Natalie Diaz and Rigoberto González
Posted in 2014-2015 Readings and Talks
November 18, 2014
Seminar 5:30 PM | Lannan Center (New North 408)
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge
Self-Portrait as a Chimera
— Natalie Diaz
I am what I have done—
A sweeping gesture to the thorn of mast jutting from my mother’s spine—spine a series of narrow steps leading to the temple of her neck where the things we worship demand we hurl her heart from that height, still warm, still humming with the holy music of an organ—
We do. We do. We do and do and do.
The last wild horse leaping off a cliff at Dana Point. A hurtling God carved from red clay. Wings of wind. Two satellite eyes spiraling like coals from a long-cold fire. Dreaming of Cortés, his dirty-beard and the burns it left when we kissed. Yet we kissed for years and my savage hair wove around him like braids of smoke.
Skeletons of apples rot the gardens of Thalheim. First snow wept at the windows while I held a man’s wife in my arms. I palmed her heavy breasts like loot bags. Her teeth at my throat like a pearl necklace I could break to pieces. I would break to pieces. Dieb.
A bandit born with masked eyes. El Maragato’s thigh wound glittering like red lace. My love hidden away in a cave as I face the gallows each morning, her scent the bandana around my face, her picture folded in the cuff of my boot.
The gravediggers and their beautiful shoulder blades smooth as shovel heads. I build and build my brother a funeral, eating the dirt along the way—queen of pica, pilferer of misery feasts—hoarding my brother like a wrecked Spanish galleon. I am more cerulean than the sea I swallow each day on the way to reaching out for him, to sing his name, to wear him like a dress made of debris.
These dark rosettes name me Jaguar. These stripes are my slave dress. Black soot. Red hematite. I am filled with ink. A codice, splayed, opened, ready to be burnt in the square—
I am. I am and am and am. What have I done?
— Rigoberto González
Expletive, flower: spine supple as a stem, nose crushed into the blanched
corolla, profile flat as a postcard, cicada eye. Pubic hair, roots: lady,
you will always know how to squat. The bus revs its rattling engine
as it waits among the rows of her corneas. Perhaps prescience
is a female trait. Wear these other costumes next: gypsy, medium, witch.
Intuition. In family myths, your grandmother knew before marriage
that her husband would outlive her by twenty-four years. Vision in fever
during adolescent menstruation. Not hallucination, not dream as she
sat on a cyan grave, watching her children wail. She knew they were heirs
by the wilted lilies on their clothes. She knew she was dead by the smell
of trapped alcohol and salt. All corpses wiped cleaned that way. Her solace
was she’d never breast-feed any daughters. But deep inside the echoes
of the future fetus kicking, she sensed one of her sons would chromosome
a girl: O ticking talisman, O exalted seer of the sorrows yet to come.