U.S. guns

by Mia Barraza Martinez


It’s 1968

the U.S. said 44 dead

Tlatelolco, México

but eyewitnesses say hundreds

and we believe each other.

It’s Ferguson, Missouri

cops say thug thug thug call for backup

but we believe each other

he was a black boy a black boy

a boy a boy.

It’s 1968

it’s the Summer Olympics

Mexican president says quiet quiet quiet

it’s the Olympics Mexicans be quite

in ten days it’s the Olympics

quiet Mexicans quiet.

U.S. guns kill Black Americans.

In México U.S. guns kill Mexicans

And they leave they run

they run from U.S. guns.

It’s 1968

in México

snipers on rooftops and helicopters

say quiet Mexicans quiet.

It’s Ayotzinapa

Mexican cartels with U.S. guns.

a 4 next to a 3 is 43

4 plus 3 equals 7

and 7 fits between 6 and 8.

It’s 1968

it’s Memphis, Tennessee

Dr. King on a balcony.

Bobby Kennedy shouldn’t have broken bread with Mexicans

killed in a kitchen in California

land that used to be México.

It’s Tlatelolco and these are students

the U.S. said officially it’s 44 dead

but we believe each other

we know it’s hundreds

hundreds of Mexican students now quiet quiet quiet.

Michael Brown was a Black American student.

In Ayotzinapa they were learning to be Mexican teachers now they are quiet quiet Mexicans.


In México Black American athletes win gold

it’s 1968

black poverty black power black scarf shoeless hungry

in México a white Australian wears a human rights badge

as the U.S. anthem plays because he’s tired of their shit too

in México Black Olympians were stripped of their medals

like the Spanish stripped México of our medals

two black power fists, three bowed heads

in 1968 in México the U.S. anthem plays.

43 disappeared

It’s Ayotzinapa.

It’s Ferguson.


It’s 1988 and my family left México because we were starving.


Mia Barraza Martinez


                                  contributor 2016 second edition


M. Barraza Martinez is a graduate student in the Masters of Fine Arts for Creative Writing at Fresno State. The immigrant daughter of farmworkers, Barraza Martinez teaches, writes, and learns in the fertile soil of the San Joaquín Valley, California.