In My Dreams, You Drown

Had you not violated Her shores,
the cute curl in my hair might have been stillborn…

But if you had never plagued Her soil,
my heart would have more
than just dreamed of feathers on my crown…
of shells, of rough stones and of driftwood necklaces
dancing areítos on my breast.

Some have argued that
had you not come when you did,
then an entire people would have missed
the arts and horses and blessings and gifts
birthed out of La Santa María’s belly.

I’ve tried to see things as they do,
searched for ways to celebrate your alleged good…

But there are no blessings to be found
in the murder of the Golden Flower,
in the burning of Hatuey,
in your rape of my Quisqueya.

In my dreams of Discovery,
your chicanery drowns before reaching India.
And then I miss my darling curl,
but never enough to wish you
a happy day of breath.


Note-The spring I turned nine, a family friend gifted me three books: The Little Prince, The Bull and the Golden Calabash and Other Anansi Stories, and a History of the Americas. The last title broke my heart. Before reading that book, the way everyone I knew spoke of Christopher Columbus led me to almost idolize the man. The book wasn’t very detailed, but it planted the seed of curiosity in my mind… It made me question teachers, and their somewhat guarded answers sent me searching for more… I found butchery, theft, abuse, liars in history and historians endorsing those liars… Anyway, as you probably noticed, I haven’t quite gotten over it yet.

for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads ~ Open Link Monday
Anacaona [Golden Flower], by Elie Lescot

(countdown to the big event) giveaways will continue tomorrow…
Today, I bare my teeth at Cristobal Colóns empty eye sockets.
http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2014/08/witches-in-fiction-2014-crafting.html

53 comments:

  1. Bare your teeth my dear; I so happy that our school system does not celebrate this day and that my children go to school like normal; he is nothing to celebrate.

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  2. Ah yes, it's that time of year again... you know, the one where my son reads from Howard Zinn's books...

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    1. I might have to make a bookmark for your boy. ;-)

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  3. Dreams:::::::;;;hmm portal to another world

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  4. you are not alone in the finding of these lies. i am a flower born of this land and of indigenous feathers but to the south of the now erected iron fence that partitions the land of my birth. i am made of Aztec skin
    whose queries of that which is written in the books of this founding called America has led him to be disheartened and disenchanted.

    gracias for this wonderful piece

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    1. I send you a dance of greeting, brother from another flower mother...

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    2. I really love the phrase "I am made of Aztec skin," by the way.

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  5. When he arrived he found the people had scars left by invaders from the mainland.

    It seems always there is cruelty and strife everywhere, as if the indignity of being borne into flesh is itself outrage enough to justify our mistreatment of each-other.

    I worked so hard in my life to ease the plights of other, but I realize that all I have done is made myself a pain sponge, a vessel for their venom. Now I am full to brimming.

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    1. When I dream, I can breathe under water. I can run up into the wind.

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  6. Thank you! I clicked on all the links and learnt some new things. I've only fairly recently read a bit about the truth that lies behind the glorified image of Christopher Columbus. I was horrified! :(

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    1. This is one of the few historical topics that can enrage me in ways that even I know are irrational. I think my feelings are influenced by the way our society continues to ignore the horrors in favor of the status quo. It's saddening...

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  7. As a rule, I am not overly fond of poems. I like that one big time.

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    1. I remember when I used to feel the same about poetry. It feels almost strange now... ;-)

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  8. Back when I was in elementary school, we learned that Christopher Columbus was a wonderful person. By the time I was an adult, I did not believe that agreed upon set of lies any longer.
    http://poetryofthenetherworld.blogspot.com/2014/10/octpowrimo-2014-day-13.html

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    1. Growing up and paying attention opens our eyes in ways we can't predict, doesn't it?

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  9. A fine, if witchy, contrarian or simply native offering to the Columbus myth. The strange part of the dominion tales is that the loser always benefits the most. A goddess sings this poem, perhaps her conquered name is South America but we know better now ...

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    1. "...the loser always benefits the most." Really? I wonder how that would apply to Grendel...

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    2. I'm really curious...

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  10. Beautifully done! The downfall of explorer idols and Colonial lies is necesssary for us to truly see ourselves. You give the political and the personal together.

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    1. I've always had a very difficult time (and often failed) at maintaining objectivity when it comes to this topic...

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  11. We always need to understand that history is written with a purpose.. all history.. and anyone being shown as a hero is most likely a villain (at least in part) just like villains also have a heroic side...

