On Suicide Notes in Place of Passports

Migrants were born from the river’s cavernous mouth
Cradled by overgrown bamboo and caña de azúcar
Ripe mango flesh dripping from our teeth
Caked in the desert’s grime
Abuelita’s palms fold in a symphony of praise
Her tongue wisps a language of smoke
Dense and oily, her words hang stagnant in the air
She keeps it tucked away in her diaphragm
Her lips imprinted with N-400 form
Naturalization isn’t possible when your body is already considered unearthly
While burning sage to keep the spirits away
Says “Hay un remedio para todo excepto la muerte”
There is a remedy for everything except death
Someone pray for the undocumented immigrants
The infants swaddled in crimson
Product of rape by border patrol
Dehydrated bodies cremated into sand dunes
Empty water jugs rolling like tumbleweeds
We hand down heartache like heirlooms
Recuerdos of suicide notes and bullet shells
For Jose de Jesus Deniz Sahagun, 31
Screams echoing off isolated cell walls
Copper teeth grinding against the ache of vacancy
We keep mistaking detention center for death sentence
He stuffed his esophagus with socks
Attempted to take his life 3 times before
A testament to the torture behind closed doors
For Joaquin Luna, 18
Who carved out his obituary in spiral notebooks
God’s greed gave him a gun
Holy bearer of bullets
Dressed in his Sunday best
He couldn’t be an architect without papers
So he sprinkled blueprints with lighter fluids
Envisioned the contrast of vermillion stains on his cream shirt
Formulated the spatial composition of the bathroom and his body
Mapped out his apology in blue blood
He shot himself a week before receiving his college acceptance letter
I can’t bear anymore eulogies
My bedtime stories are news reports
Sometimes I can’t tell real from fake
Alternative facts scream ICE raids in the wrong places
Tombstones cluttered my closet
Each inscription with the date scraped out
From when I wanted to die at 7, 10, 13, 15
Home is only 3 letters away from homily
And I will worship every god to keep this family whole
Turn our bodies into sanctuary
Welcome to this holy house
I keep waiting for a resurrection
But the dead don’t dance on the devil’s back.
-Arlene Campa
A response to #100hardtruths-#fakenews #20: "Stress Related to Immigration Status is One Result."
See its Video-Poem created at a second workshop with Get Lit in New Work

Battle for the Truth

the internet is a machine of complacency
my neck a battleground for the hands of the foolish
i want to choke on the words
that do not belong to me
i want to spit back the fake news like
crumpled cash in a coin machine
interrupt the narrative
like every are we there yet
from the backseat of mama’s car
when google maps didn’t call my mouth a home
know my address like every
where am i?
can be answered in
a number
a value
the amount of followers on an instagram page
i want to click refresh on our history
and know that I would be proud
of every trip that i’ve made
i want to know the footprints i follow
once belonged to a beating heart
that the truth bleeds the same color
as a bit tongue and stained teeth
the riot cannot be seen when the battleground
has been closed to the public
when our history will soon be closed to the public
-Mya Rigoli
A response to #100hardtruths-#fakenews #29: "Interrupt the Narrative," which itself refers to “10 WAYS TO BE A FEMINIST MEDIA ACTIVIST” by Feminist Frequency.

Don't Look

can you hear that 
I think you’ve made them angry 
Don’t look , they’re watching us 
Wanting us to keep believing
I heard a survivor type once that skepticism is just a side affect of reality 
But then again 
I haven’t heard from her lately 
Let’s just keep going 
Stopping is a place of growth 
And when they feel they are getting small 
They teach us new ways to survive
-Kiy Gentle

A response to #100hardtruths-#fakenews #62: "Don't Look."

