Papagayo Spring 2018 Chapbook

Page 1

Papagayo Spring 2018 Chapbook: Revolution & Resistance

The Papagayo Project at El Paso Community College-Rio Grande © 2018 Copyright All rights reserved to The Papagayo Project and its contributors. Do not copy or distribute without permission from The Papagayo Project.


Editors: Paula Davidson Sarai Sustaita Annette Velasquez Cover Art: Sarai Sustaita Advisor: Jorge Gomez, Assistant Professor of English


Table of Contents Poetry “​The Sounds​” by Estrella D. Teran “Co-Dependency and Overcoming” by Annette Velasquez “Stole Bloom” by Nipsia Castaneda “​Our Land of Milk and Bread​” by Sammy Rono “​To Kill A Weed​” by Emma Boushka “​Freedom​” by Natalia Arreola “​Earned​” by Selena Perez

Short Stories

4 5​-6 7 8-9 9 10-11 1​1

“​Hope​” by Erica & Elizabeth Varela


“​Way Too Close​” by Anonymous


Art & Photography

“​Culture Shock​” by Analinda Rose Gonzalez


Description for “​Culture Shock​” painting by Analinda Rose Gonzalez


“​Touch of Life​” by Alejandra Almanza


“Into the Wild” by Griselda Anais Navarro


“​Untitled​” by Maria Herrera


“For the Unheard Women” by Griselda Anais Navarro


“​Untitled​” by Estefania Camp


“Lights” by Elena Sotelo



Poetry The Sounds By Estrella D. Teran

Each day in a row I wake up hearing the sounds Sometimes I just stay awake. Mommy is no longer here She left looking for bread Maybe the sound took her. Each day in a row Is like a rain of stars Though no bright ones, But the kind that brings dark. Each day in a row I asked for a wish A wish for a day of silence. For a day of peace. I will defeat, I will resist.


Co-Dependency and Overcoming By A ​ nnette Velasquez Religion, tradition teach selflessness while psychology, common sense celebrate the self. And a lifetime is spent teetering in the middle trying for a happy medium be gracious virtuous do the right thing and give till you can give no more or truly and thoroughly live- just be unfettered free. Then one day you name it utter the unspeakable and find if not closure -then what? catharsis perhaps. You acknowledge those hidden scars the ones inflicted by Mother,


lover by significant other but- don’t shudder or cringe just reach for the stars… Lift the veil of denial (not the Egyptian river) nonetheless dive into the depths the trauma and tears remember the terror still, learn to transcend know what doesn’t kill makes you stronger sow hope and heal fight the pain defy the slingers of stinging shame be wise and visualize that poster on your therapist’s wall “Never make someone your priority for whom you are only an option.” Call yourself victor not victim and make of your life a song of sweet survival.


Stole Bloom By ​Nipsia Castaneda

You stole my illusions, You froze my life in time. I became another case in the news before I could achieve my dreams. You took away the opportunity To make my family proud, They wonder my location, but yet I can see them everywhere. You stole my illusions, you stole my bloom. Your ticket to hell is assured So, I hope your train Makes it there the first.


Our Land of Milk and Bread By Sammy Rono Have seen it It is coming to destroy our land, our natural resources, It is a monster making its way to east, A long snake winding its way like a railway, White butterflies matching along the railway. Where are our men? “Moran” to save our children, Let’s sharpen our arrows, carry our spears, And stand together in solidarity for our freedom. Soldiers we are “Moran” let’s be strong. Our highlands have turned white, We cannot cultivate our fertile land, We are slaves in our own land. Freedom comes by ballot or by bullet Our land of milk and manner now is gone, Let’s fight for our independence comrades,


Our master, our father and our king God will never leave us, Let justice be our shield and defendant. Let’s preserve our lives by fighting for our rights. God created each and every person equal, Despite of the differences we all have equal opportunities.

To Kill A Weed By Emma Boushka

You were stubborn and would not leave. I cut away your flowers but your roots were strong and you grew back over and over and over again. I had to dig you up, destroy your roots, unearth you from me. To finally be free.


Freedom By Natalia Arreola You’re not alone Not all is black Life isn’t fair But I can guide you Take my hand and set you free Let it go your monsters The voices in your head See the visible things hidden Hidden in the mountains of bones Mountains from the past Break the schemes that stop you from the run Jump into your life Don’t worry The guns and the empty eyes cannot catch you You are free You are your own person Stand before your last breath came up Stand up before the black lady came for you It’s hard moving forward with the devil in your back But I still follow you into the dark


Even if the lighthouse is far Or your way is not reflected light We keep walking Resisting falling into distant voices The lady in black approached me and said me to stop How it will tell you in the future Take off the mask and face what you hide Fight even if it is against you Fight even if you stop feeling Fight even if you have no reason to move forward Because I will be by your side Until the lights come up.

