El Salvadoreño Americano as Decolonizer, 1929-1936


for George Meléndez Wright

ive spoken to the surfbird, los arboles verdes, con los coyotes, with los elk in return they said listen for we will only say this once listen listen to totuya la ultima de los Ahwahneechee for the elder will reveal what the white men do what it feels like to return home and see nothing as it was see home as an entirely new land that will need you to point to its hurt and know how to heal it how to love it how to be its child you will not know any of its significance how anything she will say will be of use to you until your people too will be displaced by death by knife by blood by fire by the guns of the very people you work for by the very people who will not see the horror of their ways remove your people after they have made this land their new home remove your people from this very land you have fed loved cared for that is not theirs listen listen listen totuya la ultima the elder will speak in english spanish the language of the Ahwahneechee and tell you kindly the history of your people before it will come to pass totuya la ultima the elder the giving will call her people as you will need to even if none will heed your call you fool you lover of lo que es verde you who are doomed totuya la ultima the elder the giving will not do this for you for she will be healing herself her soul her people so you must listen listen listen so i listened and Totuya indeed said as they said provided me an answer to a question i do not know yet i gave her water looked into her eyes held her hand as she spoke of the beauty of the earth and of her gente how the white man came and started fires that displaced her gente and how the tisayac stood there as it had millions of years before and millions after let her heal the way she needed to i have promised to look after her people’s land to cure it from the white man’s hand full of garbage and bullets the white man’s imagination that emboldens itself to believe it owns everyone else’s body and dirt and mind and death and i will speak to the trees, esos árboles verdes, con los coyotes, with los elk osos and ask them what hurts how to cure them how to convince the white man to stop i will help them to stop killing los arboles verdes los coyotes and hope that maybe just maybe los wildflowers will tell me what will befall my people and if anything i do for the land will save mi gente or if at least i can try and make right what the white man has ruined here ruining will ruin and do my best to teach my america to love itself teach the world to love itself dedicate my one and only life to teach the free man to love the land let that be enough to stop the onslaught of history of the bullet the blood the knife the fire it must be enough to stop what’s coming what else can i give to stop what has happened happening will happen let it be enough please please please porfa porfa porfa

REYES RAMIREZ is a Houstonian. Reyes won the 2019 YES Contemporary Art Writer’s Grant, 2017 Blue Mesa Review Nonfiction Contest, 2014 riverSedge Poetry Prize and has poems, stories, essays, and reviews (and/or forthcoming) in: What’s the New News, Indiana Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, The Latinx Archive, december magazine, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Texas Review, TRACK//FOUR, FIVE:2:ONE Magazine, Houston Noir, Gulf Coast Journal, Origins Journal, The Acentos Review, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. Reyes has been awarded grants from the Houston Arts Alliance and The Warhol Foundation’s Idea Fund. Read more of his work at reyesvramirez.com.