Baby

Baby

The warmth of your
furry little body
the sweetest of sensations

Freed from your cage
Reborn as my lady
Liberty

Velvet black coat
like a tuxedo
with a white patch

you meow hello
you meow wake up
meow meow meow
feed me

the best alarm clock
snuggling me at a
quarter to five

sleeping at my feet
above my head, on my chest
or next to my bosom
and hum a purring melody

you patiently wait
every morning as I
fight past my morning haze

as my left foot
searches for one slipper
and the right follows next

our noses kiss
to say goodbye
and hello

every day you adjust
into the sweetest
nap time poses

one paw lazily
extends past another
or covers your face

sleep sleep sleep
yawn yawn yawn
and belly rubs

innocent face hunter
you pounce, wail
determination etched
on your face

eyes green like grapes
widen every time
I eat chicken

You’re like Garfield
trapped in a skinny
body

Harder for you
to get adopted
because you have FIV
which is cat HIV

Grateful that I found you
because you’re the perfect
kitty to me.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Protesting is American
after feeling betrayed
and afraid
Comforted by messages
from the picket lines.

The people united
will never
be defeated
Muslim lives matter
Black lives matter
Trans lives matter
Crowds of marginalized
and majority
because white silence
equals
violence.

No to
sexism
homophobia
Islamophobia
Racism
Xenophobia
Arms in arms
Building this country
this is what
democracy looks like

Interstate

Interstate

We are not
interfaith
nor
inter race
but in fact
interstate.

The Hudson River
causes a great divide,
the grass seemingly
greener
on each
respective
side

Battle lines drawn over
where we will reside

The Garden state
are where my roots
lie,
hailing from a
square mile town
summer spent at Seaside
feasting on
cheese steaks
lemonade
pink cotton candy.

Him, a rare breed of
Native New Yorker
pumping with a
Harlem Heartbeat
A sage of subway shortcuts.

Now
we are Inwood living
spacious apartment
high ceilings

The One train providing
a gentle serenade

Hearing bachata
y tipico
bursting from the streets
Seeking the Icee lady
and snacking on dollar empanadas

Working together
to build
our new home,
smells of fabuloso
and baked chicken.

Seeing Jersey
from Harlem’s Riverside
Finding subway grates
Marked Harrison, NJ
Campbell foundry made

My Garden state
is only three
heels click away.

Takeaway

Takeaway

Reality is richer
than fiction

I found the dress
I was raped in
and didn’t know
what to do with it.
I haven’t for years

You know the dress too,
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic
white dress
cooling herself
over a subway grate.
It happened on a Halloween
I was her
he was pimp
reality, richer than fiction.

The first poem
I ever wrote
was titled, “Dirty White”
written at 12
about a woman
raped
feeling dirty
in a dress
on her wedding day,
foreshadowing my own
event.

I’ve contemplated,
burning it
as if the fire
could burn away the memory,
I’ve thought about
giving it away
but fearful that
it will be someone else’s
misfortune.

I’ve thought about
washing and wearing it
a bizarre testament
that I’ve healed
then dread washes over me
like unexpected rain
that it will happen again.

Marilyn and I are bonded
insight into
a polarizing figure
the sadness behind her eyes
the madness that consumed her
but shines effortlessly on screen
Impossible to look away from
her reality greater than fiction.

I’ve thought about
my experiences
Trying to justify
Find reasoning
Accepted that I’m given what
I can handle.
My poetic purpose interpreting
reality richer than fiction.

Shallow/depths

Shallow/depths

I wish I could
be seen
inside
out

Maybe it’d be easier
to see the complexities

you would see
how much
I’m covered
in cobwebs
commonly known
as anxiety.

I have scars
inside
and out
You’d see
jagged wounds
that never properly
healed.
The outside is scarred
by neurosis,
I compulsively
pick
at anything
that doesn’t belong.
I scratch off scabs
I hate
the way they feel
and look,
rough
I pick
searching for new skin
to be seen.

I force myself
to embrace
my bare face
my version
of aversion therapy.
Last week
I wore my armor,
make up
But when I glazed
in the mirror
I didn’t recognize myself

I love my ninja turtle shirt
just as much as my maxi dress
love flip flops
just as much as stilettos
Neither defines me.

