Today is April 30.  Do you know what that means?  It’s the last day of National Poetry Month.  S0, of course, I can’t let April pass us by without a couple of poems.

These are from Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry.

I’m dedicating my blogging today to workers everywhere, but especially to mis compañeros who I will march with tomorrow during the Wisconsin Solidarity March.  Join me if you’re able!


Sitting at her table, she serves
the sopa de arroz to me
instinctively, and I watch her,
the absolute mamá, and eat words
I might have had to say more
out of embarrassment. To speak,
too, dribble down her mouth as she serves
me albondigas. No more
than a third are easy to me.
By the stove she does something with words
and looks at me only with her
back. I am full. I tell her
I taste the mint, and watch her speak
smiles at the stove. All my words
make her smile. Nani never serves
herselft, she only watches me
with her skin, her hair. I ask for more.
I watch the mamá warming more
tortillas for me. I watch her
fingers in the flame for me.
Near her mouth, I see a wrinkle speak
of a man whose body serves
the ants like she serves me, then more words
from more wrinkles about children, words
about this and that, flowing more
easily from these other mouths. Each serves
as a tremendous string around her,
holding her together. They speak
nani was this and that to me
and I wonder just how much of me
will die with her, what were the words
I could have been, was. Her insides speak
through a hundred wrinkles, now, more
than she can bear, steel around her,
shouting, then, What is this thing she serves?

She asks me if I want more.
I own no words to stop her.
Even before I speak, she serves.

– Alberto Alvero Ríos

And one more that is particularly well suited to the occasion.

Today We Will Not Be Invisible Nor Silent


We will not be invisible nor silent

as the pilgrims of yesterday continue their war of attrition

forever trying, but never succeeding

in their battle to rid the americas of us

convincing others and ourselves

that we have been assimilated & eliminated,

but we remember who we are

we are the spirit of endurance that lives

in the cities and reservations of north america

and in the barrios and countryside of Nicaragua, Chile

Guatemala, El Salvador

and in all the earth and rivers of the americas.

– Victoria Lena Manyarrows