• Get all the latest Claudia news with a dash of poetry. Sign-up now!

    Join 189 other followers

  • Instagram

    Spring backward. #photoaday #flowerstagram #firstdayofspring #spring #lastofwinter ❄️❤️ So yesterday, I ran a poetry workshop at a middle school and hearing the words from these youth, I feel a lot better about the world. One boy wrote a poem & was very shy about reading it. I offered to read it for him. To my surprise, he wrote about people wanting freedom and not being “illegal.” I hope he finds the courage some day to read the poem because these days, hate voices itself louder than love. Our kids deserve better role models. I didn’t grow up thinking about my immigration status, but I think many children have to now. 💔I’m at a very low point in my hope bank. I’m taking notes on how to say goodbye to a country. I think one way is love and one way is poetry.
#loveislouder #happyworldpoetryday This Sunday I made it to church at a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I arrived as a panelist for an immigration and human rights discussion. My audience was majority White. I started with a poem and then my college journey narrative. It is a heavy feeling to be a person who potentially faces deportation or undocumented status and to stand in front of an audience that though sympathetic, cannot imagine what your world is like. They listened to me and the other panelists very actively. One of the panelists, Klara Bilgin, showed us this poster-size cover of Time magazine’s March issue with her own addition “Why America?” At the end I was surprised that most people had comments rather than questions. When we say immigration is a controversial issue or a “hot topic,” it’s true. I got to see it today by people commenting on their experience traveling abroad without borders or their observations of how much labor is expected of undocumented immigrants. Many of them were proposing solutions. I wish Congress were as productive as these people were in their 15 or so minutes to comment and ask questions. #rageatCongress #votesmart #speakup Little sister poem. Be woke.❤️ #ajamonet #poem
  • Me on the Twitter

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Advertisements

Cinquain n. 1


outside the glass,

hands outstretched, hands reaching:

to our daughters rising stronger




You scan a catalogue and find options. I wake up the neighbors knocking on doors.

You know all the inside scoops. I dive into trial and error.

You call your thoughts masterpieces. I label my work in-progress.

You sound and look flawless. I stumble across words and wear my closet.

You got the world backing you up. I got the world pulling me backward.

You talk like you know about life. I talk of nothing and say it all.

When our dreams deflate, I’ll be first to float.



It’s not about you. It’s about me, always.
This is me: hopelessly lost, hopelessly self-consumed
in irrational ideas about how
if I knew you, then I would know myself.

It’s been hard pinning down my existence,
so I try to find a you to define,
someone to know forwards and backwards,
looking for the possibility I’ve been effaced
into the stare of glossy eyes that can never see me,
into the grip of hands that can never hold me,
into the warmth of a body that can never love me.

It’s not you. It’s always me.
every luscious and unpalatable
shade of my being.

1,000 miles: step 63|musings

2014-04-17 18.49.26

It’s the third week into National Poetry Month, and I don’t have much to show other than a couple of musings.

I don’t write down half of what I spend nights pondering over.

I don’t write love poems. I don’t write angry poems. I don’t write pride poems… honestly imperfect human poems.

I was recently asked to proofread an essay–nothing atypical there. Yet, I loved every bit regardless of grammar because of the content. I was reminded of the different worlds people come from. The U.S. has given me my second, remembered part of childhood. I’ve learned to love what is American, including exaggerated pride. Though I’m an immigrant, it’s a label I forget: I have never missed my country because there isn’t much for me to miss. You can’t miss what you don’t remember.

As I read the essay, something rung true with me: American stress. My mom is always telling me how everything is so rushed at her job. I see that in many of the people I know. They’re all in such a rush, so much to do and so little time for things that matter…. things like a good night’s rest and time well-spent with family and friends.

That stress is gnawing at me, too. Yes, volcanoes will erupt if our bills aren’t paid. Yes, the stars will collide and cease to exist if I pick part-time school over full-time. Yes, every decision I’ve ever made must come undone before anything works out.

Yes, that was sarcasm, dear reader. American stress = drama queens.

