“It is exactly because we feel and suffer that we too want to become involved in the fight against this society, because we also feel from birth the need to be free, to be equal” Maria Roda
I wanted to take a shortcut. I needed to think a bit more as my mind was beginning to weigh me down. The shortcut, cutting swaths through my mind since I was a little girl, suddenly became malleable and slowly disappeared with each turn I made. The snow fell harder, and everything became quiet. Shadows creeped in as memories from the past I never experienced gripped tightly at my heart. In the back of the mind I could hear the Great Falls crashing down as unfinished conversations from earlier in the night continued controlling my mind. On this dark, cold winter night I can barely see through my windshield, but my focus remained within. And I approach Paterson with a heavy heart, the remnants of tonight’s conversations still encapsulating my mind, trying to remember what I said and what was said and I can only recall the enlightening conversation about my family history. A family history that truly began here, in the silk city where the pain and the longing, like the thick smoke from the burned out factories no longer has anywhere to go besides the dark heart of our souls. The burned out buildings covered in snow, almost as beautiful as their history of pain and frustration overtakes me. I can still see the pink lights of the Marcal factory as if I was still that little girl, still dreaming of the perfect world I built in my mind. The perfect world which the souls of the past built with the blood of their hands, scratching and clawing against the walls of ignorance always growing claustrophobically closer. They dreamed of the perfect America, the beautiful land of hope and liberty and when they arrived on these shores, they only saw pain and destitution and wondered when they would really arrive in this America they heard so much about. As I watch the pages of my history burning I am reminded of the way the mother of my great-grandmother fought. Her words like shadows of my own thoughts. “We too have a heart that beats, that suffers when facing so much misery. The pain of the working masses affects us too. Who knows misery more than women?” These words echo within me, buried deep in the heart of my past. I have never learned to be anything but an object. My thoughts filtered through emotions, Snapchats and Facebook posts. We lost the ability to be in touch with this light that burns and as the pages of our own history continue burning, I can do nothing but remember what still makes my blood flow. And as I feel this woman’s blood flowing through me, I reflect upon my own life, my miserable job, superficially rich, yet spiritually dead, my inability to hold a boyfriend, or clean my house and I see the reason why I’m here; this is not, for once a shortcut, but a trip through the heart of what I can be. As I am lost out here amongst the shadows, and I feel my car, unable to move, trapped in ice and snow as the tires dig deeper and tears fall from my eyes as I look in the rearview mirror. The shadows of men who so long ago had some form of hope descend upon me, I don’t know where I am going now. I am here, and her blood pulsing through my heart tells me, just go, it doesn’t matter, just go
“They say you fight the greatest jihad in your heart and your mind…so I dream the impossible all the time…America’s future is mine…if our culture’s a crime, them numbers tatted on your arm aren’t too far behind. They can only conquer you after they murder your mind. So rise up mother fucker like the sign o the times, I feel my body weakening, but my spirit is fine, ready to go to war with devils at the drop of a dime and fight with my rebel army til the stars are aligned…live for revolution instead of always dying for it.” Immortal Technique
The smoke from all my dreams ascends to the sky, sprinkling star dust across the universe. In each particle a million life times burn away and transform and float away in light and darkness. And as I burn their eyes widen, seeing the reflection of all I am. Everything is here, in the mirror holding their image before them as they turn away and close their eyes. As my heart beat grows louder, I feel the little girls hands covered in blood, my father’s cries of love which I could never really hear, the eyes still clicking above me, they can never exist outside of these ropes which bind my hands. I float above them, smoldering ash quietly falling into their hair and blurring their vision and still their eyes widen as they anticipate my cries of pain. Those cries never come as the fire encapsules their ignorance, their eyes attempt to follow it, but they turn away as it runs directly into their heart. I burn so they can see and maybe they can continue seeing. But maybe it doesn’t even matter as we are all caught in this cycle and we all think we know the way out. And as they continue looking out at me burning upon the cross of their silence, they can no longer see the form of what I was, but only the form of themselves, in continuous revolution from the bottom of their hearts, they watch the ideas they had of themselves burning away into the night…reaching, and letting go. They no longer look to the fires of the moon as they slowly walk through the fires burning inside themselves. The hum they previously unleashed from themselves becomes completely silent as they learn to open their arms and they feel the pain my form releases and they can no longer hide, they can no longer see it separate from themselves. Maybe I am just another sacrifice for their ignorance, or maybe they can see now, maybe they can feel each other now and feel the pain that the darkness of their hearts has unleashed upon the world. Maybe they can see the chaos swirling inside of them, the chaos that constantly creates a new heart superimposed upon the world which has carried them this far, the world that breathes their life, the earth which is their soul. Maybe they can look through the eyes of the devil and see those eyes are no different from their own. As they learn how to exist within them, maybe they can understand. Through the eyes of the devil they watch, burning to be free from the confines of separation.
