U. S. Latino Literature in Shawnee Mission North High School
On Sunday morning, I was preparing my column for La Bloga for the next day, and I heard the horrible news of what happened in Orlando. I feel the profound need to mention this because it is such an unjustifiable tragedy. My heart goes out to the victims, the survivors and their families. Following is a link for those who would like to donate to help the survivors and the families of those lost: www.gofundme.com/29bubytq.
The annual “Celebration of Queerness” at the Writers Place, Kansas City, Missouri will have even more meaning this year to morn those lost and celebrate the human rights that all LGBTQQIA individuals must have for loving another person. This evening of music, memoir, poetry, fiction and nonfiction by local writers is Friday, June 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m. and hosted by Charles Ferruzza and Wayne Courtois: www.writersplace.org/calendar/2016/6/17/k80bcb5acn9s0du2cv87al7pagu7kx.
Now, let us continue with my original column for La Bloga today.
El 7 de abril de este año visité la clase de U. S. Latino Literature en Shawnee Mission North High School, Overland Park, KS que Jackie Madrigal ha organizado y que con tanto cariño ha puesto en práctica. No he sido la única en visitar esta clase, otros poetas y escritores locales también fueron invitados a lo largo del semestre.
Lo que hoy comparto con los lectores de La Bloga es una selección de cinco poemas que los estudiantes escribieron como parte del mini taller de poesía que les ofrecí después de mi presentación. Jackie, quien también es poeta, me hizo el gran favor de continuar trabajando con los estudiantes y de seleccionar los siguientes poemas que a continuación comparto en La Bloga. ¡Felicidades a los estudiantes seleccionados!
“Here are the 5 submissions. The students were so appreciative of your visit and they created some great conversation and writing from it. Thanks again for everything! Enjoy the sun!” —Jackie Madrigal / U.S. Latino Literature / Shawnee Mission North High School—
Just read the poems by Xánath Caraza. I didn’t know much about Latino culture and their lives, but now I know some of them. I didn’t think that much about my name and my nation and my home that deeply. I kind of ignored them. I just accepted whatever comes to me, in my home and school and outside. I didn’t think how my name is important, how important my existence is. Now I am learning to find my identity. How to find me. How to love myself. Miju Ryu was my name and now my name is Miju R. Herrera actually, Miju Herrera I use this name because my sister’s husband adopted me. My sister said R. is secret. I didn’t know my name’s real importance. I didn’t know. Now I know my name is Miju Ryu. This is my actual name. R. is not secret though. Someday I will change my name back to Miju Ryu because just four years cannot change my home, my family, and me. It really makes me angry sometimes. I’m glad I am in this class because even though I am getting a D because the readings are so hard in English, I am still learning a lot about them. I feel so bad when I learn about the realities in Central America. About gangs, murders, and poverty. When I watched the video about families being separated by the border wall, it tore my heart. Discrimination of race; unfair profit by racism. My name is Miju Ryu. I came to the United States from Daegu, South Korea in October 2011.
“I have a dream”
on August 28, 1963
Martin Luther King shouted
We could listen his voice
Do you hear any howls
They are separated by a wall
While we get that wall,
Sweat covered us
I could hear
Mama’s heart beating
I saw family’s uncuttable love
In the pool
Among los blancos
Un latino cheered su hermana up
It made me choked up
Don’t you hear any suffering
Don’t you see any pain
Don’t you feel anything in your heart
This is time to change
Not let it go
Shout out your dream
An Autumn Evening
by Mariana Orrego
It was the perfect manner in which to end my day
It was a perfect evening
Lying on the small hill that borders the neighbors,
I witness red, yellow, orange and ripening leaves spiral down
as the wind pushes through them
forcing them to collide with each other before they crash
onto and around me
The chilly grass and bustled leaves reaches my skin, creating goose bumps
traveling up and down
my arms and legs
my skin grows numb as the wind blows colder
making me contemplate whether it is time to head inside
But I shake the idea away
and remain there until the sun is blood-red,
almost reflecting my yard
a perfect symmetry
I head inside
until I can only see the crest of the sun
Walking into my house I am hit with burdens
work that has yet to be done
work that I know I will not get to
But then I am hit with doubt
on when I will experience this autumn moment again
before time catches up to us all
to be dragged away again
Mariana is a Junior from Shawnee Mission North in Overland Park, KS. She has been involved in DECA, NHS, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of her school’s yearbook. She also aspires to be the school mascot for her senior year. She hopes to major in journalism, specifically in music, as she loves discovering new and unheard music.
The Wall of Sorrow
by Corey Goodburn
One side is filled with a rainbow of balloons,
sticky popsicle fingers, rocking guitars, and lively music
The other side is bleak, cold, and sterile
Guards watching your every move, as helicopters are flying above you
Both sides come together to create this wall
A wall that brutally rips families apart
Tears gushing down at the parted lovers sides as they meet again
Ages have gone by since they saw each other
Fingertips touching fingertips
The ridges of their fused fingertips touch
Translating a long kiss, a tight embrace
Their no longer baby boy is walking, talking, and grown
He doesn’t remember his father
He has his father’s nose and eyes
He doesn’t see it, not yet
A family ripped apart before his birth
Demolish this wall, he said!
Destroy this wall, he said!
Tear down this wall, he said!
Bring families back together
So many wasted years separated
Let the father come back to his family
To get to know his son
That doesn’t remember him
Will there be a life when he will be able to see him?
To touch him, to hold him, and to love him?
Missing his son's first step, first tooth, first Christmas
Not being able to see him on his first day of school
His first baseball practice, his first date, his first grade card
He wants his son to know him
But not through the mouths of others
He wants his son to see him
Without the distortion of an iron gate
Fifteen years have gone by
Nothing has changed
Except that they are older
And his son is no longer his son
The wall of sorrow
He whispers, “tear it down”
Corey Goodburn is a senior at Shawnee Mission North High school. He is involved in StuCo, theatre, choir, NHS, and International Club. He is very excited to be enrolled in a brand new course, U.S. Latino Literature. He loves learning about the culture and other sides of things, and also things not traditionally taught in high school!
I Am I Can
by Tiana Lutheresa Arroyo-Stacker
“Eagle Warrior woman”
“Jaguar warrior woman,”
I am empowered,
I can do anything I put my mind to
“The warmth of your hands guides them to lose themselves”
Like a couple, very much in love, never to part
“You’re waist embodies strength”
I am strong,
I can handle so much
Tiana Lutheresa Arroyo-Stacker was born in 1998, is lover of food, books, and Latin@ culture. She plans on attending UMKC and then transferring to Rockhurst University following her senior year of high school.
by Conner Armendariz
I don’t know what to write.
I don’t know what to say.
I don’t know what to do.
I have opinions
But I’m afraid I’ll look stupid.
I have ideas
But don’t know how to express them.
I want to do something
But don’t know how.
I don’t know what to do.
I am bored with my life
But don’t know why.
I can change it
But don’t know how.
I want to fight for rights
But don’t know which
There are so many
And I don’t know how.
I just don’t know.
My name is Conner Armendariz. I am not very outgoing. I have two brothers and a sister. I am not very social either, I spend most weekends just chillin’ with my family.