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Fragments | Brotes

Queens, NY

Primavera | Spring

2020

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What

were we doing before this?

 

Cancel

 

Essential | Non-essential

 

(A is sick)

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Walk 

 

15,000 cases

 

How far is 6ft? (N and C are sick)

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The cemetery is closed until further notice. 

(M is sick, Sh is sick)

 

M’s father died. (E’s mother is sick)

 

The heavy sound of every siren

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Epicentro

 

stand awkwardly at the crosswalk

 avoid contact  

 

wait for the light

(S is sick)

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Contingency plans

 

Wave at strangers

 

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Atisbar (Glimpse)

 

How long will it take to trust, to touch?

 

Normalidad

 

Another month, two, next Fall, next year.

 

Tomorrow

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Mute. Join Audio. Stop Video.

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Mamá, this color is like a galaxy.

 

Futures

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The park is closed. Why did we even come here?

L is sick.

 

Mamá, ¿cuántos casos hay? Búscalo. 

Mamá, ¿qué sigue abierto?

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Un tiempo sin tiempo.


 

C’s father died.

They hadn’t spoken.

No visitors.

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M says his cat disappeared:

“T, the neighbor downstairs, did voodoo on it”

 

Mamá, take your protein pills and put your helmet on.

 

7 train service suspended. 

M threw himself in front of the train.

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The epicenter of the epicenter.

Corona, Queens

 

Exhaustion | Agotamiento

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What are we counting?

(81,803 cases)

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Possible | Impossible

 

Cancel rent. Freeze debt. Suspend mortgages. 

Release detainees. End deportations.

Free healthcare. Relief for migrants. Distribute meals.

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How are you?       

How are you?

¿Estás?

 

Tears come so easily.
 

Carajo.

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Semillas

 

M.K.’s father died. (103, 208)

Alone. Ashes.

 

D is sick. M is sick. E is sick.

 

Remains of magnolias blown away. Branches fall. Power out.

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The sadness in the depths and the fury that burns above are not incompatible with hope, because we are complex creatures, because hope is not optimism that everything will be fine regardless. Hope offers us clarity that, amid the uncertainty ahead, there will be conflicts worth joining and the possibility of winning some of them. And one of the things most dangerous to this hope is the lapse into believing that everything was fine before disaster struck, and that all we need to do is return to things as they were. Ordinary life before the pandemic was already a catastrophe of desperation and exclusion for too many human beings, an environmental and climate catastrophe, an obscenity of inequality. It is too soon to know what will emerge from this emergency, but not too soon to start looking for chances to help decide it.

 

Rebecca Solnit, April 7, 2020

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Mind gap. Forgot for a moment. 

 

How to go back to – move towards 

other rhythms

 

Reopen

Inside|Outside

 

Leave home, these four blocks.

No salgas mamá, estamos en lockdown.

 

More time.

Reset.

 

The sirens stopped.

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Un tiempo raro.

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Cuando volvamos.

 

Mamá, I want to stay with you.

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Take a minute 

on the screen

the void

breathe | grieve 

chest burning

1:01pm

 

The sirens again.
 

Pots, hands, bells, whistle, song. 7:02pm

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Groceries.

Traces of the distance.

 

Stock. Restock.

Empty.

 

First the facemasks. Then the gloves.

Then the visors.

Plastic shield over the cashier.

 

Security guard.

The queue.

Duct tape markers on the sidewalk.

Now orange plastic cones.

 

A plastic bag with surgical masks.

Take one to enter.

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Turn around.

Blood gushing from her shin.

Just standing there. Shopping bags on the ground.

 

It was a dog.

 

Call the ambulance. Don’t take the facemask off. Don’t touch.

What? 

Skin dangling. Sweatpants over the knee.

She walks so calmly. Asks what should I do.

 

Help. Keep the 6 feet. Stay by the orange cone. Keep the mask on.

Slow choreographies.

Layers of tissue. Pulsing.

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rise 

 

again

otra vez

levantarse

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Mañana se activa la fase 3 en el hospital.

How many phases?

 

L’s father is on a ventilator. 

 

Closer

Unending

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Wind

Touch

 

How it all falls apart

 

Humanity | Humility

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Halt immigration,

but not farmworkers.

Not deportations.

 

Contain | Spread

 

Dispensable | Disposable


 

The line to get free food stretches

22 blocks.

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Dissonance

 

Can you hear me with the mask on?

Is she smiling back?

 

Stifle the cough

 

Street fight 

Yelling under the blue surgical mask: 

No estoy loco, no estoy loco

 

Pull-ups on the scaffolding

Sweat dripping from the thick black face cover.

 

 Takes a drag

Puts the bandana back over her lips.

 

I forgot my mask today. 

Hace frío.

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Surfaces

What does it mean to contain multitudes, mamá?