The mirror stares back at me as the rainbows swirling from my hands awaken me to the image of what I have become. The rainbows are enveloped by darkness, and maybe all of them have darkness in their hearts, my father cries out, what happened to having love in your heart? His last words, the man…in the corner, father of all. I point my eyes to the ground and can do nothing but raise my hands up to the sky into the moonlit night…we were always here weren’t we? Rainbows and shadows ascend from the ground lighting the dark night, lighting the long road I must walk upon. The eyes, clicking and humming and following, but they can no longer touch me here. In a pyramid of rainbows my dreams travel with no static direction, reaching for the sky as the fires continue burning on the moon. And my father from so long ago reaches for me, with his arms open he sets me free from all the bars which held me for so long. And I can’t cry no more, for that there is no time. And I can’t be what I think I am anymore because that doesn’t mean nothing to me. I can only open my arms, and open my heart and laugh into the heart of darkness which has always bound me to the idea I could never let go of. The pulse of the earth below me corresponds with the cries from my heart and the light beating from my heart, the light shining from the rainbows of my dreams is all I can see before me. And the eyes, and the painful hum of the unconscious reach as far from their true being as the fires on the moon, they slowly crawl into my consciousness, dissipating before the light I have become. And still their claws descend and tear into the swirling beams of light emanating from my soul but I can’t cry and there is no pain. They tear but are confused as each cut instantly becomes another cluster of swirling light and they look above and behind but there is nothing more they can see but the eyes they look through and they cry out for something to solidify their existence and they can only reach for light and shadows as they become silent. And I cry deep within my own heart as they cannot let go of their claws, they cannot let go of the eyes which continue to chain them to the idea that they cannot let go of. Maybe all they can see is fire, pain, crying and death; the ultimate end, the ultimate idea they cannot let go of and maybe as they see me chained here, as the fires from the moon descend, heating all of the light and burning my dreams, maybe this is all I can see, I just don’t know what I am anymore. As my hands are tied to the back of the moon, their eyes open as I cry out through the pain of my burning soul. They look out through my eyes and they see what’s inside them for the first time and I feel no pain as the fire of my dreams awakens them to a new idea
And the lights were so bright I needed to close my eyes. And a hand was holding me but I couldn’t tell whose anymore and voices just escaped me without a thought and I watched, I looked up and watched the eyes following my every movement. And there were piles of me, unable to breathe, unable to move, screaming into the silence of cold unfeeling eyes fixed upon us. And I was trapped inside of this, tagged and numbered computerized and ready to be checked out, to be taken away, to be owned. And I laughed as I saw them all screaming at each other and grabbing for the other bears and only a certain one even though there were piles and piles of us. But amongst the piles, there was a beating, a slowly growing presence pulsing from right beneath us and none of us could stop it. It flowed through us as we tried to reach for it. It travelled deeper inside us and we could no longer look away from the madness surrounding us and even the hands that reached out for us transformed, slowed, felt what they were, felt what they were reaching for and for a second, just thought about it, about everything. And we were caged and locked away, loved for only moments until we were ripped apart and ragged, slobbered upon and chewed up by the family dog and we were tired, so tired of being treated as a piece of cloth, carrying all the sins of our fathers