[Everywhere Apart]
—after Javier Carrillo’s “La Migra”

Quién soy? Quién eres?
Momma said between my lips rests an open invitation for a trapping,
Watch out, they’re watching.
Between my name burns a cancer stick, deadly bad timing, handcuffs laughing
As if someone could be too suspicious of my slurred words,
Crumbled beneath my earth colored flesh,
Be careful, they’re listening.
Daddy is a ghost in my throat, he never came around, taken before I could utter
A sound of dissatisfaction or drunken swine speech.
I hide in a tunnel, I count my blessings as foreign names surround me,
damn me in their hands,
Resist the urge to come together as I know this, too, will puncture me when I’m gone.
I’m brittle figments whimpering, I’m those without a chance to keep prayers intact,
Splitting us, vibrating as momma says heritage,
Is a cultural curse that rests between thighs and profanity
A divine line, Spanish blood, clings to forsaken worth,
Where did I come from, and where did I go?
Se me olvida dónde es mi casa. Se me olvida que mi casa no es contigo,
Alguna vez me reconocía yo mismo,
Chains on one identity, hoping to crumble,
You transport me from here to there, a life without a rebirth, second-chance sentiment,
I’m not above a question, momma said I invite these demons,
All pale and moonlit, my pulse sits cracked and jagged,
As I wait for someone yelling “Halt, stay.” and drag me away,
Friction against a suit, against a badge, that has cured me of my own bravery,
But I am, but I am, all hands-out, brave, watching separation like a coil and burn out,
Waiting to echo and scream what it means to come to a land,
That has been yours, and dissolve, dilute,
I forget what home is, what muted-out voice I used to know,
With a quick questioning of where I am from.


Hands in the form of “Let Go”
—after Javier Carrillo’s “La Migra”

a game, old form cops and robbers shame,
Seek to destroy—down the road, a body cuffed on the curb,
All whistled out heat-stroke, all brittle mud eroded love.
Someone has asked them questions,
There is no pulse, ears fall deaf on understanding, a beat dismissed,
Loops and collision stick in their throat,
We choke on words we don’t know.

How to say: save me, how to say: not from your world,
When to whisper: let go of me, I’m no one mister,
As disaster kissed what little truth was available as excuse,
Beneath black boots, all razor-blade belts, envious green shirts, authority down our backs,
Stretched between the powerful and the powerless,
Twisted by white light, copper tongues,
I crisscross after my own thoughts.

One hand, one back,
Held shame, would blame,
Someone who can’t pronounce their own name,
Detained eyes, flush white and blink, arrested lies on your spine,
Could unwind, with careful timing of words, but would that be enough?
We wouldn’t know, we’re the other show,
Freedom come grab me, and then let me go.


Mateo LaraMateo Lara is working toward a degree in English Literature from California State University, Bakersfield. He is proud to be Mexican-American, learning to embrace and find who he is inside its history, language, and culture. His collections of poetry, La Futura Tuga and X, Marks the Spot, are available on Amazon, and his poems have been featured in The New Engagement and Orpheus.