Friday, April 29, 2005

Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders

Friday, April 29 - 7:30 PM

Event Image
From acclaimed poet and prose-writer Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Desert Blood is a gripping thriller that ponders the effects of patriarchy, gender identity, bor
der culture, transnationalism and globalization on an international crisis.

I will be going tonight to see this reading and I will let you know how it went. Until then here is a poem I wrote about the women of Juarez after a trip I I took to El Paso-Ciudad Juarez in 2004.

Ni Una Mas

Mi querido 24th and mission
Conjunto on a Tuesday night
Mostly men gathered around to listen, to the upright bass
Acoustic guitar, drum and of course-- the accordion
Harmonizing. reminding stocky brown skinned men of home
They will be home soon they think,
no need to do anything permanent here

And the bar on the corner always a
pop song, ballad, cumbia
salsita BLARING
The music sometimes draws me near
but the Men spilling out to the street ...ssst sst mamacita
Reminds me that no mujer decente would be in there

Some reason I know to walk away, (hurried hips, not swaying)
Even though I’ve never considered myself especially decente
and Even though my father says
I sometimes talk like one of those women in those bars
And we automatically know what one of those women are.

Poor women aren’t allowed liberation
Or maybe they find freedom in tight jeans and
A stretchy v-neck that shows every bump every movement
Dripping ornaments dangle teasing
gold hoops lasso your eyes
You will see me!

"Ay!" He says
,"why do you women wear a dark bra under a white shirt
Only Nacas do that!"

She sighs uncomfortable in skin she thought she was comfortable in
She thought it looked fine,
hurls back: " the bra is pink and is close enough to my skin!"
as she changes
to a darker shirt

They say don’t walk alone
at night because something
might happen to you
And if it does, well then you shouldn’t have been alone
Blame the victim reflex,
so you don't have to take any responsibility

What if you don’t have someone to walk with?
Lock yourself inside until someone comes for you?
Until the world changes?

And he says, "yeah, the world ‘s a dangerous place for women.
But how are we supposed to change things?
It will always just be dangerous for women to be alone.
Some men will always rape some women."

I can’t believe he says this, but then that is what we are talking about,
the ultimate power over a woman.

Confidence busted
Trust gone disgusted
Picked up from a black top smack down
Sub standard practices
Negative in the place of a positive
Accusatory sin and no redemption in sight.

Its dangerous to be a woman; even first world.
That is why I am connected to my hermanas on the border.
I know what it is to fear to have body of mujer

"Be careful! I hear they are killing women over there"
My 1st world status means nothing?

Body parts , cut nipples,
legs disconnected from hips
Her brown eyes, her smile never seen
Her laugh not heard anew
The last her mother saw of her was bone. She didn’t get to say good-bye.
Bone. No flesh to be ogled wounded.
What she most wants to hug her daughter again.

The Border.
This line that is not a bridge, not a line, it ‘s a ditch a hole an open wound,
Like the Berlin
wall the Great Walls, apartheid wall, imaginary walls
Not just one wall
But several, cement, iron gate, barbed wire
Keeping us out Keeping you in.
Men with guns protecting who again?
Whose interests?
Eerie walls of silence

So we March, mourn,
write letters, make speeches
hold discussions
Looking up from fear
and hopelessness
raising awareness
no longer complicit
refusing silence
daring to be powerful

in twos, twentys or two hundreds.

Cause the Missing turned up raped & mutilated,
Ni una mas!

Ineptitude bungling of local authorities,
Ni una mas!

Blame the victim reflex
she must have run off with a boyfriend
maybe your precious daughter lead a double life.
Ni una mas!

Young, pretty, long brown hair, poor, brown skin.
Ni una mas!

Mexico lindo y querido has some dirty secrets,
Yes la madre de las tierras is helping hide our naughty dirty laundry
Out in the dessert, only half hidden,
So you know what happens to women who step out of line,
Out of the house
NAFTA’s neglected, unprotected, migration survival,
maquila women earning 4 dollars a day
working on electronics, working on clothes she could never afford.

Explosion of exploitation!
Is only the half of it
Representing the condition
of women across the planet

Symptoms of a deeper problem.
Tener cuerpo de mujer es ser
amenazado de muerte
Her only crime was being a woman
Crimes against all our humanity

Pero sabes Que?

No Estan Solas.
No Estan Solas.
No Estan Solas!


1 comment:

Chapina said...

What an amazing evening. "Homegirl" Gaspar is such an eloquent speaker and a prolific mindbending writer. What a great idea to write a thriller to get the word out about what is going on in Juarez Mexico. She urged us to go beyond the "Who" of who is killing these women and dig further to the "why?" These are not your average executioner style killings because of drug deals gone wrong. There is a hatred and dehumanization of the female body that leads to a larger structure of oppression, violence, sexism and silence.For more info about the book:
For more about the women of Juarez