Skinnin' The Pachuco

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: legacy

28/30: HOPE IS THE FIRST NAIL IN THE WALL

For Habitat for Humanity in Houston, Texas, who is partnering with the Houston Bar Association to build 22 homes that were destroyed from Hurricane Harvey. 

Under the sun, there is work to be done
and more work to do after that.
I know no word better than love
to describe the labor inside of the hands
that build and create. Just this morning,
I carried a hammer and held the bones
of a house cry out in joy, in love, in pain,
for what is left
to finish before
it becomes.

I can never join the legacy of my ancestors
who spent their days in the Texas sun
Sweat running down their face, hands
worn and blistered, skin turning to sand
as the minutes grow into a mountain
of moments. Not everyone knows how
to build a life.

I come from the
hands of nails and hammer,
I come from the
hands of hard work and hot cement,
I come from
the hands of if not me, then who?
I come from the
hands that need to fix the broken
In this life we build, hope is the first
nail in the wall.
 

15/30: fruit cup empanadas

Sometimes I feel like the opposite of a witness. With my own eyes, I have nothing to report. I gather memories from my grandmother’s garden. I’m holding her life in my hands and I am held captive. I am a helpless spectator. I piece the details of her life together like a bouquet unafraid of decay. Opposite of omnipresent, I rake the leaves into a pile and picture her mind the same way I picture a tree changing colors.I don’t know the consequence of missing information. I regret to inform you, I still can’t say where my ancestors came from. Show me a map, and I’d laugh at the lines defining borders but never me. If my blood has a story, then nobody ever told me the beginning. But listening to stories over the stove, I discover the fire is alive in my grandma’s eyes. Her voice a wood stove. Her love a warm home. Waiting to eat, I’m fed a story from her childhood, about fruit cup empanadas, and my grandma recites every ingredient of her memory. The recipe of the past is bound to repeat.

 

7/30: EATING BBQ IN LOCKHART, TEXAS (LOVE IS A LEGACY)

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
Celebrating mine and my grandpa’s birthday
He is 77 and I am 26
We are generations apart
but my mother placed his name
between the first and the last
as if to remind me
the last thing I will ever be is
alone

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
I travel back in time to every holiday,
summer break, church service, family
reunion or party where I would run between
the legs of nameless cousins, battling for my
mother’s and brother’s attention
Trying my best to be seen by the sea of people
floating in the sea of love that is my family’s legacy

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
I am inside a palace of smoke
where every person holds a spark
in their heart
Love is a legacy we keep ablaze
in the way we say mijo,
in the way we say mija,

I see my niece crawl across the wood floors
where my Grandpa Caballero once stood
Leading me by hand into the heart of the smoke
Oak burning like an orchestra of ash

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
The world is crowded with everyone who knows my name
I am surrounded by bluebonnets and brisket
I am somewhere I am supposed to be
In this place where I found my face
in the hard heat
in the warmth of a ritual

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
I understand the meaning of a place
that stays the same while you are busy changing
Watching the smoke drift, I am drawn to
how it
comes
how it
goes
how it
moves
how it
knows
to come back
home.