It borders on dignity

Literati… We are a non-political site, a writer’s site.  We believe that people of all political persuasions should have an opportunity to humiliate themselves, but we never encourage them  to do it here, or to espouse any specific religious views, believing that if religion is your bag, you are by definition sack-religious. But social issues …

Literati…

We are a non-political site, a writer’s site.  We believe that people of all political persuasions should have an opportunity to humiliate themselves, but we never encourage them  to do it here, or to espouse any specific religious views, believing that if religion is your bag, you are by definition sack-religious.

But social issues cannot help but prompt political response. Liliana Molina’s story touches one of our most demanding social dilemmas, though her story is not at all political, and speaks only of human dignity.  11 million people are living in this country illegally.  Many of us grew up learning the words to Woody Guthrie’s song:

  ” This land is your land

this land is my land

from California

to the New York island

from the redwood forests

to the gulf stream waters

this land was made for you and me!”

But there was another verse to the song that we were not taught:

“As I was walking

I saw a sign

and on the sign

it said “no trespassing”

but on the other side

it didn’t say nothing

that side was made for you and me!”

Liliana’s entry as a finalist into The Third Annual Victor Villasenor First Sentence Contest required her to write a scene about a child leaving home for the first time. She taps into her experience as the inheritor of a shadow population that has lived for entire generations without ever having the legal right to be here, and putting so much at risk to do so. As we search for political solutions, let us not forget about dignity, which Liliana’s entry so poignantly expresses.

Here is Liliana Molina’s untitled entry:

 

Mija before you go, hear my story

so that you can begin yours where this moment leaves off.

 

Continue father,

my mind and heart are open.

 

I slept under the night sky’s celestial blanket.

All I could think of was of my father’s words before I departed.

 

Mijo no te vayas, son don’t go he said. His eyes seemed to know something I didn’t. He didn’t want me suffer, not like he had when he came as a bracero, where he worked the California fields in the 1950’s.

 

‘Apa I won’t suffer, it’s not like that anymore.

I remember telling him,

I won’t be hungry anymore

I will fill a plate and eat until my belly bursts.

 

‘Apa deme su bendicion,

 

And I set out with a hunger,

A hunger that gnaws at your soul

A hunger that tortillas and beans can’t fill.

This hunger was desde el alma,

the soul.

 

Were you scared? I mean, I’m just moving a couple streets away,

but you moved a country away, WALKING.

 

Faith

 

Mija la pobreza y el hambre te hace hacer cosas que uno cree imposible.

No mija, tu no sabes de hambres.

It was all or nothing. I had no time to think how far I had already come

and how long I still had to go.

I’d be a sitting duck for the border patrol if I sat and cried.

Faith lit the way.

 

We all have a journey, whether it’s to the next street

or the next country mija, and you have to make it worth it.

 

I’ve taught you mija that you have to struggle,

that the personal fulfillment will be greater than what money can buy.

 

Gracias Papa

********************************************************************************************************

Mitt Romney prepares to self-deport

Mitt Romney prepares to self deport.

10 comments

  1. Thorn
    Thorn says:

    I mean no disrespect for anyone who voted for Mitt Romney.  But people like Cesar Chavez, or people like the old man in Lilian’s story, simply sank beneath his wisdom, like a stone (thank you, Leonard Cohen)

  2. Glclark says:

    Ah, Liliana. Your delicate voice rings true in every language and culture on this earth. You have told this age-old story in such a beautiful interaction between the english and spanish languages and that punctuates the theme of the story – the transition of the son’s life from the Hispanic culture to the United States culture.
    Beautifully done! Thank you and good luck!

  3. Tlrelf says:

    A powerful piece that gave me the chills. I think you’ve captured the experience in a story that resonates beyond these few words. . .

    There is hope. . .

  4. Liliana Molina90 says:

    Thank you all for the support and such kind words! The man in the story is my father, and in a sense represents all the immigrants from many countries. Thank you all!

    • Thorn
      Thorn says:

       all of us are immigrants from a turbulent womb, eventually too constricting…and yet, how we miss it

  5. Your style is so easy to read, as if you pratice all night to get the one part of that one sentence right.  Here you show us that there is something for the young to leave behind–a value in family and the old ways, but there is no revolution.  Only a respect that the blood that flows between the two  recognise.

  6. diana_SD says:

    What a tender and touching conversation between father and child.  Would that all parents shared such wisdom and hope with their children when they understand how harsh the world can be. Beyond the obvious stories of immigrant and child leaving home, I was struck by the beautiful way in which this author captured the deep yearning that makes humans explore, take risks, and go in search of something new.  “And I set out with a hunger, A hunger that gnaws at your soul. . .A hunger that tortillas and beans can’t fill.”  That hunger is what has allowed humanity, for good or ill, to spread across our planet, to explore the depths of the ocean, and to reach for the stars. You’ve captured its essence.

  7. Derek Thompson says:

    The spaces between the text act like pauses for thought and consideration. The best fiction tells the truth, and this is a great example of that. Perhaps we triumph because of adversity and not over it.

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