The world is a dangerous place to live —

The world is a dangerous place to live — not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
–Albert Einstein

The world is a dangerous place to live for sure. There is in an awe-striking art about impeccable housekeeping, known to Mother Earth. She has taught her knowledge in bold, forceful ways. Shakes, eruptions, and waterfalls. She is a creature of focused repetition. She will not listen to lullabies. She sings her own songs, inducing flowers to grow on concrete. Her command succinctly whispered, flower petals will waltz in the breeze. She continues her task over millennia despite those crowded, hasty growing human spaces upon her.

2014-04-06 18.32.40

2014-04-11 17.36.09

2014-04-11 17.38.11

2014-04-11 17.38.32

What would you tell God, she asks

What would you tell God, she asks
What would you tell God if you were at Heaven’s doorsteps?
for all the good it does to be called articulate
words don’t shape themselves in my mouth.

Because it’s not what would I tell God.
It’s what do I ask
and where do I begin.

Why don’t we choose love over fear?

There are classes of people
running in the direction of Holy
who beat up their wives behind doors
who have created poor and homeless
who dig tombs instead of hospitals
who run the world without mercy.

There are classes of people
who believe in freedom
inherited through other people’s suffering
who close their eyes on
cigarette buds on naked skin.

There is soot plastered on my ancestors.
I was born and burn on this earth
too see a people, my people
learn to love over generations
of getting it wrong despite God’s presence.

On still nights I can hear

On still nights I can hear
the wind in solitude breathing,
roaming in habitual journey.

It goes through cycles
with murmurs and tantrums.

I remember that in a dimmed sunlight
the wind envelopes my sides.

My scarf and blue ribbon sway at large,
flowing and spreading out, wings
if only I learned to pull at freedom:

To finally become free motion through
bits of particles bowing decisively

into existence

Words are not stable

Oh, no, words are not stable.

in a fleeing flutter,  they can easily pass me by.

When they settle, it’s at their own pace.

They are happy to run into each other,

to intermingle, and still, I try

to build with them permanent monuments:

to host the history of my memories

and visitors to my curiosities…

when given a chance.

1,000 miles: step 58|Speak Spanish?


“You have a call,” the librarian tells me. I raise my eyebrow, confused. At the other end a woman’s voice thanks me for sharing my computer “knowledge,”and the conversation is over too soon.

I place back the desk phone and rush over to once again meet a woman I’ve never seen before. My new student comes to me, small and eager. I can tell by the look on her face that she is wondering about something. I decide that my answer will be yes as asks: “Do you speak Spanish?” I grin, “Sí, yo hablo español.”

She is glad. She speaks quickly, telling me it’s been 10 years since she heard from her sister, and I nod, trying to piece together what she’s expecting from me. She doesn’t have her phone number, or her address, yet alone an e-mail address. She has a paper and pencil and writes several names. At the very top, her sister’s full name and her children’s names. She is hoping that el internet, the internet, has some record of them.

Social media might have, I tell her. We navigate with search buttons.

We go down through the list, failing to find matches and I apologize when a name is similar, but is from México, Argentina, Colombia, Perú… instead of Bolivia. I tell her that names on social media can change, and women’s last names change too. We even come across the profile of a young woman with public photos of what seems like her recent marriage–she’s wearing a white wedding dress, she smiles, her head at an angle, in the arms of the groom.

It delights me when we later come across the best hope of reaching her sister, a possible niece, a teen girl who lives in Bolivia. I remind her that this may or may not be her sister’s daughter, that that shouldn’t deter her, sometime, she’ll catch onto the internet on her own.

Admitting that she can’t type, she writes her message on paper and pencil for me. She watches me type. It’s not the first time my skinny, long fingers, with their steady tapping,  have been so closely watched.

I hit Send. Our lesson is soon over.

Delete All

The digital age is delivered through screens

lit brighter than the streets where women “asked for it.”
Your digital presence is filtered,
fitted to your taste of self-disclosure
to your choice of entering compressed pixels.
There is anonymity and there is
the illusion of a moment well-captured, well-lived.

There is loudness wrapped
in a tamed revolution of mass audiences.
If you hustle, you could become sensational
though you may lose sensibility along the way.

Then there is me,
stuck in uncertainty. Where to begin
when it seems I’ve been granted new courage
to say the things I leave unsaid in real time.
But to my words my name must be attached:

If I say I hate you
If I say I love you
If I say whatever, however, I should know
words can’t, may not be taken
back if absolutely spilled–heard, read, felt–
Must I not take ownership of my voice?