Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dreaming: The Space Poetry Opens

I was moving some books and came across a copy of the poetry text, Dreaming the End of War by Benjamin Alire Sáenz that I had tucked away after reading it some years ago.  I found myself rereading it and wanting to share a portion of it with you. In this work Sáenz creates twelve dreams that explore the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, father and son, man and country--as well as the violence and hope that accompanies such closeness and distances among people and places.  Matters of immigration are important to me for political and personal reasons. My son, my brothers and I are US immigrants (although we joke that my husband, hailing from Brooklyn, might be an immigrant too) and as such, I feel an affinity with all who come here to live and especially those who die trying. 

We must find better ways to welcome others.  

I had hoped to hear about immigration during the last presidential debate and found the absence to be unsettling.  Perhaps President Obama and Mitt Romney might make room in the weeks leading up to the election to read Dreaming the End of War. It  is an important work--one that conveys the complexities, both personal and societal, of human cruelties and kindnesses. 

Here is a sample from the last dream.  

(from "The Twelfth and Final Dream : A Dream of The Day"  by Benjamin Alire Sáenz)

The Start to Fall (M.A. Reilly, 2012)

                                            ...Summers, I write.
There are poems in my head, stories,
novels, essays,

                    screenplays where protagonists
are as ordinary as the writer. Words clutter
and complicate. They stick in my throat
until I must find a way to clear a path
for air.

                         There are moments

when I wander from the writing.

There are things that writing cannot hold.

I stare out and see only
what is in my head. I dream of things
in the day.

                                            In the day. I dream
that nothing
in my house needs fixing. I dream
the labor it will take to build
a wall--
                   then to tear it down.

                                                              I dream
my mother has no worries. She has worked
and suffered enough,
                         worked and suffered enough
and it is time for her to rest. And though
I know my father's death cannot be dreamed
away, or my mother's memory, or her pain.
or her bills or her crooked bones--
                                         this knowing does not stop

me from my dream.

                                         I dream my mother's young
again. I dream her aging body has no aches.
                         I dream my sisters and my brothers
have no debts, and dream
                                          they have
the time to spend on who and what
they love. I dream abundance
in their lives.
                    I dream Eden and a garden
in their hearts.

                                             I dream. The day.
I dream the poor who come from other lands
will not be sent away. I dream the federal judge
will find an atlas of the world, stand
in awe of their journey--and wave
them safely in. I dream the day.
I dream that all who left my city
will come back. Exiles returning
to build again what has been
left unbuilt.
                    I dream. The day. I dream that all
the wars are done I dream the earth, having lost
all patience, rises up in its own revolution,
erasing all the lines we have carved
on her back. I dream there are no more
nations. This is what I dream--that
nations do not matter...

Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. (2006). Dreaming the End of War.  Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press.


  1. ah... love.
    grazie dear.

    Ellen Langer's: prejudice decreases as discrimination increases.

    going for the thumbprint as universal flag:

  2. I just had a HORRIBLE thought--what if when your parents adopted you immigration was prohibited?!! Had never thought of it before. My life would be so much less than what it is, and so would my students' lives.

    1. If I read the Texas GOP platform correctly--i would need to leave the US as they want to appeal parts of the 14th Amendment and not grandfather naturalized citizens.