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The Tupperware Voicemails

Dolores was her name. Spanish for pain (in the ass). She wasn't supposed to stay with us for long but since she was my roommate's coworker and my roommate being the kindest of us two, she ate Dolores' pain and offered her to crash at our studio apartment floor. And I literally mean the floor. We had no beds and thanks to Boner's genius idea of testing the durableness of our inflatable sofa with his ass-pocket full of explorer keys, we also had no sofa. We only had sleeping bags and layers of sabanas and blankets.

The day--about the 85th day to be exact--of Dolores' stay--rent free-- I and my roommate agreed that Dolores either had to pay or had to go. When Dolores came that night, she heard our woes and agreed to pay. The next morning Dolores was gone. Along with all of our Tupperware. Every single expensive neon green, pink, and yellow Tupperware, proudly bought by my and my roommate's matriarchs; the Tupperware we took as mementos from home, as a jab to our m…

El amor is nothing but a victim of human desire

When you get to the longest tunnel on the express, hold your breath 'til the end then make your wish, she said.

We always passed through that tunnel on I90/94. We lived by Belmont and California Avenue. My mom or dad would get on the express way via the Kedzie Avenue entrance. Evertime we'd get to the downtown tunnel I'd hold my breath with the strong faith of a religious woman and repeated,  I want love, I want love, I want someone to love me.


A white long sleeve shirt from Discovery that had the word "LOVE"--a heart in place of the "O"-- in black bold Calibri font was my favorite shirt in sixth grade. I was eleven years old. It was a fitted shirt my dad's young girlfriend bought me with my dad's money. Or maybe it was just a gift from her. Or maybe she took me to Discovery and let me pick out what I wanted--a pair of shorts with glitter buttons on the hips, a crop top that had a white transparent shirt underneath.

A boy from my class was the c…

Mar's Liver

When my parents divorced, my dad met a Filipina woman named Mar. To affirm their courtship, she invited my brothers and me for dinner at her duplex first-floor apartment in Lincoln Park.

"Have some, Carmen," she said when she noticed me looking at the lumps sizzling in a black pan on the stainless steel stove.

"It's ground beef," she said, giving me a curved white plate, the kind you find in Ikea. "Your dad told me you don't like liver."

I continued to stare at the pan, watching Mar scoop up some ground beef with her wooden spoon.

"Thank you," I said before I walked to the table directly across from the stove. It was a small apartment but it was cozy and clean. I felt my spirit safe in this place.

Mar placed a tray of tortillas on the table and my dad and brothers hands were like tentacles immediately attacking the tray. I, at last, grabbed two tortillas (I like my tacos doubled up) and made my taco. The sweet meaty juice dripped down my…

te quiero mucho 'ma, te quiero mucho

It's not la hueva that kicks in
that makes me feel heavy--
                                 from my forehead
                                 to my belly button

blood is thicker than water
and though my heart yearns for you
my stomach churns

¿porque no vienes a visitar me?

I'm never able to tell you:

because I don't want to stay there long
because when I go I feel like I have to stay there forever
and all I've ever wanted to do is leave

I tell you to come with me
why don't you leave
your home behind

come and use that money,
and buy a place close to me,
come to me

but you won't come

you say your house is worth more
then what the brokers want to pay
you say you don't want a condominium
you will feel boxed in

you love your garden and your flowers and the roses and the mamey canopy and your lapiz lazuli stair rails and your black iron gate and your dried grapevines and I love them too and I love you
pero duele

duele ir a visitarte
sabiendo que,
que estas sola
d…

55th and Pulaski

I almost hit a school girl while turning east her jean-clad legs and hi-top tenis continued forward in their determined, relaxed, pace
We saw each other through my car door window--                                                                  the air blew her dark brown hair into a swirl                                                                  her chest, she held high                                                                  her hands rested in her navy jacket pockets
I remember stepping into a pair yellow thin lines in the middle of 79th street, just west of Pulaski Road. The car-pierced air threatened to push me into the car lane
the air pushed me forward but then jerked me back
but i loved it
i loved it.

The importance of the brown round table

It wasn't until last summer
that i felt the need to write down
my mother's and father's personal stories

It wasn't until last week
that i felt the value in each
individual piece

I don't feel value
in my other pieces or my work
at my office job which helps
so many people

but what is the value of a life lived
in Chicago, as a woman, as a brown woman
as a woman who labels herself
Mexican and chubby

is it only up to me to build this
value, to build it inside of me
so that others can feel then see
that i do belong here

that my words belong
on this page for you
to read


About house parties and freestyle music

There was a house party at Shorty's on Artesian and 49th. We wore our  butterfly skorts and kswiss shoes, our hair gelled and split, with two thick strands of hair  tied tightly behind our heads. Slick. We pre partied by spending hours looking in the mirror. we looked so damn good at 14. We walked from 52nd and Talman to the party. At 50th and maplewood, we see Moreno making his way, too. We all thought he looked kinda good, but whatever. Once we got to Shorty's she came to greet us at her house door, her lip liner flawless and her curly hair crisp with herbal mousse. Her beeper went off and we walked in, shyly. Prototype played loudly through the mix board speakers, the single floor house was filled with boys. We walked to the couch and sat down, our knees inward. Shorty's back at the door, Mikey!, she says, I turned my head and took a look. He was tall, with a white shirt showing beneath his unbuttoned shirt. He had boot cut jeans that layed over his black combat boots.…