Community survey results: What it means to be Xicanx today

A few weeks ago Xica Nation placed a nationwide call for Xicanx art, photos and poetry that addresses the theme of what it means to be Xicanx today.  Here are the results, categorized by visual and written arts.

Scroll down to view the entire collection or click on an image to view the gallery.

Parental advisory: Some artwork may depict nudity.

Visual

Video

Black Dream Place
Luis Valderas

Written/poetry

[su_accordion]
[su_spoiler title=” Who are the Xicanos?” style=”fancy”]
Who are the Xicanos?
Andres Peinado Jr.

* We are the lost Aztec children of Aztlan, living in the occupied land that birth our nation.
* We are “La Gente del Quinto Sol” called by our Creator to go back into our communities, barrios, and colonias to serve the oppresed and the marginalized victims of our divided society.
* We are the ones who take the spray paint can from the hands of the child, and encourage him to express his heart on canvas, instead of defacing the walls of our community. We are the ones who nurture their dreams and whisper to them “Tu mijo vas a ser un Artista…”
* We are the ones who walked into the institutions of higher learning, ashamed of our accents our heritage and our identity wanting to be called Andy instead of Andres, Tommy instead of Tomas, and Mary instead of Maria, until we awaken to the beauty of our heritage and reclaim our identity as part of La Raza Cosmica.
* We are the grandsons, and granddaughters who have never heard the wisdom of our abuelitos, their dichos, cuentos and consejos because our language has been stripped away in the name of assimilation.
* We are the fathers and mothers raising our children in the concrete jungles of Aztlan, with the inquisitive child who goes about the surface of every patch of grass collecting grasshoppers and crickets in mayonnaise jars and attentively admires the miracle of life.
* We are the Tios and Tias who clap earnestly at our backyard barbecues as our sobrinas dance to the rhythm of cumbias to the songs of Selena, hoping one day they will be the next Eva Longoria or Selma Hayek.
* We are the ones who reach out to the youth of the community. We are the ones who rescue our children from the hands of the cartels, the violence and perils of barrio street gangs, and refocus our young child warriors to pursue their destiny; empowering them to rise above the adversities and trials of life.
* We are the hands and feet of the Nation of Aztlan, living out our faith in a world filled with confusion, we are the living embodiment of the spirit of Cesar Chavez whose voice like a mythical humming bird whispers to our souls… “Si se Puede.”
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Dear Brown Girl” style=”fancy”]
Dear Brown Girl
Daniela Jaime

Dear brown Girl,

We are “It’s too dark for you to be out”
“Wear longer shorts, the neighbors will stare”

We are
Stuck in gentrified neighborhoods,
middle aged men with
Tank Tops and beer bellies
will stare from front porches like you’re the chihuahua you walk,
B/c
“Damn Mami, would I love to taste your spices”

We hold lips on our ever tan faces,
With the corners darker than the center

Just like our history.

We are:
So thick, Brown Girl is hypersexualized,
But when so thin
“Are even a real Brown Girl?”
Only given recognition when your biggest asset is your ass,
Sass,
But never class.

We are,
So brown, “do you even tan?”
No I crisp, now give me the sunblock little ‘Miss Mayo 2016’

Taught from early Ages that your brown doesn’t go well with life

Too brown from Neon shirts,
You just look browner

Too brown for makeup:

Quick: WOULD RATHER LOOK LIKE TOO BURNT TOAST OR VANILLA ICE-CREAM IN A CARAMEL CRUNCH CONTAINER?!
THERE IS NO IN-BETWEEN.

Too brown for hoodies and loose jeans,
Would you rather look like a decent human being or a target.

Too brown to be beautiful.

Eyes always boring brown- But Emma Watson’s are sooo mesmerizing

Nose too big- but on Blake Lively it’s cute.

Hair too thick-
But Cara Delevingne has more in one brow than you do in two.

Thighs too thick- but #WhiteGirlsWinning…?
When were they ever losing?

When were blue eyes bad?
They’ve been so good
Colonizers managed to convince my ancestors their descendants looked better in blue,
Even if it happened through rape.

But,
Dear Brown Girl,
Learn to admire your sisters beauty without questioning your own.

