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Vanessa Angélica Villarreal reads her poem, “Crossover Album”.


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Hi.  My name is Vanessa Angelica Villarreal and today I'll be reading "Crossover Album" from Beast Meridian.  I chose this poem because it feels like "Crossover Album" is this coded language that was given to Selina's last album that was a way of explaining her move from a legible, you know, Spanish singer, to assimilated English singer and the sort of hope that comes with this idea of crossover and the violence it really entails and how that pertains to so many of us who live in the borderlands or a kind of affective borderlands.

Crossover Album

Side A.  It is almost all gone.  Remains: 
canicas in the grass  fútbol dim from the
trailer      salgasen a la chingada   or clean
the beans of stones     doll car parked 
among onions   cuna de lobos  milanesa
con arroz    siempre en doming    then
outside botas share Winston smoke   a
crush of Bud Lite cans   we chase the gallo
then race to the end   le voy a decir a tu
papa    trucks wall in our citrus laughter
ringing bright lavender dusk   Side B.  marbles again this time    milkopaled
                                           ringing     southwestern bell  another faraway
                                           family member   dead   and I'm turning mala
                                           huerca hechada a perder    no after no   a knot
                                           good ache pulls up a sun in me   bisabuela
                                           Carmelita cabeceando during the rosary    for the
                                           prima long-missing   the valley a thrash wildrosed
                                           and so the women knit basil   into rosaries  purify
                                           us      with un huevo crack  its melancholy galaxy
                                           into a glass   still fail to mute that    lowsung bud
                                           between our serious inherited pompis   swaying
                                           down a child     and the river will call  that baby
                                           its own   as it also calls back  the dying body
                                           an iterating loop of escape and return   of
                                           mothers and work    of fathers and violence
                                           prima emerges from the apple fields  a citizen in
                                           her belly    I am returned to beg back  this
                                           amber music  written in me   

In the flooded city     your head     will stay below water   blonde pinees    the country club      calls a meeting  to draw lines around   you   Weiner's clothes and used domestic cars 
barbacoa and dollar store virgins   god bless the Family Lexus  already so tight-gated    the entry code your
sponge your doubled tongue so wound   still festers into childbearing  reported in your own
country     you still race baby    to the same dead-end    hard missing from     the rio grande valley
night     still giving birth to you   the hip-deep cumbias   blast from pickups    filled with your  
pasts      your people endless    chambeando jalando  that distance   heavy fades the star stories
in your skin   makes a weapon   of forgetting   makes a knife your grammar-groomed tongue

our dead                               only yesterday                 a petal
           now curled         into burnt bone       their ash our flour

we ascend their spirit                     into the design          a fragrant magic

                    an ever-distancing     orbit     a chorus I am losing

grasp           of their particular   moons             fail

        to record          that            their perfect feet            ever graced

this earth                   their ghost                                     a homing

signal          constellated     
                                                      in corn husk   new bone

what did you make:              of their sacrifice?  
                                          of their tender impossible longing?
                                          of their unbearable silence?
                                          of their witness?

                                                  each try         a permanent loss