SOMOS Fall 2018

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Fall 2018

Fall 2018


Representing Latinxs and Latinx Culture Through Literary and Visual Art



Letter from the Editors This semester, the pieces produced by the Brown Latinx community speak to the current hardships Latinxs are experiencing everywhere, namely, migration and the resurging violence made possible by the U.S. government. Directing their pain and frustration into their work, this issue’s artists have created sorrowful and introspective pieces like “Lunito” and “¿Qué Pensará Mi Mamá?”. “Ovum” too reflects this exasperation as it explores its intersections with identity and embodiment through a piercing free-verse poem that is both linguistically and aesthetically impactful. While overarchingly somber, this issue also features pieces that allude to the joy found in everyday moments. “Ten Truths of Loving My Immigrant Mother” reflects the resilience and bravery of families who navigate between borders. “Peacocks” celebrates how Latinx’s cultural symbols bring warmth and familiarity, reminding us of the boundaries we cross and return to. Finally, “moth·er·land” grapples with the liminality of identity and begs us to ponder what we gain and lose in the process of movement and assimilation. Inspired by these themes of wistful thinking and introspection, among many others, this semester’s magazine aims to share both the suffering and joy of our communities through different artistic mediums. The artists in this issue showcase the diverse ways in which resilience and courage manifest in the Latinx community. We hope you enjoy it! SOMOS 2

Fall 2018

Staff Alan Mendoza Sosa


Ayleen Sánchez


Andrea Vega Tronosco Brianna Kendall Manuel Ávalos

Public Relations Layout Editor Senior Portuguese Editor

Eliany Domínquez

Senior Spanish Editor

Edemir Castaño

Senior English Editor

Daniel Duarte

Spanish Editor

Leslie Benavides

Spanish Editor

María Nicole Bolaños

Spanish Editor

Alexandra Martinez

Spanish Editor

Teresa Concha

English Editor

Jimmy Richmond

English Editor




Fall 2018

Table of Contents Amor guerrero O Melhor de Mim Mama Mary moth·er·land ¿Qué pensará mi mamá? Aves 10 Truths of Loving My Immigrant Mother Hecho en Mexico Peacocks Lunito First Spring (Ovum) Untitled Untitled II Sundays No te puedo ver Evergreen

6 8 9 10 12 14 16

Marie-Anne Barrón María Nicole Bolaños Sami Faustino Sarah Martinez Estefany Delgadillo Franco Zacharzewski Eunice Gonzalez-Sierra

20 22 23 24 30 31 32 34 36

Sami Faustino Marianna McMurdock María Camila Arbeláez Solano María Camila Arbeláez Solano Jorge Cervantes Molina Jorge Cervantes Molina Eunice Gonzalez-Sierra Marie-Anne Barrón Evelyn Santos



Amor guerrero Marie-Anne Barrón

I know you loved me once. I can see it in our pictures. That magic was really there. How did I let it get away? I feel like what I love most always slips away from me. When I reach out to catch it, it’s already long gone. They say to fight for what you love, but do they ever tell you when to stop? I don’t give in easily. But when you hold on to someone who has already walked away, or when you try to hold onto fading memories that exist almost solely in your own mind now, is that determination and perseverance, or insanity? I can feel my mind slipping. I don’t want to say goodbye. All I ever do is despedirme de lo que más amo.


Fall 2018

Mis idiomas, mis culturas, mis verdaderos amores. Pero hoy intentaré recordar que lo mío siempre será mío, y lo que logró escaparse jamás lo fue. Así he descubierto que a la vez soy guerrera y amante. Porque sin el amor, what would motivate us to fight for anything?



