Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Love Poem to El Tecolote

A Love Poem To El Tecolote On The 39th Anniversary
for Eva Martínez/Juán Gonzáles?/you?/auction?/in honor of Her Honor, Sotomayor?

El Tecolote means death
to some. It's hoot to take you
away. For the people of this land
it brings life, life lessons
from the dead. Messages from
the ancestors within this ground.

For the others
Minerva's owl sits
on the left shoulder
of Justice, Athena
under its gentled heels.
She flies out
in search of the true
and good, truth and beauty,
the twin towers of the law
(while the Angel of History turns away.)

Here, on earth,
on this earth we are blessed
with the presence of El Tecolote:
vision, accuracy, attentiveness,
and a gentled, gentling Spirit.

Under the reddening gardens
of love, on the earth
and under the sun, under
the spread wings of her peace
and feast, una tecolote is
on a mission in The Mission.

And I remember
another time under the trees,
another season when I was in
my summer. I sat
on the hillside, a head
full of Hegel and Kant;
a tenuous thread that stitched
me to my raza loosening
and pulling, snug
and lax as a purled sweater
made strong by my mother's hand.
I pondered my existence, the irony,
alive in an interesting time
researching and documenting
my demise and slaughter:
so many hundreds of millions of native peoples
and chicanada I couldn't count
(the bodies would reach the moon.)

I found a pearl
without a hole, a fossilized
frog egg or roe: opalescent
(many-colored) with the translucent white
color of a single drop of semen.
It was then that I read
it, el tecolote there
in front of me in the field
where I had just found
my tiny treasure. There
on the spot to remind me
of something or someone
there, alive or dead,
living or in another matter.
No matter. El tecolote,
so important to my people,
auspicious and sealed
in waxy plumage. Giant
owl, law of the land,
justice on the wing.

I could have reached out
and stroked it. I put
my arm around it, tried,
so familiar its face,
our long look of recognition,
the turning away
to take in the beauty
of the land
despite the books
of destruction
between us.

You are like this owl.
For 39 years (40 years
of resistance within 517), bearer
of missives from the
true and good, of truth
and beauty, with accuracy,
attentiveness and una visión,
a gentling gentle espíritu
in the community,
ever vigilant for justice,
fierce and relentless
in the hunt, you have been Connector
Between Worlds; Bringer of News
of the living and dead across
a split hemisphere
and the gulf between the many
for whom life
no se vale nada
and the few who own
the world, I am thankful
for your presence. Sigue.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

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