“Immigration Courts Need a Curandera” & “I’m Almost There”
by M.R. "Chibbi" Orduña
Immigration Courts Need a Curandera
from allá & to aquí
a kingdom of questions
is all he can carry
[when is] the sana sana
he seeks [where is] the huevo
he speaks so much salt
obvious the only abundance
in the desert sands [where] wind washes
away tepid footprints but not the ángeles underneath
the heat—heat hot tears burn
sweat & fears & so much
salt & sanitized intentions
[how can] a calloused tongue heal
[when] all it knows is begging
to prove worthy & hands
busy praying to santo so&so
[can] they still claw across
your tv screens & sympathy
a cold court to cure a bridge
for any mañana is better
than every ayer
& an icebox is better
than a desert is better
than a country with a holy habit
of killing boys for less
than the dried salt
on their timid cheeks
I’m Almost There
My mother, a working woman, always running
late, keys, purse, & makeup bag in tow,
taught me the talent of stretching the truth.
Time, relative & debatable, elapsed,
became empty promises & helpless
anticipation, never if, but when she’d arrive.
“I’m almost there,”
was the slogan of our teens.
“Just around the corner.”
15 minutes later she’d round the corner,
frazzled & frustrated
(elevens forming on her forehead)
whip open the passenger door,
sweep her mobile office under the seat,
& sling out apologies for her inability
to control everything.
“I’m almost there” was code for,
“I lost track of time.”
It wasn’t quite a lie but a way to get by
with a little more grace. We could all use
a little more grace these days.
When I say I’m not drunk,
it doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking, but
I’m almost there.
M.R. “Chibbi” Orduña is a Mexican-born, Texas-raised queer poet and actor, the founder of Laredo BorderSlam, a founding member of Write About Now, Executive Director and co-host of the Words and Sh*t virtual talk show and podcast, and 2-time San Antonio Slam Champion. He has self-published 2 books and was the co-editor of the anthology Contra: Texas Poets Speak Out (Flowersong Press, 2020). He’s toured across the country performing his spoken word set, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Acentos Review, Defunkt, The Latino Book Review Magazine, The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, We Are Mitu, George Takei, SlamFind, Poetry Slam Inc, Button Poetry, and Write About Now. You can find more about him and his work at www.gemineyespoetry.com and follow him on IG @gemineyes.
Eileen Echikson is a self-taught artist based in Philadelphia, and current member of Space 1026. Lately she has been working in small illustrations and animations, and will occasionally plop a Big Idear onto a mural. Eileen has created work for Vans Shoes, World Cafe Live, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her works aim to capture the spirited playfulness of childhood, where bugs and comics rule the world, and time is of no consequence. You can peep some of Eileen’s latest works at www.eileenechikson.com, and follow her on IG @soupywoman.