Puro Pinche Poetry—Gritos del Barrio, edited by Ever Velasquez and Nicole Macias

Puro Pinche Poetry—Gritos del Barrio

These Puro Pinche Poetry—Gritos del Barrio poems originally ran in Razorcake 96-100 as a column. Here is a printable PDF and full text of these collected poems.

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The pages are sequential. We figured out how to do it on our end, but, man, printers are wildly different.
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Puro Pinche Poetry—Gritos del Barrio was created by two long-time Razorcake contributors Ever Velasquez and Nicole Macias. Although Razorcake has a very talented rotation of diverse artists, writers, photographers and illustrators, we felt Razorcake needed a platform to celebrate, elevate, and feature local Los Angeles-based, gender-nonconforming individuals, femmes of color writers, and poets. It is imperative for Ever and me to represent our cities, neighborhoods, and communities through the eyes of the people who actually grew up in them, not an unreal television version of our lives.

Puro Pinche Poetry is Razorcake’s first and only women of color-centered poetry column. Since its inception, we have featured and published over ten WOC poets.

Ever and I are extremely happy and proud of the success of Puro Pinche Poetry and the ability to offer our brown punk rock hermanas a tangible platform to share their work with our Razorcake familia. We can’t wait to meet more of you and publish your work! So, por favor, don’t be a stranger. Write to us, email us, tag us, and, most importantly, submit your work, chingados!

xx,

Nicole & Ever
Follow us @ever.a.k.a.the.girl.about.town @nicult

Puro Pinche Poetry—Gritos del Barrio
Cover illustration by Kimberli Colbert

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Ska y Frijoles

I love the weird ones.
The brown ones.
Las Morenitas with mohawks,
chealseas, and shaved heads.
With fishnets against their browness
como una sirena caught in a net.

Those who eat mole
while putting up their quiffs.
Who get blessed before they leave for dark nights of ska shows and 40 oz.

“Mija ten cuidado!”

“Okay mija bye!”

“Mas le vale que te portas bien!”

The ones who receive the silent goodbyes.

The ones who are called…
Feas.
Radas.
Sin Verguenza.
Putas.
Pendejas.

The ones who they call Callejeras,
you especially are my fucking people.

These are the Chicanas I love.

The Chicana Punx who decolonize.
Also the ones with no labels.
The rude and ska girls.
The rockabilly, psychobilly,
and metal head chicas.
The modern day Pachucas,
The goth Mexicanas.
The Skin byrds with the prickly hair
like the nopal.

I see you in the pit.
I see you on the sidewalk.
I see you on the mic screaming
because you are hurting.
Skanking because life is funner when you do.
Wrecking because the pain feels good.

Weird and brown.

Brown and wreckless.

Being weird and brown is essential.

People will tell you that you are less
because of it
and at times you will abandon your culture
because they hold the door open
to push you out.
Don’t let them.
Because this movement is for you and
no one can take away your culture
without your consent
and fuck those why try.

This one’s for the weird and brown.
The ones who speak shitty Spanish
and get told they are less Mexican
even though it’s our colonizers’ language and not ours.

For the ones with suppressed sexuality in Catholic homes
and heterosexual relationships.

For those who are sexually abused.
For those who are bullied.
For those who are undocumented,
do not feel ashamed to reclaim our stolen land.

For la Chicana who struggles
and hustles everyday

For la Chicana who is well off because of your parents sacrifice when they left the
motherland, respect their journey.
For the ones who live in small towns
and dream of the big city and being someone
You will.

For the women who have no one…
the most important person is yourself.

For the ones with nothing.

I give you this poem.

For the weird ones.
For the brown ones.

You will make it.

All you need is yourself.

–Alma Rosa

Alma Rosa is a Chicana writer, spoken word poet, and zine-maker who resides in Los Angeles, Calif. She is the founder of Frijolera Press, a DIY Xicana zine press. She is the creator of Tranquila Zine and Love in the Time of Trump. She is currently working on a new collection of stories titled Feathered Serpent: The Raven and the POEtry. Her hobbies include collecting paper mache skeletons and being in love.

