los dreamers

i am not a dreamer, and i cannot image the heartbreak of those who are.

today, our president committed an inhumane abuse of power; he terminated the deferred action for childhood arrivals program (daca). daca recipients are forced to renew their work permits within the next 30 days (if eligible), only to be potentially granted two additional years of “protected” status. needless to say, thousands will be left without legal status in the united states, and in turn, unprotected by the very government they chose to expose themselves to. they will be left unprotected by the law they have upheld and respected. they will be left vulnerable to communal and legal abuse because they will be left stateless in a country they were permitted to participate in only yesterday. individuals will suffer from such institutional manipulation. families will crumble financially and emotionally. more people will live in fear in the “home of the brave”.

i have not been proud of the united states for a long time. i have been disgusted by it; i have loathed it; however, i have appreciated the privileges this country has offered its people. i am grateful for the opportunities it has given me. but, today illuminated the encroaching terrorism that has plagued black and brown communities for centuries. today is another example of how bigotry is entrenched in our policies. in our people. our government.

i am outraged by today’s cruelty.

dreamers, i am here to serve you the best i can. we are praying and fighting for you. you are loved.

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me quemas

“inhale, in hell there’s heaven.” – Frank Ocean

i used to warm my hands by you,
a fireplace. it was easy to forget that fire burns
from up close. i rationalized my burns as
markers of intimacy–once, I felt my hands
burn into ashes, and the pain warmed
your absence. remnants of me mingled with
memories of you and
i almost forgot about loneliness

80’s family portrait

a 6 foot tall young man squints at the camera.
wispy brown hair frames his sun burnt face
and his thick moustache, as coarse a broom,
sits upon his lips. he wears a white polo shirt
and baggy blue jeans. sandals with socks.
his gut hangs over his belt. he is my father.

beside him is my mother. she is brown like almonds
and has puffy hair like lucille ball. she is a petite woman,
and her smile overwhelms her face. burgundy lipstick
shines her lips. she wears an oversized sweatshirt
with an enamoured taz and his wife–mrs. taz playfully
responds in bold, yellow letters–oh, you devil!

they are fearless. confident about tomorrow.
the world is moving and they are the only ones
standing still. they are young and in love.

You Bring Out the Monster in Me

you bring out the monster in me.

your llantos desesperados echo in a barren desert
trying to find someone who will listen.
you pause at the sound of an awakening–
there is a rumbling beneath the yellow sands.

lizards, scorpions, and snakes burrow in the sand dunes;
cacti recoil into the blankets of sand;
the soft whistling winds shrink back into the sky.

silence.
the sands tell me you are gone.
i pretend i don’t know how.

you bring out the monster in me.

in the abyss of my subconscious,
where dreams and nightmares and reality are indistinguishable
i watch the desert swallow you whole. you disintegrate
into the mounds of hot sand, pleading a subdued sun
for mercy.

the night winds are faint with your echo.

temp

we are hanging by a thread.
that’s what this feels like–
so fragile, like the first time you hold a newborn.
mesmerized by the baby’s trusting eyes,
the thin pink gums without teeth,
the milky smell. there is promise of
companionship, milestones–a future.

but we forget that these moments are fleeting.
we want to pause and savor them in photos,
letters, and little gifts. we are ephemeral,
but these objects are the closest grasp we have
to immorality. to keeping innocent promises.

we look back and
remember the frailness of it all.

waiting

i look for you everywhere:
online, on the metro, at the corner store,
outside my house, where i saw you last.

it is midnight and i still look. i check outside the window,
beyond the door, on my phone–i don’t see you. i
keep looking not knowing if you want to be found.

i surrender to the ease of my bed sheets.
the smell of you lingers
on an old pillow and
i find you

the little choices

we sit at the oversized, red-toned mahogany table a salesman pressured you into buying. you have never admitted this to me.

my sister recounted the transaction, while you were showering. you were on the hunt for a sturdier, slightly larger table than the plastic black one you had. it wobbled when you put down a cazuela, so no, it wouldn’t do.

and, at a thrift store, this tall, reddish brown table caught your eye. the reflection of the spinning ceiling fan on its glossy tabletop hypnotized you. however, it was too large for the studio apartment. it wouldn’t do, you mumbled.

a lurking salesman noticed your lustful gaze and offered you a price. you shared that you were interested, but that it wouldn’t fit. how would you even take it home? it’s just too large. he said not to worry–he’d bring it to you and set it up for free. you politely declined. he insisted.

you both are at the apartment. you’re sitting on the couch, with your legs crossed, sipping an iced coke while he’s kneeling beside the table, piecing it together. he makes small talk. the weather is lovely. you are lovely. do you only have one daughter? she’s awfully quiet. is her mouth sewn shut? people must walk all over her.

you agreed with him. you wished aloud that she were more outgoing, talkative, and confident.

my sister watched you in silence.

she says you didn’t want this table, but at least you got to choose it. choosing is important to you. you remind us that our dad never let you pick anything that went on the walls. he never let you select furniture. he never let you choose.

you chose this bulky table, and you’re keeping it.