I was from the motherland.
Frijoles con queso y bolillo raised me.
Corn tortillas kept me alive.
I am from where the eagle perched on nopales.
Green as the mountains the Aztecs called home.
White as jicama con chile and limon.
Red as the blood of my indegenous mothers.
I came from maternal Abuelos raising me
as their own for two years.
From pan dulce that sweetened the days
I mourned the absence of my parents.
I came from el temblor del 85
that shook all the fear out of me.
From weekly shots recommended
for my fragile anemic body at 4.
From my first crush on the neighbor across the street.
From the life on techos and macetas hanging
in my grandmother’s jardin.
I left custom-made baby clothes
bought with my mother’s hard work en la tortilleria.
For second-hand clothes given to my father by his coworkers.
Traded homemade zopes for cheeseburgers
made the American way.
Santa Ana raised me for a few years.
Taught me English, but my mother never let me forget
my first language so I kept the Mexican accent
cemented on my tongue.
Tustin became my fourth and fifth home.
Here, I quickly learned my differences when
a White boy used a rock to split my head open.
What are you? Where are you from?
Became questions I could not answer.
Even when I felt drips of blood from my wound.
Cali kept my heart always.
But I was raised in a city translated from “The Meadows.”
Las Vegas blazing desert summers.
The rays of the sun seeped deep into my skin.
Each day browning more.
Red rocks became my playground.
I wore a cap and gown for the first time in my lineage.
Repeated again 6 years later.
I have never dug a hole deep enough to hold my roots in place.
Until now, I’ve only encountered malnourished soil
too soft to hold them down.
My 18-year-old sister helped me drive
my green Ford SUV back East near the Potomac River.
Military base and Pentagon were my backyard.
The Smithsonian offering free history at my fingertips.
Again, hardly any history was mine.
None of the apartments I lived in
could hold enough of my sadness.
So it overpoured into the streets.
Made it to my work desk where I
embraced my passion for health.
I learned to travel.
Took myself on road trips
to escape the isolation.
Got my first passport.
Made a list of places I wanted to go,
then packed my tiny car.
Watched it get shipped back West.
I arrived in the City of Angels on March 10, 2013.
With a broken heart but more hope.
I learned to become a Master.
Cap and gown, now becoming a legacy.
Unpacked years of trauma.
Became my true self.
Learned my way around the freeways and neighborhoods.
Made significant friendships.
I still struggle with calling any place home.
Pack, unpack, repack, live out of boxes.
Survive with the lessons from when this journey began.
I am temporary.
Like how my spirit lives in this body,
I claim no hood.
Like my ancestors,
I settle where I can find a warm place to sleep
and enough nourishment to guide me through this passage.
I am not local.
I am seeds in the wind leaving trees
and flowers that eventually turn
into beautiful fields near unplanned rest stops along the roads.
I am of this world.
I am from the earth.
Andrés Sánchez (they/them/he/him), is a trans-masculine poet born in Mexico City, México in Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl. He migrated to the U.S. at the age of 5 and grew up in Southern California and Las Vegas, NV. Andrés moved to Los Angeles, California 6 years ago. It was here that he began to get involved with the poetry community. He has been featured in open mics such as East Side Queer Stories, Alivio Open Mic, The Back Door Reading Series, Influx Collective Reading Series, Tia Chucha’s Open Mic, Resilience for a Poetic Pandemic, One Mic, One Globe Open Mic, Pride Mic, Soapbox Poets Open Mic, and La Palabra. In October 2018, Andrés was accepted into the Community Literature Initiative Program, and became a participant in the 6th cohort of students to publish his finished work. You can find Andrés on Instagram as @this_poet_travels and as Andrés Sánchez on Facebook, where you can follow his poetry journey along with his travel adventures.