You are beauty
You are strength.
Flowers grow through you like earth,
You might see this ground as dirt,
Like the color of your eyes,
But all I see is life.
Like what’s in your eyes.

Dear Brown Girl,
You are a force to be reckoned with-

Your skin is no crime,
Need for no punishment.

You’re skin is rich in pigment,
like the Art hung in the Museums
That Miss Mayo 2016 payed $25 to visit

Let the dark corners of your mouth
Serve to remind everyone
Of the dark corners they tried to push you into

Let your thick hair grow out like roses in a white man’s world;
They can only add character to the weed filled garden that is his home.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” When They Disguised The Virgin Mary With Indigenous Strings ” style=”fancy”]
When They Disguised The Virgin Mary With Indigenous Strings
Eduardo Velasquez

Skin is a curse,
The color of earth,
Labeled as gang related,
My pride you have took,
Nervous glances,
I’m not invited to dances,
Balls, Gowns, Sadies, and even Swing Dances

My line is thick like oil,
I spring like a coil,
I’m targeted where lightning strikes, your personal coil,
America’s foil,
My image is soiled,
My face is calm waters, below I do boil

To anoint my pen, I bled out like rain,
I’m sacrificing my life, so we may rise again,
The coming of gods, the coming of kings,
We disguised the Virgin Mary with Indigenous Strings.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Affirmative Action Agony” style=”fancy”]
Affirmative Action Agony
Eloisa Perez-Lozano

“Woman of color.”

Does that mean me?
The scholarship application says so,
but which color am I?
Chocolate?
Caramel?
Cappuccino?
Café con leche?

That’s not a box I think I can check.
Can I really claim to be a “woman of color”
if my own is only one shade darker than
the default white we’re all measured against?

My last name, however, confirms my minority status,
the hyphen merging both names into one
for Americans who aren’t familiar with
the Mexican custom of having two last names.

But when I sent in my application,
I asked, “Aren’t these scholarships for poor kids?”

“No, it’s for anyone with Mexican parents,”
my dad answered.

But I kept thinking:
Did I take someone else’s spot?

Maybe there should be one more box to check,
a declaration for some and a deterrent for people like me:

“I am eligible for this scholarship because I have
survived the stereotyped struggles of my race.”

I definitely couldn’t have checked it,
but maybe then I would felt better not applying.

I wouldn’t have felt that my middle class-ness
should have disqualified me, despite hard-earned grades.

I wouldn’t have felt the tug-of-war between head and heart,
wanting the assistance yet doubting whether others needed it more.

I wouldn’t have felt the heat of shame that comes from
feeling unworthy, deceitful, an imposter

A white wolf in brown sheep’s clothing,
hunting for a prize I don’t think I deserve.
[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=” i am la frontera” style=”fancy”]
i am la frontera
Ernesto Ricardo Rafael Torres

El Paso, la frontera

I am a queer, bilingual, catholic, xicanx.
Me persigno en falda y barba.
I’ve been quartered,
split down the middle by mountains,
and in half by an ugly reja, my cicatriz,
like the fifth wound of Jesus.

Though my head is in the U.S,
my feet, mis raíces are en México.
I am la frontera.
I am the color of untouched desert,
ruddy with the blood of the antepasados.
My family crossed the river more times than it coursed off.
Am I 1st generation?
2nd generation?
1 and a half?

I speak Spanish like a norteño,
and in English, se me sale el taco.
I used to prune back the nopales growing en mi frente,
now I wear proudly my corona de tunas.

From UTEP’s ivory tower I see the colonias,
mimic the Juraense topography.
Everything in México has color!
Las colonias, los mercados, los murales: “¡NI UNA MÁS!”

I am so disconnected from my tierra,
and I miss a patria that I can’t claim.
I am El Paso.
I am Heroica Ciudad Juárez.
I am la frontera.

