Team Albuquerque

Walls of Baghdad by Miguel Figueroa, Reed Bobroff, Olivia Gatwood, Khalid Binsunni

(O = Olivia; R = Reed, K =Khalid, M=Miguel)
Arabic chants are phonetic, not proper Arabic.

O -- The walls of Baghdad are bleeding,
O, K -- The city named "given by god"
K, M -- is "taken by devils"
ALL --  This is Eden.

R -- Baghdad's walls were built to be beautiful,
R, K -- Its four surrounding walls
R,M  -- confine the artistry
R  -- of a man made heaven,
K -- Baghdad's walls were built to keep peace,
K. O -- but feel like prison,
M  -- These walls are building a labrynth
M, K -- creating a shield for the people,
M,K,O -- From men dressed in green,
E --  She opened her gates to unknown men,  (M,R,K chant-
E, O -- Like a woman with her legs forced apart.  Al hum du
E, O, T  -- Bombarded by the bombs of a monster, lil la herab
O -- She was a fair skinned lady.    bill al a mean" )
O, E -- With golden powder sprinkled upon her cheeks,
O --  Lips stained with pink,
 An innocent child of her father,
 Despite the men who grabbed her ankles.

E, O, T -- She was still a maiden of the East.
O --  But when an intruder forced itself inside her vacant belly,
O, E -- broke down those godly walls of her uterus,
O, T -- The ashes began to fall upon her cheeks.
O, E, T -- Blindfolding what was once golden,
O -- Tainting the perfection that rested on her hips,
 Her lips are now stained red,
 With the blood of the men who stole her youth.

ALL -- The walls of Baghdad are bleeding.
K, R -- A fair garden,
K, O -- Lit like a burning bush
K, O, M -- set a blaze by god him self,
O -- God given.
K, O  -- Just north of Babylon,
K, O, M -- her roots are angelic.

M, R -- An olive branch from the great flood.
M, K --  Discover proud flesh and amplification,
K, R -- Headlights, a constant expression of blessedness
K, R, O --  why?
K -- Why slash her limbs

K -- Biss millah er rah man near a heim
  Al hum du lil la herab bill al a mean
  ar aman nearahim
  malikeou mid dean.
M -- HELP ME ....        
M, K -- HELP US UNDERSTAND WHAT IS IT    (R , chants --
K -- WHAT HAS SHE DONE TO     "Al hum du
 DESERVE SUCH TORTURE ?    lil la herab
R -- HER PEACEFUL NIGHTS      bill al 
O -- Or deserted dusk.     until...
M, K: -- Wreckage burns the skyline of her lonesome future
O, R -- Ear splitting cries of rage and agony
R, M -- Bang on the lobes of her native roots
M -- The blood dispensed,
M, K -- leaves her drowning in her own perspectives  here.)

O -- Our country grows roses.
R,O  -- Her state of flower,
R, K - Placed in black hawks of fertile soil,
K, O--  To be released upon future mounds
K, O, M -- of blood and sand.
ALL --  A symbol of the country they died for.
R -- An aurora borealis of American bouquets,
ALL -- Roses.

M -- Releasing them from Black Hawks of fertile soil.
M, O -- Dropping blossoming bombs
O, R -- over future graves.
K -- The Baghdad flower blooms a burning of Babylon.
R -- The awkward stems of war strangle each other, like shadows.
R, M -- Potholes grow exploding thorns,
R, M, O --  A burning bush tries speaking,
ALL -- We are not Moses.

E -- The walls of Baghdad are bleeding.
 like stories of Adam
 when stripping a rib to give beauty.
O -- Dropped bombs crack skeletons
K, O -- like deathly wind chimes,
K -- The city hangs like a fossilized apple core.
O, M -- Sculpting this land in shades of Eden,
O, M, R -- Roots carving out the hindrance to a sanctuary's embrace,
ALL -- Setting the city into combustion.

