A Prose Poem by Sabrina Bustamante
I want to write about history. I want to stop fearing genre, and I want time to collapse so that I can write about the past while writing about myself. I want to be less narcissistic. I want to make sweeping statements about causation, and I want to be right. I want to find names and places, drawn from the past, green from mis-remembrance, and then I want to exalt them, even though I reject sainthood. I want to know how to read history textbooks without being bored. I want to make a story of neoliberalism’s false promise, but I do not want to use the word economics. I want the ruse to fail in the third chapter, die quickly of a fever.
I want to have access to a university library, but that right was revoked months ago. I want to be a fishhook, get caught on the abdomen of something big. I want to be deft and formless, and I don’t want to use citations. I want to pour history out into a feeling – less about fact than about feeling over time, a pileup of the dead. Then a keening from the soil, a compulsion to hold the words in your hands and see how they taste, so you will never forget. Tales that you never can un-swallow, (so chew hard, and go slow). But poetry was never my genre. What form can a warning song take?
Sabrina Bustamante is an emerging writer who studied creative writing and history as an undergraduate at Yale University, where her non-fiction essay won the Henry P. Wright prize. She has a work of creative non-fiction forthcoming in Bending Genres Journal. She lives in Washington, D.C.