[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=” Luna Xicana” style=”fancy”]
Luna Xicana
Janet Gonzalez

“Ni de aqui, ni de allá” we howl
As they pull us into
Opposite sides of la frontera
Tugging at our bodies
Like we’re made of elastic
Demanding us to conform
But their aggression bleeds us dry

We see the anger in their eyes
When they glare in our direction
They call us, las lobas
Because we gain our power
From the moon
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” My Name Is All You See ” style=”fancy”]
My Name Is All You See
John Hernandez

It doesn’t matter to you that my name has a story in this land, a history.
That my name was indigenous to this place before it was a country.
That my name has helped build all that you see, this democracy.
My name has worked the fields, tended the cattle, paved the roads, layed the foundations, manufactured the automobiles and contributed to society.
My name has educated the children, cared for the elderly, rescued the victim, defended the boarders and bled for the ideals of liberty.
My name has been a part of the club, graduated with honors, gone for the gold, dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.
My name has paid it’s dues, towed the line, pitched in, lent a helping hand and turned the other cheek.
My name believes in this country, this concept of land of the free…
But no matter how hard it try’s…
No matter it’s dedication, sacrifice, it’s quest for liberty…
you do not see me.
If it’s lucky you see your gardener, your waiter, your dishwasher or your nanny.
Cheap labor, someone to stock your shelves, build your home, wash your car and mow your lawn.
But more than likely you see an illegal, someone who doesn’t belong.
A criminal, a gang banger, a thief, a dealer, a junky, a welfare queen…
a burden on society.
You see your own misconceptions.
You see your own assumptions.
You see your own stigmas of who you want me to be…
never once seeing me.
I want you to see me…
not just my name.
I want you to consider me…
not just your stigmas, assumptions or misconceptions.
I want you to see acceptance when looking at me.
My name is American, the same as yours and I want you to see you when looking at me.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” la hija indígena” style=”fancy”]
la hija indígena
Kimberly Rendon

Be ready by 8:00 AM
I remind myself.
Rise and shine,
Greet the day,
say hello to the Sun…

But I keep denying
my awake state
and lose myself
to my dream life.
There’s no motivation
to lift my spirits
as I see the world in chaos.

Each day a waiting game
with defeat.

It’s as if my body
remains on the sidelines
or is too slow to catch up
to my imagination.

I stay rooted in dreams
because my ancestry was denied sleep:
too busy tending the home,
carrying the workload.

I inherited insomnia,
constantly sleepwalking
through a minefield
of insecurities.
While I sail toward artificial light
I distract myself
in a diamond prism.
Hoping for a pristine existence
but it swallows my name
and regurgitates
acquired expectations.

I’m expected
to assimilate,
be another lost cause,
failed by the system.

My family carries
fragments of
the American Dream
heavy on their body
unable to bare the weight of expectations
or maintain the white picket fence.

In our attempt to survive
We have become displaced.
Strangers to familiar territory.
We suffer in silence,
our identities hidden.

They try to make sense
of the exploitation and oppression
and continue their journey with guilt,
as if,
it their our fault.

Unaware, the pain
of chasing expectations
causes failure-
their growth paralyzed,
never reaching heights
foretold by ancestors.

So the ache is ceded
in future generations
burdened with abandoned identities.

Daughter.
I decipher
the lost codex,
reconnect to a memory
of an identity
slowly erasing generationally.

I awake.
To reclaim, reshape,
my existence in resistance.

Unafraid to proclaim
Xicanx.

Say it loud.
Para no olvidar.

Yo soy la Hija Indígena!
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Today’s Chicanx Warriors ” style=”fancy”]
Today’s Chicanx Warriors
Luz Magdaleno Flores

Ni muy acá, ni muy allá
Always caught in between

Somos punk, [email protected], [email protected] y siempre con ganas de desmadrar
Our passionate hearts move our two left feet to its beat

United we stand with her, him, and they
“El Barrio Unido Jamás Será Vencido!”