How Do I Bear Witness?

they say only Jesus
cried tears of blood
but i’ve seen a black man
held in a choke hold
long enough to be Jesus

you’ve seen this too
you’ve watched it over and over
viral videos
replay repeat
hands raised up to the sky
bodies collapsing onto ground
and lips frantically
mouthing don’t shoot

so how can i ignore these murders
as i stroll through the park
enjoying how beautiful the sun is

this haunts me
and today blood is mine
as it pools in the streets
layering like scars
and I cry over how blackness
hasn’t changed, a target
still laying claim to hearts
laying claim to stomachs overflowing

america, we’re drowning in blood
and i’ve drowned a thousand times

in the blood of our dead
because black death is mine
just as much as it is yours

i am broken
my heart
another american casualty
but i’m not lonely here
because we are all in this together

baptized in their blood
no one is free
of guilt, not even me
i have a responsibility
to spread the word

they say only Jesus
cried tears of blood
but i’ve seen a black man
held in a choke hold
long enough to be Jesus

i’m watching black people die
i’m watching them disappear

and yet i go home at night
comfortable in my skin
cloaked in privilege
because blackness is crucifixion here

so i ask myself
how comfortable do i sleep at night
when hate is real
when hate is hidden in plain sight
when hate is just outside your home
like the KKK at your neighbors door?
when they’re rising
in Whittier and Fullerton
their flyers littering our steps
with messages of “trouble”
with messages of saving their race

so don’t tell me about progress
don’t tell me you understand
or that you know what oppression is

they say only Jesus
cried tears of blood
but i’ve seen a black man
held in a choke hold
long enough to be Jesus

it is not enough to be witness

i must be Jesus too
i must preach in the square
about love and humanity
even if it means
i may be crucified
at my brother’s side

–Cynthia Guardado

Cynthia Guardado is a Salvadorian-American poet and professor of English at Fullerton College. Her debut collection of poetry, Endeavor, was published by World Stage Press earlier this year and she is also the 2017 recipient of the Pellicer-Frost Binational Poetry Prize. (ig: @theguardedpoet)

We Are Still Here

We are still here,
Our voices will be heard.
We are still here,
With pride, we stand united!
We are still here,
Remaining strong and full of light!
Don’t forget that we have been here,
You erased us, but we are still here—fighting,
We are still here,
Forever we shall remain,
Tell’ em all we are going nowhere!

–Esperanza Cisneros

Homegirls

In my humble opinion, to be a homegirl is to be caring, to be honest
Homegirl means: support, adventure, and love
Being a homegirl, sometimes means
Being a bitch, but in the most forgiving and funniest of ways
To keep it real, to not betray each other’s confidence
They will come as relatives
In all shapes, genders, colors, and ages
A homegirl will never envy but instead be inspired!
A homegirl will not give up on you nor judge you!
Homegirls will teach, listen, and learn together
Homegirls don’t take advantage of your kindness
Homegirls are tender while strong
They know to appreciate
A homegirl will know, if and when a time may arise, for them to have to walk away
A homegirl embraces your true beauty within
Homegirls will stay for reasons, not for seasons
They have patience for your friendship
Homegirls will play records together
They will photograph each other
They will go for boba, coffee, or a forty
Homegirls buy plants together, to watch them grow as their friendship does everyday
Homegirls will go dancing any given day of the week
Being a Homegirl is PUNK ROCK AS FUCK!

–Esperanza Cisneros

Esperanza “The Xicanica” Cisneros is an artist of many mediums, including illustration, storytelling, and music. She resides in North Long Beach. Cisneros, who is twenty-four-years-old and of indigenous descent, hopes to inspire others through her work to embrace themselves for who they are and know they are never alone.
(email: chuchadoll93@yahoo.com, ig:@esaesperanza)

Frosted

Not frosted up in this cold world or getting roasted,
toasted on their dosage.
I’m on.
I’m on the side of the ion that gains with positivity.
Posted, position your seat.
Gave myself a dosage but overdosed on good habits.
Habitual, accustomed to practice.
Action that out.
My usual.
Like a commonly customary.
Dance, not in accordance with their political convention.
Connect to conduct conflict on our contacts, convert.
You ain’t on if you on their acts.
Convincing us violence is rule.
What should be Love Love.
True selflove, conquering.
Truth is, your hero is yourself.
Conquer your anger and hatred.
Love should be the core of all root, unlike rejection.
Love will determine the terms I put on all mine.
Miles fine on mine.
Line up, determine your battles.
Delete the deletion, they put on your soul to be lost.
Will you be a lost consumer?
Sum up your gravitational forces.
We pump theory in consumerism.
Increase what’s economically beneficial.
Consumption is a movement, don’t move that momentum.
Sum up your summary and summit your motives.
Affective, affectional on these emotions.
Motion, movement, motion.
Move into revolution of love.
Love is the peak of profection so protect your soul
and that’s the top of your profession.
Progress is always in the process.
Mind body and soul that’s your temple.
Tiptop your crown and rest on that crest.
Yes.

