Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tejana Power: Letty, Carolina Monsivais & Liz

LM & CM & LA
Originally uploaded by Lizard666.
Here's a pic of three powerful, brilliant, talented and gentle women: Letty, Carolina Monsivais, and the photographer, Liz. These three friends were members of a Chicana writers workshop I hosted while I was a visiting scholar at the University of Houston in '94-'95. Did I ever tell you, I LOVE TEXAS! This is one of the reasons why: I love Tejanas, like the women I came to know in this workshop. The time was made strange and precious with the birth of my son that fall, and then bittersweet with the senseless murder of Selena. Tacos de lengua, palabras mojadas, carcajadas y Biddi Biddi Bum Bum all down the long Texas mile road I lived near in Montrose. I immersed myself in the culture and fact of that place. The good and evil. And the everything that bites that lives in Texas. I will always be indebted to the Mexican American Studies Center which afforded me that year when the seed for DRIVE was sown; it seemed a fittingly ironic title for one who is a lifelong non-driver living in the Temple of Petrol.

So I found these pics, specifically this slide show of "A Week With Caro and Letty" today when I needed them most. So unnerving, to be messing with the mixed layers of one's life, in the ephemera and momentos and printed matter that matters in the end. I became sick again, after filtering and filing and letting go. It started monday night, my anniversary. Bummer. Then last night. I bought tickets for Pato Banton. We were going dancing -- helps get my yayas out. But something else wanted to come out instead, so I couldn't go, not even to pick them up and sell them or give them away. I had a friend over who was going to babysit. I made ocean scallops empanizado, sockeye salmon with dill, lime, lemon pepper and butter (with a dash of fennel and a couple of other things, and a rice pilaf with fresh baby spinach and peas. I couldn't eat any of it. And after serving everybody I had to go to bed. No Pato Banton for me. (although I do like having the opportunity to say his name: Pato Banton.

Hard to do anything when I feel that nausea. The world shrinks along with my energy which seems to go down a giant swirling drain.

Trino's death (a fellow Tejano), worry over the health of Alfred Arteaga and raulsalinas, worry for all those people who have dedicated their lives to art and others -- at the expense of their wallets, and now, their health. Worry over who will continue this rare and rich legacy, this cultura locura que cura. Poetry: "What does it do to take away the sadness?" My father asked me, on one of the last times we spoke. Sadder to be reading the accounts out of Lebanon. Monday I ended up describing to my son a father in Lebanon watching his 9 year old son lift into the ceiling by the force of a bomb and come down in pieces, and the horror of him sitting there for days, just staring, "already dead" with shock as the news account said. I remembered myself at 11, the fodder of the neighborhood boys, the television with its My Lai massacre on rerun, the hoses aimed at children with skin the color of mine. The dogs set loose on them. The smirks. The epitaphs. What will he remember? I try to explain amid "immigration reforms."

Me da asco.

Now these faces. These long lost friends of mine I've let go in the isolation. That's the thing about the internet, this web of affections we can weave with will and light and the moderation of the dark.

It makes me good just to see them: Chicanas at the Jung Center, the Rothko Museum, reading, being friends.

Do check out Carolina Monsivais's book of poetry, Somewhere Between Houston and El Paso: Testimonies of A Poet from Wings Press, awarded the Premio Poesia Tejana along with other fine young poets in the series. In it, Caro stays to the light while shedding the dark. Powerful.

And check out Liz's other fotos. She's a excellent photographer. Some of you might remember her fotos of the Houston evacuation. I like the ones of the art houses in Houston.

Sigue, sisters! Stay as bright as you are. You bring a light.

Now, I'm ready for sushi & miso soup with seaweed.


Blogger Letty said...

Thanks for the props, Miss. We love you right back. You were a part of our own revolutions. You came when we were determined to learn the words to describe the feelings that we'd carried with us for so long. And through your workshop and my revolt against all that I'd known, I found my voice. Gracias.

Letty - Manager of Counseling and Advocacy Services at the Houston Area Women's Center. Ending Domestic and Sexual Violence. c/s

3/8/06 13:26  
Blogger sunlit doorway said...

I just spent time w/ raul and Carolina last wk. raul's strong, his light is still the brightest wattage, though it does take a bit longer for him to get from pt. a to pt. b. We led a workshop together at the Juv. Detention Ctr. ahi en San Anto. Carolina still smolders, quiet but true as always. more info on mi bloga...

18/8/06 12:42  
Blogger sunlit doorway said...

oh, more: PLEASE take care of yo'self. Don't neglect to take frequent bites of nourishment throughout the day. Your amazing menu sounded delicious!

AND, you say you love Tejas, but honey, it would be a burning love right about now--over 30 100-plus degree days this summer in Fort Worth/Dallas. The heat is inescapable, threatening, profound.

she writes in her chones, as the fans blow dry her skin.

18/8/06 12:47  

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