Being chicanx is a beautiful struggle
Ser vosotros es una buen chinga

We are angry yet proud of how hardworking our parents are
A mi mami le duelen sus pies y mi padre no es feliz pero siguen echándole ganas

Con converse y eyeliner negro vamos a misa a rezarle a nuestra señora morenita
In the night with the moons blessing we light our candles in hopes of liberation

No somos fácil de entender
Planting seeds in unknown lands

We drink whiskey and mezcal
Tranquilos después de tanto luchar

[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Cuento de Mexico” style=”fancy”]
Cuento de Mexico
Maleny Crespo

No es el cuento de los hombres
No es el cuento de los gueros
No es el cuento mio
No es el cuento de nosotros
Es el cuento de las mujeres de Mexico
Es el cuento de todos que son joven
Sus bebes que son
De la tierra de oro
Que corren con polvo del dinero
Abajo de sus pies
Enfrente la verdad
De su valor
Cabeza de deseos
Las montanas en sus hombros
Sangre mas puro
Que alguno maldita promesa de riqueza
No es el cuento de los hombres
No el cuento de los gueros
No es el cuento mio
No es el cuento de nosotros
Para atras voces de hombre
Para atras voces de gueros
Para atras orgullo de los extranjeros
Esta cuento no es tuyo
Es el cuento de los reinas
Es el cuento de los reyes
Es el cuento de Oaxaca oro
Es el cuento de la tierra del sol
Es el cuento de Mexico

[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Geographic Dreaming” style=”fancy”]
Geographic Dreaming
Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Dreams of place to call our own
one where we are at home
in our melding of ancestor cultures

Of razas who never left us
who refused to melt away
in that pressure cooker pot

Which has become the way
in these lands called US of America
a place for all, but for no one different

You must fit their mold
complete with Indo-European looks
what their hate speech spewed down

In all the papers and books
of what is Supreme
what they’ve built this system

On the backs of our world

But this is about what it means
to be me, a woman of that Raza Cosmica
who is Chicana proud despite all the years

Of not fitting Here nor There
knowing we were something new
a mezcla to embrace

Holding my head high
teaching the young ones
to be one-hundred percent

Proud of all of who we are
birthing that nation of ours
together with them
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”WE” style=”fancy”]
WE
Paul Aponte

The true expression of enlightenment
comes in a dream
of a morning
shining on our universe.

Waking, stretching out to the sky,
and accepting the gift.
Willingly letting the brightness through.

Even the serpent is in awe,
and the plant leaves bloom.
The vase proudly displays its indigenous roots.
The clouds part,
and the sky clears,
and we can see again
as you and I bless the cosmos
to be all as it should.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Xingonas’ Letter to Our Hombres and the Patriarchy” style=”fancy”]
Xingonas’ Letter to Our Hombres and the Patriarchy
Rocio Evelin Carranza Jacinto

We hold the wisdom of our ancestors
Embody their love through our Spirit
You chose to follow the oppressor by suppressing the burning of emotions through your flesh
We chose to embrace those burning emotions through our breasts
You claim to be above misogyny with your whispers of loving promises
But your actions whisper the truth
Your actions shout machismo and we can longer hold onto to you
So we break our promises and you leave seeming unbothered about this wreckage
We leave with both of our emotional baggage
And within us, you see the pounds of pain we carry
You see it in our swollen eyelids.
In our blood shot eyes.
And in our endless sorrow.
You see us as weak.
You think that you have conquered our heart, our mind, our body, and soul.
And you may have for this very instant of grief…
But we carry 500+ years of resilience
And filling your absence will not be the battle we lose to.
Because we have one thing you lost along the way…
Community.
We ground ourselves in each other while you are lost in a sea of individualism
Becoming the puppet of the colonizer.
Now your soul roams lifeless through this land,
And ours begins to coexist within this soil.
Because we chose to feel the weight of grief for the both of us,
While you denied your soul healing and found refuge in a bottle of liquor.
And so we are Guerreras today, yesterday, and continue to be tomorrow
We will be Guerreras for the both of us,
Until you decide to liberate your being from the White men’s example.
We do not fear tears because we are surrounded by Guerreras.
And loved by our Ancestors.
And for now that is truly enough for Xingona revolutionary love.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Réquiem para un nombre esclavo” style=”fancy”]
Réquiem para un nombre esclavo
Samantha Marie Haynes

Mi nombre se siente como un cañón atado a mi tobillo.
Un recuerdo del pasado de mi familia.
Quiero lavarme el nombre del cuerpo…
De todos los pensamientos de mi boca.
De todos los trozos de papel…

Quiero darme un nuevo nombre…
El nombre de sangre,
Un nombre que les dé miedo a los conquistadores.
Quiero un nombre que atemorice a los hombres
Y les advierta que los aplastaré si intentan de despellejarme.

