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  • Food has to serve two
    It must fill me up and remove my hunger,
    but it must also remind
    me of home,
    Taking a bite into a tortilla
    should make me feel like I
    am not alone,
    That my grandmother is next
    to me, making homemade
    corn tortillas-like she
    used to when I was a baby.
    Each sip of the jamaica, hibbiscuss
    for y’all uncultured, has to
    take me back to a hot ass
    trailer in the middle of the
    California desert, made more hot
    by the fact that mother’s
    love of jamaica tea, takes
    hours to boil.
    And I toil away, working,
    working to get back
    to Cali, Cali
    Where table grapes are picked
    And when I pick some up at
    the corner of 14th and Broadway
    Oasis and 111th
    North Shore,
    Desert cities within my heart.
    All from a single grape.
    A tamal--my mother’s cooking
    at thanksgiving, not giving thanks
    to the pilgrims who colonized,
    but thanks to the mother that feeds us,
    The maza,
    mixed with the juice of the
    picadillo: a red tamal; pork, carrots,
    potatoes, squash, olives: The whole
    Each bite takes me home,
    the furthest home, another country
    And when trying to explain this emotion to people,
    uhh.... umm... psh... you know!
    Food is the only connection
    I have to a place I haven’t seen
    in over 15 years
    And though when I bite
    into a taco, I may not cry,
    but my heart tears up,
    and my soul gently weeps...

    That’s why food has to serve two purposes.

    Surviving is the only thing
    No more joy
    No more flavor
    Having to sink my teeth
    into a culture that
    devours culture
    stripped away from the
    fact that I know
    That I knew Tarahumara,
    That I used to kill the
    cow I once ate,
    That I grew the chickpeas
    I once made soup
    That I cut the head off the chicken
    I once fried
    That I have to forget
    the achings hands that
    picked those grapes, that
    killed that cow
    Who’s back bends over
    to pick the onion
    to wash the dish
    that you just left all your
    vegetables on.

    Food has to serve two purposes

    To counter all of the McDonald’s,
    Burger King’s and Wendy’s
    shoved down my throat--by choice,
    mind you.
    Corporate monopolies on my tongue.

    So I make each bite of a burrito
    an act of resistance
    Each plate of mole, an
    act of subversion
    Make each chile relleno an
    atomic explosion--in your stomach
    A chocolate concha,
    landmines of flavor through
    your tastebuds

    It’s not that eating is revolutionary,
    but that it is revolutionary to eat
    something made by hand, made
    by love, hecho con el corazon

    Made by those who love you.

    Food is all I have left.
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