We’ve got something that they don’t
And its in the way we trrrrrill,
Our tongues, tastefully like our sweet and viscous honey dishes.
Our mouths forever speaking caramel candies, pirulí, that you wish you could stomach.
They’ve called us exotic, well we think you are
Strange, in the way you never learned how to purrrrr,
And in how you pervade language so beautiful with drawling accents
Into our Spanish-Indigenous-African words without accrediting the luscious lips that spoke them first.
Mud water is your game while we exfoliate our thick skins with salt
From oceans and lakes that rrrrrripple in waves,
Blanketing our shores in nutrient crystals imbued within
The lands you stomped your muddy feet onto because you’ve always known your selfishness was never enough.
So you tried to steal our gifts and found that you could never stomach such quality beings. Because we are made in all colors of the rainbow and in the ancestral darkness that within illuminated secrets rrrrrelished by humankind. With your malicious intent you excluded yourself from the only race that ever existed and I can’t even call you extraterrestrial. It’s not about “us versus them”, but I’m showing you what its like to appropriate your language like you did mine.
Old structures by the sea are beaten down into broken pieces of concrete and tarnished walls. Fires raged, leaving their mark throughout the infrastructure of this hydroelectric plant. Everything back home feels like buildings decapitated of their souls. The comandante and his delivered promises of success lacked derision at first, while all were brainwashed with the hopes of days yet to come for a freer Cuba. Lies rotting out of the eyes of the politicians, one of my grandfathers lied too—after falling into the trap of a skewed version of equality. Little did they know they should have looked towards equity, maybe then our homes and workspaces would still breathe life into our people.
Overgrown with grass creeping over cement walls, our buildings decompose like the living beings that performed their lives’ work within them. Steam stacks don’t spew steam anymore, but the invisible souls of my people float onward, upward, towards a heaven of blue skies and turquoise oceans that wail against the rocks separating our buildings from it. My people have drowned in that ocean as they try to escape crumbling structures like the Cuban government, once and always full of corruption and disguises. Old TV screens are housed in each building because at least all people deserve a TV, better to brainwash them with.
One day the fifth floor will destroy the fourth and the only way to go from there will be down… and down will my people go. Down will fall my soul with every cracking piece of wall like the breaking heart encased within my ribs. I’ll just sit here across the ocean staring at Jupiter’s raging storm in my coffee as I ponder origins and family trees nonexistent, forever forgotten in history like the structures I speak of.
Image by V. Ariosa taken in Santa Cruz del Norte, Provincia Mayabeque (previously part of Provincia Habana). Electric Plant.
She has long and pearly features—a statue made out of stone. She’s all cheekbones that stab the air around her, breaking the tiny wind currents. Upright, she transforms into a scare and a cube when encased within herself. Those hips will never be able to encase the world in her womb. With narrowed eyes she glares at her wood-colored friend without warmth. Her eyes are icy blue and shatter bone. She maintains her “friends” in chains—those very same ones she pretends to “save.” She has a smile that never reaches her face, much less her eyes… That smile is too busy… Dying in her imagination. I asked her, “Comrade, did you learn nothing from your mother?” I referred to the cruelty of the planet she lives in, and the diversity of features and thought that seems to seep into this world from a heavenly outer space. This is just another work focusing on the oppressor rather than the oppressed.
Military style is how we think they learn. Sound a beep that plugs them into work like those sedatives used to restrain a “crazy” person. These kids are treated as if they were lampposts, only to be used for illuminating the way for the higher members of society.
I see the frustration in their eyes and with every moment they feel betrayed by the system. I’m just standing there telling them that I believe in them and they can do it, but that won’t be enough. I tell them and they’re momentarily defeated, but some of them want lift their heads high and say that they are NOT merely cogs in the system.
Fight for your lives, my little troopers. You mean the world to me.
My kids are exhausted like magnolias falling off of the tree.
School to prison pipeline
Kids as criminals because they live in a white-male dominant society pushing them off of the corners of the college ruled paper that creates legal systems.
It’s insane to think that the very system that is supposed to educate us perpetuates systems of oppression. The system pushed kids out and the few honestly good teachers are insufficient to outrun the rate of isms.
We live in a society that connotates a humanitarian movement–feminism– as negative because of an ending associated with beating people down. How can we teach our children to analyze the world around them if in our instructional methods we make ignorance fact.
Be revolutionary and seep into an unfair system to destroy the foundations that place one group above the other. They can only keep you down if you don’t fight.
This sea of creatures has given me more than I could have asked for. My ancestors have taken it over and pried open the mysteries of the fish and corals that they had never figured out before in the early 2000s. Back then everyone lived above water until that world collapsed with continual industrialization. Only those of us who had eons of fortunes could afford our new lifestyles, which we took from the fish. At first we used machinery to keep alive in the depths of my friends the butterfly fish and angelfish. We engineered the reefs to grow larger and we made homes out of the calcium carbonate. The current inhabitants of the reef seem to bear little resemblance to the original organisms that our people crossed paths with. Of course, in our schools they taught us that the toxic organisms had to be removed so that we could seek refuge without losing our populations.
Here I learned the meaning of forming communities with organisms that are considered lesser than the humans. Our parents taught us about coexistence. So I get to swim around the warm waters while rays of sun penetrate our haven. It’s like the gods gave us this right to breathe in this sunshine and “rewarded” our families by framing our scenery with a second chance at life that we stole from our friends. I kept asking my parents where our food came from and they said that our tritons—leaders—made sure no members of our community were being harmed. I’m sure that outside the reefs it is open country and I believe that is where we get our produce. Lately more schools of fish have been traveling to deeper parts of the reefs where we don’t usually venture down to due to the enormous headaches we get as we descend. Our philosophers determine that we needn’t waste time descending when we should be prepared to ascend once again in the world when nature has run its course in our original lands. I can’t imagine how drab the dry world must be; we have so many colors and friends here. Apparently, in the dry world people can’t float unless they use machines.
My classmates are ripping pieces of sponge apart to see who can do it the fastest.