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Why Being “On Fire” Is for Everyone
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/58866

BY IYAWÓ; (KRISTIN NACA)

Man On Fire, 1969, Luis Jimenez

Because the facial features burn fastest.
Because the sun sets in Tibet before it ever rises in the West.
Because Tsering Tashi’s mother told him to dress in the thickest, 
finest, llama wool chuba.
For I find no flattering explanation for the murder of everyone.
Flames consume the head, hands, and feet in the mural by Orozco.
Because monks don’t even eat meat.
His clothes made him torch; still Thích Quảng Đức’s heart would not fire.
Because his remains stiffened when they tried to place him in a tomb.
Because what is the point of murdering everyone in the world?
Since the sun sets in Vietnam before it reaches the West.
Because aren’t the faceless Mexicans always the ones we martyr?
Why do heretic Indians hurry to incinerate themselves at the stake?
Are you awake enough to remember how we clarify the skin of our slaves?
To feel the fingers of the children of thread flame stitching your voluminous rugs?
The candles in the basilica flicker when they channel the nightmares of the dead.
Because Jiménez wept when the mammoth blue mustang leg fell from heaven, rupturing the artery in his leg.
Because of Chinese soldiers armed to protect Tiananmen Square from monks burning to set themselves ablaze.
Luis says he’s sorry for the pain he caused you having to finish his stallion.
You can read the rest of the PINTURA : PALABRA portfolio in the March 2016 issue of Poetry. All images in this portfolio are courtesy of and with permission from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Man on Fire by Luis Jiménez, gift of Philip Morris Incorporated © 1969, Luis Jiménez. 


Soneto de Silueta
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/58865

elated Poem Content Details

BY IYAWÓ; (KRISTIN NACA)
Untitled, from the Silueta series, 1980, by Ana Mendieta
For Ana Mendieta
Mud learns to live with mites, worms, beetles, and ticks.
And Lioness digs up the earth where a warthog cowers in his den.
You know you are loved when she tears you to bits, brittle thing.
The lioness tongue softens you up all the way to her bottom.
Roots, straw, weeds, rain your crown, hija de Ochun.
Even Earth’s suffering arises from pangs of  love.
When Lioness fangs diffuse the blood we call it liberation.
Wax hisses from the smoldering wick, curtains you draw go shoosh.
The last earth imprint you ever left on asphalt from thirty floors up.
A shoe curved from the work your instep leaves behind.
The breath of the lioness heats up your shoulders and your neck.
A genetic photograph of every cell that ever lives exists in a lioness mouth.
She tears into the riverbed and root hairs clog her claws.
Ancient bacteria get all up in you.
Control the fire and it burns deeper, flashing life into sleeping embers.
You can read the rest of the PINTURA : PALABRA portfolio in the March 2016 issue of Poetry. All images in this portfolio are courtesy of and with permission from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Untitled, from the Silueta series by Ana Mendieta, museum purchase through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program © 1980, Estate of Ana Mendieta.
Source: Poetry (March 2016)