Dream #414

I was on a bus on my way to a new school, a high school on the south side of Chicago. I transferred to that school because I had moved into the area. The bus went south over a dark brick road bridge--it was dark because it was a gloomy day out--like the sky was heavy with rain. This new school was completely new--metal framework with floor-to-ceiling windows, open floors. The class body was mixed, with a majority being black and white students. I went to the second floor to wait in line at a check-in window. A very chatty boy behind me bumped into me and as I turned to look at him, we both felt an immediate attraction--we are both brown, we are both alternative. I'm reminded of my husband, I remembered I have a husband--maybe in that life or another--so I keep the boy in mind to feel less alone but ignore him as I wait in line.
I'm outside in the vast woods that is the campus of the high school. There is a pond and there are green rolling hills of different sizes, all moving l…


I didn't know of any Latina writers growing up. Of the Latino writers I knew of, I knew their long pieces of work, their novels. Novels is what real writers did. Short pieces come from poets. If you want to write short pieces, you should be a poet. This is what I had learned when I was a child.
When I learned about The House on Mango, I wasn't taught about the book nor about the writer, but I saved her name: Sandra Cisneros, a published writer, a published Latina writer. When I finally has the chance to get the book, I flipped through it and was immediately heartbroken--It wasn't a novel. I was still under the impression that great writers are novelists and instead of seeing the praise given to the book as a sign of great writing, I took it as a mockery. I took it as if the literary world was mocking the ability of Latina writers, as if short stories were the only thing we could do.
It's complicated now for me to talk about what I felt because in truth it had nothing t…

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

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.