteriza. el chuco will rise from this.

i took this photo in el paso two years ago on a work trip. i loved it because it reminded me of our community, culture, and my border home. and even though it is a memorial to our people’s strength, i won’t say “el paso strong” because the message now shouldn’t be the expectation of resilience from brown, indigenous, border, and mostly lower/working class communities. we’ve been dehumanized and killed by white supremacy along our border lands since this country was invaded. WE WERE ALREADY F’ING RESILIENT. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN STRONG. the message now is breaking down the systemic oppression endorsed by this government and fighting for justice for the ones actually making this country great – because our lands were great to begin with.

In The Thickening Dark Air

The days are growing thin, now…
more firmly anchored, chained to earth
as she grows sleepy and surrenders
to impending, crooning death
that has in time passed always passed
and yet, each time seems like her last___
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And I, with naked desperate face
pressed frantic to that fading sky
so blue, impossibly so blue
blue BLUE…and pale and growing paler
as my running tears run free
and carry Blue down to the dirt
of me, the dusty dirt of me

The sky dims in the echoes of
those flying waves of wild geese fleeing
Vanguard of this fading time
this sleepy, grown-thin dying time
so out of step, in stuttering rhyme
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They fly and sing, elegiac,
the Songs of Captive Zion, and
the broken harps hung high on willows
on the willows wailing there
while geese fly, sailing sadly by

and as these waves sweep by above
in broken honks (like broken harps
played tragically by broken hands
and broken hearts) that rain, that fall
to lay upon the many-waters growing still
and shining dull in dimming light and wondering
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if there is any love left here…or there…
or anywhere to see us safely
thru the night, the coming dark night
sinister and silent as the grave?  And still
my tears fall ceaseless, mourning
growing still, so listless, still…

The flapping wings the flutterings
of geese and my tears hot, welling
glistening sliding dripping falling
as the earth shifts and rolls over
on her side and so resigned
she groans and closes sorrowful
and milky sightless rheumy eyes
Image result for rheumy eyesand the rhythms of the wings,
the waves, the tears (oh tears and tears)
they echo other rhythms dread
stilled long ago…but now awake
a dreadful Sauron Eye aflame
snapped open in malice and pain
unblinking, staring without weeping…

flapflapflap (the wings),
snapsnapsnap (the eyes)
crackcrackcrack (other geese-stepping)
TROMPTROMPTRUMP (the boots, the boots of night)    
TRUMPTRUMPTRUMP 
(boots so shiny underneath
a cold Bone Graveyard moon)
trumptromptrumptromp

I weep…I wonder…if the dying
of the autumn light presages
some dread other coming night
some night hollow as the grave
in this thickening Dark Air
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