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Abobo Zine is a loving piecing together, a tender attempt to cut through the influencer bullshit that pervades our creative spaces and the slicing away of poetry and art from a broader vision of social change.

“How, I have wondered, can poetry persist as a ligatory art rather than as an echo chamber of fragmentation and alienation?” Adrienne Rich asked in “Credo of a Passionate Skeptic.” It is a question we repeat often. One that we live and feel. And one that, in many ways, guides this project.

In June 2022, we lost our constitutional right to abortion half a century after liberation movements fought for this right and won it. But the idea for Abobo Zine started long before then, early one morning in 2017 on a sidewalk outside of a Bronx abortion clinic, wondering what to do about the increasing number of anti-abortion protesters showing out each weekend bright and early to harass patients.

 

In many ways, we keep losing: 26 states currently ban or heavily restrict abortion, and conservative lawmakers have introduced more than 500 bills targeting trans and queer people across the United States.

At the same time, we are seeing maternal and parental mortality skyrocket in ways that correlate to these restrictive laws (Texas has the highest rates in the “developed” world), violent cis men prosecute their exes’ friends for helping them get abortion pills, and states imprison mothers for helping their daughters access healthcare. We are witnessing children torn away from parents at our borders and whole communities bombed overseas. The list goes unbearably on.

It seems that, everywhere, bodily autonomy, agency over our own lives and futures, and the relationships of care that sustain us are under attack. Despite it all, there are still moments of movement and connection.

 

We continue to affirm and support one another. We defend abortion clinics, we look after one another’s children, we cook meals for one another. We continue to celebrate queer and trans joy in public. We carry life-saving Narcan. We help friends access legal services and medication. We always extend a hand to hold.

We hope this zine serves as a glimmer of care reflective of reality as it currently exists, in all its contradictions and dynamics, as well as an imagining of what care can be. We reach for this future, over and over.

 

In this first issue of Abobo Zine, you will find poems about abortion and pregnancy, poems about relationships between parents and children, poems about different forms of bodily autonomy and the dilemma of having a corporeal form, and poems about fantasy. Such is the stuff of life—because abortion and reproductive justice are the stuff of life.

Some of our contributors are seasoned, oft-published poets and artists. For others, this is their first publication. The zine includes parents, people who don’t have children but wish to, and people who never want to; people who have had abortions and people who haven’t. We are honored that the work in this first issue covers a range of experiences from a multiplicity of perspectives.

In the words of Diane di Prima:

NO ONE WAY WORKS, it will take all of us

shoving at the thing from all sides

to bring it down.

 

Organizing work is often a long uphill road, with frequent arguments, disagreements, and differences of opinion among people who are fighting for a common goal. It seems far too easy to forget that what we are fighting for is a more tender world. We continue to hold out our hands.

*this is the introduction by Nikki Blazek & Camila Valle to Abobo Zine, volume 1.

​Nikki Blazek is an activist, writer, and editor with work published in Hobart Pulp, Adult Groceries, and Dirt Child. She is a part of the editorial collective for Science for the People Magazine.

Camila Valle is a writer, editor, translator, and abortion acompañante and educator. Her work has appeared in the tiny, Interview, ’68 to ’05, Wendy’s Subway Endless Playlist, Science for the People, and Jewish Currents, among others. Her translation of Set Fear on Fire: The Feminist Call that Set the Americas Ablaze from the Chilean feminist performance collective LASTESIS is out now from Verso Books.

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