Mi nombre
Es un recuerdo del pasado,
La memoria de la horrible llegada,
De la tristeza y la confusión, la traición y el vigor que
se sirvieron al lado de las margaritas mezcladas con la viruela.

Isata,
Ahora serás llamada Sambo.
Isata,
Ahora serás llamada Chichi Mama.
Ellos le dirán que este nombre vale la pena de confiarse a ellos…
Pero no.
Intercambiar un idioma de la tierra de los Aborrecedores por otro
No borra el dolor que siente tu abuela,
No podrán borrar la confusión que siente tu abuela.

Se estrangulan de amargura cuando
Las personas no saben de dónde viniste porque su
Nombre no tiene el sonido que tus antepasados hacían cuando
Gritaban en sueños.

Un nombre
¿Qué hay en un nombre?
Isata, no es tu nombre real y nunca lo será.
Es mejor que nos llamen con algo que nos trae recuerdos amargos,
Que te aferres a una cultura, a un lugar, en un país, en un continente de donde fuiste arrancada
Y nunca vas a conocerlo.
Estás atrapada en una isla destinada a los que no son como tú.
Robado.
Viven en tierras robadas con su cuerpo robado.
Deberías aferrarte a tu útero antes de que te roben también.
Isata,
No te llames así.
Reconoce que no te conoces a ti misma.
Reconoce que nunca lo sabrás.
Reconoce que no te importaba tres pepinos porque
mami, estás aquí ahora mismo.

Sambo,
Chichi Mama,
S-A-M-A en la arena:
Respira.
Da un paso lejos de esa computadora.
Sácate la etiqueta de McDonald’s y métela en sus gargantas.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” To Xicanx in the Borderlands Today Means ” style=”fancy”]
To Xicanx in the Borderlands Today Means
Samuel Coronado

You are a key beyond extinction
a transmutation
that survives resists reimagines
life beyond assimilation.

A chance to love difference,
to respond to violence
the way our ancestors did,
the way our children’s children
will too.

We live within and without today,
tomorrow, the ever-resetting
cycle of a time that is itself militarized.

Endlessly, we are fed visions
of the apocalypse.
On every television, mobile screen,
from the heights of every cell tower
mi sagrada tierra
burned, caged, made a stage
for the owner’s of the world’s armies.

Though we despair, we know
more than the fictions we have
been indoctrinated with,
that there is nothing luxurious
or privileged or exclusively white
about loving this earth,
or the many spirits
that walk above it,
that share life with mountains
& waves & plants & stars.

To xicanx in the borderlands today
means you shift
the knowledge of the centuries,
you give more than you take,
you stand on the line
where water becomes fire,
where bullets become flowers.

To this generation it must be clear,
as it has been written,
we are governed by two heads
from the same beast
which feeds from the same trough.

Como the nepantla G. Anzaldúa says,
the world becomes as we dream it.
What lies ahead,
mijitx?

[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=” Barbacoa ” style=”fancy”]
Barbacoa
Saul Hernandez

Barbacoa: 7:45 AM

Through the bottom craters of my door
an uninvited odor comes in. It lingers on my nose
awakening my mind and belly. It provokes
them to wrestle.

My head pleads me to remember
abuelo and the cabrito.

My famished stomach tells me to taste the meat
of a dead animal I once saw slaughtered
before my child eyes.

The mirror stands before me.
It can read my worries
on my face.
Barbacoa: 8:15 AM

The smell enchants me. I close my eyes.
I see what I’ve stored in the back
of my head, files. I wish I had not seen,

the creatures eyes roll back
light in them gone.
Abuelo telling me,
“no lo veas morir, si te sientes triste
el animal no muere en paz.”

His head rest on the pomegranate grass
the wind brushes his coat. It picks up
milk dew weed flurries, taking flight
towards the mourning sky.

In my room. I stand. In front of the mirror
I look at my repulsive reflection. I see
his tongue cradled, on the side of his mouth

it sleeps.
Barbacoa 8:25 AM

The smell of barbacoa turns my head. Away
from the mirror a dust cloud of odor demands to be inhaled,
it begins to take shape. In my room
the cabrito now stands. Parallel to me
he opens his mouth. No words come out.
He is missing his tongue. He begins to prance
around my room.