the go fund mes never end

Most of my friends are drug addicts and alcoholics, 
They kill them selves over and over again 
They say waking up every day is their worst nightmare 
But they wake up anyway 
I’ve never seen anyone more happy or alive then them 
They all have pretty pictures of them selves up on their Instagram but talk about how much they want to die on their finstas 
They have the best laughs and the warmest smiles 
I see myself in them 
They probably see themselves in me 
We see ourselves in each other as a way to make us whole 
Anis father killed him self a couple months back 
cancer tucked jesses mom into bed at night then forgot to wake her up  
Lillie’s mom died when she was little and she was left with 
her father who used to touch her 
I still don’t know the whole story 
Xavis dad beats her  
And we all know someone who’s killed them self or a friend who died 
I saw how Dina killed herself when I was 13 
I’ve been playing hide and seek with my emotions ever since 
The blood didn’t splatter 
And there was no Big Bang as the train split through her neck 
At that point you couldn’t tell what was troat and what was neck everything was inside out 
Just like this life that I’m living 
The memory’s I have are made out of nightmares 
I wish they were nightmares 
I don’t want it to be real  
I talk about my traumas on my finsta account hope to turn these memories into stories 
We all sit around the pit fire that is the internet and exchange ghost stories of our past  
Hope to turn these please for help into prayers and then into miricals 
I’ve been linking too many go fundmes to my instagram account 
All the money in the world and there still isn’t enough to pay the funeral costs 
I’ve been reposting pictures of missing children who wandered off to the moon and never came back 
I hope they 
Come back 
And if not 
I hope they land somewhere amongst the stars 
We drink and drink and drink like coke and rum came from the fountain of youth 
We don’t feel real 
When the world is dancing beneath your feet and your head is too fucked up to to notice the difference between dirt and the sky anything feels real 
People say they get fucked up to escape reality but we lost reality’s definition long ago 
We know nothing about it 
Everything seems like reality now even when it isn’t 
Even when I’m disassociated from life 
It doesn’t feel like the world isn’t there it feels like I’m not there like 
Like I’m the one who’s not real 
It’s normal for me to not feel real 
That place in limbo is almost like my second home 
I was scrolling through my twitter feed the other day and every other post is 
A political hoax or a missing kid 
Sometimes I want to believe the government is some giant allusion made to scare us like the boogie man 
Sometimes I wanna believe all those kids ran away and came back home after a day or too 
But go fund mes never end 
And we just keep adding up the funeral costs 
We share our grief and condolences in the comments section and virtually tell the world things will get better 
But at the end of the day 
I go home to empty bottles of wine and empty some more just to pass the time 
I go home and wonder if I’m really alive 
I’m lying in my bed wondering if maybe I just really wanna die 
My phone goes off again 
It’s a twitter post notification from god 
He said “@alex You’re already dead” 
Sent from my iPhone
-Alex Rafaelov
A response to #100hardtruths-#fakenews #74: "stay open to contradictions and power #offline."
See its Video-Poem in New Work

These Bitter Lies

How broken has my free thought become.
Sometimes my false perceptions (gifted from the internet)
Are more twisted than sprained ankles.
Leg casts and broadcasts.
My head needs crutches, sometimes.
I double and triple A check myself,

But the Truth is hard to uncover.
The Truth is as easily distorted as emptied lemons,
Looking crushed from dirty fingers.
Curl up like lying tongues.
Their lips pucker when they are met with facts
That don’t offer wiggle room.
So they turn to twitter-
Use the virtual world as a buffer.

The day 45 was elected,
I collected suicide hotlines in my palms.
They tear through my hands like thumbtacks.
We yell of unrest
Of fake news,
Of untruth
Yet they just put a pin in it.
Thumbtack my freethought.

My mom warms me, to be careful of what I put on the internet,
Because it stays there forever.

How do we keep forgetting and forgiving this buffer?
Outrage is easily forgotten,
We toss out rotten lemons
Without targeting rotten trees,
How do we keep letting agressions
And hate
Spark outrage and then die out as easily
as those embers were made.

I still know a couple suicide hotlines by heart.
I still try and turn lemons into lemonade.
We will not sit quietly,
And be forced into drinking
These lies
-Olympia Miccio
A response to #100hardtruths-#fakenews #14: "Skepticism is a Weapon" which itself refers to the CUNY J-School Research Center’s LibGuide for Reporters on Fact Checking, Verification & Fake News.

Call the man of the year a liar

I would be first in line.
From the first moment of his presidency, he inflated a scraggly cloud to mammoth proportions.
It was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period.
He is beloved, he is the prophet of all things true, period.
Some people are haters--sad!--but those who know best know him, period.

There are a lot of small things about him, but his lies are enormous. like his crowds. like his supporters. like his heart. like the coal mine he’s reopening right under our feet--America, how does black lung feel?
How does it feel being cheated by a cheesy smile balanced on an emergency red tie?
How did a small loan of a million dollars become the ruining of billions of lives?
How does it feel to be led by the lovechild of racist comments on Facebook and unimaginable power?

America, get your heads out of your echo chambers.
There is more to politics than what you want to believe. There is more to know than what they show you.
Do not mistake easily obtainable for true. Do not mistake your agreement for divine approval.

Where there is doubt, there is still hope.
-Mika Judge
A response to #100hardtruths-#fakenews #81: "Call the Man of the Year a Liar," which refers to song lyrics by Joan Baez, “Here’s a little song, about a man gone wrong, while building up his evil empire. And after months of ifs and buts, the papers got the guts, to call the Man of the Year a liar, to call the Man of the Year a liar.”