I make my own heaven. I drag it out of the streets, and inhospitable terrains. I mixed "tabique", brick, mortar with my hands, kneading,
I need, to make my own heaven.
It is clandestine, in broad daylight.
It's microwave popcorn, from Costco, because Costco can cross the border as many times as it wants and it has never been asked to go back to where it came from. Not in this kitchen, scrubbed so clean, with bleach, that the roaches have to ask permission to scatter out onto the floor.
Sulema and I, don't flinch. She has figured me out. We know we have lived some shit and now, it takes more than a cockroach to keep us from moving, forward.
Fuck the roaches, the military, the long nights and even longer days. There is popcorn to be made,
a courtyard of children waiting for it.
Baby girl walks in to check on our progress. She is waiting impatiently for popcorn, the smell of butter making its way around the shelter, La Casa.
The house is built on a solid foundation of Goodyear tires, and unpacked, repacked, suitcases, unpacked, repacked plans.
Today, there is popcorn.
All that matters is today.
For my sake, not Sulema's
The flowerbeds, and the upside-down Christmas trees, drying out in the sun are beautiful.
I will remember them, when I am warm by a campfire, watching my children for signs of a chill.
I will remember them,
uneven steps, protruding out of a hillside, going wherever they need to go.
Wherever they need to go.
There is no going back.
Sulema and I both know this, standing in the hot kitchen of the TJ shelter, it is obvious.
It is a beautiful truth, it takes hesitation and beats it down, into the floor.
Added: Friday, June 11, 2021 / Used with permission.
Aideed Medina is a poet and spoken word artist.
She is a member of Reforma del Valle Central, advocating for “libros y comunidad”, and of Mothers Helping Mothers, an organization that works to alleviate crisis needs caused by political and environmental disasters. She is a University of California, California Naturalist Program (UC CNP) certified California naturalist, and practices “flor y canto" as part of her poetic process and exploration of California’s natural history.
Her work has appeared in Fresno State's Club Austral Literary Magazine, Chicano Writers and Artists Association Journal, online on La Bloga, Poets Responding, Art of the Commune, and as part of a collection of original art songs composed for The Opera Remix, Fresno Grand Opera.