–Woo
(WooWooing@gmail.com, ig: @woowooing)

Brown Man

He was carried by the monarch through borders
hatched in the city of lost guidance
Only the hood knows who he is
Only the hood has seen him cry
Too afraid of his own masculinity
He yells at the love who tames him
She is quiet
She is the victim
of a broken dream
So tell me brown man, why hurt her?
She is as delicate as the monarch who birthed you.

–Annissa
(ig @mi.jita)

Ni importa 1

I try to believe that there’s a wisdom
in every part of life,
but sometimes there’s no metaphor for your hype mom.
And once upon a time,
she was so beautiful,
but that was long before you—
and by now she’s a falling angel; she’s been falling,
and what’s left of her are pieces
of her intestines, collapsed veins, and crystallized track marks.
And by the time you start to realize her,
she needs to be buried,
and all you have is to choose between gardenias or lilies.
So you decide “roses,” yellow and pink.
You think “it’s over, finally.”
But your family is fucked and so are you.

So you
detach, but they are in your bones and
sometimes you walk along their path and want to accept them, and you.
But you know how the men have a sweet tooth
for little girls—
So you go,
go away from them.
You know it won’t be so easy,
but you start your own family,
and you pick a guy you know you will hate
in a couple years.
That is why you chose him,
because really,
you want to be alone.
All the distance you made brings you back to who
and where
you came from, so when your sister tells you
about that one time she saw your mom
give a guy head for crack, or speed or heroin, you think
“at some point we all become our parents”
and you wonder what exactly
that means for you.

Sometimes when you least expect to be visited
your past will appear,
like when you’re fucking your man and he wants you to
go down.
You
say “no”
then flip your hair and close yourself
and he rolls over.
He isn’t asleep. You know
he is staring at the dirty yellow walls in the dark.
Sometimes you wake up in the morning, feeling mean,
so you resolve to drink it off;
let the devil out,
you head to the city,
to the bar,
to forget,
to let go.
The next day, in your underwear, and your man threatens to leave you,
because your vile soul was out last night,
and you want to fight him to stay,
but you know he should leave, he should go
find a “good girl,”
instead you both sit
silent in front of a bowl of soup, and
then you take
the sum of all your life’s bullshit—
you feel it tightens in your throat,
you dare it to tighten further,
you pray it kills you before you have to do it your fucken’ self.
Most times it doesn’t make any sense
and sometimes
it pulls on you
and you get to stop
for a minute
without blinking or breathing—
you wait—
because you know through experience that
this too shall pass.

Ni importa 2

She says she is tired of being hungry,
“No matter how much I eat,”
she says, “I can’t ever get full.”
She says a lot of things but I believe her when she says this. She felt that way long before the nine years since her intestines became exposed. Missing pieces since before the babies came,
before the three men who fathered her six children,
before the overdose, before the alcohol and heroin, before
she tried to send her firstborn out with the dope man, before, before,
before all that.
Even before her daddy her big brother her stepdad and all the others started burying their demons
on her tits and in her skin, when she told me
“Mija, every one has their ‘intentions.’”

–Rebecca Gonzales

Cultivated by the sun and moon peeking past the shoes dangling from the phone lines, Rebecca Gonzales was raised and resides one block east of “el pino” in East Los Angeles. Rebecca’s work has been published various literary anthologies and journals, including  Dryland Lit., Inchas de Poesia, The Mas Tequila Review, St. Sucia, Connotation Press, Literature for Life, and L.A. Cultural Weekly. She was the March 2014 winner of The Poets of New York series. Rebecca was a co-curator for Mujeres De Maiz Poetry from 2008-2017. She also curates the monthly poetry series Fails in Sexlandia. When not writing poetry or making frijoles de la olla, Rebecca can be found hand binding journals. You can follow her journal adventures on Instagram @blacksheep_binding or follow her poetry project on Instagram @kalypsothepoet. As a mother, she is humbled; as a poet she is obedient; and as a woman, she is unapologetic.