Earned By Selena Perez I am not just a woman, I am not just a person to gaze at, to be used and recycled. Among my rights to be, I am oppressed and judged. The feeling of inequality has been fitted in the description of a "Woman", Where our success is controversial and questioned. As a woman, I deeply concern myself with this last statement, Change is a must not a want.


Short Stories Hope By Erica Varela and Elizabeth Varela

“It is something incredible that you are this big!” My grandmother tells me as she sees me entering her house that morning. When you get there it’s like you are entering a time machine, it is like opening a universe of memories and of history that will surprise anyone. “Come sit here! Did you eat something already? Do you want me to prepare you some pancakes?” She starts attacking me with all her questions, and I only manage to sit down and accept the mountain of plates that start coming to the table, and for a moment I begin to feel as if I was seven years old again. Like when every Saturday in the morning we were going to a visit, almost obligatory, and after we got there little by little my uncles would get there also. And, in one moment that house was a madhouse. Adults talking loudly and kids coming in and out in crazy runs all around the house. A sea of memories and feelings crowded my heart. And as always full of wisdom my grandmother noticed it, she saw my happiness combined with sadness and with her voice complete with mellowness she starts to talk to me about her daily activities. And she starts to number them giving them an air of importance and momentousness that at the end, we began to laugh when we noticed that things, had not changed at all from how our lives had been long ago. Seeing all the happiness that we were able to live and also all the obstacles and great sorrows that we have passed through have made us stronger and united making us almost as one.


That’s why we are here today together, just us two, but the environment in the house, in our hearts we are the three of us, like always the partners, the accomplices, two against one or in other cases the three of us agreeing. We stayed in silence looking at each other, trying to guess what will wait for us in the future when in comes my daughter running. A little one with the look full of illusion and happiness with her curly hair messed up and tangled, and her face as well as her knees full of mud from the back garden. And in her hands two flowers and happiness that could fill the whole house. Our hearts fill with love and hope as she offers them to us to get us to smile and a kiss which is a promise that together we will be partners, and accomplices. “Hope! Where are you, young girl?” That is my scream of battle every morning. Today like every day we always run and get mad like a type of ritual to have Hope ready so we can leave for school. We were in the first days or years in where she had to give herself the courage to enter school; she is a mature girl. Well, that is my argument, for when I was 12 years like her I felt like a little girl still. But when I turned 13, it turned into the decisive year in my life where destiny made me mature. Always remembering when I was happy and full of dreams, I was preparing my last year of middle school. I would begin to let go of my dolls, leave the small plates that I used to love to play pretend food with. Separating myself from my best friend Rocio my first doll, the one that knew my happiness and sadness, and the one that I would find comfort in. Playing pretend that I would protect her from the witch that wanted to bewitch us like Snow White. All of this was taking place on a beautiful turquoise green trunk, that my grandmother had bought for me, it’s where I put everything in and took them to the attic.


* * * In the mornings it was a parade of fashion, all the clothes were perfect… but not for me, I felt so insecure about them. But my mother with her eyes full of understanding and her cheerful smile would calm me down and, in the end, I could decide what clothes I would use for that day. And that’s how the days would go by, where my worries were typical for a teenage girl. Everything in my life was perfect, well that’s what I thought since I didn’t notice the severe faces of my mom or my grandmother. Because, when I entered the room they would always change the topic, and the similes would show themselves at the same time as I did and all the shadows would have disappeared. That’s how it was for the whole year, my graduation ceremony from middle school was beautiful. Never will I forget the look of pride and satisfaction that my mother and grandmother had. Afterward in the party surrounded by all my family members: my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, and my friends that saw me grow up and I saw them as part of my family, we were all happy that day. Then came summer, that time where I thought that it would only be meeting up with my friends and days in the pool or the mall. It was a summer where everything in my life changed, in those days my mother and grandmother started to have strange outings, they would leave early in the morning, and they would return very late in the day with solemn faces. And my mother would return directly to her room, and my grandmother would go straight into the kitchen to start on drinks and broths. That surprised me because it was so hot that I wondered why she was doing a dish that was also hot. In the middle of my vacations, my mom promised me to take me to the beach, and I was going to ask for my promised trip. But as I entered her room and saw her laying on her bed, it was when I


noticed that something wrong was happening with her. She was so skinny, her skin was white, and her hair that was once shiny started looking grey, scared I left running to look for my grandmother and, she was in the door of the room, she hugged me. While we were embracing, we heard my mom calling us on the side and the both of them looking at each other they told me that they had to say something important to me. “Gloria you have to be very strong” as I heard them tell me this I felt like I was falling down a deep cold water well. My mom was sick, an ailment of the heart that was very rare, which they couldn’t control and it was consuming all her energy and strength. I cried, I cried so much for a few days, I don’t remember how many days, but when I was able to calm down the three of us sat down to talk. It was then when they told me that all the treatments that were available were not working and that there weren’t any other treatments that could help, that the only answer now was to look for a doctor. Well, a type of guru, a type of spiritual guide that could treat her with natural medicine. I told them that they could count on all my support and that night we started to plan the trip, but because of the severity of her condition, she couldn’t board a plane. And everything would have to be by bus, and they knew that that would be hard for me because of the car sickness I got on long trips. I told them that I would be fine as long as I had someone to talk to once I would wake up from naps. The day for the trip came when we arrived at the bus station all of the family went with us to say goodbye to us, it was a bittersweet departure.


