Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Confronting Fidel Castro's Death through Poetry

As the end of the year approaches, I am finally beginning to confront the death of Fidel Castro, who changed the course of my life forever.

My relationship with him  even as an absence  has always been complex. 

When I was little, I remember seeing his photograph, a big bushy beard overpowering the frame. And while we were eating our supper, I would ask my mom innocentlyas children often do, "Mom, doesn't Fidel get his soup noodles stuck all over his beard? And how does he ever get them out after he eats?"

My father in an undated photo toasting
for our future happiness, in Cuba
Fores Family Album

Maybe that's what happened to all those around him...

My father fled Cuba because he lacked political freedoms. He believed we had these liberties here in the United States, however, so my brothers, sisters, and I grew up convinced in this country of democratic justice and fair play. This lawyer  my gentle father  could have been imprisoned for years or died for us in Cuba. He suffered greatly trying to escape, just like my mother: as children, we do not remember much. And my parents never talked about it afterward, only to tell us how lucky we were to be living in this land. When my dad chose to come to the United States to ask for political asylum, he knew he wanted us to be able to live and speak freely, and he never doubted that we might not have that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teacher & DREAMer Tries to Explain Inexplicable to Children...

I can not imagine the pain of being a teacher today, especially in a multilingual school.

Having to speak with the refugees I help is quite difficult. Talking to young angels who do not understand the madness of the past few weeks seems to me impossible.... Worst, needing to reassure these same angels, when I find myself in the exact precarious limbo they fear is insufferable.

Yet Rosalía Salazar — graduate from the University of Texas, kindergarten teacher, and DREAMer — has to do just that.

DREAMer Rosalía Salazar with her kindergarten class

It has taken me a while to translate Rosi's message, since I have been busy with many projects and translations especially relevant to the wake-up call we've gotten, but her words are just as important today as they were the day she wrote them after the Trump election.