I am here cuz my ancestors refused to give up to give in to give the conquistadores
a free blowjob & build a new empire with smiles on brown faces, I am here cuz in ’85
mí madre didn’t put up a fight when my father came home drunk & forced himself inside
forced wife to drive without a license forced her to take care of him after his freak
construction accident, I am here cuz I am too Mexican for Americans too American
for Mexicans & too feminine for masculine, I am here cuz even as bodies keep dropping
jails keep maxing & whites keep robbing, these large brown hands with nail polish
will rise & fist up for freedom for revenge for tradition & for that little queer brown boi
that has yet to be born.
LUIS LOPEZ-MALDONADO is a Xicanx poeta, playwright, dancer, choreographer, and educator, born and raised in Southern California. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California Riverside in Creative Writing and Dance. His poetry has been seen in The American Poetry Review, Foglifter, The Packinghouse Review, Public Pool, and Spillway, among many others. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Florida State University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame, where he was a poetry editorial assistant for the Notre Dame Review, founder of the men's writing workshop in the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center and the Recipient of the Sparks Summer Fellowship 2016. He is currently a co-founder and editor at The Brillantina Project. www.luislopez-maldonado.com
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.
The things I never said, I said them like a man.
Like a man I insist I never said those things.
And afterwards I will assert I never said the second thing,
layer on layer of vow, disavowal. And what I believe,
you shall believe; there is only one thought and it is me.
My smell wipes across the thought of him. Crying in a pin stripe business suit. There was an accident. Perfect bodies lose perfection like melting ice. Crowns of thorns are passed out, metal trinkets to place in private. Kiss the blood rolling down.
I keep having this dream where
the white man isn’t angry
the black man entered
the white house.
There is a cabin by the bouldered beaches
of Northern California,
where the pines practically toe the foam.
This is where he’ll go, and off will come
his tailored suits,
his lacquered shoes,
his streak of blood-red tie.
She’s been sitting in the passenger seat of my car for a week.
She won’t wear her seatbelt and she won’t come in at night.
We are the easy targets
to the men who hide behind
the thin veil of life
the men in Washington
who pretend that they care.
It’s nice to scream
“This is what democracy looks like”
With a hundred people you’ve never met before.
Of course we knew what was at stake.
We all had that pill between our teeth
the gelatin cap
would not burst
no matter how hard we bit down