I have loved the wrong people
And I have allowed myself to love
them too much. I feel guilty.
Guilty because I loved them
much more than I could love myself.

You see, when I love—I only know how
to love so much my heart is going to explode into fireworks
I feel ashamed for not loving myself
as much, and not protecting myself
from those who couldn’t show me real love

I don’t know if I can give my love again,
but I know that loving myself is the only love I need.

–Alex Romero

Alex Romero is a twenty-three-year-old, first generation Xicana who was born in Boyle Heights and was raised in El Monte, Calif. and in Morelia, Michoacán (Mexico), by a single mother. Romero’s writing/poetry is tied to her personal experiences such as: heartbreaks, being a dark-skinned womxn of color (colorism), racism, and about her indigenous roots and ancestors. With Spanish as her first language, Romero’s poetry interweaves Spanish, English, and Spanglish. Romero unknowingly noticed that she began to write poetry after her grandfather Antonio de la Cruz Romero Góngora, a Mayan haikú poet from Yucatán, passed in September of 2015. She often feels that her poetry is a connection to her grandfather that was, in a way, passed down to her.
(Ig: @tinyavocado)

Queer elder on summer solstice weekend

Today
I drank an old
Dos XX at 4PM
Proofed a story
About art as pain
And scrambled
To assemble a fan
In the midst
Of
Too much heat
Each drill bit hack
Making me feel one step closer
To something
I threw a drenched paper towel
Over sparkling water
And let the freeze
Drip
Into my eyes
As I listened to
CSS
And remembered
What it was like
To be young
Sad
Queer
And alone
Sweat dripping
Under cheap denim
And onto old dirty shoes
Summer breaking down the door
On the heels of smoke and winter
I read
suggestions on
my solstice intentions
And start listening to
New Order
For the first time in my life
Fantasized about Ray Bans
Stability
And how I’ll ever
Get out of
This mess
How we’ll
Ever
Get
By
Because if Sagittarius is rising
If Sagittarius is sacred
If Sagittarius is full
When will it explode

–Candace Hansen
(ig: @candohando)

The Presidential Puta

Homegrrl huntin’
Con sus nails filados
Ojos piercing
Cat-wing cuchillo
Steel-toe botas
Bundled yerbas,
Brujita magic.
Mal de ojo
En la palma de su mano,
Rosary beads
Wrapped around her fingers
Como el serpiente de Edén,
She’s Eve’s late nite ass.

My Presidential Puta, presente.
Presente pa’ su gente.
Patrona de mi corazón,
Muxer primer.

My Presidential Puta
Ain’t poppin caps.
Pistolas ain’t shit
Disintegrating in the flames
Of this putita’s rage.

My Presidential Puta,
Nopalera,
Con corazón espinada,
Held in her hands,
One bite welcomes immortality,
One bit n oh shit,
World hunger healed.

My Presidential Puta,
Provocative like my thoughts,
Social justice siempre en mi mente.

Self-labeled puta,
Patrona, jefa, cabrona.
Ladyboss, hustler.
Huevona, xillona pero siempre xingona
The presidential puta
concocting cuentos, hechizos
para un pueblo unido,
Rasquache beauty, sustainability hoe.

Where’s my presidential puta?
La Puta that my dad said I’d become,
La Puta I wish I became,
La Puta I aspire to be.

Estefi

De repente I existed,
Just like Jesu Cristo.
They shoulda named me Jesus,
Por la divina que soy,
Pero instead
Stephanie.
Stephanie,
After the pirouetting white girl
From Full House.

Stephanie H.
At church with las monjas
Enraged by the Sex Pistol tiddies
seeping through my white robe.

Estephany
for my mima, mama, y papa.
Estefany
Like E-S-T-E-F-A-N-Y
The name on
Christmas cards n Junio jarritos
from mi abuela,

Tefi,
Pa las primas y tías
Exchanging carcajadas en Zacatecas,
En el rancho picking tunas,
beside nopales
posing with prickly limbs outstretched.

Estefi,
When my mama’s feet swell
Or her back pains pulsate,
Estefi for a massage con Cofal.

Could’ve been Paloma
Like papi wanted,
Not after blonde hair and blue eyes.
Paloma,
After the pigeons outside of Costco
bobbing heads
to shopping carts’ rhythmic roll.
I never feel Stephanie.
Instead
Esteph.
Esteph,
With an (eh) to begin,
The sound of indifference,
Siempre indifferente.

