Las Cafeteras: For all the Ladies and Mothers

I remember living at UCSD Thurgood Marshall

Working at OVT

After grill grease burns

Rushing through SD, OC, LA traffic

to see gram, mom and girls

smile for the flash

It feels so long since you were alive


Flor de Toloache–Hell Yes! 

These mujeres are (my) heroines!

This reminds me of a story about Las Cafeteras:

Once while living in Eugene, OR, and working at a mortuary…

[George had seen Las Cafeteras play in L.A. back in the day]

“Oh! I forgot, this band from East L.A. is playing at WOW Hall, right now!”

“The band is from home? Ah finally some color!”

We rushed over to WOW Hall and joined in: dancing, clapping, singing along, heart open, smiling, misty vision

After the show, the band met the audience

“Thank you for being here… I’m from East L.A., too”

I proved my knowledge of streets and cross streets and Eastmont Elementary

“What are you doing here?”

“It’s hard to be here…so different from home.”

“I continue to hope I’ll find community–”

“Yes. Keep that hope alive.”

“We struggled at first, with so much criticism:

‘you’re not Chicana enough; you’re a disgrace…’

But we keep going…”

And at the end of the night, after hugs goodbye, goodluck, they gave us “It’s Time

I played it on repeat for over a month. Sitting in the car, listening to the music begin again, my heart grieves for a neverhome.

Remembering what it feels like to be in the arms of “family.”

Rachel Pollack and Sandra Cisneros

so much for the flyer

for the dream to be

here and now

is to be presently away

i have decided to focus my energy on tarot


common ground


quake’s aftershocks continue to incite

these demon fears
the seed has yet to take
hold these words: Fool
on a journey through secret triumphs

today i am working with a sodalite wand

willing the words to disengage and dislodge

i am calling the words out

i will be still. sitting. waiting. with patient heart to hear the cries

the mutter emits from the mighty voice box

the strangled throat

what/who is strangling you?

there is much to be said about protests on buddhist-inspired (appropreated?) green, in front of ancient tree

there is an insider


to swoop


a red tart passion tea

hot pink, a bright rhododendron

a sore in front of a free little library on stilts

made to withstand only summer without rain

a failing star


all within the last week

group photos

hand written notes

the collapse of the colonizer

it is difficult to navigate the private vs. public criticism
and yet, there are moments when we remember the collapse of the empire with the emperor’s last breath

what does the royal family see with eyes of compassion?

the rape that is never reported to the proper authorities–a rape so silent it stings?

the misguided students coming to terms with their racist beginnings?

the small mountain town that will not seat the colored woman who just walked in?

how can the home–as in “the poetics of space”–written by white privilege

stand as refuge

when the home is in a state of decay?

when the home represents fear of running into the aggressor


when the home abandons us: social media shows the POC pressing back

the home which does not support dreaming, day or night

when the home is not a home

[there is a shudder

it becomes too cold to stay]

[and so many leave since they’ve no place, until summoned back, there is a beckoning]

there is a call for a counter-poetics