O Melhor de Mim María Nicole Bolaños

O melhor de mim não é uma coisa palpável O melhor de mim é meu nome María O nome de minha mãe O nome de minha tia O nome de minha sogra Todos as Marías que conheço são mulheres fortes María– Grita coragem Encarna empenho Significa força María Tem o gosto de uma conglomeração de comidas culturais caseiras Mostra-se na valentia de criar três filhos sozinha Cheira a cachorros-quentes envoltos em toucinho, vendidos na rua para sustentar sua família Sente como saudade da pátria Soa como um milhão de “te amo”s e “tudo vai ficar bem”s ainda quando se sabe que não é a verdade María Somos de uma vila escondida Com mãos de obra camponesas e uma cesta de feijão A sangue nas nossas veias latinas sentem muitos dores e ao mesmo tempo gratidão pela vida Temos pele de couro que aguenta qualquer adversidade ou situação Somos os rostos mais belos que eu já vi Somos umas lutadoras Somos a espinha dorsal da família e da pátria Marías 8

Fall 2018

Mama Mary Sami Faustino



moth·er·land Sarah Martinez


Fall 2018

I was raised speaking English. I am not an immigrant and my parents are not immigrants. They were fed but dribbles of their parents’ tongue—that lilting, trilling language—but to them I am mija and together they groan ay, mijita. My mother speaks of making tortillas with her mother in a faded white kitchen, cracked linoleum underfoot, shadow of the California 710 looming overhead, but in my lifetime has only ever purchased El Guerrero (corn) and Mission (flour) in packs of 36 and 20. My father’s fatherland was his father’s fatherland (City of Angels, Los Angeles) and his cultural ties to Mexico are threadbare at best. Yet in the roots of my family’s collective memory el llano stretches far into the horizon. Kisses the land of yesterday’s tomorrow; sun streams down upon los estados—even-tilled rows upon rows of green in New Mexico, South Dakota, California. Leathered hands bury themselves in the deep earth of promise, draw forth decades of posadas and twice as many tostadas. In the dark of night, an endless array of cousins light a thousand Virgin candles; they moan a melancholy chorus al Padre y al Hijo y al Espíritu Santo. But it is not as it was in the beginning; I cannot say how it ever shall be por los siglos de los siglos. The cultural gap between my grandparents and my parents, between my parents and their children, between my brother and I remains fluid, waxing and waning in distance but ever deepening. I am American, a Mexican-American, an Americanized Mexican-American, America’s American, if only one faction would claim me as their own, if only I would claim one as my own. If only I knew where to begin, or perhaps more accurately, where the beginning meets the end, the now, my today. Somewhere along the line, California’s citrus orchards and the dusty hope of immigrants became an American struggle. Somewhere along the line, birth certificates and una idioma were lost to a failing Los Angeles school system and a lifetime of car repair. Somewhere along the line, the mothertongue became curriculum. Tamales became commodities. Clothing was purchased from stores, not pilfered from factories. Hands lifted wrenches in lieu of plows and then clutched pencils in lieu of pliers. I cannot say how much was lost, how much will be lost, how much can never be recovered. If I have a motherland, can it possibly be Mexico? Is it America? Is my motherland hidden in the dusty leaves of California agriculture, or under the eaves of East Los Angeles? America is here and here is America, I am here and here am I, here we are and here are we; wrapped in hope, in dreams, in histories long forgotten and histories growing at the forefront of memory. I think we are still one people, por los siglos de los siglos.



¿Qué pensará mi mamá? Estefany Delgadillo

¿Qué pensará mi mamá cuando le cuente de mis aventuras? ¿Cuando salga de noche, sola y sin avisar a nadie, cuando desaparezca sin pensar en mi regreso? ¿Pensará que nunca volveré? ¿Que cada vez que escape de un lugar, un estado, un país, una persona me estaré alargando más de ella? ¿Que algún día estaré tan lejos que intentar cerrar la distancia será inútil? ¿Qué pensará mi mamá si le digo que huir es lo único que he conocido? Si le explico,


Fall 2018

No he escogido la evasión sino que nunca he podido permanecer Tal vez pensará que lo he heredado de ella, de una familia que cruza estados, naciones, y emociones cual si fueran charcos de agua ¿Qué pensará mi mamá cuando se dé cuenta que no todas mis amigas son simplemente amigas? ¿Qué pensaría mi mamá si no fuera mi mamá? Eres mi hija, me dice Ningún “te amo” No tiene las palabras Que estés bien, me dice, Cuídate, ¿eso qué significa? Te quiero, Te amo, Me preocupas—no, Me preocupo por ti 13



