first the unbearable (learning of Egypt)

i hear the condolences first
read the written word, the name, the place
someone is sending love, with rage,
with shock, with tears, with analysis
with their people
with all people
and i go looking for the fresh wound

i want to not know
to not step from here, without this pain
to the next moment, marked by blood
looking past the flayed horizon
whispering no. no not this many no.

the numbers grow on my tongue
i say them to no one
i read the news to whomever is near
even if they have read
or are reading it
i want to lend my voice
to the spell of awakening
to make every head turn
look, look what we’ve done
look what we have not undone
what we have allowed and encouraged
what we have invested in
what we forget, what we remember
look who we are now
look who we still are

i want to change the story being written
the history still warm and wet on our fingers
i want to focus on the intimate heartbreak of violation
what stole my smile, my childish peace
boorish men, the mountain of offense
we have all burrowed through
the memories we walk with, and the terrors
navigating legacies of genocide and erasure

i know all of the harm intertwines at the root
i know the medicine has to go deeper down
to the core of existence
to the cord between us and god
to the faultlines between us
that make us think: i can be without you

but first, the unspeakable
the unimaginable, the unbearable
we have created hell with our boredom
we birthed hierarchy, greed, and the foolish need for victory, for righteousness
it is killing us
it is killing everything
eating us up from within
the detonation of cancer in a living body
the cancer of violence in a living world

some days i am nothing more than a prayer
a vessel of tears being emptied
stunned by my own insignificance,
our inability to stand in the way of our demons
the brightest truth about us

some days i have to focus on one story
out of the hundreds of deaths,
one person telling god everything
feeling the sacred flood all of their senses
planning the next meal’s portions
and what to say to their sweet and distant lover
one person remembering they are enough
one person smiling as they gather themselves
for the world outside
enjoying the mundane pleasure of bodies
all around
in and of faith, wearing faith, speaking faith

the doors will open
the violence will burst in
so sure of itself, so wrong
i will learn your name in your absence
perhaps i cannot fathom
the entirety of gore
the scale of destruction we have committed to
but you, stranger of faith
comrade in the act of prayer
beloved to your God, your mother, your son
you i will grieve for
you i will grieve
for all the time and sea between us
i feel the shock of losing you
it is a devastation
i would have loved you
but my species
we are terrified of love.

enough moments of love

when she becomes stone in my arms
i know that she is asleep

when he makes the room dance in his skin
i taste his sweet aliveness

when she appears to be made of smiling wax
i feel how she has left this earth

when he throws wrapped paper at the people
i see that he is a curse walking

when they slowly unbutton their shirt
i blush – the future is flirting with me

when her mouth drops because of this government
i suspect she is a true capitalist

when he says women only ever wanted authority
i wonder if men can know freedom

when they say ‘please call me this please’
i trust that they’ve thought through my questions

when she says to me hello how are you?!!
i am her child again, always

when he calls me i drop the world and answer
i’ve lost enough moments of love

when she whispers to me with her mouth just so
i forget there is time space between us

when i look in the mirror and pause
i see no shadow in my eyes

i don’t want to (hurricanes)

i don’t want to see
the complex crises of war and trauma
converge around my neck
pulling my mouth to the dirt
a weight that pinches and bruises my skin
and the dirt is thick with blood and maggots
i don’t look down to see them writhing
i collapse with my head impossibly up

i don’t want to hear
that the grandmothers are dying parched
that the grandfathers are dying in the gap between prayer and action
that the hungry people sit in the dark
my country sends them armed soldiers to keep the peace, what we mean to say is die in peace
at the very least die quietly, without a fight

i don’t know what to say
i stand in the row of witches
whispering wild growth and sovereignty prayers
remembering upright trees and time to dance
hexing greed, scarcity and colonizer thinking
directing light to their faces – they are fact
and sometimes we watch each other die
that is the heartbreak of our species

when i don’t know who to fight
i watch Mervyn, Hiram, Rosa, Adela, Lilliam
Elizabeth, Bonafide, Aimee and so many more
waiting to hear about life and death, connecting the stars of this tired constellation, saying do not blame the ocean,
blame the men who refuse to see us
as human, as citizen, as heroic, as forever

i know this: i trust the people
who refuse every day to disappear
who share the cup, who share the bite
who wade through floodwater with bullhorns
hold hands of the dying and lift up the children, refuse to eat their neighbors’ hearts when left in the trap, bury each other whole, live to tell the horror stories, who watch the roofs fly off their houses and learn they are stronger than nails, who give it all to the babies, know the edge of their own hope, stretch themselves to cover an island, create systems of hearing each other with no lights on, hand us books that are memoir and say please know me, please tell everyone, please see, in me, in us, the miracle

we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us


actions to take:

from Rosa –
I can no longer wait to get to Pueto Rico. The lack of reporters who are Puerto Rican is problematic. So I am going to pull a small team together who can record, document and do this I will need funds. I hesitate to ask, and ask that you only donate if it does not take away from your ability to donate to the people of Puerto Rico. If you can, believe me when I say anything is helpful and welcome. You can paypal me at and VENMO me as well at @clementerosa

from Hiram –

from Bonafide –

from Adela –

Request for Support/Donations: I have been one of the coordinators for a project in Puerto Rico called CEPA. CEPA will be a cooperatively run, ecologically-light, wellness retreat and education center located (as of current plans) on the periphery of San Juan.

The founder, Melissa La Sirena Rosario, who is on the island got in contact with me yesterday and today, asking if I could help put Wellness Medicine Kits together to donate to the island. Here is the ask:

CEPA’s mission is to foster healing and resilience in PR in times of crisis. We work with activists, mothers, brujxs and educators, and are asking for 50-75 wellness medicine kits from our healing justice family to distribute for dealing with stress, overwhelm, pain and general trauma and tips for managing common ailments (diabetes and asthma) post Maria.

What to include:
-Heal-all salve;
-Muscular pain ointment;
-Tinctures for overwhelm, grief, stress and depression (either glycerine or alcohol based, labeled)
-Tips for managaing diabetes;
-Breathing exercises or activities for managing asthma distress (in Spanish);
-Games to play with children to process this event (or strategies for supporting children experiencing trauma);
-Durable bags or small backpacks for transport.
-A personal note of support, love and allyship.

-Self-heating pads/stickers for back and muscles;
-Advil or similar;
-Arnica ointment;
-Aromatherapy (lavender and more)

If you are able to help with any part of these kits, please let me know. If you aren’t able to support by donating something for the kits, but can donate to the shipping costs, please donate through Paypal at Please choose the friends and family option, so we are not charged a fee.

For any questions or needs for clarity, please email me at and copy Melissa at She is slowly starting to receive emails.

If anyone is traveling to Puerto Rico soon and is able/willing to take some of the kits, please connect.

And of course, please share this with those you think would be able to help.