Monday, May 31, 2010

Buen provecho

On my desk and shelves,
in my bedroom, on my bedside table
piles of books, stacked as high
as they'll let me. These towers
built with mixed bricks,
flavors I want to taste.
Afraid I won't have enough
like a binge-eater, I read until full
never feeling like I'm done.
Quiero más.

I skip words when I speak,
I can't come up with what I want to say
but my mouth utters one, two, three disparates
until the right one comes.  
Have I overindulged?
These ideas swimming together,
sorting themselves out, do they
cause me to misspeak?
Should I watch what I read?
Or should I fill up even more,
because there's always more to be had.
No one ever watches how much I read.
They'll judge my plate, eyebrows raised,
but not my shelves.

Me sirvo más.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Arizona... estoy contigo

This morning I am struck by the latest post over at La Bloga.  It was Arizona's Day of Action yesterday.  People marched in the scorching heat to protest Senate Bill 1070 - a bill that invites harassment and mistreatment of Latinos.

A colleague of mine, for whom I have little patience, recently asked me what I thought about the latest in Arizona.  I can't have this kind of conversation with this person; there's too much ignorance there.  How do you explain that people often come here out of desperation? Out of need? And what about dreams and visions?  Are brown people not allowed to hope for something better for themselves and their children?

My colleague, for the hundredth time, says "they" take some of our jobs. I ask, "Are you willing to pick fruit in the hot sun all day long? Would you stand in an assembly line fastening plastic bits to metal parts? Would you mind bussing tables and washing strangers' dishes? Would you scrub toilets? Can you imagine taking on two or three of these jobs just so you can get by?

And now I ask you - mi colega
would you deny food to Maria who stands in
the lunch line, anticipating the
warmth in her belly that will come from a sandwich
and a carton of milk?
Do you want to send Alex away, whose dad has just
moved his family of five
to a third floor apartment
in a run down house,
no air-conditioning?
And what about Wanda,
who excels in class, writing colorful poems and
hopeful stories - the top student -
would you send her back to a place
where school is unstable?
Would you take from these children
because, as an American
it's your duty to stand for "what's right"?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Blue bandanna taming
wavy brown hair
tied and tucked under
at the nape
faded flare jeans
plaid western shirt with pearlized buttons
and platform sandals.

It was the bracelet that drew me in,
brown knots and beads.
I wished for one,
and unwrapped it on my birthday.
She was college life,
l'air du temps
sweet potatoes with allspice in the kitchen,
and rice with pigeon peas.