Fall 2018


Franco Zacharzewski

13.5 x 9.5 inches Mixed Media At times it’s hard not to view Latinx identity beyond the parameters of immigration. For better or for worse, the role of travelers in determining overwhelming facets of our cultural heritages can be traced back through centuries. Aside from acknowledging this, Aves speaks out predominantly about the new waves of Latinx immigrants around the world. The efforts of those aiming to preserve Latinx traditions in environments where they are unfamiliar and even wrongly appropriated ought to be recognized and celebrated. Moreover, we must be aware of how these strains often interfere with our sense of identity, making us question our relationships to the cultures we so fervently embrace.



10 Truths of Loving My Immigrant Mother Eunice Gonzalez-Sierra

1. I am the daughter of two undocumented parents, a sister of two undocumented siblings. I wonder, how you separate family based on papers, how you separate families because they don’t have them? If there were a paper that stated our love for one another, would the state and the government deny that from us, too? 2. I found out what papeles were at the age of ten when I went to Mexico and my mother couldn’t join me. 3. I was eleven when I learned that the absence of these papeles could take my mother and father away, like the wind can take away this sheet of paper. 4. A high school counselor once asked my sister if she had papers, she responded, “yes, I have one here, I got an A” the counselor laughed mockingly, and clarified her question, “no, I meant papers, like citizenship.” 16

Fall 2018

My sister did not apply to college after that. A border so tall that my siblings couldn’t seem to see their dreams over it so they stopped looking. A border so tall that if they tried reaching they’d be afraid to fall to the other side and not be given the chance to come back. There are pieces of Mexico within them, too small to be remembered; they were too small to remember. There are pieces of the U.S within them, that have fogged the memory of what home could’ve been if only they were given the chance to go back. These same pieces are used to deem them unworthy of complete papeles. 5. Dear Republicans in Congress, frankly, fuck you. My family is not disposable. Dear Democrats in Congress, we are waiting. 6. My mother said I was conceived in Oaxaca, Mexico, where unlike here, brown is synonymous to beauty, she wants to go back with me so I can finally believe it.



I think she wants to go back to stay, is it selfish of me to want her to stay, here, where the U.S has deemed her expendable? Where the U.S doesn’t know how to love her like she deserves? The United States is like an abusive husband and the law continues to do nothing about it. 7. Dear Statue of Liberty, I looked up the meaning of your name, sources say you are an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad. Dear Statue of Liberty, they have defamed you, like the women that work this land; you have been used and abused. They made you lie to us. May I remind you, they have claimed ownership of you, they made you into an American version of la Malinche, and you’ve betrayed us for their satisfaction. 8. Dear Mamasita, I’m sorry this poem won’t amount to much in the eyes of your survival, I am sorry that my citizenship couldn’t help us out, to keep you here.


Fall 2018

I am sorry that the laws weren’t constructed in our favor and that the strawberries have already adopted you as their own. 9. I admit, this poem was difficult to write, I never thought I’d confine my family to the width and length of the papers that they have yet to be given, the ones they continue hoping for. 10. I hope you know, we’re all fighting for you, the strawberries need to know that you can no longer be their mother, your hands were not meant to stay in the soil for that long.




Fall 2018

Hecho en MĂŠxico Sami Faustino

Textile relief letter press print, skull motif: Lino cut print 9� x 13� The relief was made by using a woven sample to make an imprint on the paper. The skull was made by using a lino piece I carved into. For this piece I was inspired by the textile industry and factories in Mexico. I was also inspired by Aztec Art and Dia de los Muertos skulls. I imagine this piece as a poster to celebrate traditional art and craft.




