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Published on October 14, 2020

Dante Migone-Ojeda

Dante Migone-Ojeda is a Brooklyn-based Latinx artist. He received his BFA from Washington University and attended a residency at Arquetopia in Puebla, Mexico. He completed his MFA at Columbia University in 2019, and has exhibited in shows internationally, including Feel that Other Day Running Under This One in New York City, 9999 at the Fireplace Project in Easthampton, and DRAWN (OVER) at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Serbia. He exhibited in the Public Sculpture Series in University City, Missouri, and a solo popup at GoodMother Gallery in Oakland, California. He received the LeRoy Neiman Fellowship, and curated the show 42/18 at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery. He is completed the summer program at SOMA in Mexico City in 2019, and is currently completing a residency period at Arquetopia Foundation in Puebla, Mexico.

Caption: Dante Migone-Ojeda, Locust Shells and Plastic Flowers (Memoria Genetica), 2018, mixed media installation, variable dimensions, image courtesy of the artist.

1.

Our diaspora - Desire

Her footprint a spiral

Too heavy to hold

Too heavy to be magic

and her mouth reaches out

All tongues and hands

fumbles over words and bodies

clamoring for the Earth rippling up to meet her.

2.

At six years old I come home

and try to cut out my own tongue

scared of the pain

coming from the words burning in my mouth-

I don't know their power

That I am trying to quench the sun.

My tongue is my mother's

Quick and loud and soft

A language for speaking to God and my grandmothers

And are they really that different after all?

3.

You know,

Our blood kills stars

I wish I had told you that

each time we breathe

We pump life through ourselves on the backs of dead celestials

Iron is the last thing a star makes

too heavy to carry

a weight tipping the scale toward-

4.

I need some clarification

What hands am I supposed to use?

Rough padded and warm?

Creased and scarred from overuse

their moisture wicked away by kiln dried lumber

Soft and slender?

Deftly run across pages

and gently caressing

So tell me, please

which hands can do the work

to rip away fiber and iron

and heal chafed skin.

How do we make the load lighter?

When the weight threatens to shatter our bones and rend our spines,

our frames rattle and glow.

5.

It must be springtime now-

I'm spending every day encasing flowers in plastic

Hoping that even as they wilt and rot

they'll leave behind a home

like the locust shells sticky from the pine sap every summer

that hung from our clothes

badges.

Somehow I know summer is close by-

Spring is rebirth and violently eats itself

it is never meant to last-

and with it salt water will eat away at my chains and sand and rocks will grind down these hard edges

into loam

into a hearth.

6.

When we reject and begin again

Where is our zero?

La raíz ideal

Leads to formal consequences.

Even so all we do is scratch at the walls

Until there is nothing left

Nuestras manos brotan nuevamente.

7.

And with summer come stars swallowed by the city

Deneb, Vega –

I always forget the last one –

Their tension between collapse and dissipation

Altair?

I think that’s the one I forgot

The summer triangle

Shedding light and matter and blood

Becoming their own homes

They empty themselves

Cicada shells and plastic flowers.

Dante Migone Ojeda, 2018.