East Barrio

Marisol Picazo

eastside I call home

six in the morning eyes awake to the wooden ceiling of a dusty garage.

ears awake to bidi bidi bom bom!

open up the window look up to the dark sky,

feeling the cold breeze on my freckle cheeks.

it is a Monday morning in my crowded eastside.

eastside I call home.

 

the scent of copal still lingers in my nose.

church bells ring calling for morning mass.

cars honk desperately, ¡apúrate, ya vamos tarde!

as my body leaves the bed to look through the window,

brown faces carry backpacks and old warm sweaters.

the smell of atole flies through the corridor getting to my nose.

eastside I call home.

 

huele delicious, mama

older brothers and parents packing up lunch

for another day in the lettuce fields under the sun.

my mother gives me a goodbye kiss on my forehead,

like a stamp on an envelope but this is a forever stamp

along with her bendición.

eastside I call home.

 

i pick up Chicano history books from the floor flipping pages,

a last minute review for today’s class.

cold shower washes off the night,

getting ready for the day.

happy faces in green uniforms run early to school.

local mst bus arrives boarded with mcdonald’s and donut workers.

eastside I call home.

 

fog appears along blanco road in route to learn something new,

it is another day at CSUMB, Chicano history with María Villaseñor.

heading back home the sun sets on the west horizon

leaving  pink and purple skies

paleteros on the streets, blocks full of kids.

eastside I call home.

 

mud on their pants and tired long faces,

finally the campesinos arrive home.

mother warms up pozole and tortillas.

father presses volume up, the dreamers are on the local news.

neon moon lights up the hood,

while my mother lights up Virgin de Guadalupe with a candle.

it is eastside I call home.

 

Marisol Picazo is in her last year at CSUMB majoring in Human Communications with a concentration in Creative Writing and Social Action. Most of her pieces focus on cultural identity and the struggle in Latino communities. In her writing she likes to give voice to the campesinos, women, undocumented immigrants and those oppressed by white supremacists.