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Tonight: Rebellious Resistance

By Naomi Ortiz

base booms opposite my scooter
rattles
I am obstruction

I am insurgent Crip here braced for the right to exist as I am
a Mestiza living for the music just as much as the screaming Chicana next to me
security glares at wheel inched into aisle
attempt to blow them a kiss gets eyebrows pulled together, inward crinkle, face sour as they reach out and shove forward
scooter seat tries to fold me down into — no consent, no personhood
they try and move me into accessible spot too small
no way to scream over pounding rhythm to fight about lack of access

attention hinges on degree of breaking the rules
I am a petty offender
they move on

squeezed between stage and bouncing bodies
I try to surrender to touch
brace against hard plastic to shield
fat body Crip, my earrings swing and catch the light

insert self into swarm of crowd
I am body, breath, machine
close my eyes and inhale — I exist by defiance
here, on the bus, at the store, on Dr. exam table, sitting at father’s kitchen counter
I live on love
I live on anger
I live on no longer giving a shit
I live by sweaty swaying face-to-face with man in charge
to confront
                       persist
                                              for civil rights

the question of what I can tolerate
before needing relief
some days it’s personal
disquiet inner turmoil
frustrated tears
some days are all right
fierce demon entitled to be here too—
some days even armor can’t keep me safe

house lights come up
I wait for the crowd to clear
drunken coal lined eyes blink at me
awkward movement around
my scooter, her cane, his unbending legs
with change in light
we go from threat — to once again invisible

even as security urges me, “MOVE!”
even as trash is swept away
we who remain
                                     our difference
                                     is diversity
and protecting diversity
is the only way to ensure
survival of everything


 

 

Listen as Naomi Ortiz reads "Tonight: Rebellious Resistance".

Added: Thursday, March 4, 2021  /  Used with permission.
Naomi Ortiz
Rachel Scoggins.

Naomi Ortiz is a Poet, Writer, Facilitator, and Visual Artist whose work focuses on self-care for activists, disability justice, intersectional organizing, eco-justice, and relationship with place. Ortiz is the author of Sustaining Spirit:Self-Care for Social Justice (Reclamation Press), a book exploring self-care tools and strategies for diverse communities. She is a 2019 Zoeglossia Poetry Fellow whose poems have been published in We Are Not Your Metaphor: A Disability Poetry Anthology, on websites such as Poems and Numbers and VIDA, and performed at events such as the Disability Pride Parade in Chicago. Ortiz is a Disabled Mestiza living in the Arizona U.S./Mexico borderlands.

Other poems by this author