a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
over and over,
like the lies we tell ourselves
when we are content.
Loud norteño music plays
from the rusty speakers on the corner.
There they sit, wasted,
like flowers decorating an accountant’s office.
The machine sweats vibrant colors,
agua de Jamaica, tamarindo, and horchata.
It spits them out to a cup of an excited child,
like the desert spits out immigrants.
The walls are painted in a light pink,
but there is pain hidden beneath it;
I can see, I can feel it, and I can smell it.
This taqueria was built by foreigners.
Soñadores que no se dieron por vencidos.
Dreamers that crossed an invisible border,
hoping to be free,
wishing for a new chance.
The meat is turned repeatedly
by the man in red.
La carne de asada smells transport you back
to the forgotten country where you were born.
There, in awe of possibilities,
you realized that these dreamers made it,
Alex Martínez is a poet living in Kansas City, Missouri. Born in Mexico, Alex migrated to the US at a young age as an undocumented minor. He often writes about trauma and social issues that affect him and his community. Some of Alex’s pieces have appeared in print and online form; most recently, his poem “Daddy” was published in “Let’s Try It With The Lights On,” a queer theme chapbook from the Hawaii Review in the fall of 2018. Alex is artist in residence at Charlotte Street Foundation, working on a long-term community arts pilot program with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. Alex published his first book Disclosure: Confessions of a Queer in Crisis in April of 2018. Alex performs with Resistencia, a brown & queer group of poets. Alex is a DACA recipient and he is the current Director of the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance (KSMODA), a pro-immigrant group seeking equal opportunities for undocumented youth and their families. He is also a Field Organizer for the ACLU of Kansas. Alex hosts a local community radio show called “Global Roots Radio”; the purpose, as well as Alex’s life mission, is to uplift immigrant voices in the Midwest through art.