illegal legal illegal legal – (spoken teatro piece)

Mariella Saba

Flores bonitas, flores,
para su abuelita, para que sonríe.
Ándale para tu novia, para que la reconquistes.
Tamales, tamales de pollo, de puerco, de chile de raja,
champurrado para que acompañe su tamal.
Bolis de vainilla, de limón, pal calor.
Hot dogs, hot dogs, con todo.
Fruta con sal, limón y chile, quiere coco?
Que queremos?
A dólar.

What side of the fence did you come from?
Nos quedamos quietos.
Algunas corren
otros se esconden.
Quietos en las luces red, white and blue de la policía.
Flores bonitas, petalos en el piso.
Hot Dogs, Hot Dogs, con todo, tirados.
Coco y Flores,
Petalos en el piso.

Si viera que gacho se siente
que te quiten, que te arresten
que te lleven, que te humillen
que tiren tus flores a la basura.
Petalos en el piso.

illegal legal
illegal to vote if you are a woman.
legal illegal
legal to beat, to bomb, to torture, to wage war.
illegal legal illegal
legal to kill wearing a police badge.
illegal legal
illegal to consume cannabis.
illegal legal illegal
legal to rape your wife.
illegal legal illegal
legal to enslave, to pay no wage.
legal to incarcerate.
legal for corporations to steal,
to cross borders, to pollute gulfs.
illegal legal illegal
legal for governments to spy, to kidnap,
to train and arm us to kill each other.
illegal legal
illegal to be human
on this side of that
illegal fence.
legal to make laws that keep humans illegal.
legal to break human rights, to break humans.

So we break them laws,
we re-write laws to shift power
to remind the law makers—
to criminalize is to dehumanize is to die alive
so we break laws that violate us.
A violation to one is a violation to all!

So I sit with 8 other souls
sit in a sacred circle
wear uniformed shirts that warn The Dream Is Coming
sit until we break their laws
to defy a system of gross profit
to remind that laws are just power written down
to scare
to peacefully threaten
to take the pen away, shift the power
into our hands and rewrite it

Undocumented and unafraid!
voices chant in Movement
to remind us all to learn to listen

tu eres mi otro yo
you are my other self
In lak ech

because beneath the concrete streets that we sit down on breathes our Mother Earth, wounded
by her children
of all ages who run scattered
stabbing flags and claiming territory on her body

I chose to sit down, not on wilshire blvd,
but grounded to the earth beneath the concrete.
entre tu pasto encuentro comunidad
entre tus aguas encuentro la fuerza
entre tus desiertos encuentro el valor
entre tus estrellas me encuentro con suerte de ser
tan chiquita, una entre tantas

recogiéndo nuestros petalos del piso.

Mariella Saba, 23, is a writer, teatrista, director, educator. Daughter of [im]migrant parents, born and raised in East Los Angeles of mixed Arabic and Mexican descent. Graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2009, with a BA in Literature, concentration in Creative Writing, and a Minor in Theater Arts. Co-founder of Students Informing Now (SIN) at UCSC and Teatro East of the River. Currently program coordinator of El Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDESPCA) Aprendamos Program.


2 Responses to “illegal legal illegal legal – (spoken teatro piece)”
  1. Maria Lopez says:

    I just discovered Dreamers Adrift and as just reading through everyone’s writing really encouraged me to pursue creative writing. Your poem is very powerful and full of symbols that I can relate to a lot! I hope to one day get to meet you. Keep up the hard work! 🙂

  2. Bupendra says:

    I can’t wait to see Mariella perform this again!. 🙂