A TZINTZÚN (HUMMINGBIRD) EMERGING
I don’t really know who chose who.
I just stopped holding my heart’s emotions and
then, when I was about to die,
There you were, a little Tzintzún
waiting to embrace the light of the sun,
to penetrate with your body that intense prism,
and here was my body
collapsed on the ground
unhesitant to receive your mission:
to collapse at once
and exploit in our little cosmos.
I started to feel your incessant flutter
begin resonating in my heart
I remember not being able to breathe
but you were impulsing me to move
Oh, my multicolor Tzintzuni,
I don’t know what I would do without you.
My ancestors used to say,
if a Tzintzún visits you it is a good omen.
They also said, sometimes the ancestors visit you through the body of a Tzintzún,
and that all of that is a blessing, a message that everything is right.
I know I got defensive when you arrived,
almost closed to you the door of my heart
where you had just arrived to energize my life.
I was escaping from you,
I was escaping from myself
Escaping, escaping, escaping
It was easier than accepting you … and leaving behind my fears
But as you know, you really know
I was worried, I was anxious, and I was in a lot of pain
Before your arrival, I was in chaos
I had no direction
No mission, no path, everything was dark
In the back of my mind, I knew
I knew something was missing
I knew my Tzintzún, my tonal was missing
I am sorry my little Tzintzún
But I just was afraid of you
or, being honest, I was afraid of everything
My little Tzintzún,
You know I didn’t decide this
You know I didn’t mean to reject you
But, oh … this society really oppresses you when you don’t fit in!
This society distanced me from you
I had to ignore you to fit in this place
Our energies, our cosmos were separated
I am sorry my Tzintzún
But here we are
Finally, we have hatched our armor
We are flourishing as one spirit and one body
We are transforming ourselves
Changing the layers of pain for joy
Allowing our feathers to be reborn
Allowing our wings to intensely flap
One spirit, one body
And moving between lands,
Our body is illuminated with multiple colors from P’urhépecha lakes
And the California Ocean
I know you miss home
I also miss our homeland in Michoacán
But, I will take you back soon
And like a little Tzintzún that just broke his shell
We will fly there with enthusiasm and hope
A hope that things will be right, here and there
My Tzintzún, I am glad to have you
Every time I close my eyes, there you are
And my heart resonates with your presence
Your presence illuminates my path
We have accepted our way, my Tzintzún
Now, we embrace our fight.
We, queer Tzintzún, we have arrived to fight for the good
The good of our pueblo, our communities
Oh, tata Curicaueri, guide my path, guide my sendero
Oh nana Xaratanga give me the strength and the wisdom to fight
Here we are: emerging from the abyss,
Emerging from the darkness to the light,
Being both here and there at the same time
Being in our multiple worlds
Accepting my mission
Embracing who we are
Little Tzintzún fly,
Fly high and germinate the flowers and the camps
And, let’s fly again my Tzintzuni
Spreading the message of our ancestors
Protecting the memories
Planting seeds of hope for those who come after us
Here we are my little Tzintzún, flying, just flying
MARIO A. GÓMEZ-ZAMORA
Mario Alberto Gómez-Zamora is a P’urhépecha-michoacano-migrant-queer-spirit. He grew up in Tangancícuaro, a small town in Michoacán, México. His maternal grandfather was one of the first braceros (seasonal workers in the United States) of his community in the 1940s. Mario’s parents are immigrants, whose hard work as a painter and janitor in California have made a place for him to achieve his dreams. A first-generation English learner, Mario holds a BA in secondary education, with a concentration in history, from Normal Superior Juana de Asbaje, and an MA in history education from Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (UMSNH). Currently, he is a PhD student and Cota-Robles Fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the fields of Latin American and Latinx Studies and anthropology. In 2017, in collaboration with P’urhépecha youth, Mario completed a local history book, Entre el Recuerdo y la Memoria: Historias de Patamban, published by the UMSNH. His current work examines sexualities and gender identities among the P’urhépecha community in Michoacán and the US. In 2021, Mario reconnected with his creative queerness in the poem “Emerging Tzintzún,” which he shared at the Annual Meeting of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and that is now being published in PubLab. In his free time, Mario enjoys hanging out with his kitty Anís, cooking Mexican food, taking walks, and talking to gente.
Milka Lolo was born in Mexico City. She showed strong artistic inclinations from a very early age. Beginning as a self-taught artist, she continued her studies at Academia de San Carlos, where she studied pictorial materials, ceramic sculpture, engraving, and drawing.
She continued her research away from academic environments, which allowed her to explore different artistic approaches and to develop a unique pictorial language. The characters of Mexican folktales that she heard eagerly in childhood became the main subjects of her paintings, creating a style of its own and a contemporary aesthetic that has drawn collectors from around the world. She has presented her work in many group exhibitions in Mexico and the United States.
About the Artwork
The West Wind / mixed media on paper (acrylics, collage, and golden leaf) / 2020 / 40 x 30 cm
This picture depicts one of the four sons of the wind god Ehecatl, who sustains one of the corners of the sky. They are also known to be messengers of the underworld gods and were associated with owls. The wind as vital impulse had a huge influence on Mesoamerican belief systems and ways of thinking.
Pink Quetzal / mixed media on canvas (acrylics, collage, and golden leaf) / 2019 / 40 x 30 cm
The quetzal was a symbol of wealth and power among Mesoamerican societies, as well as a representation of the god Quetzalcoatl. It is known that many ancient deities have a dual character: both female and male. What I want to do with this piece is transfer those ideas and properties to my own empowerment figure, to represent the female part of Quetzalcoatl and to create a contemporary symbol of power and pride for anyone who identifies as a Latin American woman.
El Mensajero / mixed media on paper (acrylics and golden leaf) / 2019 / 25 x 20 cm
According to Mesoamerican cosmogony, it was the owls who carried the orders of the underworld lords to the land of the living. This character has its origin in the ancient belief that when you hear an owl sing it is an omen of death.
My work re-interprets the characters, myths, and narrations of the Mexican folk imaginary. These narratives are presented as a living manifestation of an ancestral culture, which has been transformed as it has integrated into a globalized society.
I recreate the process of cultural miscegenation by incorporating universal concepts into the myths and legends of Mexican tradition. I create a contemporary version of them, which allows them to remain valid in the collective memory. At the same time, I generate my own aesthetic with a metaphorical language based on referents such as surrealism, symbolism, magical realism, artistic illustration, fantastic art, and indigenous art.
The aesthetic discourse of my work starts from the manifestations and artistic expressions that the human being creates in response to concern about their origin and place in the world. Through experimentation and application of traditional techniques, together with the most current materials, I emphasize the importance of syncretism — that which gives form and character to our contemporary identity.
For more of Milka Lolo’s visual art, follow her on instagram @milka.lolo.