Poems: Oscar Mancinas


always this cursed condition
fenced in on all sides by border
or militia or history or lost
men swathed in armored
flags, wandering in search
of something to burn
to mourn

always the dying
never the killing
of the first light
& the resurrecting
never the survivance
of the chosen martyr
to do it once more

always the need for us to collect
every second
all at once
vessels for their terror

always heaviness
always rediscovery
of our homelands void
virginal dead corrupted
cage for their imaginations
or what passes
for discipline

we breathe

white oblivion set alight
cannot consume us
cannot obscure us
our shadows & howls

echoes unsilenced              resonate still                     on skin
movements undetected      recover bodies living       against
chain-linked lies                 touched                            we open
serrated mouths                 & let noonlight                  strike
our flint tongues                laughing saliva                  into chispas

& let our spit     dissolve     concrete    rotting       borders    separating
children             songs         ghosts        futures       home       lands
& let us bleed    beliefs       beating       breaking    being       belonging

& déjate sentir             -lo sin              falta
let your                        -self feel          with     (-out)
your story                    -tellers             heart
your song                    -bird                ferocity
tu lengua                      -je de amor      serpentina

remember        thru flesh
the fear            of becoming
devoured         by dirt
by sea              by sun
by eternity       by word

& let memory                          swell as sandstorms
wear rocks                               accumulate mountains
from dust light                        enough to kiss
into the stars                            obsidian mirrors
by whispers                             faint as ancestral breath
felt more than heard                sound & wave
dreams of dreams                    rising from within

our desert
to proclaim
no more

no more melting pot                emptiness
no more monuments               for ancestors who plundered
no more ruins                          for ancestors who did not think of walls
did not first speak                   transatlantic annihilation
no more told to us                   by those who don’t know us

aquí                                         where our souls cannot be caged
we reunite                               with loved ones who have remained
dead & alive                            reclaiming our time to cry



Ya no somos pequeños aprendimos de las cosas
-El Guincho

sun clenched to the sky white-
knuckled, like the lack
within my chest, reminder
of what I cannot
replace. you
remain a monument
to what couldn’t be kept,
what couldn’t be forgotten.
even when clouds like ghosts
stretch themselves across all
that is not nor cannot be
seen, even when we imagine
a god—their wrath, their mercy—
both finite, I know
your impermanence
outlives us all.




caught & muzzled,
I dream of our release.

dream of the voices
carved inside my enclosure

made of bones & breath.
dream this vision still

unspoken but for ancestors
& you, lover of mine—

you are a blessing
rain kissing this desert

cage. I dream you. promise
to replenish the depleted,

return the plundered, love
the wounded, suffocated

cry of desire buried
beneath my cell walls

& I will reach for you,
will remain with you

& retain your song
delicate on my lips.

& we will remember time
like our bodies touching

without another word
answers our howling.

Oscar Mancinas is Rarámuri-Chicanx poet, prose writer, and PhD student from Mesa, Arizona.

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