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Showing posts from June, 2014

As I Walk

As I walk in the hot summer El Paso sun to my classroom at UTEP my shoulders sizzle. I sometimes feel like a rotisserie chicken. My skin browns more with each rotation to and from the parking lot to the Classroom Building where I meet with my students. Beads of sweat begin to pill at the base of my skull and race down my neck even as my hands snap to wipe them away. I loathe how hot I get. This is my daily routine. By the end of the month my shoulders and arms will be a deep coffee brown while my legs will be latte. I will never be evenly brown.

As I walk I look at the people shuffling, biking, running, strolling past me. Today, a little girl around ten years old scurried toward campus as I walked away. She looked so odd because I wondered why she was by herself. As I stared, I forgot this. She ran pitched forward from the weight of an overstuffed backpack. The tips of her ballet flats were the only thing to touch the hot concrete. She skipped across as if she were skimming the surfac…

Chica-no/Chica-si

When one first begins to write, at least for me, I didn't have a sense of where the writing was going, who my audience was, and if there was a greater message of my culture, and I suppose more importantly where do I, Yasmin Ramirez fit into the literary landscape.

I first started writing fiction. Short stories. I just wanted to write and I wanted it to be good. My first pieces fell toward a film noir surreal genre. Had a read any of surrealist? No. Were they good? I'm afraid to look. Later when working on my MFA I found I didn't know what to write about. I was finally simply supposed to write and my mind drew a blank, so I began to write what I knew. Stories I told many times over and made people laugh over the dinner table and now seemed to be working on paper and in workshops. These stories about my grandma, Ita, and being raised in El Paso became my thesis and now the book I'm attempting to finish by the end of this summer.

Now, as I've published several (12 to …

Work in Progress: The Scars of the Body

If scars tell the stories of our lives, my grandma’s body, fair skin loosened by age, held a map of lines disclosing the life my Ita lived. These are their stories. I’ve pieced them together and filled in the rest.
Forehead In a fight before I was born, she ended up with a scar at the peak of her forehead, where a widow’s peak would have been. The fight, I imagine from the stories I’ve been told, takes place in the living room. She yells about where he’s been, how much he’s been drinking. He, Gil, tries to walk away from her and she swings. 
He ducks, “Mamita, todo esta bien,” he says, but he still wraps his arms around her and holds her to him like he will never let go, and in a way he never did.
She struggles trying to pry her arms away from her side. She grunts and yells, "Dejamé carbon,” but he keeps his arms where they are. He knows if he lets go her left hand will come out swinging and instead throws his head forward.
Smack.
The sound of two stubborn heads echoes through the ho…