angelica maria


cinco de mayo

For Cinco De Mayo my friend Hayley wears my grandmother’s skin.

Cackles like a hyena when she  asks if I like her costume,

And I mean like I didn’t e x p e c t to see my abuela’s ghost today.

I never thought I would see her taxidermied over someone else’s bones,
Never thought she would be turned into a fur coat
If that’s what you mean?

My friend drinks the night away as my grandmother.
Loves being mexican as she takes one tequila shot
after another.
As she associates our heritage with getting wasted, as
She celebrates it by forgetting.

Isn’t the only way you can celebrate today is by forgetting?

And it is  so. Much. Fun.

To be a part of a culture for one day get to leave before the killing happens.
To enjoy a party you weren’t invited to and disappear before the night is over.
Before truth gets spilled all over the floor like a mixed drink,
before someone lets you know this party is actually a celebration of your
family’s conquest?

They say you never know how drunk you are
until you see yourself in a bathroom mirror.

Hayley catches her reflection and is shocked to see she looks
like my grandmother.

Realizes her skin has started to freckle brown, fingers turned callous from decades of hand stitching blouses.
All of a sudden she is 75 year old Juanita from Zacatecas,
has 8 sons, 10 mouths to feed and and a lingering fear of deportation,
she doesn’t remember this being included in the costume package description.
She doesn’t want to wear my grandmother anymore.
Tries to take her off but realizes
the rebozo, (shall)  is glued to her skin.
The frown lines and arched eyebrows she painted on are part of her face now.
She can hear sirens and knows it is the police coming for her.
Can feel something coming up her stomach and it’s not just the tequila.
There is knocking on the door, the wolves are here
and what a time to be dressed
in sheep’s clothing.

She tries to tell them she is just a girl in a costume
And the police cackle like a pack of hyenas.

She tries to yell for help one last time
but realizes her tongue has forgotten english,
must have slid to the back of her throat
with the last
patron shot.

corner store boy

Corner store boy plays hacky sack with my self worth.
Corner store boy chews on the word bitch
like bubble gum pops it at anyone he pleases.
Corner store boy can’t see past the 4×5 feet space he loiters.
Corner store boy will be the first to degrade a woman
for her stretchmarks,-
won’t take responsibility for his though.
Won’t go home and kiss the ones on his mother’s stomach
and say thank you like he ought to

Corner store boy wants so badly to be a man,
corner store boy is just a little boy pounding against the womb of his man skin
is so infantile that his catcall sounds like a nursing scream
trying to build himself up by tearing down the same walls that brought him into this world

corner store boy keeps a picture of his  4 year old daughter as his iphone background,
doesn’t see her cover her knees when he calls me “slut”.
Doesn’t know everything he sees I isn’t for him to consume and spit out

Corner store boy doesn’t know any good jokes,

So he needs to turn me into one.

Corner store boy doesn’t know i am his daughter,
Doesn’t realize he just used our rape case as a punchline,

Won’t hear her begging him for help with hers six years from now because
he’s still
laughing at it.

can’t hear himself smacking our names
in the back of his mouth like bubblegum.

and best believe corner store boy would protect his baby girl from anything-
corner store boy doesn’t know he is her biggest threat to survival.

chronic resting bitchface


stands for
“Chronic Resting Bitchface”,
the newest heap of bullshit disguised in a joke to tell women (yet again) how we’re supposed to look.

I’ve been carrying a pocket knife since age 11
Where I’m from your guard is like your GPA-
if you’re smart you keep that shit up.
This look on my face,
these curved lips
and darted eyebrows
mouth statue still as i walk,
is an expression perfected over time.

my bitchface is a skill,
A technique practiced for 20 years
My bitchface is thousands of streets walked alone,
my bitchface is “try and me and I’ll put a key to your throat.”
My bitchface has no friends with it, it must defend itself always.
My bitchface is not sorry.
My bitchface is in a room full of men making rape jokes and is the only one not laughing.
My bitchface is tired from walking forty extra minutes home because the streets are lit that way.
My bitchface does not want to netflix and chill.
My bitchface smiles and
stills gets called a bitch.

Man in front of the barber shop tells me to look happy.

Man in front of the barber shop wants me pretty.

No, I want to tell him pretty is too easy to hurt.
Is too light to take without anyone noticing.
Puts a target on my chest,
got me followed home at twelve years old,
got my neighborhood friend raped out in front of her house.

Want to tell him pretty turns me into a ghost,
makes me victim,
makes its my fault-

My bitchface has much more to worry about than looking pretty
And here you are telling ME if I do not, 24/7 contribute to YOUR
viewing pleasure I have a disorder.

It blows my mind, how you are gonna say bitchface is an epidemic
and not acknowledge rape?

Wonder why women do not always smile
why we don’t always just pick up your compliments like free cheesecake?
For some of us compliments have always been the hammer
cocked back before the trigger,
so do not expect me not to flinch
when you call me beautiful.

So no-
this is not just my resting face.
This is endurance,
this is being woman,
this is sometimes the only weapon we have,
this is surviving war every day and
being ready for it again.

for Hector Morejon

If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and no one’s around to hear it,
did it make a sound?
If a brown body falls in the middle of the street and everybody hears it, but does nothing, does the sound even matter?
or better yet
If a brown body falls in the middle of the street and nobody makes a sound,
did the fall even happen?

If a brown body falls in the middle of the street and hundreds protest its happenance,
why is there is still so much silence?

We suspect that a tree might have fallen in the forest one time
and we turn it into a riddle, talk about it for centuries.

a living person died in the middle of the street last year
and nobody asked any questions.


tumblr_o6vnvi3o7j1r4kjcvo1_500Angelica Maria is an artist from Los Angeles who moved to Boston to tutor fourth graders from Latin and Central America to speak English. She’s a Mexican-American woman currently working toward her degree in English while painting and doing graphic design for Boston’s art community. Read her chapbook dolorosa out on pizza pi press.


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