for Kristin Dykstra


I blame my father’s father and my mother blames my mother’s father and my father blames my father’s mother and my father’s mother blames my mother’s mother’s father but mostly I blame my father’s father and my mother’s mother and my mother and my father for procreating

What the fuck were they thinking

Some words stand for some things and other words stand for other things

Or all the words are empty or unavailable.

They wrap my body in a flag

They spit on me

They talk about my mother

They blame my mother for making me

They blame my mother for making me a pansy

They call my mother a whore

They call me the son of a whore

They call my father a son of a bitch

I have a memory of my grandfather on stilts in a backyard

I am six years old   

I remember laughing with the children as we ran up to the man on stilts 

It’s possible this is a cheap trick my mind is playing on me to make him much taller than everyone else

I remember a warm man    a full head of gray hair slicked back over thick square glasses

He knew the president

He had been friends with the president

He formed the party with the president

He started the revolution with the president

My mother met the president at a cocktail party

Too bourgeois?

My mother met the president at an ice cream social

It was a fundraiser for the revolution

They didn’t drink wine

They wished they could have drunk wine

They wanted the revolution to have wine but they were afraid that those who could not afford wine would not join the revolution

All the poor people who can’t afford wine will soon be able to afford wine     brother 

The revolution will guarantee wine for everyone

Let me explain

The president was a nice man

The president offered my mother a job

He said    When you finish law school    join the revolution

He offered her a job with the revolution

My mother was not a Jedi but she knew how to use the force

You will give me a job when I finish law school     my mother said to the president

And the president repeated     I will give you a job when you finish law school

I do not use the force but I am force-sensitive

My mother said     you will give me a job when I finish law school

And the president said   yes I will give you a job    if they don’t shoot me first 

He was fatalistic

He was kind

He was a quote-un-quote     philanderer

Some say he was a great politician

Others say he was a lousy politician

Others think he was ethically dubious because he had sex with young revolutionaries

But then they dropped a bomb on his ass

He killed himself before they shot him

They dropped a bomb on his house

They dropped a bomb on his house but he killed himself before his house went up in flames and now the people pay 25% interest to the capitalist administrators who make a beautiful commission from their privatized social security earnings

This is what Margaret Thatcher meant when she said    economics are the method     the object is to change the heart and soul

I can explain the politically neutral discourse of neoliberal policy

If they wouldn’t have dropped a bomb on some guy on the other side of the world then we wouldn’t live in a city with privatized sidewalks    parks    beaches    nurses     teachers    trees    weeds     squirrels ducks coyotes  

I am trying to convince you not to sell my body on the global market

I am trying to convince you that it’s not my fault I was born into a family of communists

Have you seen the way they made my grandfather grovel

There’s a movie about this 

It’s on Vimeo and YouTube and Netflix and Amazon Prime

It’s called   The Groveling Communists      

It stars Gael García Bernal and Penélope Cruz and the prisoners are wretched and good looking

It’s about ten communist prisoners on a frigid island who crawl around freezing    dying of hypothermia    trying to teach each other foreign languages in order to keep their brains from rotting of atrophy

It’s about ten communist prisoners on a frigid island who crawl around in the mud and barracks going    grovel grovel grovel 

I can explain    

My mom was like yo president it would be great if you could give me a JOB after I finish law school and the president was like yeah girl no problem I’ll give you a JOB if they don’t fucking kill me before you graduate

My father’s father was a revolutionary

But they excommunicated him from the party

Or he excommunicated himself from the party

It’s complicated

He was besties with the president   played ball with the president when they were in high school    went out drinking with the president when they were in college     wrote revolutionary treatises with the president over bottles of wine and cigarettes

But then they had an argument

It’s complicated 

Like really geopolitically complicated

Sort of

The party loved nation A in a faraway land but my grandfather did not like nation A because nation A wanted to kill the people of nation B and the party (though they did not believe in violence) were not fans of the people of nation B and they supported the people of nation A in their {impossible} quest to wipe nation B off the planet 

The president liked nation A     my grandfather liked nation B 

They fell out over this

My grandfather was written out of the revolution and started walking around on stilts to impress his nephews and grandchildren

He practiced peace but had little interest in peace

He practiced free love but had little interest in free love

He practiced law but had little interest in law

He practiced poetry but had little interest in poetry


I am radically resignifying traumatic memory in a diasporic space in order to create opportunities for new bonds to be articulated beyond the traumas of dictatorship


I fetishize the past I did not live

I fetishize the future I cannot control 

I fetishize the practical impossibilities of the present

The frozen lilacs    the burning earth    the human beings scorched and traded for oil

I cannot explain those things  

But I can explain other things

The rain is beating on the windows and it really sounds quite pretty

No one will wait for me when I turn into ash and dust

When I am lonely and have no one to talk to I will remember the murmuring leaves