by Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez

20181205_020836(1)

“Las Llamas Que Torturan”

Our visage, emaciated

Hollow, a husk, an empty shell

Synthesized – production of our infernal hell

Our humanitarian claims rejected

Our intrinsic values, always contested

Detested, I feel detested

Who am I? A hijacked narrative

Corrupted, misconstrued

It was politically imperative

Lock the gates, erect the border, deny the refugee their refuge

Project onto me your perspective, I am an empty vessel

Deprive me of my dream, a dream of warmth and love

a place for my weary, burdened, soul to nestle

I live the life of a “criminal” but like a human, I dream

please do not take that away too,

fresh is my wound’s suture and seam.

I stole the torch from Lady Liberty, to light the way

I have offended thee? You have made me lose my way!

Shoot me in the head, and throw me away –

maybe in the afterlife, all borders are frayed.

Explanation:

“I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames”- The Creature (Shelley, 189)

My creative writing took the form of a poem because I wished to challenge my creative capabilities. My poem, which I titled Las Llamas Que Torturan (The Flames That Torture), is focused on the quoted text, and the ending of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while also attempting to incorporate themes of our contemporary society and the ongoing struggles of immigrants. As a Mexican-American, I have experienced secondhand how our current political ideologies influence our nation’s tolerance over minorities and ethnic groups, and I attempted to project this ethnic study perspective, as well as utilizing Anzaldua’s race perspective.

The poem initiates in an ambiguous and nonspecific way, and this is visibly seen by the lack of a realized narrator (until the 7th line, and yet we still aren’t given a name). In fact, a narrator is never introduced in this text, because of the fact that I intentionally tried to minimize the presence of a speaker. This is a greater attempt to replicate the Creature’s validity in the civilized world (or lack thereof). However, instead of the Creature being in my poem, it is the Latino immigrants. This effect of ambiguity creates a sense of solidarity, through a collective experience of struggles in the United States. And with specifically chosen words (e.g., emaciated, contested, detested, etc.) I also mimic the tone of the Creature (as he describes himself in the novel). Overall, my poem is an adapted version of the Creature’s identity throughout the novel, and through this specific action I apply the Frankenstein myth into our modern times, and onto the struggles of Latino immigrants. The greater effect that may be achieved, through this poem, is a specific social criticism/commentary on the volatile immigrant policies, issued by our current presidency, that actively target our immigrant communities. Furthermore, I created the art piece above to represent the struggles, through a more visual medium. The image depicts a despondent-looking female, on fire. She represents the Latino immigrant. Furthermore, with the use of the color blue, it represents the Latino community’s internal representations of themselves: they are wretched (much like the Creature) because of how the United States projects inaccurate and discriminatory narratives/perspectives onto them. These may be misconceptions, however, even abstract things like ideas have negative implications. The fire engulfing the woman can attempt to further imitate the Creature and their “funeral pile”, yet in this situation, we as a people do not “ascend our funeral pile triumphantly” — we are subjected to it involuntarily. We do not want our identities to be ‘killed’ with misconceptions and politically-motivated attacks on our genuine narratives of struggle, but the sociopolitical institutions that surround us do — and as a people, we have to continue to claim our rights and validate our existence, because unlike the Creature, we are not alone. And this small difference is monstrous in importance.