From the gifs that cracked us up to the books that blew our minds, your friends at Colorlines have some very strong opinions about the best of 2017. Today, editorial assistant Catherine Gonzalez reflects on "The Easy Body," by Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta.
I have to admit that I read very few books this year. Part of the reason is that I just felt immense dread watching the endless cycle of news that showed the increase in arrests and surveillance of immigrants and other communities of color. Thankfully, in September, a friend suggested I read Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta’s poetry book "The Easy Body." It ended up being a very necessary reminder of how Brown women and queer people have survived centuries of colonial violence, long before 2017.
"The Easy Body," published by Oakland-based art collective Timeless Infinite Light, pictures cycles of destruction and symbolic death as crucial for radical and revolutionary liberation. Luboviski-Acosta, who uses “they” and “them” pronouns, depicts the constant experiences of intergenerational trauma, loss and war against the backdrop of a nationless post-apocalypse. Eventually, those cycles lead to bodily autonomy and collective healing.
As a Panamanian-Nicaraguan immigrant raised mostly by women, I identified strongly with its depictions of Central American mythological femme monsters such as the ciguanaba, a half-horse half-woman creature who lures men before she attacks them. Many of the poems are nods to single mothers, women and femmes and how they create networks of support for each other. In these depictions, Luboviski-Acosta also highlights how colonialist governments constantly politicize and surveil immigrants of color for these survival tactics. As the poems’ protagonist moves between the United States and Latin America, I recognized that same feeling of displacement and dislocation that comes with never having the titular “easy body,” especially when you’re Brown and queer:
“Bodies that are borders, hiding
Never have I ever
possessed the pleasures
of having the easy body.”
After experiencing this past year, I know that progressive change won’t come easy. So, I am taking one important lesson into the new year from Luboviski-Acosta’s poetic prose: I will fight for an end to this world—of White supremacist, patriarchal violence—and embrace the many ways artists, writers and activists of color continue to destroy centuries of colonialism and borders.
More of Catherine’s favorites:
TV Show: Tie: "Search Party," "How To Get Away With Murder"
Album: "Arca," by Arca
Song: "Normal Girl," by SZA
Music Video: "Tyrant," by Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith
Creator: Alexandra Bell, creator of "Counternarratives"
Meme: "Cassandra Nova" conspiracy thread
Shakira is dead and was replaced by a white Spaniard woman, Cassandra Nova: a conspiracy theory thread. pic.twitter.com/VhEnXcH0ld
— Queer Xicano Chisme (@QueerXiChisme) May 16, 2017