in the thin piece of cloth which covered all we are. And still they have not had enough as the piles dwindled, more appeared and more of our anger grew and we began to raise our fists but no one noticed and those that did just laughed about it, made jokes about it and still took us away to their screaming children whose screams subsided but were never truly silenced. And I heard millions of voices traveling through me at once and if I could only grab hold of that one voice, the one guiding me, I could just for a second know what this is all about, but I didn’t need that. Not one, as millions of ideas flowed through me, millions of points of light and darkness, I could never hold onto just one. And I looked at the piles of us everywhere across this land and looked at the tired eyes of those dragging us away, the empty look on their faces, I knew they couldn’t hear any of those voices anymore, they could only hear one and as the piles slowly moved and we looked to the sky with our fists in the air, maybe they could look at us now and hear a different voice. And as we were piled atop each other, experiencing our slow, painful death, we let each voice flow through us, scream out of us and we reached for the only thing which still could give us life, the sound, the echoes of our past and our future traveling through us
The beating of her heart slows as the bars locking me in dissolve, as I reach through I still feel them, I still feel what I use to be. And I couldn’t see outside my own eyes anymore and I couldn’t hear my own heart anymore and there was no me anymore. Suspended, my eyes moved as I slowly lost control…And the shadow of her father bathing in the stars floating above his back wasn’t here anymore. And the man who took her away and showed her what freedom was; locked me in this cage and threw away the key, becomes the shadow he maybe always was. And now I wanted to know why they didn’t listen but I couldn’t get through that cage that separated everything that was coming from me and when it reached them, it floated through their senses as if it was nothing but air. And she cried out through my blinking eyes, and now she really knew what it was like to be a prisoner and maybe I never knew. And I didn’t know whose voice was talking right now and I don’t know what happened to that girl who would hold me every night, so I learned how to hold myself. But I knew who stitched me together, and I knew she was here, and I knew maybe she was me as her pain cried out from my heart, as the blood of her family dripped down my skin. And I can only see that man, the one that took her away on his motorcycle, riding through the night so fast, never looking back. In dreams the bars disappeared and I was free and I could only hear the hum of the motorcycle and I still haven’t learned how to look up without being scared. And there was a parking lot filled with cars and people running everywhere. As we approached the large glass doors, I shivered and fell to the ground as I saw dozens of people running through the doors holding me’s by the neck, by the arms, by my dangling legs, people fighting over me, pulling at me and I could do nothing but be there and smile and I know why they couldn’t hear and I knew why they couldn’t see because I could no longer see and there were no bombs falling down, and there was no one screaming but the eyes were still there but I couldn’t see them, and I couldn’t hear them but they were still there and the eyes didn’t really hurt anyone here but it was only because they didn’t have to. The people here did it all to themselves and I cried and then she cried and even if there were no bars surrounding me, there still were. And they couldn’t see the blood dripping down from all those toys, from the pain in their voices, from every movement they made. They couldn’t see the walls erected from each thought of their cold, unbending minds. What they saw, what they only could accept was an idea sold to them so long ago and never questioned. And the girl cries out but why me and as her voice dies to a whisper, from my own breath I say, why us?
