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Martha Alicia Rivas Maravilla, Ph.D.














te escribo todas las noches.


y no se como

y tal vez no tengo que tener respuestas,

solo sentido del como se siente cuando me besas.


sunset beaming through my window sill

sunlight shimmering through the curtain, still

beaming off your brown beautiful skin, steal



broad shoulders and arms and jaw line to die for

lips and tongue and lips again on mine or on my tits

suckling as in trying to remind me how well i feed






y no se como

y tal vez no tengo que tener respuestas

solo palabras para escribirte estas.



what is between the letters

what is between the words

what is between the breaths

what is between these sounds i hear at night

wondering why,




shakespeare was never a favorite

always felt forced

el inglés that never belonged to anyone, really

a language with syllables

and sounds

and too many thou’s

and too many white supremacist atrocities my tongue could never quite want to taste

nor embrace, porqué: nah!


4+ years of shakespeare to get an english degree




good thing danny martinez dijo: Comparative Lit is an option

Chicano from South Gate

he knew, me

Chicana from Indio

we are lit folk

he knew i was a lit

i knew he was lit

no need to convince another lit folk.


we saw things

we felt things

we wanted things to be rooted in literacy


that which they took from us -

first, let’s take away their writings

and their teachings

and their ways of knowing.

why read?

to question and want more?

to ask why?

why shit gotta be this way?

cuz you want me to read shakespeare’s work for four goddamn years?



we are lit folk.


let me read

let me be

let me write

our own stories

our own truths

our own ways of knowing.


porque a veces ni se en que idioma escribir

y a veces me trabo

que hasta hay momentos donde octavio escribe

and i go on and google 

cuz brother got skills

like those i aspired to gain with an english degree, like he.

but that shakespeare requirement was some ucla bullshit.


i took my own damn way 

i took my own damn way
to eventually get here

because maybe

just maybe

we gotta keep doing what we are destined to be,

so long as we come back to this:

letters between what is

words between what is

breaths between what is:

sounds like worlds i recreate

when i write to you.




why you so cleva-

flip those vowels and you’ve been a clave

con esas palabras en la boca

como dices

una y otra

con esas palabras en escritura

como dices

sí nos dijieron miles de veces

el porqué o qué

questioning our merit

questioning our worth

questioning our ability

like that moment






goddam eternity

with their eugenic-driven formula

when we were perceived as empty vessels -

when we were perceived as empty vessels -

when we were perceived as empty

why folks like us need to write?

why folks like us write like us?

why folks like us love to write?

why folks like us love love


es que no saben acá de lo bueno

we be -

we be holding onto every fucking word

crafting worlds of the remember when’s

to reimagining worlds of the what could have been’s

and all that can actually be

for you

for me

for us

for generations yet to be.


it’s never really been

about you

nor me

nor them

it’s for the legacies that will continue to remind folks

H o w     t  o :        fucking pronounce our names, ‘yo

like pronounce that accent as it was intended

because that X in the name serves a mudafucking purpose

because that H in my name makes a fucking difference

don’t erase our presence -

we exclaim this

we write this

we create its presentation

we evoke thee

in any way we want it to be.


we do what we do because we can

we do what we do because hundreds of thousands and millions were killed

giving us the opportunity to speak

giving us the opportunity to write

giving us the opportunity to keep the goddam fight 


we know the fucking difference

y podemos cambiar nuestro estilo cuando se nos de la pinche ganá

because -

we do what we do to leave a legacy

generation by generation to generation and then some;

they’ll read these words

and imagine what it must’ve been

dissecting worlds of conquered folk

to creating words from resilient folk.


we are here, 


rooted with creative resilience

loved with creative resilience

armed with creative resilience

y lo hacemos

hasta qué ya no -

ya no puédamos.


reconoces aquella mirada…

cansadísima de todo aquello

de los sueños que se quedan como sueños

de las ganas de apagar aquellas ganas.

reconoces aquella mirada…

con aquellas emociones


muy bien los fracasos

o pensamientos

o sentimientos

o emociones

que mienten porque

qué fue fracaso cuando se aprende un chingo y se encuentra a uno mismo -

reconoces aquella mirada?





reciprocity is all it takes.

-from a book that does not yet exist, selected by Assistant Editor, Karen Carr

Dra. Martha Alicia Rivas Maravilla is an accomplished author, scholar, educator, mother and peleonera. Originally from Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico, and raised in Indio, California, she is a first-generation academic scholar. Dra. Martha holds four degrees from UCLA, including a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in critical race theory. La Doctora is a Chicana epistemic methodologist, where she addresses white supremacy, structural oppression, and the brilliance and resiliency of marginalized folks as we, collectively, decolonize our ancestral and intuitive knowledge. For 22-years, Profe Rivas has taught Chicana/o Studies, educational policy, research methods, and critical race theory within all three public sectors of higher education in California (community colleges, CSU, UC). Dr. Rivas is also a national and international evaluation expert within the nonprofit sector, having led national efforts to secure over $575 Million for the Los Angeles region. Dra. Martha is a poet, spoken-word theorist and cantadora, unapologetically speaking truth to the eugenic-driven formula that still attempts to shape our existence, as an unapologetic commitment towards our collective liberation.

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