there are two stories i want to tell you that i don’t have all the words for

in the beginning of the story i look up images of cenotes on the internet at 5 a.m. in a Best
Western in Amarillo, Texas. cenotes, as Gloria Anzaldúa theorizes them, are about cosmic
depth experienced through the natural world. a belly or “womb” hidden within the land’s surface.
cavernous and wet. i want to see how the earth breaks. how it betrays itself. its form. i want to
betray the thing that keeps me from writing these stories. stories that themselves have
everything to do with disobedience and rupture. the stories are about breaking the law. the story
is about breaking the geography of how we tell stories. for example, the belly of my story from
rupture to rupture is 746 miles long.

i want the cenote to swallow my fear whole. i want it to give me my words back. to break my

*    *    *

Jennif(f)er Tamayo is a queer, migrant, formerly undocumented poet, essayist, and performer. JT is the daughter of Nancy, Flora, Leonor, Sol, and Ana. Her book collections include [Red Missed Aches] (Switchback, 2011), Poems are the Only Real Bodies (Bloof Books 2013), DORA/ANA/GUATAVIT@ (RSH 2016) and YOU DA ONE (2017 Noemi Books, The Akrilica Series). Additional writing and art can be found at

to kill the future in the present by Jennif(f)er Tamayo is a piece commissioned for the third issue of On Civil Disobedience, a new pamphlet series from The Green Lantern Press where writers from a range of professional backgrounds contribute essays addressing this title. The series recalls historical precedents set by Thoreau, Gandhi, King, Arendt, and others while also considering the pamphlet’s important role in American revolutionary history. Filtering civic responsibility through the combined awareness of histories and disciplines, On Civil Disobedience asks how citizenship and resistance intersect within the pledge of democratic ideals. Visit to purchase this single issue or to subscribe to the series.

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