R -- This land now chaotically wrapped
K, R -- around gun barrels,
K -- One rose erupts from their graves by mourning,
K, O -- Breaking through.

R -- Do the bombs feel like broken glass   (K, O, M chant --
 when they touch your street's skin   "Al hum du
 Or does it hurt more,    lil la herab
 Are you proud of your children,    bill al a mean"
 fighting to protect the name "given by god" ?  until...
 Baghdad, A miscarriage by the sword, 
 The pools of blood bathe your body,
 Or a mix of shrapnel and flesh,
 You are Quran's paradise;     here.)

ALL -- Flawless.

E --  What was once golden, is now splashed in the color of war.
E,T  --  Where apples once hung to test our knowledge,
E,T  -- Leaving life to plant itself in the ground
ALL -- like a tombstone.

E --  In the midst of a racing mind,
E, K -- knowledge is forsaken.
E, M -- Some say the world will end in fire,
E, M, R -- some say ice,
ALL -- When the bombs of Baghdad freeze over,
O --  These walls
 will know peace.

No Longer a Myth (La Llorona) By Reed Bobroff and Olivia Gatwood

(O = Olivia, R=Reed)

BOTH --          Our abuelas used to tell me of La Llorona, the Wailing Woman.
R --                  She grew up in a Mexican town, now gone with the dust of history.
O --                  Maria was coveted by all of her village’s men.
BOTH --          They thought of how palm warm tortillas dissolved in their mouths like words on end of tongue,
O --                  how her embrace dusk breeze drifted away from their fingertips.

BOTH --          It was Fernando who won her,
R --                  knowing just the right pressure in conversation  and embrace
BOTH --          to make her blush pink as evening.

O --                  The next day she brought him tortillas.She placed the flour blanket over his tongue
and soon they we writhing like kneaded dough
R --                  and their children rose from her oven.
But not long after, Fernando no longer ate Maria’s tortillas or coveted her embrace,

BOTH --          Maria smelled perfume on her husband and laundered in the river,
cleansing clothes until her the river water ran red.

O --                  The next laundry day: she pushed her children’s tiny skulls
under the water,
BOTH --          She washed their pale bodies down a river of abandonment,
O --                  Their bodies were found but not Maria

R --                  Soon after and when night covered sky,                                     0 – (wailing)
the townspeople said Maria’s ghost would rise                         “Mis hijos,
and come weeping along the riverbank                          Mis hijos…”

                        She was no longer Maria.
She was La Llorona, the Weeping Woman.

BOTH --          Today, La Llorona walks the streets
Our abuelas are too scared to tell us  of her new form
O --                  the white lady, no longer condemned to ditch banks
or the tongues of our elders,
BOTH --          now wandering to cement walkways
R --                  and newspaper headlines.

BOTH             She still takes children.

R --                  Nathan Wetherfield walked the dark hallways of addiction.
It was beautiful when the diacetylmorphine swam through his veins.
While the sunshine hid behind the clouds,
until he no longer saw light.
His father never heard La Llorona’s cries.

O --                  in a hospital emergency room.
La Llorona watched along with Steve Paternoster
as his 16-year-old daughter fought for her last few breaths
the nurses pulled off her oxygen and upped her dosage
so that she would birth into the afterlife peacefully.

B --                  Outside, in the deep blue night, the nurses and orderlies
swore they heard
A woman’s anguished cries.

O –                  Mis hijos… Mis hijos

BOTH --          La Llorona is no longer a myth
She’s being bought and sold on the streets.
O --                  She prances away from the dirt rough ditch banks
and cement mounted arroyos
BOTH --          into the outstretched arms of lost children she believes are hers.
O --                  It’s no longer a legend when the 2 overdoses
in 2006 turn to 17 by 2009.

BOTH --          La Llorona beckons to them, to us with arms open like a crucifix
Smiles as she begins to cry into them:
O --                  “Mis Hijos! Mis Hijos!”

