Gina Duran’s . . . And So The Wind Was Born from Flowersong Press, a publisher specializing in the voices of new poets along the border of the United States and Mexico like David Romero, Sarah Joy Thompson, and Matt Sedillo. It is a collection of poetry and flash nonfiction that exist in a borderland in a number of ways. In this collection, Duran comes to terms with dealing with generational trauma, a culture that has ill-defined her identity, and a desire to understand who she is after she has lost a daughter.
As a person on the outside of the dominant culture, the poet is queer and Hispanic, Duran establishes how to understand herself in a world that tries to oversimplify and control her. She describes awakening to who she is out of a religious and patriarchal society through a process of pain. It is only after she attempted suicide that she achieved clarity about her sexuality:
. . . There I was: young,
thin, sexually confused, a woman afraid to leave
her straight life, an a girl who still obeyed
her mom. I begged my then god for forgiveness
as I wandered into a new life. (22)
This new life gives her the ability to live without lies, without trying to conform to a culture that wants to force her to be something she is not so it can control her. After this moment, her reminiscences of relationships are positive and healthy:
I think back when I held your hand
and you kissed me on the busy street
cars fluttered the chiffon of your skirt. (29)
She essentially goes from being out of step with herself and lost to finding whom she needs to be and how to see herself.
This collection is not, however, purely a story of coming out but a discussion of loss as well, the loss of her daughter.
My eyes were cracked like the windshief of a totaled car, while my daughter drifted deep into the woods. But many of her belongings sat in my garage — in boxes marked Mercedes’ Shit.
And that’s how I knew Mercedes wasn’t coming back.
So I gathered everything I could and cleaned up the mess. I practiced breathing until a tornado swooped me up from the mangled mess into her vortex and I became more. (74)
This is a collection in part about becoming more than how her loss defines her. It is about a number of things, but by the end of the collection, Duran shows how she is able to create a life based on positivity, action, and love in a world that has struggled to take those things from her. This is a collection of hope and seeing beyond limitations and pain. This point-of-view is extraordinary given that she is dealing with generational trauma. She discusses how the pain she and her daughter feel is in part an extension of her mother’s:
I am also breath and radiating particle
A child born on the marina
held in the arms of a woman who suffered
abuse like mine. (40)
Her pain and abuse is generational, and this book is in part a quest to find a way around that trauma to break this cycle that seems unending.
. . . And So The Wind Was Born is relevant, I think to so many of our experiences. It is so easy for us to define ourselves and each other in simplistic social terms, but Duran has shown us the dangers of that through her own suicide attempt. She also shows us the way through that in the joy that she creates for others and herself.
John Brantingham 10th February 2022