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By Cecilia Bravo-Mittmann. "Promised Land" and "Capitol Sin." Sandstorms and Mirages.
Sandstorms and Mirages. Axis of Logic
Saturday, Jan 11, 2014

Professionally, Cecilia Bravo-Mittmann (pen name) is a poet, storyteller, author and film maker, born in Quito, Ecuador and currently residing in the US. When asked about her biography she writes, "... to write a bio when your language is poetry is like writing a report with crayons ..." So we've gathered some things of her life and work for this publication.  In correspondence, Cecilia wrote:

"I grew up in a time and place inspirited by those larger than life figures like Bolivar, el Che, Atayualpa Yupanqui, Facundo, Victor and Mercedes. There was a troubadour in every corner and no music executives in town. Much simpler times when the super gang of corporations, media and academy in their current condition could only be imagined when having nightmares full of chimeras."

Cecilia Montero
She studied literature for two years in Ecuador and scriptwriting under Alan Coronel, graduate of the La Havana Film School, Dan Decker and Dov Simmens in the Chicago Film School and Paul Peditto of Chicago Filmmakers. This year, she debuted as Producer and Director with her film, Goodbye Guns.

She also published two books: Mi Casa (in Spanish), a manual to protect homeowners from the predatory practices of banks and a fruit of her work as a Loan Officer; and a book of poetry, Sandstorms and Mirages (Eloquent Books, NY, 2007). 

Cecilia knows the nightmare of having family in the US military and many of her poems are reflections on the lives and families of thousands of US soldiers who have been sent into "pre-emptive" wars in foreign lands and returned home broken in body and spirit, abandoned by the architects of imperial wars. We selected two poems
from Cecilia Bravo-Mittmann's moving book of poetry, Sandstorms and Mirages for this republication on Axis of Logic.

- Axis of Logic

 Promised Land

Fresh from the sweatshops in Hong Kong,
Korea, Singapore,
to the great shelves of America:
yellow ribbons, empty phrases
wheelchairs for those who
won’t be able to wear Adidas anymore.

Crude from the sand,
red sun creates a mirage
while the oil bleeds away
to the land of asphalt and

From the southern land we do not
call America, little Indian hands
craft a towel for the bath.

What the fisherman once said
got lost in translation:
it will be easier for a camel to hit
a land mine, than for a CEO
to go to heaven.

Here in the Promised Land:
vomiting Hollywood into the world
doping ourselves and the kids
dreaming in Disneyland.

The antichrist sleeps
at the White House tonight.


Capitol Sin

Benji and Abe
don't walk the town anymore.

They just sit on top of the Obelisk,
from there they regain the vision of the statesman
and wait --
witnessing the quiet Potomac pass unaffected,
they discard their concerns into the water,
the ambitions, the plots, the timeless
struggles --
Human greed at their best:
battles of egos,
the wrath of war,
statistics of death
and hunger.
A dense miasma covers the City,
but still in the spring
the cherries will blossom again.

They watch over Arlington under full moon:
soldiers coming out of their sleep,
walking disoriented, looking for a friend,
saluting the beloved flag.
At those times Ben assumes the post
of Commander in Chief.
Abe sings them
old cadences from the South.
Obediently as the moon fades away,
the soldiers take their orders
and go back to rest.

Around Sirius fire the patriarchs sit
with Black Feather Chief,
and they talk about:

their regrets,
the mystique of war, the code of the warrior,
the battles for freedom
and the importance of keeping
the troop’s good moral.
In this way they’ve kept
the soldiers away-
from the sordid banquet served below,
tablecloths printed with maps,
human inhabited cities marked as
strategic targets-
cannibal "Chow" time.
Sterling silver mined by children
in a Mexican town.

They know the soul of their warriors
and are afraid that these braves
will sweep the town with their fury
if they find out their wasted sacrifice.
A meager pension offered to their families,
their deaths bid in the altar of
supreme power --
A transnational contract; a few more oil fields,
a caricatural dictator, once a friend.
The troops know about true courage,
and the mighty power of peace.

Abe and Ben don't walk the town

They haven't been invited to the Mansion
anyway. Once they tried to sneak-in:
long hair, full grown beard,
showing the MP an old history book,
no ID's, no credit cards
and a suspicious aroma of beer.
They spent the night away
at the Veterans shelter
with their fond troops.
An old coat and muddy boots
don't make for a good impression,
in the impeccable Oval Salon.
They will be soon laughed at
their lack of etiquette, not to mention the speech:
ideals, freedom, and sovereignty?
Please come back, when you have passed
Politics 101-

They rather stay high where
in a clear day they can see,
the real face of their dreams.
In the distant plains, in populated cities,
and small villages which inspired postcards.
Where kids are getting ready to go to school,
teachers to teach,
teenagers walking their fantasies,
counselors that care.
Workers with hardened hands
still building the dream
solid as rocks, under
the inclemency of weather.
Farmers planting seeds.

Single Parents working in a budget
scarce of time, money and fun.
Pipe fitters, asphalts setters,
unemployed ironworkers.
Poets, musicians, storytellers.
A rainbow of skins
diligent little ants
paying their taxes
living the day.
Aged beauty queens carrying their
mortal possessions in a supermarket car.
Old boys, white hair, driving a Ford 69',
with the Stars and Stripes flying in the air.
Black Feather's great-great grandchild
dancing alone-
with a wrinkled brown bag-
in Rodeo Drive tonight.
The streets of neon, where
everything is for sale-
grass, powder, passion to escape the day.

Sometimes they have nightmares
with J. E. Hoover, and the ones of his Cain.
Then they awake to the young girl from Omaha
who works at twelve, and saves
twenty dollars a month,
to send it to an orphan in a remote land.
The brave Fire-lovers from NY
a Country united as a fist:
resilient candles,
burning prayers,
the Oath of Allegiance
rising high above,
small hands proudly
crossing the chest.

They remain composed
because now they know
that in the soul of the Nation
the fire burns strong.

Contact Cecilia Bravo-Mittman

Source: Sandstorms and Mirages

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