R --                  Her cottonwood branch body entangled                         O - wailing
around their soon to be corpse,                “Mis hijos, mis hijos”
Draining life fluid and lacing it with hers.
Their eyes glaze over
BOTH --          and they nod into her addictive fingertips as she drowns the
in her tattered white robe until the myth is the last thing they

R --                  In Albuquerque, NM
O --                  In April 2010
BOTH --          Nathan Wetherfield and Haley Paternoster died of a heroin

                        The black tar sat in her sock drawer like coal in a child’s stocking
next to Sponge Bob and Barbie and branched through his veins
O --                  like thunderstorms on spring days that steal the summer away.

BOTH --          La Llorona is real.
The kids are hearing her cries:
B --                  Following the whines of banshee mother
R --                  into goat head thorn patches
O --                  or bathroom stalls,
R --                  Inviting her into their open embrace.

BOTH --          La Llorona’s hand in tightly encircled around their limbs.
She is weeping,
R --                  Another lost child
BOTH --          floating down the creek , face first
into the desolate tributary
swallowing our state.

O --                  Don’t cover your ears.
R --                  Listen.
O --                  Mis Hijos… mis hijos…

B --                  And warn the children.

Ode to Norma Jean by Olivia Gatwood

I was always told that she was a hollowed beauty
Wrapped in a white dress
Red lipstick stains on her extra long cigarette
Her lace panties hugging her coke bottle waist
Like the children who never called her mother

These simplistic posters were plastered on best friends walls
Something pretty to look at before they went to sleep
To dream of romantic evenings in smoky clubs
Smiling at slick haired men dressed in sly smiles and pork pie hats

These photos of Marilyn Monroe
Made them feel like they had someone to look up to
Finally an icon who looked more appealing
Than the people in their textbooks

As she lay naked on Hugh Hefner's dirty sheets
Died blonde hair
Powdered cheeks
That alliteration of a name imprinted on businessmen's pleats

It's so easy to agree with the idea of such a woman
But why do we waste our idealistic adjectives
And raving tongues
As names like Bella Abzug and Billy Jean King slip through our palms

Ignoring the stories of women who never stripped for success
Whose faces aren't printed on the clothing in middle school hallways
Whose wearers believe that the person they idolize
will boost their amateur sex appeal

Revolutions are not made between supple breasts
They grow in the voices of women
who test the limits of their allowances
Instead of allowing society to limit them of their voice

Women whose rough skin and crooked smiles
were still photographed because their actions
deserved to be recorded regardless of their hunched poise
Beautiful for their working hands
Their raised fists

And while Marilyn drowns in the photos of herself
Society rejects her wrong doings
and rewrites the story of a country bumpkin who took Rosie's seat
A woman who made the men hard and the women harder

And when she left
We held onto her outlived name
like parched dogs licking our empty water bowls
Begging for just one more ounce of consideration

A person's life can never be copyrighted
As soon as that tombstone acts as their headboard
We rewrite the truth to create idols for our children
Simply erase the troubles the problems the defects
And write a new chapter of beautiful white toothy smiles

Convince ourselves that she made us stronger
and name her a revolutionary
That she lived a broken life and name her innocent
That she scratched sweet nothings onto paper and name her a poet
And forget the name her mother gave her

Norma Jean Baker you are NOT forgotten for your offenses
We look back to the fifties and beam at these sugary pin-ups
Yet we stare at the women on today's playboys and label them trash
But if they swallowed their lives maybe we'd label them heroes
And shun the men who call to them like meat

Who are these hollowed beauties of whom we so fondly speak?
Every man's dream but their own worst nightmare
Disregarding the pop portrait she was so pleased to pose for

The flash of the camera did not break her
She broke herself
And while they bow down to this face of naked photos
They dream to be hollowed beauties

But when they awake from this fantasy of sexy Sunday nights
She will only be something pretty to look at
before they go to sleep.