Marianna McMurdock

My body and I remember California heat. The dry, rising-off-asphalt kind that leaves squiggly lines in my eyes when I look at the horizon too long. It was this heat that greeted me every time I woke up on Saturday morningscfor yard-saling. This is the heat of swap-meets, acres-wide markets that transformed a parking lot in Oceanside, and held everything from antique lamps to Alicia Keys CDs and fresh mangos. These swapmeets were home to one of life’s greatest treasures: the wooly animal blanket. Delicately packed into thick plastic with white zippers, you could choose between zebras, lions, cheetahs, tigers, even peacocks. These blankets, though, were no casual purchase – they last. The lions moved in and watched all six seasons of George Lopez with us; the cheetahs that we picked up at the San Ysidro border after a hunt for a prom dress in 2005 still wait for us on our couch. When my sister’s boyfriend’s parents visited from France, we traversed two swap-meets in search of their winter companion. Then there were my mother’s peacocks, her family from the peacock farm – a sort of desert oasis for her favorite bird – sent to protect me. It is the staple at my best friends’ sleepovers, the love Carmen would wrap me in straight out the dryer, even on an 80 degree day, the first thing I packed in my grandpa’s car when we were shipping it out East: rumpled indigo and fraying seams that make home home.


Fall 2018


MarĂ­a Camila ArbelĂĄez Solano



First Spring (Ovum) María Camila Arbeláez Solano

Red fermented night Bacteria silk-milk harvested By the holy speculum, sickle, The panty, pain’s gathering basket. Cervical tears milken as their tide


It has a neck, the womb A chicken pescuezo cawing-gawking neck Spewing weak milk and dead children

Man might wring and slaughter on the axe clitorial hood

the morning

Or let it sing

A holy rose


Song. of chewed up gum.

Fall 2018

clitorial beheading. Yeast blossoms, rot in gaping holes, bacteria dies A cotton swab Burnt the womb’s neck at the stakeThe speculum was forged On


¡Open legged!






little trash can of a p-ssyblack holestar anusSpaces for stray cottonchipped nailBlue jones soda bottles+ Incrusted tampon+ Speculum+ Copper+ Sighs of a growing boy

1,000 lost future children Baptized “creampie” a flock of swimming sheep

Cervical scarring Marks to whom the female belongs A little bugger of discharge with a lover’s hair coiled round Wire around precious quartz. Messages from the deepest self 26

Fall 2018

Appear on the great book of Hanes Underwear, Each crumpled panty a page A sheet on the great record of cervical sap-tide

Y sus rítmos, Lunáticos.

Hanes underwear factory trabajadora, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico Sews a double crescent the between the legsFrom dusk to dawn American cotTon

Tío Abel: And they did the birth control experiments on our women. They sterilized our women

In the beginning gd clawed and clawed at the splitting point stuck three fingers in the brown clay A piss finger, sex finger, shit finger. Lit them up for no gd reason. Smoke billows from the mouth. Penis shapes the three holed being into a hearth. 27


“No smoke pollutes my house”. Afterward, the wood is still wet and alive. Only dry wood to start a fire. Put your finger inside me, see I am still full of sap. Milk, Maria gives to protect Thin slime too. Vinegar, fish Cumin, lime, strawberry wine Wet the rinds of her insides The womb throat, the child canal, a ravaged panama Like the infected breast the cervix must also be sucked dry Mireya’s Birth, Cali, Colombia: Bloody, so much so the baby nearly drowns in blood and shit, (she waits for contractions, the babe eats its own feces) the sacerdote is brought to pray over her broken vagina, allowing life to leak out….

As kids we’d take sticks from the ground, soaked in morning dew and rub them together Shove purple clover flowers in our mouth. None found fire, though some could sense a burnt rubber smell.


Fall 2018

In the same room where mi tia, mi prima and my sister’s lumpy chests rise and surrender, I wake to break my false hymen under the witness of la luna, la virgen, la diosa Chia, and the rest of my matrilineal blood. I stare at her (the moon) while I pump in and out. We always lock eyes at this time, I was always up to keep the fire from consuming us. Abuela’s six miscarried children knock at the Door of Self. No one ever told me what birth would be like, she says. Sentí que iba a morir. Sap flows, enough for a crying orchard. First one finger I wait for pain

then two

then three.

instead pain waits for me.

