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Mexican American Literature

Biographies of Houston Authors.

Reyes Ramirez

Reyes Ramirez is a Houstonian. In addition to having an MFA in Fiction, Reyes won the 2017 Blue Mesa Review Nonfiction Contest, 2014 riverSedge Poetry Prize, 2012 Sylvan Karchmer Fiction Prize, and has poems, stories, essays, and reviews (and/or forthcoming) in: Blue Mesa Review, Houston Noir, Southwestern American Literature, Gulf Coast Journal, Origins Journal, The Acentos Review, Cimarron Review, riverSedge: A Journal of Art and Literature, Front Porch Journal, the anthology pariahs: writing from outside the margins from SFASU Press, and elsewhere.

Genre- Poetry, Utopian

Interview with the Author

hijo, please

I

Get Celli. Tell her to gather enough change
to buy some apples. Make sure they are green.
I want the sourness to overwhelm mi lengua
like the weight of el sol on naked naked skin.

Also, bring me mis pastillas.
It hurts to be angry but feels so good
to be as pitiful as a perro with whittled teeth
and a desperacion to walk on two legs.

Hijo, marry a Mexicana because the desire
for something sweet is natural and mi gente
have understood this desire since they
ripped the hearts out of chests and showed

the glistening arteries to the sky,
all hot and sticky and breathing deep and quick
in gasping fascination with la gloria of
being alive.

II

You were always el mas feo.
Everyone else in the family is gorgeous,
beautiful Mexicanos with blue blue eyes
that could pass off as europeos.

I give birth to you and tu padre gets all the credit.
Your cheeks tan gacho as if you were melting
and eyes vacant like bones
que barbaridad que asco que lastima.

25As my body lies dying, Tomás, cortame el pelo,
all of it, take it to Mexico,
and throw it into a gust so my soul
disappears like honey into leche.

Make sure my body burns away in fuego
so that my skin does not rot trying to find juventud,
yellow like the left behind skin of a cicada
that may be crushed between los dedos.

III

Me fui and I'm not coming back.
The American air tastes like mierda,
not fit to morir in because I've experienced
peace once and was not so aburrido

as these people think, tirando bleach everywhere
y drinking wine that smells like culo.
Yo quiero pain that I've earned,
salvation in the blood under mis uñas.

Mi madre collected: sea shells, bracelets,
and nunca killed her chickens. Anything
as long as it could be destroyed.
I want to go home.

I don't care for the violence.
Yo soy la violencia.
I return to it
like a wave back into the sea.

IV

I don't like it when you say things
and you mean them.
Cosas como 'no,' 'I don't care,' and 'ya,'
as if you want to go into another world.

Yo recuerdo when you were chiquito, chiquito:
you would eat tomatoes not with bites but nibbles
that wore away el piel,
chunky jugo trickling out.

You would never talk,
masticando tomatoes to the center,
never blinking, a stain of red pulp
remained around tu lips, cheeks, and teeth.

Nunca did you make efforts to clean it off,
so I leaned in to wipe your face
and I would laugh and smile and say
mi niño, niño mío

 


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