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I Love Being Brown But I Don’t Love It
Luis Lopez-Maldonado

Photo by  Quokant

Photo by Quokant

I love piping hot tamales de rajas y frijoles
The extra salsa on the side &
How only Mexicans know how
To really make them, rinsing
The corn husks overnight &
Placing coins at the bottom
Of the pot when cooking them
            But I don’t love

I love wearing el trio de colores
Red White & Green &
The crocodile boots
The color of red sand &
The bracelets made of string
In the plazas de Michoacán
By the tired hands of an
Eighty-year old man
            But I don’t love

I love that I love to say
I’m stuck in between
Neither here or there or
Anywhere & not Mexican enough
Or American enough &
Not dark enough &
Not light enough
            But I don’t love

I love Vicente Fernandez &
Brittany Beyoncé & Gaga
Ketchup with my torta
Wine with my tacos
Fourth of July &
El Grito de Independencia   


            But I don’t love

Luis Lopez-Maldonado is a Xicanx poeta, choreographer and educator, born and raised in Southern California. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California Riverside, majoring in Creative Writing and Dance. His poetry has been seen in The American Poetry Review, Cloudbank, The Packinghouse Review, Public Pool, and Spillway, among many others. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Florida State University and also 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, and founder of the men's writing workshop in the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center; he is currently co-founder and editor at The Brillantina Project.