Sunday Jul 14

LuisLopezMaldonado Luis Lopez-Maldonado is a Xicano poet born and raised in Orange County, CA. 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, Off Channel, and Spillway, among many others. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Florida State University. He is currently a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, where he is 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. 

Bareback Sonata

Tonight the muted thunder will roar
between my legs, sweet juices dripping

from hole hickeys spreading on chest como confetti.
Daises will grow from my fingertips

and when you are long gone I shall dream
in the echo of a shadow: I will fix face muscles

to invert a smile, snorting porcelain off table,
praying to La Santa Virgen for the next best manthing.

The sky is thick with clouds and smog and fog
and my lips unpurse to say this: let my labios

brush velvet shadows, feathers for eyelashes
and another year another summer, whitherfades.

What We Need To Say To White Society

Here I am: weaponless w/open arms
w/ only my brown chest wide back
dangling earrings brushing neck,

here I am, in Califas where every Mexicano
grows fruit trees instead of white rose bushes,
naranjas guayabas limónes, where
your people point @ cholos y cholas w/
oldschool Nikes, socks pulled up to heaven
their pride melting in streets of L.A.

Here I AM, teaching your children English,
showing them poetry exists beyond
the pages of Frost & Whitman, beyond
rhyme & highschool shit,

here I am drunk on the curb across
a thick lady selling bacon-wrapped hotdogs
w/ grilled onions & green peppers,
Cuantos quieres mjo? But you still try
to swat us like a fly to call ICE & make us cry,
to undertip us as you sip transparent wine
pick & play w/ your steak, buying stars
to name them own them, like you want to own us:
but the body has memory more than its’ weight
& it does not erase & we will not behave
because we always feel most brown when you
stand beside us beside boss fuck mí,

perhaps this is how racism is supposed to feel.  

For my mother

Wrapped around your neck is a Swarovski necklace I gave you on El Dia De Las Madres, though the year I don’t remember, maybe it was the year you and dad kicked me out of the house for getting a tattoo for piercing my upper ear for over-tweezing my eyebrows, no se,

Your hands keep moving moving in a circular motion as pale fingers cut through white flour caress the yolks of six eggs violate the salt with warm water, you ask me to give you the baking powder and I grab the bicarbonato and you yell at me, ese no! 

You still forget I don’t eat meat and you serve me a plate with beans huevo con chile potatoes with steak onion and tomato, I smile, give the plate to my dad and you blush, putting your fingers together and snapping, nodding your head, thinking you’re stupid for forgetting I’m gay vegetarian single and fabulous,

Steam floats up into the crystal chandelier and you throw a tortilla onto my plate just the way I like them with little burnt freckles, traces of flour on the outskirts of its roundness, and you pass me the Cacique queso Ranchero and I cut a thick slice, grab some chiles en vinagre too, and you start with the chisme,

Outside the sky is a deep deep blue, and I sit listening to you talk about my abuelita and tias moaning here and there, nodding too, letting you know I am listening and joining your Sunday rant, but inside me in some dark corner I see myself becoming more and more like you, the way you worry, the way you forget little things and the way you make a hundred tortillas just for the three of us:

smell of tortillas de harina perforating our beige walls drowned with family pictures, Mexican faces Mexican babies Mexican weddings.