Contradictions


 

It’s been four weeks

Discuss life support options

Take care of your sister

One day without the ventilator


 

Heart failing


 

Define toll

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How we become

part of 

each other
 

158,268 cases | 11,648 deaths

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Fog

In betweenness

Sometimes lifts

 

Tránsitos

 

A curve shifting

 

slow

down

 

ready or not

 

160,499 cases | 11,857 deaths

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Mamá, mamá, mamá. 

 Emergencia.

Three, four, more. 

Where?

 

Translucent 

contours of life

inert

 

Carry each dead bird too soon

two thin branches

to the ground 

over there 

cover them with leaves

 

Structures | Nests

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Day laborers on the same corner.

Day one 

(like the last)

Backpacks full.

Masks thin.

 

Wait. Expect.

Again.

 

Return. 

 

Distant sirens haunting.

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I want to tell you about home.

All this unsaid

It’s been so long.

Now it bursts.

 

Remind me how it started

what was there

 

V collapsed:

I forgot I was sick.

 

¿Estás llorando, mamá?

¿Por qué? 

Si quieres me puedes decir después.

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¿En qué día estamos, mamá?

 

domingo

creo

es mayo ya

 

¿Pero qué número?


 

179,728 cases | 18,451 deaths

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¿Cuánto falta, mamá?

 

31522 confirmados acumulados

8048 confirmados activos

20571 sospechosos acumulados

3160 defunciones

71351 negativos

123446 personas estudiadas

 

8 de mayo

 

F lo tiene. 

Su hija también.

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Soñé contigo.

Era tiempo de pandemia

y se nos olvidaba

y salíamos a la calle.

T

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Walk under the bridge

retrace vibrations

the everyday

that can’t be crossed



 

G’s uncle died.

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Soñé que yo me contagiaba y mi hija también.

Y luego pues otra vez me moría.

R

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cuartos laberintos puentes escaleras velas cajones ventanas

 

no sé si me desperté gritando

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Can’t take a deep breath.

 

thick 

tense 

air


 

plywood over windows

steel railings 

unfold

default

 

199,392 | 20,422 

May 20

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8 minutes 46 seconds


 

toque de queda


 

the other sirens

helicopters

 

hélices | blades

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March 10

Home | Casa

 

 36 cases

 

Silence

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Mamá, do you believe in god?

329 cases

 

An hour. Another.

 

Out of focus

 

Distancias

 

Morning light

 

Fronteras cerradas

 

Loss | Play

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Dispersion. Rerouting. Uncertainty. Confusion. Community. Connection. Boundless. Unorganized. Resilient. Insecure. Love. Frustration. 

Collecting. Rebooting. 

Revelations. Reorientation.

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LA PALABRA Y EL OÍDO, CON EL CORAZÓN, TIENEN MUCHOS CAMINOS, MUCHOS MODOS, MUCHOS CALENDARIOS Y MUCHAS GEOGRAFÍAS PARA ENCONTRARSE.  Y ESTA LUCHA POR LA VIDA PUEDE SER UNO DE ELLOS. ES TODO.

DESDE LAS MONTAÑAS DEL SURESTE MEXICANO.

 

Por el Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

 

México, 16 de marzo del 2020.

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You are the last adult I hugged,

12 days ago.

 

33,768 cases

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Dream of discovering a new room

Narrow drawers

Collections of small objects

Velvet curtains over unknown windows

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Mamá, ¿cuántos casos hay?

¿Y si le atino?

 

Un duelo largo y desconocido (38,087 cases)

 

Devastación | Renovación

 

Acogerse

 

Duelo | Consuelo

 

Vamos a poder abrazarnos de nuevo.

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7pm. Clap.

Windows.

Dwellers.

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S and her husband are sick.

 

45,000 yesterday. 52,000 today.

 

If you eat the pasta with your hands you’re going to get the coronavirus, right mamá?

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1:43am. Two gunshots. Or firecrackers.

 

7:50pm. 9-1-1. Ambulance. Police. 

M, the neighbor, had a panic attack.

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R died. Don’t tell the kids yet. 

She was so generous, mamá. She loved magnets.

 

B had it. C had it.

It.

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Stretch 

Ache 

Fragility

 

Sirens | Birds 

(72,181 cases)

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Sueño con mi abuelo. Su abrazo. Inhala. 

“I hear everything in that breath”,

he said.

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Blue, black, purple, white gloves, masks on the pavement. Debris.

 

I don’t think god exists, mamá. When you look out the airplane window there is nothing there.

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Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different.

It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world.

And ready to fight for it.

 

Arundhati Roy, April 3, 2020

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Undocumented and essential.

Clap.

 

Furloughed.

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Hyperawareness | Sleeplessness

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Mi hermano, el doctor:

“Soñé que me moría.

