Alan Pelaez Lopez

Alan Pelaez Lopez is a Black Mexican poet & jewelry designer currently living in Boston. Unapologetically, Alan writes about the traumas of undocumented migration, internalized Blackness and queer Latin@ politics. In old bios, Alan always confessed a fear for dogs, but as of 2015, Alan is no longer afraid of dogs!!! Check out Alan on instagram: @migrantscribbles and Twitter: @AP_QueerMigrant.

No Translation Necessary

I notice mamá Maria
look at me funny
every time I open mi bocota

I know it is because
I lost my accent
tho’ Gringos sometimes tell me
I slur my words

mamá Maria tells me that
tho’ she does not understand
the language, she needs no translation

for the people that speak it
are always sad

how ugly this English is

Working With Má

I can smell the dough baking two bridges over the highway intersection.
A beaten down building “For Lease”.

Bodies dressed in black rush to tables:
Sauvignon Blanc, Chateu St. Michelle Riesling, Oyster Bay,
some Peach Belinis, Classico Margaritas, and Sangria—you know these well.
Us waiters have had our break,
the cooks have been working since 7:30A.M.

I clock in at 5:32P.M.—the 70A was late
            and I did not run across the highway as fast as usual.

Saturday, twenty-second of July—if you remember—, Mom’s birthday:
She is in the kitchen of the restaurant making salads.
It has been twelve hours,
            four more to go and she can eat.

Undocumented Chapped lips opening wounds,
loss of saliva, maybe the refusal to drink like the others.
Mom is ready to faint in front of the guests.

At 11:00P.M., she will walk to the white minivan,
run her pointer fingers on her forehead,
praying to La Virgen Maria.
Her black hat, stained in cactus-shaped tomato sauce, will come off,
and her black ponytail will release wild curls
covered in the black Pantene hair dye of the month.
The key will turn, and she will drive two exits,
right turn to get out, sharp, sharp left, and a right,
two miles later, we will be home.

She has to work at 8:00A.M. tomorrow, you know.

What it’s like to Attend a University that is less than 10% People of Color

mispronounce my name
and blame your maid for not
teaching you Spanish