There is a squelching sound, my hands don’t know where to put it. I am in the sea for the first time, it stinks in the right way. I take flight, I go thousands of leagues deep And feel the spit of god between my being. My sister says I smell bad (of rubber, burnt), as do the flowering trees of our first spring.




Jorge Cervantes Molina


Fall 2018

Untitled II Jorge Cervantes Molina




Eunice Gonzalez-Sierra

Sunday mornings meant rancheras Sunday mornings meant Ramon Ayala, then Los Tigres del Norte, sometimes Las Jilguerillas meant mami didn’t work like she did Monday through Saturday, she worked like she worked Sundays. meant Fabuloso (the purple kind) and Pinesol creating its own scent, an alarm clock tugging at my senses. Sunday mornings meant mami waiting to wake us up at 8am was generous. Because on Sundays she met the morning at 7am as opposed to her usual 4am greeting. Occasionally, it meant mami making pancakes, like the Americans we were supposed to become, never adding chocolate chips like on Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire because that was a step too far away from immigrant. Pancakes, butter, and syrup would do. Pancakes, butter, syrup and survival would be sweet enough for us. Sundays meant showers before 11am because mass began at 12. meant if we were running late, we’d go to the 2pm mass. meant, if soccer was on, dad would sin for not wanting to go, but he would go anyway ‘cause mami always had the last word in this house, in this country. Sometimes, Sundays after church meant going to eat at McDonald’s or 32

Fall 2018

Burger King ‘cause we couldn’t afford a restaurant, at least not every Sunday. that was okay, because mami got a break, although she never really wanted one, why didn’t she ever want one? Sundays after church meant homework because, like I still do, I always waited ‘til the last minute, but I’d do it anyway because mami taught me better, taught me to want to be taught in los Estados Unidos. Sundays meant home. On Sundays we had a home. Although small, although fleeting. On Sundays mami and papi were not consumed by their labor, they did not become their labor – they had a chance to be parents, to rest, to be present. Sundays meant a break – from all this country forced them to be. Sundays meant family, church, and a home. All of us finally together. I want my Sundays back. I want 8am mornings back Fabuloso and Pinesol, rancheras, mami and papi, here.



No te puedo ver Marie-Anne Barrón

I. No te puedo ver. Tú eres el hombre de los cuentos familiares. Te conozco sólo en anécdota, siempre con una sola reacción. Jamás te enojas, porque no me han contado que te enojabas. Jamás sufres en el amor, porque no me han contado que sufriste en el amor. Jamás he escuchado tu voz, por lo tanto para mí, eres mudo. Yo, ciega a tu presencia— y tú, sordo a mi hablar. No me contestas. Yo no te siento. II. Todos me dicen que somos similar. Mis tías se quedan mirándome, me dicen que las hago recordar a un hombre que conocieron hace muchos años. Pero al hablar, lucho con mi lengua. No sé cómo manipular tu idioma 34

Fall 2018

para encajar mis propios pensamientos. ¿Cómo pueden comparar a un hombre de tu magnitud presencia corazón imagen a una niña apenas creciendo viviendo aprendiendo a ser la mitad del ser que fuiste tú? III. Me preguntan si te extraño. Lo más impresionante es que contesto sí. Mi amor es tan grande que me ha enseñado a extrañar a un hombre ficticio que no conozco, al que nunca conocí. ¿Y tú, me extrañas a mí?



Fall 2018

Evergreen Evelyn Santos

aloe vera deteroriates during a rough storm but retains all of its inner moisture so that when my grandfather, as a joke or for a lesson, rubs a poisonous ivy on my leg, he immediately pulls me toward the chicken pens so that he can grab his machete to cut an arm off of his aloe plant and squeeze the clear liquid inside onto the rash forming on my skin - the rash which goes away so quickly that the laughter in him boils under my bewildered stare


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