Love Letter to Albuquerque Schools

(Miguel Figueroa, Reed Bobroff, Olivia Gatwood, Eva Crespin)
(1 = poet 1; 2 = poet 2, 3 = poet 3; 4 = poet 4)

1-- Please take your designated seats
2-- Do not talk,
3-- no need for creativity here.
4-- Just the ability to fill in bubbles.
1,2-- No colors,
3,4-- no drawings,
1-- no poetry,
4-- no music,
ALL-- no individualism.
3-- Just a checklist of bulleted statements while we work our way down the list.
1-- We seem more and more like sheep,
1,2,4-- bouncing from standard to standard.

2-- We are the antithesis to this new era of standardized retardation.
ALL-- Slowing down the way you think.
4-- Every classroom comes fully equipped with a bucket for you to shit in.
3-- Regurgitate everything you've learned onto the answer sheet.

1-- Do not look at any test but your own,
2-- no eating, no drinking,
4-- no cell phones.
3,1-- No coughing, no sneezing
2,4-- no laughing, no breathing.
4-- Just quiet.

2-- Eyes on your test,
3-- fill in the bubbles completely.

4-- My standards don't consist of being put into a wooden desk,
1-- with my hands bent to fit the curve of pencil.
3-- Open your test to page one.
You may begin.

2-- Our intelligence is measured with a number written across our foreheads.
1,2-- There are things we need to know to live.
4-- But the system won't ever know that we've learned them.

3-- Private corporations make money off our low scores.
2,4-- Their salaries are boosted from ignorance.
They sit on a pedestal of a trust funds and fancy degrees.

1-- These companies teach us what to think,
1,3-- neo-slaves, bolted to a machine
ALL-- that grinds and spits their money out.

2-- We're taught in poor schools with a new revised whitewashed history book.
4-- Kept from the truth.
3,4-- We are their products,
1,2-- not their students.

1-- There were never enough books in the classroom.
1,4-- Tattered, torn, tagged.
3-- Never enough money to replace them.
2-- In our neighborhoods, more money was spent on removing graffiti,
1-- a stronger police force.
ALL-- Because the crime rate was higher than our test scores.

3-- Our critical thinking skills are turned to mud,
2,3-- we're taught only what's necessary to live in a corporate America.

2,3,4-- In math, I sat below and science dwindled to the floor.
3,4-- In English the bar sat just above proficient.
ALL-- Now our report cards sit in a recycling bin.

4-- Numbness runs through the body
3-- straight through my fingers to the oval I'm bubbling in.
2,3-- Over and over again.
1,2,3-- Question after question.

3-- We're buried under academic letters and standards.
2-- Tests that tell you what kind of person you will be.
4-- We're made in black and white,
1,4-- tinted to match a mold, and molded to match a score.

3-- Not a speck of individuality shines.

4-- Living up to the standard of the world.
2-- guiding everyone down a single path of conformity.

1-- Since when are the results in numbers?
4-- You want to see how good we're doing?
3-- Walk through the inner city.

3-- We're put down, time and time again by rules and regulations,
1,3-- guiding us to a duplicate destiny.
2-- Brainwashed and manipulated,
1,2-- trapped in a box of black and white routine
1,2,4-- like ants in an ant farm, black dots digging holes
ALL-- traveling down tunnels, close and consistent,
1-- all following the exact same path as the one before itself.

2-- Its breaking us down.
2,4-- Pushing us into a hole deeper than our minds can fathom
1,2,4-- to pull ourselves out.

2-- When we're finally allowed to break away from our "designated" seats,
3-- we stretch our limbs in all directions.
2--  Our fists will be raised.
1-- Tuck that F word into your file folder

2,4--  or your mountains of boxes
2,3,4-- with repeated facts that state
ALL-- whether or not we are drones to this cookie-cutter test.

ALL-- I refuse to conform to a segregated education.
2-- Only I,
3-- Only I,
1-- Only I,
4-- Only I,
ALL-- can determine who I am.

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