Posted Mar 18 2006

Guest writer Ixta Menchaca is a 23-year-old poet, animal-lover, and activist. Raised in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, she is a 2002 graduate of the University of Michigan and is currently working in a U-M student affairs office dedicated to promoting social justice. She hopes to get her MFA in creative writing and bring a little justice and flavor to the world with her writing.

Pulsing music—
pounding rhythms
opposite the sound—
rain beating glass,
Drops streaming down,
Blurring all vision like sweat mixing with tears.

Cars like this—
They were never seen in el barrio (still aren’t),
when I was old enough to see fights,
but not fast enough to outrun them.

Hands caked dirty from work,
Papá trained me to walk the streets proud,
Ready to defeat anyone who threatened my

Now, golden boy at twenty-six,
I wait to be carried
on the shoulders of a few—
always listening hard
for the roar of approval
from the two countries
I pledge allegiance to.

For every red glove ready to cut me down,
I am flattened up against my will
Snap back,
Mind and Body taut like red ropes
in the silence just before—


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