I took Kenji’s call to heart and reached out to my cousin and Comadre, Josmara Alvarado, the keeper of our family’s magics.
She remembers best my late abuela Máma Merida’s rituals and spells, so I asked her to share some that were relevant to the then current moment (we were first learning about the cruel family separation policies being carried out on the border).
I used Josmara's memories to help craft the poem included below, “Hechizo Para Congelar” -- our small intention cast out into the world through the power of our intergenerational words and rituals.
When I read the poem today, I am struck, on the one hand, by how powerfully the spell has worked.
On the other hand, I am disheartened by the reminder that institutionalized oppressions function in spite of not merely because of individual players.
So today I’m asking myself, “How can I “rewrite” my spell to disarm not only the individuals carrying out the inhumane mistreatment of migrants at our border, but also the underlying institutional forces enabling that cruelty?”
And also: “What poetic spells can I cast to help create the world I’d like to see? How can I use my poetics for offense not just defense?”
Not Either Or.
This “Independence” Day, I invite you to join me in setting some intentions for our communities and for our world. And, if you’re so inspired, I invite you to craft those intentions into your own poetry, ritual, or both.
Finally, please hit reply and share your new poetic spells, or a link to your own favorite "poem-spell" by a poet you admire.
You can read “Hechizo Para Congelar” below and the other 13 poetic magic spells in the digital collection by clicking here to access UNMARGIN.