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Marcelo Lucero, Mi Hermano, Names In An Earth,
d. Nov. 8, 2008

by Michael O'Neill

. . . Y ya
cae sombra en el alma.
Oye, hermano, no tardes en salir.
Bueno... Puede inquietarse mamá.
--Cesar Vallejo, A Miguel. Mi Hermano

. . . There is a line You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it
Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses
Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast.
The bottom of the sea is cruel.
--Hart Crane, Voyages

The sidewalk drinks blood. Alone,
feet of concrete tangos with a lean blade.
The darting jerk of slicked down air pants
a parting, in a darkness nearly midnight,
descend the eyelids' closing curtains,
and will shroud us too at our exit.
Killers, stage left to Montauk; dying,
stage right, the Andes rises, applauds.

11:55 Montauk train in Patchogue stops,
whistles end of the line, arrives nameless,
exactly on time one day as will ours,
not on a Cesar's rainy Thursday in Paris,
but on a Monday someday, maybe Tuesday
will be that good news day as Lady
Day sang for our lives too, her sobs
heard still, coffin ships sinking off her
face. Sparse memory, on our lips,

today a name, Marcelo of the Andes,
Lucero, shining light on the tracks.
Luis Ramirez too, O Shenandoah,
rolling river, how could summer boys
in sport, kick football to goalposts,
across the rolling river, he loved
your daughter, far away, across
the wide Missouri, to farthest songs
of Mexico, far beyond, for all others,
the many lives cut short as a dot,

for fear that stalked finally struck,
Names dissolve on floors of seas,
no farewells, coffin ships still depart
from shores, from our lips whispering
your names. Immigrants of the deep,
the states of need united still haunt.

The 11:55 Montauk train on track
laid by horny immigrants of drunken
nights and calloused days, forebears
of far flung treasure, of all their fight,
all the blows, all the names hurled,
spit flung from Know Nothings' no,
but who once had songs and feasts
and sex and mouths and tongues
alive with names for lives to come,

ours inconceived, and unimagined life
we took up to grow into without trace
of their hardships, their cares, their last
day without thought of shadow's time,
long forgotten their struggle, their work;
their tear-and-sweat stained shirts rotted,
their songs of exile lie dismembered,

yet immigrant heartbreak's everywhere,
seen on lots, on streets, at 7-Elevens,
all around us, in our face, in our hair
just as it was our fathers' fathers kisses,
caresses left behind in a stone shanty,
when every fibre swore promised return
promises never forgotten and never met,
worse for life’s wrecks we keep hidden
crossing borders at night, we're apart,
all the shuddering regrets we board,

embarrassments eating living flesh
Thickly hacked, corrupted, disgraced,
tracks parallel each congestive failure,
tracks of our veins, needle of rain.
We are in the dreams of Gualaceo
where the Andes begin, we climb,
limb by limb, heart for heart,
black stone upon white stone,
sharp stone and crown of thorn,

its stabbing ends the blows,
the beating ends the bleeding,
until heart's hole grows worm-filled,
leaves fallen and turned rust red
leaves its final exhalation on earth.
the Milky Way unauthorized, light
in darkness, migrates past named
laws of the universe, save one:
life was like no other.

*A Few Names:
Marcelo Lucero, 37, (Lucero, in Spanish means the evening’s sky’s light) from Gualaceo, Ecuador, was walking with a friend next to the Patchogue train station when attacked by teenagers looking for “beaners”and died at 11:55 on the evening on Nov. 8, 2008.

Luis Ramirez, father of 2 American children with his fiancé, attacked by 5 high school boys July 14, 2008, in Shenandoah, PA. An all white jury exonerated them of murder.

Wilter Sanchez, savagely beaten and then ran over by assailants, January 21, 2009, in N.J

Brisenia Flores 9 yr-old, in cold blood killed, along side her father, May 30, 2009. 3 patriotic Minutemen now in custody.

José Sucuzhañay, killed, Dec. 9, 2008, walking down the street, hand in hand with his brother, Romel, by assailants calling them names, slurs for gay Latinos.

About The Author

Michael O'Neill is an immigration rights advocate on Long Island who runs a community program, East Hampton Immigrant Solidarity, that facilitates community interchange of daylaborers and longer term residents and that provides daily lunches during these hard times of less available work.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.