Displacement Renga

Gabriela N. Lemmons, Miguel M. Morales, Maria Vasquez Boyd, and Jose Faus


It could have been the same road   las mismas lines amarillas   no
passing lanes   the road I travel trailing six whirled tons of winter feed
one one-thousand   two one-thousand   three one-thousand
past utility poles   ponds and freshly harvested fields of maíz y trigo
past dormant daylilies   girasol and Labradors hounding whitewalls
one one-thousand   two one-thousand   three one-thousand
patience—I advise my son—patience will keep you safe   but
I curse the hulking haul beneath my breath
one one-thousand     two one-thousand   three one-thousand
I may never reach home.
                                                                                                                                       Gabriela N. Lemmons


I stand, another son under another sun, harvesting a fresh field. 
This son/sun demands sweat as payment for dreams past, present, and future.
This son/sun chases me across elongated fields, pulls at my clothes, and wrenches
me into the searing soil. This son/sun wields an impatient and incendiary touch.
No, this son/sun does not nurture mama’s garden of peppers, cucumbers, and okra. 
This is not the prodigal son/sun we warmly welcome with cold watermelon
and melting snow cones. That son/sun knows only our laughter as we
ride bikes, run through sprinklers, and catch ladybugs.
Yet the backyard cookout with its grilled corn on the cob stacked high
reminds me of the humidity in the cornfields and of that other unforgiving son/sun.
                                                                                                                                             Miguel M. Morales


Fate reveals itself with hands rough as cornhusk
From the moment I finally became myself
I had not forgotten where I’m from. I never knew where
I touch the contours of my lips; mouth thrust open between tissue and bone
A sleeping caterpillar awaits transformation
Come alive or remain spiritless
Milkweed nourishes winged ancestors
A flock of souls band together in the sky
If there were somewhere to go, they surely would take me
I sketch half the journey and make believe I’m real.
                                                                                                                                          Maria Vasquez Boyd


A shack is the end of the road thousands of corn stalks from the first hearth
Sleep is not a constant companion dreams are houses for demons
I rest with eyes half closed a mouth open for water
one eye on the machete by the dim fire
another honest eye on the road and the glare of the son/sun
and I look for the first turn no signpost out of this dead end
Take the child by the mangled hand not enough numbers to count
Ride all day long far from the fields before locusts scavenge the crops
Your chrysalis a wayward bud on a limb shed it before the crows hoard
The old man says before the son/sun falls we will eat in Eldorado’s gilded hall.
                                                                                                                                                             Jose Faus 


It is the same road   las mismas lines amarillas   no
passing lanes   on the confines of waterways   sleeping at the edges
of long fields of plentyit is here where el viejito sowed seeds
resettled roots on fertile loamit is here where the child witnesses fire
wields machete   harvests the cane   peels fibrous
stalk   sucks its sugar   a swollen mouth   like engorged garrapatas
it is here on this road   thousands of stalks blur the landscape
a child speaks in tongues of incendiary sons/suns   past
present and future   traverses las mismas jornadas   no
passing lanes   meanders—contour of dead end roads
                                                                                                                                       Gabriela N. Lemmons


Whispering winds which call me to and away from home tell of
another son under another sun who traveled this meandering road.
Eldorado’s alchemy transformed the young conquistador
into a wretched demon who scavenged and mangled this blurred
and alien landscape. He cursed the hulking haul with his final breath.
Sacred soil long forgotten yet made fertile again by tissue and bone
of conquered and conquering ancestors patiently reveals the secret
of my soul’s fate: to harvest fresher fields, to redeem fallen sons/suns,
to seek companions con el mismo viaje, and to confide in
the contouring road in whose yellow lines resides my home.
                                                                                                                                             Miguel M. Morales


In the forgotten contours of landscape
I curse the son/sun of a thousand fields on this road.
In slow motion, lightning’s bony fingers grasp the sky.
Alone with the haunting madness of erosion, the failure to fulfill,
I have come to recognize the root is worth everything.
Estrella Del Mar, banish the demons, protect us
with parsley and honey, the moon in Pisces, blue candles in radiant light.
The use of gold is making more gold.
Treading the lunar crescent, devotion bares a name.
Endings are beginnings.
                                                                                                                                          Maria Vasquez Boyd


These are the last steps we will walk with heads bowed
navigating roots deep in the ground and lineas amarillas
threads of gold leaf loose in the air phantasms calling our names in passing
with semillas de trigo y maize in their bolsas and the chants
spinning dervish in the air tales of viejos y viejas and long walks
along old paths crossed by the first clans vested in feather gowns
metal breastplates cannonades till all penitent charlatans discover the sun
in the bronze of their skin like prodigals welcomed at the last meal of the dying sun
we will march to Cibola’s seven cities and Aztlan’s and Eldorado’s grand hall
to Quivira to prepare the last meal and eat for the first time.
                                                                                                                                                              Jose Faus