Latinx

Student-Submitted Poems for Latinx Heritage Month

A Recipe for Rice and Beans
by Anna Pelegrino

My people are the sizzle of garlic frying 

Loud, intense, and full of flavor

Yelling at each other from another room

In intertwining phrases of English and Portuguese 

The oil spits as you stir

 my people are that wooden spoon,

When tia asks you to taste for salt you taste a thousand other meals

 their flavors absorbed in the wood like little remembrances

My great-grandma was a sharecropper

Working land she did not own

Out from cracks in the dry earth, she pulled herbs and medicines 

Overlooked, but tasty in a salad, a soothing syrup for a sore throat

My people are weeds

Resilient and gritty, emerging from cracked earth and poverty and foster care

The sun beating down but they do not wilt

Drop a bay leaf in the beans and stir in a little love

My people are a squeeze of lemon in the collard greens

Or in hot water with honey

Sticky sweet with kisses on the cheek and golden smiles dripping down faces

we are cocada and marmelada and tapioca com leite condensado

desserts that make your tooth ache and yearn for Brasil

My people are salty 

Like the ocean where we jump over seven waves on new years

For good luck and for iemanjá

Add a sprinkle to the rice 

My people are flavor 

The beans taste just right, served over mami’s fluffy and garlicky rice 

My people are the past and the present

The ingredients in our favorite meal

I Walk Into Every Room & Yell Where My People At
by Yvette Cardenas

i know we exist because of what they have. my dad works as a plumber. he’s worked as a plumber my whole life. and before that a pizza delivery guy and a dishwasher and a waiter. my mom was a factory worker. a cashier. a housekeeper. the white people in the park give us dirty looks because my mom doesn’t speak english.they stare at us in stores like gucci because they think we couldn’t afford such things. but they shop at our grocery stores. they line up at mexican restaurants and taco trucks run by us. they eat guacamole and chips. they praise and admire paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. and decorate their houses with mexican tonala pottery and serapes. they have big houses because of my uncles, and clean houses because of my aunts and mom. their electricity runs because of my uncle and their water because of my dad. they’re able to drive their car to work because of my uncles and cousins. and they’re coffee gets served hot because of my uncles. they like to watch Salma Hayek and Eugenio Derbez. and listen to Carlos Santana, Selena, and Ritchie Valens. they give us dirty looks, shaming us for the culture they bask in.

People around me
by Luna Valencia Topet

My people are Coffee in the morning

pizza on cold or hot days,

smells of homemade food like beans and rice

My people wake up too Birds chirping

dogs barking

the sound of the garbage truck every tuesday

My people are everywhere,

To meet all of them would take forever,

The smell of dirt 

And having a ranch

My people are dry fruit for decoration

Old wine that’s never been drink in the cabinets 

Old expired food 

Never thrown away, 

And green kitchens 

My people are having the speaker on 

when on the phone 

While talking to a family member 

and the volume all the way up in the mornings

My mom and dad are

“If you don’t change something in your life, life will change it for you and you might not like that change, 

so you should do it yourself” 

and

“Your sick because you use your phone to much” 

Or  “Your head hurts because you use your phone to much” 

My people are Forcing the family to help 

put up and decorate the Christmas tree, 

The smell of the usually dry turkey

 cooking in the morning of thanksgiving,

 The burning wishes in new year, and mouth full of grapes 

My people are sharing a backyard parking lot

Were the cement is half smooth and the other half bumpy 

Hearing the laughter of children running around 

The smell of, Flowers, Fruit, Vegetables, Grass and wood

My people are living closes to a street that’s like the freeway 

a corner store that’s right at the corner

Cars passing by 24/7

Yelling crackers 

My people are hearing loud noises but never calling the police

From a house 

Or just outside  

“My people are brave, 

Strong, Smart, and can get good or even great grades”

My dad says

My people know my dad gets new hobbies every 5 months 

painting

making earrings

Playing guitar 

To making Cappuccino

My people are using vaporub wherever their sick

and essential oils 

My people are never letting me light a candle

outside or inside.

My people walk through fire
by Rafael Revolorio

My people are Quetzalteca at new years
Con limón y sal
Eating frijoles licuados
As the sweet polluted gasoline smelling air 
fills the house

My people are bonfires
Listening to Kin Lalat
While the stories fill our souls
Of URNG
Fighting for freedom

My abuelita was Guatemala
Flying free as a quetzal
Never imprisoned
Migrating
America to Amerikkka

My people are mano taso
Loud
laughing
Stupid jokes echo like
Lola through the house

My people are the sweet atole
De elote
And we savor our memories
Like atole blanco
At the corner

My Family is as complicated
As el peten
A fragile ecosystem 
Strong enough to survive
Colonization, scorched earth

My friends, worms
Digging from book to
Book
We learn from courage
As we bridge others to ourselves

My people survive
My people are Nahuales
My people are nature
My people have been through fire
But we never burn

My people are chiles asados
by Ximena Mandujano

Poblano. 
The hot steam that comes out of
our ears when things don’t go our way
The stinging on children’s hand when you try to taste some of 
the Mandujano brothers food
Throats tight with smoke and chile

Limon.
The sourness defeats us when Canelo loses
Adriana has more than one purpose
Victoria a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother
We sizzle down as they care for us
It’s less spicy with limon

Cebolla.
Tears running down as Ruiz wins
The father daughter dances at quinces
Brenda, Karla, Alondra, Aislinn, Alexa, Valeria
Powerful women
Their tears don’t make them less

Puerco.
Our thick skin makes us who we are
Marching from Acambaro to Tiguana
To Santa Barbara to Anaheim
to Salinas to Sacramento
To the Bay Area
Thick skin est. 1918

Hominy.
Warmth coming from the stove
We are home now laughter fills the air
Cumbia playing in the background
Children in one table adults in another
Pozole scorching our throats as we get up for a second serving

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