Real, old-fashioned mail can brighten even the gloomiest of days. The parcel that arrives is the size of a record album, the weight of a sturdy book. It’s traveled all the way from Mexico City to Lincoln Heights. It’s littered with cool rows of orange Día de Muertos stamps and numerous black postal seals, faded and smeared. The envelope is made of brown paper bag, its edges beaten and gnawed. It's obviously been "manhandled" on both sides of the border. The calendars inside, though, are remarkably unscathed.
This is Rotmi Enciso and Ina Riaskov’s 2014 calendar project, VIVAS, where women who love women and women who love words are featured in every month of the year. The cover of the calendar is a lucha-libre-masked mujer running in a blur. She's zooming by in a white nightie, hot pink fishnet stocking, a black and gold cape, matching botas and fingerless arm-length gloves. Me gusta. Run, Lucha Libre Mujer, Run!
When I turn to March, I see that my friends in Mexico have gifted one of my poems a page, “Vuelo.” It’s a poem close to my heart, about my maternal grandmother, who many moons ago in Mexico is said to have lost her mind. “Perdió la razón” is how the story goes. I like to envision it as a wondrous flight instead of madness. Vuela, abuelita, vuela!
In August, cumulous clouds and a poem by tatiana de la tierra greet me, “Prisionera de tu perro.” My heart warms and I laugh aloud, remembering this querida amiga, bloguera, escritora. It’s a true story, the poem. tatiana once got dumped for a dog. She was indignant when it happened. “Can you fucking believe it? A dog! A cat maybe, pero un perro comemierda?” Her revenge was to write a poem-song (with a loud barking chorus) to the ex-lover. “You don’t seem too heartbroken,” I said to her once while she was practicing the poem with a yowling gusto. She barked, and then kept on singing.
Gracias Ina and Rotmi. Your international parcel is greatly appreciated. Las mujeres en este calendario están VIVAS.
Calendario de mujeres opportunity: I have two extra VIVAS calendars to share. It's bilingual queer word and mujer visual art to hang on a wall porque every day is a good day to celebrate International Women's Day. If you'd like a calendar, email me at email@example.com and I'll send the first two people who respond a cool parcel in the mail.
Rotmi Enciso & Ina Riaskov: Artistas, Activistas, Femenistas, Revolucionistas, Lesbianistas, Internacionalistas.
To learn more about VIVAS contact Rotmi and Ina via Producciones Y Milagros Agrupacion Femenista, A.C. firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter: @prodymil