Lydia Flores

Lydia Flores

Lydia Flores

IF I DIE TOMORROW

BY Lydia Flores & Daniel Vidal Soto


If I die tomorrow

Check the east river
Before you mourn
Before the eulogy song
Go to 112th and Madison
Ask for them to show you
Chenchita’s garden
See how my wella brought
Puerto rico to harlem
And then the city deported
It. Told the sunflowers
Bow their heads and snipped
The roses of their thorns.

Oh yeah but
They try to call it a state now …
After they robbed it
But to me it’s still the rich port.

Oh they forget my divinity
That I am water and lightning
& all this dust
That tlaloc is my grandfather’s
Grandfather & my mother is the moon
& when I wear my beads and stones

Chencita’s garden
Of stone & throws & thumb
Pressing ivory into a heat
& an ivy of a deep sea green
Feels no less inviting
Than a siren’s prayer
Between the folds of a soft petaled
Dream to love in the garden
Again, again, again
Mother, where is this garden,
Your lie, your deep lie
There is no garden

Chenchita, I am your son [I am your daughter]

Lost outside this garden
& my back is wounded
By the leaf’s absence
My throat dried
From singing with birds
Until grace offers a crumb
I’m trying to remember
When eating wasn’t labor
An endeavor to cheapness
An object in the stomach wanton

So I take a seat at this table
And when they tell me
Go back home. Or Go to
The back the bus….
(in a reversed psychology kinda way)
with a slick smile on their face
or all that all lives matter shit
I say

“ no me diga”

cuz today
feels just like yesterday
like the long nights my mama’s mama
and all the mamas before that
peeled back the velvet sky and
crawled into it just so we could
have the stars but we too spoiled
for that kind of sacrifice.

White people treat me angrier
As if I remind them a ghost

From collective memory, Geronimo
Riding his horse & in the back, his throne
They must feel me
My water must do something
To the exterior field which might be called aura
& I might, unintentionally, heal them
By the center of my own being

I might accidentally bless my enemies
To their death
A sweet death, a death nonetheless

“if I engage with
Non-violence, I, by contact
Engage with violence”

I know Akilah Oliver warned this
In her triumphant angels
But still her body fell
Not too far from Hak Kyung Cha
Giving her sermon
At the edge of the universe
Which can’t be death
Except to let the atoms
Which must pass by, pass by

like fear turned back the clock
and our tongues are shackled
to silence, lying on top of each other
pissing our opinions and making
bunkbeds out of all our sins.
Fluffing time and numbing
Ourselves just so we can sleep
At night.

Yet some how
We all claim to be “woke”

and I’m just saying’
If I die tomorrow

Bring all the candles you want
But before the vigil
Take back my body from their hands
and spread every part of me everywhere
do not hold on to me like rosary beads
do not uncoil my tongue to translation
and make them pronounce my name right
I’m all for accessibility but no more
Simplicity for the sake of their inability
(to roll their tongue— or whatever)
That my last name is pronounced:

FLORES // GALLEGOS BARBOZA AVILA VIDAL SOTO

so yes, if I die tonight
you ain’t gotta bring flowers

cuz I am a ranunculus and sunflower

but before I die, know
im all thorns

rekindle the fire of the taino
and I can swallow them all whole
Santa Maria, the Niña, the Pinta

cuz today feels just like yesterday

And today there are protests like yesterday
& registrations like yesterdays
& forced number tattoos on bodies like yesterday
& yesterday’s yesterday-poet already sang of yesterday
As if it were a best friend who didn’t say bye but still went missing
Today Mumia and Lopez are still caged like yesterday
There is no today or yesterday
Because the tanks with white boys are still rolling through native soil
Because today is violently interrupting my being, telling me
To work full hard into the next day, until the next day
Brings its own buildings I must build and clean
Brings its own tax
I must pay today to day today if I want to day at all
Today is a broken record player: Judge Judy, Judge Alex, Jeopardy tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
They’re going to play them the same time
The same old script – mental anesthetic
Can’t wait to catch the ending tomorrow…..

If I do die
I did not commit suicide

& bury me deeper than six feet
so that I can root all the way
back home,

split through the border
all earthquake and Jericho

Throw the sages ash in water
The water is thirsty for the dust
And the dust is ready for its finality

If I die it is not death
But conscious moving light
From the body to this point
If I die tomorrow it is a blessing
To have found a final home
A no where home that is every where
& my ghost will still watch the children

If I die
I will come back something holy


Seeing in The Shadows

medium: 35 mm digital


Through To the Light

medium: 35 mm digital


Joy

medium: 35 mm digital


Unclose

medium: 35 mm digital


Everything I Am and Am Not

medium: 35 mm digital


Fight For Street Art

medium: 35 mm digital


You Are Armor

medium: 35 mm digital


Dark Water

medium: 35 mm digital


Broken in To Let Out

medium: 35 mm digital


Beyond Borders

medium: 35 mm digital


A Storm Is Coming

medium: 35 mm digital


Lydia Flores is a poet and photographer from Harlem, New York City. She has work featured in Crab Fat Magazine, Snapdragon Journal, The Poeming Pigeon, The Rain Party & Disaster Society. As well as others.