My imperfections
are magnified
in my eyes

and it’s always relative
you never appreciate
the present enough
till it’s the future

If I’m inside
out
you’ll see my fat
just hanging
in all it’s flabby
glory
not hidden
under black clothing
or
forgiving fabrics.

If only you’d see me
my muscle tendons
stringy like red yarn
instead of my
involuntary vanilla complexion,
my genes decided to arbitrarily
adhere to European
standards of beauty
without my permission
I’ve heard confessions
admiring my Casper complexion
“Todo te queda bien con tu piel”
Everything looks good with your
skin tone
admissions of colonized mentalities
“You don’t look Peruvian”
as if they had seen
all the millions of us
because when I walked around
in Lima
I saw a bunch of my clones,
my Peruvian people recognized
me as their own.
“You’re too pretty to be Peruvian”
Instantly degrading
devaluing Indigenous
and African beauty
which is my real make up
I’m sure my bones
have etched on them
the entire Andes mountain
range
and my heart
beats to the rhythm of el cajon.

I wish you could see me
as I see you
inside,out
all it takes
is a look of the eyes
The cliche holds true
The glaze of envy
that for your own sake
I hope is temporary
the narrow minded
the angry glint
of ignorance
but
I’m comforted when I meet
kindness
compassion
and general goodness.

I wish I was inside out
see my soul
the color it is
I’ve always been fond of pink
maybe the soul is the aura
of the heart

That’s the part of me
I really wish you could see
how vulnerable
and sensitive
it beats.

To my future daughter

To my future daughter

I love you
and I hope
I showed
or spoke
those words to you
every day.

I’m 27 borderline 28
and you’re nowhere
on the horizon

Right now
I’ve been working
making the world
a little better
before you arrive

I know
I’ll have called
you a leader
more than
princess

You will play more
than house
unless it involves
how to build that
house.
You will be beautiful
from the inside
out

Strength is our legacy

You come from your
great great abuela Matilde
who was a feminist
before the term
even existed.

you come from
Aurora y Ortencia
Fairy tale abuelas
known for their love

Love is my superpower
and will be yours too
Love, to understand
love, to have patience
love so you can forgive
love because it’s the closest
thing to magic.

You come from your
bisabuela Laura
A single mother
in 1950s Peru
selling tamales to survive.
She cooked from the heart
and had magical pots
that made enough food
for everyone.

you come from your
bisabuela Angela
whose hips gave birth
to 12 children
Patient
Making all of their clothes
Passed early on
but immortalized
by naming almost every female
after her.

you come from your abuela
Angela
with unparalleled work ethnic
never greedy
taught me how to be giving
because there’s always someone
in a worse position

You also come from me,
when life hands me
tough at bats
I always swing for the fences

when you find yourself
in difficult positions
pause
be grateful
Take it as a compliment from God
because we are only given
what we can handle.

I’m 27 borderline 28
and I’m learning every day
how to be better
how to take the high road
and not stray.

I’ll always be in your corner
gently guiding
but I will tell you
when you’re wrong.
I will not judge your mistakes
because I love you already.

I think about the day
we finally meet
and hold you.

I aspire to be your role model
but you will have a great destiny
be my greatest legacy
I love you
and I don’t even know you
Mi hija,
live life fearlessly
don’t be intimated by
darkness
or heartbreaks
because you’re blessed
by God’s grace.

Dear Stanford Rape Victim

Dear Stanford Rape Victim

You are not a victim
but a survivor.

Victims are paralyzed
survivors find strength
in the pain

You did not ask for this
but now you’re shining,
a lighthouse
to those who did not get
their day in court.

Using your voice
to testify against
injustice of class and privilege
not going quietly into the night
rape perpetrators need to live in fear
not us.

I read your story
with wet eyes,
as survivors
we are bonded
empathizing through the process

rape is rape

Rape can happen
behind dumpsters
with a stranger,
at college party
with a friend,
in your home
with a spouse,
at home with
a family member

regardless of circumstances

rape is rape.

20 minutes of action caused
irrevocable damage to you
the public to dissect
the worst experience of your life

But I can tell you that
slowly

you will feel your worth again
the nightmares will stop
you will feel safe
you will find intimacy
you will feel confident
most importantly,
your voice and power
have already been found.

You are not a victim,
you are surviving
and soon you will be
thriving.

Courage found in your vulnerability

soak up your own words,
you are beautiful
you are valued
you are respected
you are powerful

and I am with you.