RETURN TO OAXACA


RETURN TO OAXACA

BY LA SEÑORA 9 MUERTE

isabel


In this part of the world
There are no houses without windows
They fill us with poison until
it overflows
We learn to swim
against the current
As women they teach us
to be strong
To walk beneath an incandescent sun
Hauling sacks of
jamaica and tostadas
To go out into the street
in search of food
To return home to care for
the children
To serve our husbands a 
hot meal
To respect men more than
ourselves
To accuse the girl who wears
a short skirt
To scold the woman
who laughs loudly
To mock the violated
because they allowed themselves to be violated

Patriarchal indoctrination
in the hands of the church
Supremacía machista
in the hands of the church
Let’s not talk about the Jesus they worship
being Miguel Angel’s gay lover
because God will send you to Hell
when you die
The colony came but
never left
Heads fooled and
mouths silenced
White women can be
free to shed their clothes and
enjoy themselves
And what about us, the locals?
Those of us with brown skin they pursue
with an accusing finger for having tried
to be free
Hidden behind the morbid fascination of
exotismo folklórico
a supposed freedom that seems to
make us all equal
but while I’m here writing poetry
trained by Western academics 
in the discourse of philosophic lineage
there are still women caged up 
in the kitchen and their homes
feeding their babies from their breasts
Stepping outside in search of support 
amid the sweltering heat
and looking after half a dozen children
Nothing changes in twelve years
except that now we are allowed to maybe
have a tattoo
Being tattooed is the mark of a woman
who wishes to be free
But how many hearts?
How many bodies do not wish to be free?
And if the body of the indigenous woman
had never been exoticized?
And if the body of the white woman 
had never been covered?
But the Gospel has extended itself
into our our own living days
and there stand more churches than schools
Girls here will be stunted at 15 years old
because no one speaks of abortion
because no one speaks of pedophilia
Here girls learn
that the best way to get a little freedom
is to be the masters of their own homes
so we dream of having a husband and children
before the age of 20
It seems an endless discussion
In our hearts we know we wish for equality
and for all women to be free!!!
Then la morena wants to look like las blancas
because Televisa and TV Azteca
sell us the idea that to be free and equal
women must be blonde with colorful eyes
Have slender bodies and measure 1.80
And then la blanca wants to look morena
she operates on her breasts
she swells her lips
and tans her skin
sheds her clothes to liberate herself
We here are born naked
because our asses were fat
and our tits were big
And neither la blanca nor la morena is free
Because out there are the other beings
who are truly free
The men
The men who are not raped for walking at night
The men who are not accused for having multiple women
Men to whom it does not matter whether they are
blancos or morenos
amarillos or rojos
Never have they had to worry about walking safely
back to their homes
No one punishes them when child support
is not paid
No one demands that they look after their children
Ellos son los patrones
The masters of the house
In this part of the world
a macho is a macho
and no one argues
Because they are always free
Freedom is made for them
They are allowed to break and shriek
to kill
to rape
And there they are
hidden in the houses with windows
poison families
sheltering rapists
While they wait to trade virgin daughters
for a good dowry
Because here women are sold
But when a woman sells herself
she is labeled a puta even if she is a mother
seeking to feed her children
Freedom can only be practiced amongst equals
But machismo exists
racism exists
xenophobia exists
and nothing in this world is okay
And neither the state nor the church
will liberate us
because they maintain our chains
The police were not created to protect us
Just as the government was not created to serve us
The nation is an invention
to unify and hide the identity
of every people
The fatherland has only one son 
in this land where all are equal


TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH BY STEVEN T. BRAMBLE

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