Being Latina/o/x Series

Four Poems on Latinidad by Anthony Orozco

“Encantado” — An ode to Boricuas, who showed up en masse to the first Puerto Rican festival in Reading, Pa, in over a decade. The city’s first Latino mayor was freshly elected, the aftermath of Maria is behind them, and they continue to grapple with the perception of being not “real Americans. // ”mano a mano” — A call for unity, advocacy, and pride among Latinos. It honors the massive contributions and hidden hardships of our people. The poem momentarily erases our cultural, national, and class barriers to connect us as one. // “Conquest” — Written and performed with the oral tradition in mind, it is a vulnerable and visceral defense of mixed-race, mixed-culture people. When people try to control what Latinidad means or looks like, though they do not know the multi-cultural and sordid past of Latin America, this poem is used to refute claims of “not being Latino” enough. // “Land of the Cinder Block” — Also written and performed with the oral tradition in mind, this piece is an ode to my father’s homeland of Chihuahua, Mexico. It examines the state’s dual nature of being equally beautiful and perilous, of being sacred and frightening. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Cruzando Fronteras / Crossing Borders

Why would anyone want to take on the treacherous task of crossing (multiple) borders? Poets Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Gustavo Martir, David Cruz, and Diana Castellanos share their personal stories on crossing borders and immigration during “Cruzando Fronteras,” an event that provided a safe space to talk about the seeking of refuge. […]

Photograph by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash.
Poetry

She Who Flies Over Ramallah

You don’t know Zakia? / She is in grave number forty over three, over there. / They put my name on her mud-formed stone and / when I went to see her on that rainy afternoon, my shoes became stuck in a soupy quick sand which pulled me into the city of the always awake (those who no longer yawn after a long day’s labor, or close their ears to dull the screeching sirens of the bombs) / Did you know that Zakia hid in the cavern on the edge of al-Qusoor hill during that summer when the refugees outgrew their stay? […]

Lafayette Maynard Dixon, "Sunset Magazine: September," lithograph, 1904, purchase, Leonard A. Lauder Gift, 2015, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Diaspora & Immigration Series

A Guide to Parenting

*WINNER OF THE NASIONA NONFICTION POETRY PRIZE, 2019*

I hope you don’t look Asian
like me.
I don’t want anyone, boy or girl,
reducing you to some Oriental fetish.

You will never know
your grandparents on my side.
I hope you will never know the hunger
that comes with such loneliness. […]

Photograph by JR Korpa on Unsplash.
Poetry

Rituals of Ijogwu Festival

Dances of naked women in a single file
(Only the darkness covers their nakedness)
Carrying on bare heads small earthenware pots
Smoked in rituals of the night around flaming logs
Singing for Ijogwu, the water goddess
Imbuing the air with tingling
Relics of the ancient dreams
Dawning on the hallows of the grove
Far sprung in the distant forest. […]

Photograph by Pedro Gonzalez on Unsplash.
Poetry

hotel outside richmond

outside of richmond, virginia–full day’s / drive north of tampa. bulky old tv’s / and a lobby sharp with chlorine, the pool / absolutely alive with the ignorant / joy of children who know not cheap hotels, / only that there is water deep enough / to drown in, […]

Auguste Rodin, "The Embrace," graphite, watercolor, and gouache, 1900-1910, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Intimacy

Is it a crime that I liked you for the collapsing breadth of your lips? I keep wondering if my life would have been different had I arrived at the party ten minutes later or […]

Henry P. Bosse, "No. 201. U.S. Government Bridge at Rock Island, Illinois (High Water)," cyanotype, 1888, gift of Charles Wehrenberg and Sally Larsen, 2014, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

Inside the Engine

I’ve drank in hangers built to maintain the airplanes my grandfather operated on, under the eye of a traffic control tower that’s quiet now in the after-effects of all those solvents. Of course the suds […]

Paul Klee, "Alter Dampfer (Old Steamboat)," oil transfer drawing and watercolor on laid paper, on Klee's original mount, 1922, Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art.
Poetry

Detroit Gold

First came the scrappers, Slicing the drywall muscle for Detroit gold. Dissection of the vein, red conductors. They gutted the city, Broke her teeth, Boarded up her eyes. Then came the scavengers, looking to make […]

South Netherlandish (?), "Glass Fragment," colorless glass, 16th century, Gift of George D. Pratt, 1930, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

A Memoir

and we were dying a little every day fleshy leftovers on tilted sidewalks failing to leave an imprint even the sun seemed to weep and the shadows never quite faded even as day broke even […]

Egon Schiele, "Crouching Nude in Shoes and Black Stockings, Back View," watercolor, 1912, Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Poetry

After Party

Her Pomeranian shot back and forth like the white lines cut out on the coffee table as she tucked bleached hair behind her ear and snorted from the rolled-up bill. She stripped at Blush, the […]