on the late night

All Father, father of my family

the start of everything I am and the end of everything I ever will be


I think of you

late at night when I’m trapped in White Man’s Land


I think of everything that I’ve done

the friendships carefully crafted

the books I’ve read

book spines peeled open from reading

all the essays that these hands

hands made in your image

have written.


I think of the family that I left behind

in that far away city

like when you would leave Mother Creation

in that little house of white adobe

while you lead men and cattle through the great north.


Sometimes I am struck with thinking

in that red clay where you and

Mother Creation

formed this face and this body

round and strong

like a clay pot filled with pure water.


I think of all the things I’ve made

of all the things unmade

of the hate that some have for me

of the love of others save for me


I think of the words formed

on this mouth that’s a carbon copy of your own

these lips that confront the impossibilities of being

and not being

here in the north.


Sometimes I am struck with thinking

all the sunlit day and the cool night


this Mexican blood

this Chicana voice, high pitched and loud

this indigenous body

broad and brown and bold


Sometimes when I see myself

reflected in those blue eyes

of pale face men who swear

that they love me they love me they love me

my skin enlaced

with that blue tinge

like Malintzin

when she was between the arms

of he who toppled Moctezuma


All Father,


when I get to thinking

I lay there and I ask myself

Are you proud of me?







Papa Grande, padre de mi familia

el comienso de todo lo que soy y todo lo que sere

a veces

pienso de ti

en las noches aqui atrapada in gringolandia


pienso en todo lo que he hecho

las amistades que he formado

los libros que he leido

los ensayos que estos manos

formado en tu imagen

han escrito.


pienso en la familia que  he abandonado

en un pueblo lejano

como cuando tu dejabas a Mama Concepcion

en esa casita de adobe blanca

mientras tu cabalgabas por el Norte.


A veces me quedo pensando

en esa tierra rojiza donde tu y

Mama Concepcion formaron

Esta cara y este cuerpo

redondeada y fuerte

como un jarro de agua pura.


Pienso en todo lo que he hecho

en todo lo desecho

en el desprecio que me tienen unos y

el amor que me tienen otros


Pienso en esas palabras

formaron en esta boca parecida a la tuya

que enfrentan imposibilidades

de ser o no ser

aqui en el Norte.


A veces me quedo pensando todo el santo dia y

toda la noche entera

en esta sangre Mexicana

esta voz Chicana aguda y feroz

este cuerpo indigena

ancho y marron y magnifico


A veces cuando me miro

reflejada en esos ojos azules

de hombres palidos que juran

que me aman que me aman que me aman

mi piel envuelta

en esa tinta azulada

semejante Malintzin

cuando estubo entre esos brasos

Que tumbo a Moctezuma


A veces en esto me quedo pensando, Papa Grande,

Y me pregunto

¿Estas orgullosa de mi?


please please please

can we talk? can I

bare you my square teeth in full grimace

suck in my body til I collapse

like a dying star?


I know I know I know


lift me up you are

the rock on which I stand the

reason for everything I am


please please please

just hold me once more

even if I


deserve you.


I know I know I know

your migraines don’t touch the


just ignore

the bruises the torn hair the ring



please please please

hold me in

that strong

grip, that warm crush of

two bodies together from disparate continents that

soft warmth

that wraps around me

like the ocean

like golden sun at the mountaintop

like the desert sand around my feet

let me breath in that scent

soft blue and sunlight like your eyes.


I know I know I know

we always end up here

tears on someone’s face

I know I know I know

the way

my makeup stains when

we remember what your

forefathers stole from mine



please please please

just like that first spring

when you saw me smiling


when my eyes watered and glossed

the image of you untwining

the flower from my mat of hair

when those thick curls didn’t bother

your hardened hands when

you first held this clay body;


just please please please

I know I know we know

soon it’ll be the last

but just one more

soft sweet sound

of your arms wrapped around me

before we’ll never be the same again.