The Wall by Anita Endrezze
Guest post via Ursula K. Le Guin
My friend Deborah Miranda sent me this poem by her friend Anita Endrezze, which says a lot of the things that have been struggling in me to get said lately, and makes me cry, and rejoices my heart. I asked Anita if I could post the poem here, and asked her to write a little about herself and about it.
Here it is:
Anita Endrezze is from Native American (Yaqui) and European heritage. She has ten published books plus is included in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.
Her most recent book is A Thousand Branches (Red Bird Press), which is a book of poems and art. Her book of short stories, Butterfly Moon, is available from University of Arizona Press. She was given the Governor’s Writers award for Washington State and has received other awards as well. She has a M.A from Eastern Washington University. Her art has been in international exhibitions. One of her projects was a collaborative altered book which is now at the Smithsonian. Her next exhibit is in Seattle in February. It’s a collaborative work about Don Quixote and migration.
She has Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and is mainly housebound.
More info can be found at her website: Anitaendrezze.weebly.com
About the poem:
I asked myself, what should the Wall be made of? Since I’m a poet, I work with imagery and symbols. The Wall itself is a symbol. But I’m a visual artist also so I like to see. A wall of taco trucks, a wall of solar panels. The humorous, the utilitarian, the inventive. And layers of messages. What could be freer than sunshine and renewable energy as opposed to millions of dollars to build a wall? Or tacos, a blend of cultures, to nourish people. I took some images from social networking posts, like the solar panel and Lego ideas in order to connect with the current situation. I also wove my own creative ideas into the poem. The poem seems to resonate with many people because of those techniques.
by Anita Endrezze (Yaqui)
Build a wall of saguaros,
butterflies, and bones
of those who perished
in the desert. A wall of worn shoes,
dry water bottles, poinsettias.
Construct it of gilded or crazy house
mirrors so some can see their true faces.
Build a wall of revolving doors
or revolutionary abuelas.
Make it as high as the sun, strong as tequila.
Boulders of sugar skulls. Adobe or ghosts.
A Lego wall or bubble wrap. A wall of hands
holding hands, hair braided from one woman
to another, one country to another.
A wall made of Berlin. A wall made for tunneling.
A beautiful wall of taco trucks.
A wall of silent stars and migratory songs.
This wall of solar panels and holy light,
panels of compressed cheetos,
topped not by barbed wire but sprouting
avocado seeds, those Aztec testicles.
A wall to keep Us in and Them out.
It will have faces and heartbeats.
Dreams will be terrorists. The Wall will divide
towns, homes, mountains,
the sky that airplanes fly through
with their potential illegals.
Our wallets will be on life support
to pay for it. Let it be built
of guacamole so we can have a bigly block party.
Mortar it with xocoatl, chocolate. Build it from coyote howls
and wild horses drumming across the plains of Texas,
from the memories
of hummingbird warriors and healers.
Stack it thick as blood, which has mingled
for centuries, la vida. Dig the foundation deep.
Create a 2,000 mile altar, lit with votive candles
for those who have crossed over
defending freedom under spangled stars
and drape it with rebozos,
and sweet grass.
Make it from two way windows:
the wind will interrogate us,
the rivers will judge us, for they know how to separate
and divide to become whole.
Pink Floyd will inaugurate it.
Ex-Presidente Fox will give it the middle finger salute.
Wiley Coyote will run headlong into it,
and survive long after history forgets us.
Bees will find sand-scoured holes and fill it
with honey. Heroin will cover it in blood.
But it will be a beautiful wall. A huge wall.
Remember to put a rose-strewn doorway in Nogales
where my grandmother crossed over,
pistols on her hips. Make it a gallery of graffiti art,
a refuge for tumbleweeds,
a border of stories we already know by heart.
Copyright © 2017 by Anita Endrezze