Friday, February 26, 2010

The Other Na'vi

We see the Other,
and they are blue.

And we see the Other,
but they are us.

They are blue and disguised
only slightly
by another planet and another language,
Disguised just slightly
in the guise of fiction.

But we see the Other.

We are the Other,
The Na’vi,
the blue people.
Where war is fought over land
Were precious resources
are the cause for blood and struggle and mothers’ tears
The world, right beyond the window
is bombed and shelled,
it is taken with guns and threats
it is taken by the hands of zealots.
And it is taken,
by those with another language,
by those with other plans
and other dreams.

And though this theater is dark,
and though this is disguised by fiction,
by a big budget and special effects
and James Cameron
and a movie marquee that reads
in big black letters,
and though I still have the money for popcorn
and the children spit
sunflower seeds on the ground
with rhythmic authority,
we still see the Other.
We see us.

We are blue.
We are big eared.
We are the dispossessed.

We are the Na’vi
after the land is stolen,
after the water has run dry and the olive trees have been butchered
and our brothers have been sent to their jails.
We are the Na’vi after 60 years of repression,
after blood, after constant war,
after the grasp has tightened and tightened,
ever so slowly
and now I just cannot breathe.

And I write,
and I see,
and I talk.
I see this fiction,
and I see this true story.
I see me,
my brothers,
my sisters,
all wishing for the land we once farmed and knew.
I see what we want behind rows of tanks, bullets and armor.

We are the Palestinians,
the Na’vi,
the real beyond the fiction.
One side of the fragmented stone,
just one of many who have lost their trees and ancestors and whispers.
We have lost it all
for our resources,
for soil and water and fruits,
for an ideology that can smother even the sharpest eyes.
This is a world of blind men and mute women.
If only we could fly,
If I could ride the dragon of the sky
and defeat those who come with their single minded plans,
but this is not fiction,
this is not a film.
The small have been defeated,
though we march through the forests of failure,
wearing blue and marching towards the fences that create our prison.
Watch us, as you have watched the Other.
The world is a million theater screens,
and the lives behind them drip with real blood,
and taste of sweat
and scream with the nightmare of living,
the nightmare that our lives have become.

We are the Na’vi,
the Palestinians
the Other.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Death of Scattered Signifiers

The truth could never be given with a word. It could never be understood with a sentence or on the pages of this text. And maybe you wouldn’t understand, but maybe you would, and if you do, then take my hand as I reach from the grave. I started writing months ago, and what began as a rant became more, and what began as therapy became even more until I saw the dark cloud that loomed on the horizon. It wouldn’t go away when I blinked; even when I cried and cut my fists, it was always there, steady and silent, waiting for me to truly understand. It was black and hard and I knew therapy could not fix it, words could not fix it, but I tried anyway, because I had to.

They just don’t get it. You can spell it out in big words,
And little words
And black and white
And you can make it as simple as possible
And they just don’t get it.
Now they call you demented
And your wife apologizes for you
And someone wonders if you were having marital problems.
But you told them, and you used a few cuss words and your rage was palpable,
But that’s life, that’s anger at injustice, that’s red blood pumping and pumping and pumping.
And they’re calling you demented and crazed,
They’re as blind as you thought, and even spelling it out did not help.
Their eyes are gone and they just cannot see the dots and lines,
but you tried.
You wrote it.
You told them.
Your wife does not get it.
Years and years, hidden under sheets. Years of sweat and tongue and she still doesn’t understand.
And that’s what makes me sad.
You left behind a black charred body, you tried to scream, a final exclamation point in your crash,
But they just shake their heads…another lunatic.
Your sacrifice was for a point the sheep cannot see.
There will be no legions behind you,
No revolution
No violence.
Tax day is coming and the post office will be full and the stamps will carry our money away on wings,
And little will change.
Your sacrificed life will mean so little.
Your death will be a ripple in the ocean, so faint and distant it could be nothing at all.
And that’s what’s makes my heart want to bleed.
The malls are full.
The battles wage on.
The machine grinds steady.
The freeways are crowded.
The money keeps flowing.
You could not change it.
Can it be changed?

My heart has grown weary from the failures. All the fathers have crumbled. The lies are out and as I stare, I vomit and watch them grow. Children still recite the Pledge of Alliance out of synch and they still teach that Columbus discovered America even though it was refuted so long ago. They just cannot change ignorance. Young men still sign on the dotted line, believing in honor and the vision of Country. But I can see all those cracks, not one has escaped me and I cry for the innocence I once knew and I have turned hard while the lights of florescent bulbs flicker. It is all too much. They are all lies, each one of you in suits, each one of you beneath stripes and stars. How dare you speak? You white skinned, white haired, blue eyed liars. And while those men die in roadside bombs for corporations they will never know, profiting people they will never meet, I am prepared to die. The band plays behind me, and I am a patriot. I am a revolutionary in a forgotten country of words without substance. Add me to the pile if there is anything left. Follow if you can, and if you cannot, read my words.

