CITIZEN ILLEGAL, @_joseolivarez
Latinx Heritage Month, Book 5
An incredible debut, this book of poetry by Chicago based poet and educator Jose Olivarez explores the various aspects of being Mexican American – the heartaches, the joys, the traumas, the reclamation of one’s identity in a country that tries to tell you who you are.
I read all of this in one night when I was restless and unable to fall asleep, and it hit me so hard. As an immigrant who, so many pieces resonated with me. I didn’t only relate to his words, but I saw myself in them. I didn’t realize there was a difference until I read this.
I want to share a short passage from my favorite piece, “My Therapist Says Make Friends With Your Monsters”:
My therapist says i can’t
Make the monsters disappear
No matter how much i pay her.
All she can do is bring them
Into the room, so i can get
To know them, so i can learn
Their names, so i can see
Clearly their toothless mouths
Their empty hands, their pleading eyes