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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Rodolfo Avelar

xtravaganza cenotaph

visual poem set in tall skinny columns on a green and yellow background with large abstract text forms

View text

not enough to count all the jotxs that died for this

No structure imme
nse enough to do t
he job of holding th
e legacy the xtrava
ganzas left for us We
take the challe
nge To heart We gi
ve ourselves a plac
e to mourn Empty
graves are still gra
ves to tend We hav
e no leaders they w
ere all killed We ha
ve exploitative doc
umentaries produc
ed by white women
with something to
prove We have wha
t little a google sea
rch can restore to u
s No way to bring t
hem back We can c
hant and chant We
will will them back
& be here to greet

Paris is burning &
queens are dying st
ill I’m afraid of bei
ng killed If i’m hon
est i’ve been afraid
of being killed ever
since i realized i ha
ve a target on my b
ack Do you see it?

When i was a little
girl i learned to ext
inguish the urge to
say anything out lo
ud for people to he
ar This is wrong thi
s is wrong so wron
g so fucking wrong
i’d yell inside my
girl head for only me

All the jotxs that di
ed for this will nev
er be here to experi
ence it They’re d
ead Were killed Th
ey, honestly, didn’t
even die for this Th
ey just died & now
there is a this they
missed out on All t
he jotxs that died f
or this, i hope they
were able to imagi
ne it And i hope we
have imagined the
m with us as best we
can But who kn
ows They’re dead &
they died Nuestr
xs abuelxs don’t ev
en know our name
s Or that we exist I
imagine one day w
will meet, say mira
lo que nos dejaste fue magia o la sciencia o el poder de los jotxs pero si, aqui estas

en paz

what i know so far

the sky broke violent & all jotxs fell to void

jotxs were the first beings to wormhole into themselves

they torrented tierra & agua cocooned

themselves in the thick mixture to

home themselves guarded

the motherland thought it was for the best

the jotxs pummeled onto jtxlnd

soil sustaining no injuries just glow

& wandered plains & flitted

through fields & sauntered into real names

they said thank you soil thank you creek thank you tree thank you

flower thank you air thank you space thank you jotx thank you jotx

thank you jotx

they said thank you jotx nice to meet you jotx do you wanna jump

in a lake with the rest of us jotxs have you ever been fucked

by a lake like a faggot & it’s so blinding beautiful

for over a millennia, the jotxs have lived—the motherland tried to kill us

all they really want is the option to kill us

what i know so far—

i am here &

when i meet another jotx i ask them

would you leave the motherland to burn, if you could?


a summer migration a

summer of sun tree woman a

pluming ceremony cuando la mujer

spilled out from me took a deep

breath saw her kaleidoscope self

marbled by the hollering

sun tree creek woman

something about her made me

forget the first time i called myself disgusting

it was a glitter in time & she was there

& my body was weighed down by it all

(it all being something i still haven’t cracked)

she made me think of a land a spec in the sky

somewhere to settle & carve a myth–

could i mythologize the i

materialize me

a girl, maybe |


Rodolfo Avelar is a poet and visual artist from Fresno, CA. Their poetry projects queer people of color into science fiction, the future, outer space, and queer liberation. They hold a Bachelor of Arts from Fresno State, where they studied English Literature and Creative Writing. Currently, they are an MFA candidate in Poetry at UC Riverside. As a Milkweek summer intern in 2019, they designed and edited book length poetry manuscripts. Their poetry can be found online at the Acentos Review and COUNTERCLOCK, and forthcoming in Até Mais: Until More, an Anthology of Latinx Futurisms, and Pleiades. They hope to publish, edit, and teach poetry, perfect their desk set-up, and play some video games along the way.

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