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    1. I suppose everyone has a redeeming quality or two... even if they are covered in blood and screams.

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  12. Even his own colonists hated Columbus so much that he was recalled by those crowned heads he was supported by.

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    1. It makes you wonder why so many still hold on the the myth of his greatness...

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  13. Perfect piece for this day! Thanks for the links, too!

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    1. You are always very welcome. No, really. Start packing and heading this way. ;-)

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  14. As always you measure out strong words and emotions and bake it up with truth and give us something to chew on.

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    1. You know Oma, as I wrote this one, I felt AlmaMia shaking her little fist on the back of my mind... I suspect she'll have a thing or two to say about this man. I don't know when or how, but I think she might...

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  15. Yes, Columbus was just another of the envoys sent to rape, degrade and subjugate the native peoples of the Americas, for money and power, not glory or anything else--he's no more worthy of honor or respect than Goering or Himmler, in my opinion. Besides, the Vikings discovered North America--supposedly what he is famous for--not him! Your poem is full of sadness, but also of truth and strength, Magaly. Thank you for all the references, which helped enlighten and explain, and for your own respect and knowledge of the ancients who are so ignored in the history classes, but who are in our blood, part of us.(PS I love Hatuey saying that if Heaven was where the Spaniards went, then he would prefer never to enter there.)

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    1. It's a tad creepy, but last night (as I raged) and worked on this poem, I used Himmler when discussing the way people in which most histories speak of Columbus.

      Hatuey is one of the figures that led me to ask questions not only about history, but also about religion... ;-)

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  16. Powerful poem, Magaly. Yes the truth of what really happened does set you free I guess even though it may leave the taste of bitter ashes in your mouth.

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  17. This is just gorgeous poetry, Magaly - rich in emotions and textures. I take the view that colonization was an inevitability of history, but the plunder, rape and abuse that accompanied each arrival in a new world still disturbs me every time I think of it. But we must build our future on the past, and certainly acknowledge the difference between myth and fact... whenever possible.

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    1. I agree. We need to study and fight as hard as we can to understand our history... We can't change the past, but there is so much to learn from it. I mean, just looking back and really seeing should keep us from making the same mistakes over and over and over...

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  18. The debunking of historically honored myths takes many voices sharing many truths. Your poem beautifully sings in this choir.

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    1. *sings a little louder and throws in some new dance steps*

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  19. I find this "holiday" offensive and ridiculous… your poem speaks volumes of history in such a lyrical way.

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    1. "offensive and ridiculous" are very good words to describe this nonsense. We don't send birthday cards to someone who tricked us out of home and meals, why celebrate this man?

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  20. Amazing how our "heroes" are so often merely well-masked villains, and how many of those masks only appear once they're dead...

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    1. I think one of the best things about he internet, when it comes to this issue, is that the masks are starting to fall a lot earlier. Let's hope more of them get to pay before they are dead...

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  21. I hope you never "get over it". Some things should never be forgotten... some things need to be remembered as they actually were, not how they're written by white, male historians with no interest in facts. This is one of those many things.
    I find this holiday repugnant, to say the least.
    But I love your response. It brings tears to my eyes and a great, resounding "YES!!!" to my lips upon reading the last five lines.

    XOXO

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    1. I suspect I never will. I might grow to be able to speak of it with more objectivity, but the anger of the betrayal might never leave me. Not if society as a whole doesn't start realizing the stupidity of celebrating the thief and butcher... and we all know how likely that is to happen in the next few decades.

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  22. History is written by the winners. Automatically treating history as truth/fact is a problem.

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  23. That's the hell of it, isn't it? If the s.o.b. Had never landed on these shores, many of us wouldn't exist, or might exist as entirely different versions of ourselves than what we are now. Still, I'm with you. All I feel toward C.C. Is rage and disgust, and absolute grief for the populations he decimated. I can remember how betrayed I felt the first time I read about him in the unwatered down version of history. I remember as a child, thinking he landed shook hands with the locals, and they all made friends and lived in peace...more like he shook them into pieces. This poem is breathtaking, Magaly. Fierce and raw.

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    1. We can't change the past. I'm sure we don't even want to... But we can still wonder how things would have been if he hadn't happened upon this land. And people of different groups would act towards each other if the truth of Colonization was more widely spread...

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  24. They were not what they were made out to be! History could be factual but not really one that went behind the scenes revealing of the rogues that most of them were! Powerful write Magaly!

    Hank

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    1. "They were not what they were made out to be!" Indeed!

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