(Text inspired by Joe Stack’s suicide note.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Wheel Of Fortune

I looked into the mirror, there on the street. He was an Asian man. I was an Asian man. With a camera and flannel. I was a man. He looked at a woman in the mirror. He was a woman. I looked into a mirror on the street, and there I was, a man. There was a camera, a flannel, a full cup of curiosity. I was there, a man. A man with breasts, a man with a camera. A mirror revealed. There I was, on the street, with my camera, my curiosity, my heavy cup.

I looked into the mirror, and as I looked, I saw that I could have been her, there, on the other side of the street. There, on the sidewalk, a Latin man with a briefcase. A woman with a tiny white dog peeking from her purse. A flip of the wheel, the crowd chants, a smile of white teeth gleams into the camera. I watch from a blue reclining chair in a far away living room, a chair I have never seen, a chair I bought, a house I sleep in, the phantom in the mirror.

I look into the mirror, and there they are, a thousand reflections. She with her long blond hair, the man with the cigar, a naked child running through a mountainous garbage pile, the little dog with three legs, the man with his camera and a flannel shirt wrapped around his waist. There is the mirror, right on the street. There is the lens and the black eye of curiosity and an open iris hiding behind a wall of glass connected to a finger. There is a mirror, and I stare back with my own black eye. With my own purse and sweater, with my own ceramic cup that steams with fire. They all walk by, holding an ounce of me, a fragment of my reflection. I hear the sound of fortune, the tat-a-tat-tat of the wheel as it spins.

A flip of the hand, a tug of the wrist. The audience chants. The smile, so white and fake frozen. The lights of the studio audience dance: red, green, blue. They move. Lasered strobes of attention jumping from one object to another. Hop, flip, hip. Hope. The man, the dog, the woman and her smile. They could have all been me, and I watch through a lens, through a mirror that allows me to see, even months later, what I was and who I am and what we all could have been with just a slight turn of the hand, a spin of the wheel, and a jump in time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Could Have Been Any Woman

I could have been any woman.

Wrapped in a head scarf, armed with a semi-automatic. I could have been hiding in caves, listening to the vanishing drone of a plane. I could have been a pious woman, mountains of cloth covering my breasts, staring into a bubbling pan of oil and chicken. I could have watched as verbal slurs vanished into the air, forever marking the children they touched.

I might have been anyone.

Driving a convertible down a street of palm trees and purses more expensive than houses. I could have been her- she who detonated explosives in a tent full of young pilgrims. She is in me, the girl with nothing left to loose. The self righteous woman. The zealot. The victim fearing her own family. The opportunist. The lover. The mother. The solider. The guerilla. The addict. The farmer. Them and a thousand others, they are all in me. It would have only taken the right man. It would have just taken a spark and a quick glance and a moment of elation. Not much. A hard cock, an orgasm. The rest of me would follow- blindly, lovingly, would follow to the farthest jungle to the tallest building and their leather swivel chairs.

She could have been me.
I might have been her.

It would have just taken a kiss, a passionate kiss that would have ignited every cell- every bit of longing- it would have just taken a firm cock and a tender stroke of my hip and I would have been gone. Following. Moving like an animal on a leash, learning from what I saw.

Just give me a kiss.

But I met him, and I saw a blue shape moving down a sunny street and I heard his call and I touched my window and looked back, staring backwards as the car moved on. I found him later on the beach, and later his lips, and soon his cock and then I felt his tongue and much later, cementing me to him, the orgasm. Days later I slept with him in a vacant house and soon I watched him ask strangers for change and we bought malt liquor and hid from the police.

It was me.

Then he asked and I gave. There was money. Tears. There was time. I inhaled his cigarettes. Another flash… tongue, an orgasm. I would stay for anything. Just another orgasm. Then I watched him cook his dope and one day I felt it going through me and then I watched as he crumbled. I held on, trying to preserve what I remembered, that one day I touched my window. The flash of blue and his shape, the certain-ness of my hand hitting glass. It was what he was, he was what I became. I could have been anyone, but I chose him. He chose me. I followed his tongue, his body. I followed him, but I could have become anyone.

I could have been any woman.