El ritmo de sus pezuñas me invitan a bailar
One, two, three. Uno, dos, tres. One, two, three.
We are the wind in my room. Spinning
levantamos polvo de libros cerrados,
de tierra debajo de mi cama,
debris from the corners of my room.

I open my baby eyes. Coming to a halt
nos miramos como viejos amores.
I open my mouth and he jumps at me

caemos. Con la paciencia
que tienen las hojas de otoño hacia el piso.
I inhale the smell and I close my eyes.

Empiezo a correr. Con mis cuatro patas,
stomping the ground picking up dirt and debris
on a hot summer day. I am free
to roam my land.
Barbacoa: El Origen del Cabrito

No tengo fronteras. Puedo tocar el crepúsculo
de esquina a esquina. No tengo temor por mi vida.
No estoy fuera de mi lugar.
Esta es mi tierra. No hay limitaciones
que me impiden ser restringido.

Como de mi tierra,
mi panza esta hecha de paja y plantas.
Tomo de la lluvia cuando el cielo llora.
Cuando las luciérnagas salen a jugar
me acuesto en mi cama. Descanso
mi lengua para poder hablar con mi tierra otro día.
En veces sueño. Aspiraciones lentas con el aliento

del aire que me levantan hasta las montañas, desde arriba
vuelo por las tierras en busca de mis hermanos y hermanas,
que fueron levantados, por las manos del hombre.
Miedo se apodera de mí, me dice que corra
a otras tierras antes que vengan por mí.
Baa, baa, no quiero ese destino para mí.
Barbacoa: Tomado por El Hombre

Pero el hombre de otras tierras sabe tomar
su oportunidad cuando uno duerme.
Baa, baa, baa! Es muy tarde. Amarrada
mi boca y lengua ya no son unas arma.
Son desventaja a donde me llevan.
Prenden una máquina, empieza a caminar despacio
luego corre como cuando yo era

libre. De las realidades del mundo.
Ojos con sueños olvidados, ven
la luz saliendo del arroyo donde tomaba agua.
Por última vez veo la paz
de mi hogar—
la tierra sin fronteras.
Barbacoa: Encadenado

Ahora soy prisionero. En otras tierras desconocidas
de mi pescuezo estoy detenido con raíces de árboles.
Muerdo y muerdo y no se rompen
estas raíces. Pesan, es una carga
para poder comer,
Para poder dormir,
para poder soñar.

Mi reflejo en agua contaminada distinto
a mi ser. No soy ese.
Antier otro. Hoy soy invierno
en este campo podrido.
Barbacoa: Carga el Aire

El amanecer no es igual, por el viento
se oyen voces cargadas
con dolor.

Voces con sueños.
Voces que le pegan a mi alma desamparada.
Voces que ya no entiendo.
Voces que me pierden por el florecer de plantas dando vida,
por el verano que seca mi boca,
y por el otoño caprichoso que quita vida.

Sobre los cerros mis pupilas siguen el aire. Al campo libre
me recuerda que mi vida es un ciclo
guiado por el sol y la luna,
que me dicen a que hora como,
a que hora camino,
a que hora puedo beber,
a que hora puedo hablar.
Y a que hora debo dormir.

Campo libre, pies engatusados.

Barbacoa: Revelaciones

El hombre, todo poderoso se presenta. En frente de mi
y me da su mano. Como un acto de paz
le quita la raíz a la cerca
que me detiene de cruzar otras fronteras.
Toma la raíz de mi pescuezo y me guía.
Caminamos juntos los dos,
lado a lado sobre el campo libre. El aire me abraza,
me invita a recordar momentos de gloria.
Los rayos del sol están escapándose lentamente. Sobre las nubes
salen y me dan besos como agua del estanque.

El hombre me lleva al campo. Desconocido
veo a una criatura. Parecido a la imagen del hombre.
Nuestras miradas se conectan. Siento miedo,
por los dos.

