Immigrant's Address: Cervantes Women

we are pleased to present the first poem in a series that were originally slated to be in an issue of Elephants dubbed the "where you're from" issue. It was going to be called the Immigrant's Address (as everyone, or nearly everyone, in our country came from somewhere else at some point). The first poem is from Cervantes Women. It's a really kickass poem by Jennifer Patino, a story of warrior teachers. Enjoy.


first, an explanation:

Hey guys, as you probably know, about a year ago we said we were gonna put out a 'zine called Immigrant's Address (where are you from?), and we never did. thing is, I still have all these poems, and I want to put them up somewhere to be read, despite the fact that we just never got it together with graphics and whatnot, for a variety of reasons, for which I take personal responsibility. anyway, I decided, fuck it, I'm just gonna put up the poems as I have them. I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't at least post the poems online, with or without a zine format with awesome graphics. So I'm gonna put up one a week for the next several weeks. They're really awesome poems and I thank everyone who submitted and everyone who worked so hard trying to get this together before it fell off track and got stuck in the ditch. Perhaps we can pick up where we left off some day, or start over... Much Love. Enjoy these kickass poems. -HK




From Cervantes Women

By Jennifer PatiƱo

“Take your notebook and sit down,” she says. “I will teach you how to write. Take your pencil in your hand and and start. Over and over again… Make the palos nice and straight. The bolitas nice and round.

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These are the first exercises.” My mother watched her sisters do them.

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“You’re doing good, Jennita. We’ll get you ready for your first day of school.”

Teachers still needed bodyguards decades after Revolution, Rural education was slow to reach my mother’s ranch. Smart Indians would be a nuisance, Smart women might be worse. And everyone was too poor to invest the time.

Her sisters ran away and became teachers,

While Josefina, my mother, taught herself to read and write. With borrowed romantic serials, imagined conversations between pictures.

“Keep writing, don’t get distracted. I want you to do good in school. ----Tienes que aprender ingles.”

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oo oo
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To teachers with or without degrees, who craft our minds into bodyguards, To the Cervantes women, who are still teaching me who I am---

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(You teach me the geometry that shapes every letter I will ever write.)




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