Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 4



Miguel Raya Jr.


Preface for How to Silence a Volcano

In ancient times, it is said that the bodies of suicide victims were thrown into Cuexcomate, a now inactive geyser in the heart of México, because they didn’t deserve to be mourned or buried. I’ve attempted to harm myself a myriad of times because of my identities: mainly for being queer, fat, and unstable. However, my body hasn’t been thrown in yet and a year ago today, my family knew, out of rage and finality, that I was not their straight son. It is my only wish now to never meet that geyser and see my community heal alongside me.

How to Silence a Volcano

At times I have wished to be swallowed by mountains
Crafted from ancestral igneous
Forever towering over
A sky full of bile and dust is the backdrop to their shouts
Unceasing clamors of a thousand cities burning below to watch his mountains stand
They never let her rest

With a singular look over the edge I saw her portrait
Of broken ivory and flooding crimson
Coating the cobbled streets of Puebla
She must have fallen so quietly

I had an epiphany this time yesteryear that I came from the gravel:
Tenochtitlan’s geysers of intergenerational harm
From the day He threw me in...
Like her and the thousands before us
We were connected in
Shame

One last kiss on my quivering cheek
As we both are eagles of reflective pathos plummeting down to the fiery edge
I still remember the screams from the corporeal beings before me
Wondering if they too
jumped out of fear or
P R I D E

***

Harmonizing with the hot sun
Your mind dozing away
Rested eternally on mine
We are connected in
Resilience
Families no longer separated by
Miles of crinkled dollar bills
Or crossing caves, caverns, and coyotes to rest at the mountains edge
The world now soundless.
I suppose community provides the healing
And empathy silences the volcano




Regrets of a 3:30AM Diamond Princess

Crinkled and cum-stained sheets
Are His casket
A diadem of emerald and diamond twinkles in His eyes
No!
His bruised pelvis.
Eternal fruit is fed into His mouth
Blossoms of both vitamin and poison sprouting
A crop of Stars and Stripes
Found rotted
There’s nothing delicious about the bitterness left by the tears of a generation
You aspire to obtain security and grace
However, pleasure and sin
Now takes its place
The place of kings and queens drenched in oro and honor
Former days where all lives didn't matter...
I don't think we should have done this
Too bad, said Satan
Too bad!
Unveil me now, in my honest hour
Your diamond princess
Away in her tower




Memoir of No One

You can call me Mr. Nobody my dear,
Bones of Aztecs
Skin fiercely bronze
I come in peace - no harm to the east
Or west
Nowhere
Here in this land: no one remembers your name
I am someone different now
Someone nonexistent...
A nonexistent fool
The vexing moments burn when I stare at myself daily
Reflected off the melting skin of reddish tomatoes
I don't recognize who I see
I prepared meals crafted for the sun gods previously, I was known
They remembered my name
Every day I see myself staring at the tomatoes:
A sorrowful soul of loss and angst I have become
I look lost and empty
I am lost and empty
It's quite comical to learn that history can become erased
I only remember the day I became nobody.

She clung onto me as they tenderly ripped me dead in half
My heart remains on the kitchen floor you know
And my skin has been stretched thousands of miles
Thousands of miles away from comfort
That hurts me more than bending down for hours on end in the fields
How I wish to go back...
Here I am, no one.
I am paid to please
Feeding the lives of men, womxn, and children who are someone.
Their social security says so
I please their stomachs and pump it with gluttony but they don't see the
Torn skin on my stretched back
They don’t see my son walking alongside cayotes to attend school
I don't see my son walking to school either
I've never cried about being away,
But this campamiento is not my home
Where is my home?
Scorching skies kill my friends daily
The fields are so silent that I can hear the millions of legs on the millions of ants move
Along as they burrow deep down into the bloody and blank crevices of their empty eyes
Their eyes must be delicious because the ants never leave them with any
Sin ojos, no eres nadie
If I'm being honest, I fear remaining here more than I fear the hungry ants.
I just want to return to being someone.

Signed, Mr. Nobody



Miguel Raya, Jr.: "I am a recent University of Florida graduate with a passion for community placemaking, social justice, and human connection. My work serves to highlight the ever-shifting role of healing, pathos, and liberation in my existence through the realm of poetry."




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