As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Marisa Duarte—Poetry

Dolorosa the Witch of Sadness

Come. Lay here. Lay beside me. Let me tell you how sad I’ve been. Let me stroke
your wet hair and weave
into your dreams the blood thread of tristeza continuosa.
I heard eighty cedars hiss a curse on the Honda-, Ford-, and Toyota-entombed Microsoft commuters of the I-90 east, the daily thieves of
light dark shadow rhythm and understanding. Come. Let me push my thigh against your belly so you feel the
hollow of my womb, the doorway where my children learn how to breathe
in a camposanto of open wounds, broken shovels, bones locked in glass cases in museums, and flowers made of paper where they should be breathing alive,
as alive and spontaneous as our love-making, which echoes with sadness the way Quetzalcoatl’s rattle echoes in Echo Canyon, New Mexico, where
treaties treaties treaties were violated the way I violate your peace and certainty
that man may conquer and accomplish where woman will submit.
Pound your chest and tell me that there are but two genders, two roles, one life, that a thousand hungry children are not waiting inside my door, hanging
like nit eggs in my hair. Come. Lay here. Lay beside me as I trick you into loving me, me who
soaks into sorrow the way yellow cake eats three milks and waits by the window where Luz will take the soggy dish and place it before you on a freshly wiped oilcloth. She is a goddess, and she asks
if you would like more coffee,
more tea, fingers burned by your gorging.


Writing Others

I put it on a piece of paper—face magnitude, outer space—
craft words that boomerang the tea-crate nightstand of a Tahrir boy dreaming a cig-thin Liverpool model and who,
bequeathed the moon’s sloe-eyed grin, wishes for the touch of her flame. Revolution
and light. Darkness and shame.
A defrocked priest hears a drumbeat in the Oneida woods, confounds it with
a nightmare of being chased by a bear. An errant housewife picks her nail color at the Wal-mart Superstore, cries for her man:
drunk gangster found Christ and swallowed broken ribs and a punctured lung for salvation.
Her father licks the edge of his soul in
another man’s lips even as his vieja corajuda yearns for granddaughters bearing the matriarchal
cafecito curls.

I dream it and think it and put it on a piece of paper: the war to end wars,
the wars of the self, left hand battles right, liver trumps heart,
white horse carts away the beaten body of black horse and sighs—humans no know despair but their own.
They think the best words emerge in human-speak:
clean victorious bitter true gin-soaked delirious salt perfume.

A yellow butterfly weaves a word on a hot breeze,
sings a dandelion at her post beneath Detroit’s Salvation Army window. Baby’s navel, she sings,
pinecone bloom, dawn daydream, bird-time,
rubber sole, murder.

Marisa Elena Duarte’s father is Mexican American, from the City of South Tucson. Marisa’s mother is Pascua Yaqui, from Marana Camp and Old Pascua, also in Tucson. Marisa grew up in Mesilla, New Mexico. Marisa finished a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2000. Thereafter Marisa became a librarian. Marisa worked in Washington, DC, Fresno, and Phoenix. In 2013, Marisa finished a PhD in Information Science from the University of Washington in Seattle, and then a postdoctoral fellowship in American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2015, Marisa returned to Phoenix to join Arizona State University as Assistant Professor of Justice and Sociotechnical Change through the School of Social Transformation. Marisa’s research is focused on sharing how Native and Indigenous peoples utilize digital technologies toward sovereignty and decolonization efforts. Every day at work Marisa refutes Arizona state attempts to subjugate brown people by educating students in a transformative ethnic studies and borderlands curricula. Marisa writes to share the beauty and truths of the US-Mexico borderlands.

Countdown to Launch

Issue 3February 14, 2014
Online version of Issue 3 goes live!

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