For the following non-fiction story, reader’s discretion is advised.

Way Too Close By Anonymous I was forcibly thrown on the bed, trying to say the one simple word that meant I did not consent. Somehow, I was so in shock that nothing could come out. I looked out the window viewing all the people walking in the streets to all the shops lined up together. I could have screamed for help, there was no glass on the windows, just the bars, but nothing came out and I didn’t want to cause a scene. Even though it would have been better for me to, for my sake. I finally get my virginity taken away, and this is how it’s going to be. Not by choice, how it’s supposed to be, but by force, and though I love this person, I’m not in love with him. Especially in this way. However, the worst part of all is not the fact that I’m losing my virginity before marriage, not the fact that I am getting raped… This person I speak of is not even a stranger. No one wishes to lose their virginity through rape, but I just thought that maybe if it could have just been a stranger, It would have been easier for me personally maybe to get over it a lot quicker. The nice thing about strangers is if they leave a bad impression on you, you can never see them again. I wish I could have that feeling of never seeing my offender ever again. But he is far from being a stranger. He’s a person I’m supposed to be able to trust, but sadly I feel like I can’t anymore. He’s a family member… He’s my cousin. I looked back at him from the window, and saw him fumbling with his belt. Oh shit! My eyes grow wide in fear. The thing is, he touched me inappropriately many times before, every time I came to visit my mom’s old home. That’s why I never like to visit there. I never tell her that, because I would have to tell her why. I can’t tell her that her nephew has been doing things with her daughter, how could I? She feels so happy when she comes back home. I don’t want her to lose that, therefore I stay quiet and pretend to be excited when really, I


want to die inside knowing he will be there waiting for me to be alone with him. He never went far enough to which I would have to worry about getting pregnant, which is why I was so shocked to see that he’s actually serious about putting it in this time. When he pulled my pants down, I thought he was just going to touch me there and it would all be over. This was the last straw for me you would think. You would think right, however, after all of this, I still couldn’t say no. I was screaming and crying inside all over myself to beg for a miracle to get me out of this situation. I also found myself frozen and not being able to move for some reason, and he was still fumbling with his belt, so it wasn’t like he pinned me down. I had the opportunity to run, but I was afraid he would be able to grab me and slam me back on the bed, because I was never fast enough to escape him. I wasn’t free while I felt trapped, even though physically I was. I closed my eyes waiting for whatever that was about to come would come already, so I could get this over with. The sooner it happens, the sooner I can get out of here. But before he did… A miracle happened. It was as if my desperate cry for help and scream of agony was loud enough for my own thoughts inside my head to be heard, because just then my aunt and uncle called us down for Lunch. He put his pants back on and then his belt. He waited for me to walk out of the door before him. I exhaled a deep breathe out, glad it didn’t happen after all. “That was way too close” I thought to myself. I did end up losing my virginity before marriage after all, because I didn’t give a shit anymore, and it wasn’t by force. Most importantly it was to someone who neither is a stranger or a family member. He’s just a friend, former friends with benefits, but not boyfriend material in my opinion. At least not for me. He felt that same way for me mutually, it was just casual. Point is, it was great. He was great. But the fear of me almost losing myself to my cousin still haunts me to this day. I wish to forget, but I can’t and I have nightmares. That was way too close.


Art & Photography Culture Shock By Analinda Rose Gonzalez


Description for “Culture Shock” painting By Analinda Rose Gonzalez 1. Revolution starts small and grows in size to the point of no return. The catalyst is always based on unfairness and injustice by those in power upon those without the means which makes them vulnerable. Revolution is strength in numbers fighting for their rights, their freedom, and against oppression. Resistance is not giving in. It is standing up for what you believe and for your principles. There is nothing trite or trivial about resistance. It is the unwillingness to succumb, give in, nor surrender no matter the consequences. 2. My painting relates to revolution and resistance is a paradoxical way. The tables are turned when you see a woman of color dominating a Northern European male. For centuries in patriarchal countries, white property owning males were in charge. In a sense, minorities and women were subservient. In my painting, this third world looking woman with an ominous skull in her right hand is elevated symbolically by being seated higher than her submissive, nervously anticipating Anglo male. The revolution has shifted the power into the resistant hands of the oppressed. Tenacious resistance has led to a small minority of powerful, rich “members” to find out the hard way of what it is like on the opposite end of the spectrum. Now they feel the loss and the pain.


Touch of Life By Alejandra Almanza


Into the Wild By Griselda Anais Navarro


Untitled By Estefania Camp


For the Unheard Women By Griselda Anais Navarro


Untitled By Maria Herrera


Lights By Elena Sotelo