Guest Post — Yosimar Reyes

Yosimar Reyes is a queer, undocumented, poet, performance artist and public speaker. I often share his amazing poems here which let his words travel the world. His gift as a poet speaks to each of our hearts. He is not just immigrant-poet or queer-poet but speaker of the human truth. He calls us to look at people of love around us, at ordinary blessings which are so important, and yet at the way treating people as nothings has become “ordinary” in our desperate world. Yosi insists that we answer questions we have not wanted to put to ourselves…….. What are we holding on to?

Abuela …

Abuela is 86
I think of our lives here
How we managed to survive

I was a kid once
Felt as much American
As Moesha or Steve Urkle
Little did I know then
We were not wanted
We’ve never been wanted

I think of my neighborhood
An entire block of undocumented people
Señoras who build businesses
From selling tamales, flowers, fruit on the side of the road
Señores standing on a Home Depot parking lots
Roofing, landscaping,
We do it all

“They are targeted raids. Only picking up criminals”

I think of collateral damage
When they bomb a target location
The explosion might impact the innocent
But who is innocent
When undocumented is synonymous with criminality

I think of confusion
How does this make sense?

In the end I think is it worth it, this stress, anxiety, terror?

What are we holding on to?

The first bed …

The first bed I owned was when I was 23
walked into Macy’s
amazed at the different mattresses
it took me three months to save enough
but I felt proud because it was all my own
no more sleeping on couches
and living room floors.
a bed and a room
some Virginia Woolf type shit

I think of my grandmother
how she went from swinging on a hammock
to crossing over to lay on the living floor
how she pilled
cobijas San Marcos making a cushion
beneath our bodies
how warm we slept
how happy we lived
despite the adversity

I think of the blessing I was gifted
amidst poverty
imagination and innovation
an old lady
that taught me how
to build from nothing

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