Estefi

–Steph M. Hernandez
Aka Xingona Patrona

Steph is a queer SalviMex rollerskating brujita from Norwalk, Calif. about to begin her second year at UCSC as a Community Studies major. She started writing poetry in order to help end a history of silence by inspiring others in her community to begin their own dialogue as well as to help herself heal from her own traumas.
(Twitter: @xingonapatrona, Ig: @xingonapatrona, SoundCloud: Xingona Patrona, Email: sherna50@ucsc.edu)

Where I’m From

I am from an unfinished patchwork quilt
From Fruit Striped gum
Apple Farm Hot Cider
I am from a tiny studio apartment
It felt cozy, calientita
I am from the fresh lavender
the violets
small tiny flowers
I’m from the gatherings at Christmas
Texican grandparents
Una bola de primas y primos
I’m from
loud talkers, music lovers
A long hospital stay
Mi propio terreno
una vaca
Orizaba
Mi abuelita Violeta Seráfico
She prays for me.
El Nombre del Padre,
del Hijo,
del Espíritu Santo
AMÉN
Making the sign of the cross
Tamales and horchata
From
The long dangerous walk my father made to be here
From Veracruz, Mexico
A tiny purple flower
independent, cabezuda
I am no shrinking violet!

El Face Del Cucui

El chukie ya está grande
Quiere ser jefe de este paíz
regresa los papas a México
Construir un pared
Destruido sueños
¡ Wachallé !
El Cucú se llama

Donald Trump

Las Nombres They Pick for “Me”

Mi abuelita siempre me dice ¿“que mi Reyna”?
she also calls me Miss America when I’m lazy and “sleep in.”
Mi grandpa me dice mi princesa,
My daddy calls me “bé bé”, but he also calls me la chimoltrufia
My cousins call me Milli on account of-my middle name is Milagros
Patti calls me la mula
on account of—I roll my eyes and say “whatever”
My mom calls me Chi-na-ca
on account of that—I didn’t know how to pronounce Chicana
But today reading to amazing poets

I think I’ll call myself
La Chingonita!

Red, White and Who?
A Conversation with a Villain

I will build a wall, no Mexicans will enter, they’re terrorists, drug dealers, murders.

Is that what he thinks? Really? Illegal bad people, really? Some Mexican who’s bad?

I will send them back to their awful country.

Me dices lo que tú quieres, pero no más eres alguien
que no sabe cómo querer, luchar, amar
You can tell me what you want,
but you’re just someone who doesn’t know how to care, fight, love.

You are stupid, sit down, go back to Univision
Do you mean Univision?

I speak to border guys
Do you mean Border Patrol?

Get out, go back to your country.
This is my country, I am a U.S. Citizen!

I can step onto the streets of Broadway, shoot anyone and I won’t get arrested

Do you know what it really means to be Mexican, the people who put grapes and strawberries on your table?

Under a constant shadow of fear
Constantemente bajo un sombre de miedo

Fear that you will return our parents back to Mexico
Temor que vas a regresar nuestros padres a México

Fear that you will destroy the dreams of the Dreamers
Miedo que vas a destruir sueños de los Soñadores

Fear that you will build a wall on this land that once belonged to Mexico
Temor de que vas a construir un pader sobre esta tierra que antes erer de México

Ser Mexicano is to care, fight, love
Querer, luchar, amar

Believe it or not I am really rich people like me
I will be the greatest jobs president ever!
I will build a great, great wall and Mexico will pay for that wall.

Sir your grand vision is as small as the view lens scope on your rifle.
What you fight for is “wrong, wrong, wrong”
“Mal, mal, mal”

Every word that comes out of your mouth comes out like a bullet of hate!
You don’t even know what the words liberty and freedom mean
It is “We the people” Not “I, I, I”

I will cleanse this land from its bruises

But you don’t cleanse you hate.

Our country is going to hell, the Mexican border is a sieve

Our country is in hell

–Violeta M. Tablilla-Esquivel

Violeta is a ten-year-old, L.A.-based poet who writes poems interweaved with Spanish. She is the daughter of an undocumented father who was picked up by ICE one morning on her way to school (the first day of fourth grade, just days after her ninth birthday.) Violeta has a story to share and it is the voice of today’s ten-year-old youth scared about the uncertainty of their world. Follow her journey @lapoetavioleta.

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