Solo quería que supieras”.

 

 

¿Cuántos hay hoy mamá? Tú dime.

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A’s son had it. A had it.

 

Can wild animals get the virus? Can our dog get the virus, mamá?

  

F is still recovering. How long has it been?

 

11pm. C called. She couldn’t breathe.

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Sirens as the constant.

Doppler effect.

 

Escucha

 

April 14. 106,764 cases.

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Windows into an empty school.

 

Distant subway lights.

 

Absence. 

 

Ruinas | Ruptures.

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 DUE         TO       RECENT

CHAOTIC            CIRCUMSTANCES

BARBERSHOP

WILL BE

CLOSED

UNTIL      FURTHER          NOTICE

 

ANY      QUESTIONS

PLEASE

CALL

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Wait.

Sit on the bench. But we’re not supposed to. Wrap a bandage.

Where’s the dog?

There’s the police. No, it’s school safety. What school?

Ambulance coming. Firetruck.

 

I can’t go to the hospital.

You have to. It’s to the bone.

 

The white bandage over the red stained sock.

The grey long hair tangled with the mask straps, dangling

Rush back. Took too long.

Elbow open the door.

Shoes, jacket, keys, bags out.

Don’t touch.

Disinfect. 

Everything. 

20 seconds.

 

The order of things.

 

Hands shake.

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E’s mother tested positive. Her brother has symptoms.

Sh relapsed. 

A’s brother died on the ventilator.

S’s uncle is out of intensive care.

 

I’s roommate is sick.

The ambulance wouldn’t take her.

Onions and honey to breathe.

Onions on your chest.

I has it too.

 

How long does it live inside of you?

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Me gustaba todo antes del coronavirus, mamá.

 

Bark at facemasks. 

 

123,146 cases

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Break the lease.

Unfolded boxes.

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Thunder

Fragments

 

Mamá, nos tenemos que esconder.

Draw the curtains.

 

Weather Alert

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Hoy se murió un paciente en la calle.

Calzada de Tlalpan.

No había camas en el hospital.


 

April 20 

New York City

134,446 cases | 9,708 deaths 

 

México 

8,772 casos | 712 defunciones

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No te he llamado.

No puedo.

Other family members have died.

It’s been hard.

Hope you’re well.

C

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Breaking points.

Within.

 

The bare pain of a 9-year-old. 

Sobs.

Intangible.

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Mamá, hay que jugar a que soy invisible.

 

reencuentros

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a sense of 

direction

 

or balance


 

root

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disassembled

in place

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What we allow

The limits of discomfort

 

What we let go.

Who dies.

 

Linked fates.

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1:13 am

 

Wake up to screams

exploding 

 

she’s running down the street

 

in what direction

 

what language

what fight

what can’t be contained

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Positive 

Anti | body

 

D’s friend died

Out of reach


 

Mamá, trivia:

What organ works with your heart to give oxygen to your body?

 

The lungs.

 

187,157 cases | 19,210 deaths

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I recognized her by the grey hair

The feet slowly shuffling up 39th Avenue

The package with coupons

 

You were bit by the dog the other day.

 

Were you there?

You were.

They let it loose. Unleashed.

 

It’s just me.

The neighbors don’t like to talk. And even less now.

I have to wash this coat, it smells of cats.

Maybe that’s why.

It’s still there. The hole. Too big for stitches.

The hospital bills.

 

My name is E.

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too loud, too fast, too soon

too much, too close, too long

too slow, too quiet, too far

 

unknown beats

pendulum swings

 

questions unasked

traces elsewhere

 

huecos | hollows

anhelos

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P está enfermo.

¿Me oíste?

Tiene escalofríos.



 

¿Puede respirar?

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Digo no hay camas

pero no hay nada



 

tregua 

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Airways

We’ve been living the politics of breath—who gets held down and strangled by police and who does not; who has to fear that and who does not; who gets access to oxygen, respirators, ventilators, and who does not; who are told to stay home; who are required to be exposed; who are trapped in crowded institutions, who can self-isolate; who are provided protection and who are not; who can get tested and who cannot. People’s oxygen meters sit next to their toothbrushes. At this extraordinary moment, the question of what lives are expendable is worked out in the administration of airways. Carried on the breath.

Mary Louise Pratt, June 8, 2020

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one hundred thousand

lives

 

incalculable

 

meter-reader

old-school barber

list-maker

new father

gentle fierce quiet tireless genuine sarcastic avid sweaty indomitable

freed from life in prison

could fix almost anything

corresponded through handwritten notes

always wanted to be near the ocean


 

“An Incalculable Loss”, The New York Times,

May 27, 2020.

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mamá, otro pájaro muerto

 

early feathers

yellow deep beak 

 

break up the soil

hold on

hands joined

 

hay que cantar

asirse | ritual