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May 20, 2022

3 Poems

Julián Martinez

speaking in tongues


spanish came speared into the socked jaws of my people

sawed off the Indio dialects over siglos and snorted the dust

cuz there was trade to rush with ingleses as rust-taste gushing

buzzed like love called us beautiful struggle called us for

callbacks for the play where the Brown y Black learn to arch

backs for the white man’s painting before the curtain stashes

us backstage again and the audience claps high off that

sensation of sitting in a restaurant with all these ethnic options

but can’t take the sweat as my people open sesame

red running molars when they ask us what’s the recipe


Backyard Party

I played an old-school norteño on the speakers —

Kynisha laughed 

and asked if I was trying to revive our ancestors.


She unplugged my phone and plugged in hers

then played the newest Latino pop hit on the speakers.


Our ancestors cheered,

took over our bodies and got fuckin’ down.


Tanka Picante

Mom’s chile hit

when a moment of silence

fell upon the dinner table,

each guest peering in

to their own directio—*cough*