Santa Fe, I love you, and you are killing me.
who bore me,
dripping in primordial ooze;
wiping clean the excrement of a thousand souls off the small curves of my body.
who cut my edges in red dirt,
overwhelming me with chile-laden kisses and the grainy masa of matriarchs unnumbered.
How did we come to this?
I hate you in a way that only small children “hate” their mothers, as they beat their fists against busy ruffled skirts—
it is one thing to love a place, and another to know it;
it is one thing to have loyalty, another to have obligations.
I have obligations
I have axes to grind and endless scars;
I have seeds to sow and circles to close.
When I die,
I will be buried here in the land of my ancestors alongside their oppressors
and more importantly,
beneath these mountains and eternal skies. This land knows my name.
Santa Fe, when did I stop adoring you?
You used to taste of monsoons,
of a fierce love kindled in the fires of deprivation and endurance. Now you stink of old plastic and decaying encyclopedias,
of mothballs and mold,
your once desirable curves—now sharp edges that cut and distort. It disgusts me how you
all the wrong. damn. people.
Buried beneath statues of Don Diego De Vargas, so deep that we cannot hear their screams, Our forgotten mothers, brown as the dirt they lay in:
Santa Fe’s best-kept secret.
I’m so sick of all your lies.
You terrify me,
Hispanio-proud boys rattling chains of ancestral blood lust,
echoing the broken narratives of men who murdered for God and glory— they rake their fingers over dirt, trying to cover the cracks in the earth, trying to convince us that the cracks never existed.
What will they ever know of severed ties and severed hands? What will they ever know of O’gah’ po’ geh, of stolen lands?
Santa Fe, I no longer recognize your face.
gentrification is a four letter word—
Invaded in great clamor by outsiders: fat-takers, blue-eyed bohemians and—Madre de dios! Rich Texans!
Property taxes created solely to cut away unwanted roots.
“¿Dónde están los sistemas antiguos?”
Those who were around long enough to remember will tell you that lateral despair is a dish best served cold, preferably with a side of pozole.
Where have all the abuelitas y abuelitos gone?
Must I carry you to the chalice of accountability on my back?
Must I drag my bloodied feet through broken effigies, raking through burnt peach trees and desecrated kivas
just to find one small patch of the red dirt that I am made of,
the same dirt that knows my name?
And what of my bloodied feet?
Problems, yes, we have many—
beating on our connecting walls, threatening to rip all doors from their ancient hinges, they fester silently in the darkness and hide behind tradition and pride,
perpetually growing in size as we brush them out of sight.
Problems, yes, we have many—
But we are each other’s and no one else’s.
This is the land that cut my edges, shaping me to fit its own design. We have no ownership of each other. We have obligations:
to change, to remember what was and what can never be again. That is the difference between love and the idea of love.
Santa Fe, I reconcile you.