from “Valley of Many Smokes” by Carribean Fragoza

The Many Heres

By Carribean Fragoza (from Valley of Smokes)

I am from here
Where the young boys, will continue to run shirtless in their front yards, bare limbs shining in the sun, through streams of a spouting water hose. Young men, almost still boys themselves will always be endowed the duty of squirting the little boys with the hose, chasing one, or the other with the pressurized stream. Playing, disciplining.
Don’t push.
GIVE.
HIM.
THE TOY.
Squirt squirt squirt.
Green grass, the blue plastic pool, the low chain link fence. No need for privacy. If you’re around here, you must know us. Nothing special or extraordinary to see. Simply its summer, it is hot, the sky is blue, the grass is bright, the brown skinny bodies are jumping, black heads darting.

I am from here
Where the grandfathers will continue to smooth their mustaches over the chromed bumpers.
The women laughing in the living room, denim shorts, legs crossed, soft arms ready to dance, ready to pick up, come on comadre, lets go. Cars are for going someplace. Not just for rubbing into a shine, not just for watching your mustaches grow. Cars are for going to the beach, the ferris wheel, for once on the Santa Monica pier, at least a damn churro. Let’s go to the ocean, not just the lake. Let’s get a breeze, listen to the waves, not just the freeway.

I am from here
Where I lift my eyes and I can see far. It is flat here, standing on the valley floor. I can see, for today, the heat has burned off all the clouds, even the smoke has been broken up, sent scattering somewhere else, maybe Vegas where I never want to go again. I see today and many days the mountains that make me want to say, I’m from here. From here to where my eyes can see is my place, I don’t care who lives there now. I can look out there and say this is mine because I can see as far as my own mother, my grandmother and her mother before that. And when we all lift our eyes over the strawberry beds or the flower garden, we have all seen the mountains. That makes us all say, here, I belong here.

And I am from here
Where there is a tall hill green with water and deer dung and the bodies of many deceased and interred and there is so much more. There is more land that has grown other things, other flowers, other nuts and berries, along the river south much tall cane. The horses have danced that way. The cacti have flowered, have burst many sweet seeded fruits like the stars. The waters have flowed from here, down and down and many people have come and settled. From the east, from the south, we have formed new roots in new shapes, new patterns and designs and they have learned to sing new songs, and speak with new lilt, and walk with a new dip. The sun changes down here, depending on the design and which way the glass panes, reflects the water’s sun. The water pushes down and the light pushes down.

And I am from here
And somehow, if I keep pushing down beyond the water I will again find something that is mine. Something like a beat to the heart of the earth that will say, “here.” and there will be a pulse and it will say “here,” I will know how this is here, but it will say here here here here here and will not let up. From here and from here. I will know I am from many heres.
I will feel wounds, some parts will start bleeding, I will not understand. I will weep for dead I’ve never met, although their brown ashy faces will also say here here here already making their way back down into the earth.

Carribean Fragoza

Carribean Fragoza, raised in South El Monte, California, currently lives, works, and writes in Los Angeles. She holds degrees from UCLA and California Institute of the Arts and teaches at California State University, Long Beach. Carribean is currently working on her first book, The Legend of South El Monte Zombie: And Other Stories of Lust and Longing.

see also the South El Monte Arts Posse:

and

see also their website http://semartsposse.wordpress.com/

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