Cierro mis ojos. Recuerdo que soy un cabrito—
tengo cuatro pesuñas,
tienen ansias por volver a vivir.
Baa, baa!
Tengo derecho a correr,
a gritar sobre el cerro más grande,
pero sobre todo
el derecho a que mi cabeza cansada, caiga—
picada y en bañada,
para volver a soñar.
Barbacoa: 8:25 AM

Abro mis ojos reencarnados. Adolorido me levanto
con mis dos piernas. Me pongo de pie y me miro en el espejo,
my reflection suggest nothing has changed
my mind disagrees.

Mi reflo me recuerda que
sus ojos me los comí con mi mirada.
Yo estuve enfrente del cabrito. No use palabras.

My hands reach for my neck,
I examine the creases in search
for signs of encadenamiento. No trace is left.
Abro mi boca.
My tongue is in place.

Barbacoa: 8:30 AM

Salgo de mis cuatro paredes
doy pasos ligeros. Down the hallway
leading to the staircase I follow the smell.
But, how will I tell my family?
Es que, no me van a comprender.

Bajo sobre las espaldas de huesos ancianos
pensando en mis ancestros. If,
they ever had the courage to lash their tongue
at their own blood. Over the table across the food
of foreign lands.
Barbacoa: Sueña Again

I sit down at the table. Overlooking my mother
I land my hands on my mouth, con los ojos
de cabro veo las tiras de carne,
I begin to quake. The table set,

my stomach empty. My mouth
an estanque of water. It is full,
ready for the cabrito to drink.
The cabrito rests on my tortilla.
I shower him with salt and salsa,
I take him in my mouth.

I look at my reflection in the plate.
Mi lengua iba a mirar a todos en los ojos
les iba a contar la historia del cabrito
que soñaba. Libre de conformar
con lo que ellos pedían,
libre de tomar su propio destino,
en un lugar indocumentado.

Pero, in a house of silence,
we have not learned
to open our mouths,
dejar la lengua caer hasta el piso
desarrollando palabras
moving mountains,
moving rivers,
moving skies,
moving me. Out of fear.
Yet—

I can dream.
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”3.” style=”fancy”]
3.
Silverio Pelayo Jr.

Your Story
is a snake
That sheds
The death
Of deception
It is a lightning bolt
Fashioned
From the golden fibers
That thread
The infinite sky
Of your heart
It is a fire
Carried on the wings
Of hawks vision
Set ablaze
The dawning
Of a new day

www.silveriopelayo.wordpress.com
[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Talahalusi: In this Paradise” style=”fancy”]
Talahalusi: In this Paradise
Xulio Soriano

Every year I climb this hill
pressed against the breasts
of Mayacamas and Vaca ranges;
caressed by breeze that flows amidst them.

Every year I step on this mound
hoping no bones lay here to be disturbed;
that buried spears and arrowheads
will not pierce my feet in retaliation;
that coyote’s ground is not intruded
nor crow’s sky transgressed.

Every time I climb this earth
I see the force that combed the the hillsides
and uprooted grandmother oak,
and proliferated red bumps
that oxidized native bronze skin
made as velvet and painful as
redskin scalps attached to
twitching, horse-thick black hair.

Fractal, equidistant scars line the mountains.
I think of the cornrows on your head
and the corn fields that my poppa abandoned.

Our paths are intertwined.

Just as you carry rows of maize on you
with braided mathematical precision
accurate as my abuelito’s Mayan calendar,
I carry the heartbeat of your African drum
in the night salsa that
shakes Downtown Napa
and the unauthorized cumbia
that spills uncontrollably into the neighborhood
like the flood of candy broken from
saturday 5pm piñatas
at Kennedy Park.

Sometimes I don’t belong.

My family walked across borders–
indigenous farmworkers uncomfortable
in our own brown skin:
Guests on Wappo soil;
cousins to First Nations.

Your family was shipped across oceans in shackles
or perhaps had sailed here long before.

Your bodies the currency–
your scarred backs–
risk management–
a noose on your necks–
their capital loss at a gain.

Our people’s land the real estate–
our blood the fertilizer
that built this place we
eagerly want to set roots in
yet can’t call home.

I’m stuck between a world that is not mine
and land that belongs to all of us.

Coyote howls.
I must return.
White-tailed kite swoops down.
Wild radish blooms.

[/su_spoiler]
[/su_accordion]

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