She was drowning in the tears and the blood of her family as they made things for me to play with. She couldn’t even shut her eyes at night because she felt those eyes above going right through her and she didn’t know why they chose her. But they followed her everywhere and she heard the parts of her, flowing through that eye just holding her, holding every piece of her separately and it would just stare at the parts and her whole body would shake. It once tried to convince her that she needed it to survive but as she tried to show it what love was, it clicked, it tried but it never could understand. And she heard the clicking and it knew something more about her and maybe she thought it was learning less about her. She heard something drop from it and no matter how far away she was, she could hear it, and feel it. Sometimes it was a cousin or a friend she knew so long ago and they just vanished as their footsteps continued along in the sand and their cries echoed forever, unheard. Their screams became so much more real to her now as she travelled further away. And Tammy shouted sorry and she was now at my feet, right where my dad use to lie as he was slowly being taken apart. And I remember dad saying this is what war does and I remember dad saying this is what we work for, all of our lives as we eat each other alive and I remember when he bought Tammy and when he looked at the tag on her and shook his head mumbling something about Pakistan. And he said this is what I was protecting and pointed to a Coca Cola machine and I didn’t know what he meant and he pointed to the fires burning on the moon and he said those won’t go away, never, they will be turned into whatever they want them to turn into and I guess I still don’t really know what he meant but I remembered the rainbows, I always carried them with me and I guess that’s all that matters. And he always said you never want to see what I seen and maybe what he doesn’t know is that I saw it all when he gave me the rainbows and it is all part of me. I grab tighter to the man taking me away and the hum of the motorcycle helps me forget the story pouring out of me but as I hold onto the man, the stronger I hold, the less he feels real. And I can only see Daddy in front of me, and the moon seems like it is within reach as we drive through the cold, dark desert and I begin to cry because the further we drive, the deeper I enter into her heart and it beats just like my own. On my knees in the sand, I reach up and pray to the sky and the eye above, mirroring the moon only blinks, only follows, only clicks as it scans the information I send it. The man on the motorcycle turns to me and says it’s okay, everything will be okay and I know every time I have ever heard an adult say that, just the opposite was true and I just fall to the ground as he delivers me into the cage which will be my new home and he says sorry and I just look away and I laugh because I can’t do nothing else. And I laugh as I hear the clicking, the scanning, the information flowing above me, the pieces of everything I am glistening in the dust, the light of me travelling into the eye staring out of the ceiling. And she cries out for me but I can’t help her here and Tammy clutches my shoulder and the eye shutters a little bit as I smile. As I blink my eyes and look out from the light above, I watch myself spread out into the universe, millions of pieces of star-dust now covering the desert, illuminating the blood covering all of our toys. They lock the cage and I hear the echo of the slamming door. I place my ear upon Tammy’s heart, beating so gently and I dream the perfect dream to the slow rythmic beating of her heart
My ears close and I could hear no more sound. They didn’t want to be free, that’s why they closed everything. They don’t understand what it means to be free, that’s what my mother use to say. And I never knew what it meant to be free until I was walking down that dark road and that man came by and took me away on his motorcycle. I never said no, I never said nothing really but it still felt like I made a choice. I loved looking at the stars and that huge sky passing above and forgetting about my story. I just held onto him tight and never looked down. He always told me you had to do a lot of things that you don’t really want to do to become successful and he always did this, but never had much success. I couldn’t stop looking at the fires that were burning on the moon and it seemed like forever now. And he said he knew why they were burning like that but he wasn’t suppose to say nothing, and he said they would never stop because we weren’t right and they would only stop if we got right, but he thought we never would. I almost said maybe we gotta do a lot of things we don’t wanna do but I already knew that never works. We stood in the middle of the cold dark desert and I reached my hands up to the sky because I felt her voice trying to flow through me. I close my eyes as she speaks, as she whispers sorry but I have to talk to you because no one else listens. And I look down and there is blood on my hands and as I reach for Tammy’s soft body, blood falls from her eyes. And I am standing in that house but it is empty and I am walking towards the corner where my father use to lie and I can only hear my heartbeat and I can see nothing in front of me but a red haze rising up from where my father use to be and my heart beats louder and the redness covers my sight and I can’t move and I forgot how to breathe and she breezes by in front of me running and holding onto her screaming baby brother as blood is raining from the sky and she doesn’t feel far from me anymore. I rise above the spot where my father fell apart and I close my eyes as her voice overcomes me, you are watching she says, you are just watching. And there is nothing else to do because as I close my eyes, she is still there. I can’t cry out and I can’t hear nothing but the silent crash of bombs falling at my feet. She asks for release and I ask for release as Tammy falls apart, slowly falling from my hands, pieces of cotton falling away into the desert night. The girls reaches down and begins sewing Tammy back together as blood drips from her hands. A droning hum forms a shadow above her head as she continues to piece Tammy back together. The slow moving eye following her every move as she wipes blood from her own eyes. The shadow of my father appears on the wall before me and the pounding of my heart covers my ears and my father cries out as he looks down on me and the girl cries out and she asks why and I don’t know why. With each movement of my fingers, the eye above her blinks and follows her as blood drips from my fingers, the eye above is clean, but I can’t even see through my own and my heart pounds louder and the eye blinks a little more and follows and does nothing but blink and click and watch and I can no longer close my eyes as her screams fall from my mouth