the louderARTS Project

Jessica Torres

Jessica Torres is a Nuyorican coming to you by way of the Bronx-- Riverdale, but the Bronx nonetheless. An organizer of the Acentos Poetry Series and a member of the louderARTS Project, she is obsessed with her journals and makes believe the world understands her overall paranoia.

A teaching artist and advisor in Bronx high schools with ASPIRA of New York, Inc., she hopes for a book but knows getting published won't validate her as a writer. Her primary influences are el Reverendo Pedro Pietri, Martín Espada, Nicanor Parra, Langston Hughes, Julia de Burgos, among other contemporary poets she's come across.

She has been a featured poet/performer at Bar13, SOUL NATION at Bluestocking Bookstore, The Point, Hunter College, Amherst College, Illinois State University, William Paterson University & the synonymUS Ascencion showcase at the Chashama Art Space.

Poetry found her like sun in her eyes, spawning an inseparable love/hate relationship between them. She is slowly recovering.

Her work can be found in her first chapbook, Seven by Seven.

jessica at louderARTS dot com




Dreaming with Hughes

langston woke me up one night in november
i,          cranky, stubborn, delirious
told him to fuck off
as my angry eyes closed once again
to nestle into a dream
he had interrupted

sitting at my desk,
he wrote a poem
on a napkin where
my lines behind it
lied unfinished

mine went:

     la raza adelantada llora porque las manos siguen negras
     our color comes from
     black dirt of coffee plantations reflected upon skin
     they picked cotton, we picked sugarcane
     same blood shipped to different lands
     and now in a conqueror's language, we holler
     yet burn old photos and
     tame our manes with same fingers
     that never seem to find revolution

his went:

     solemn moons ring harlem
     in a jazz parlor,
     strangers groove
     to a smooth trombone
     where a sign outside reads
     "this is where the black soul moans"


crushed between his dark wrinkled hands,
the napkin became a
small ball of words and
taking a risk as I dreamt,
he squeezed my jaw open
with his left
and placed it inside my cheek with the right

deep sleep dream
soaked the ball as
words seeped into my tongue.
he sat smiling as i slept,
ink staining my lips
as a silent movie played in my head

in it i was the white man,
letting a timid song
minstrel my voice,
metaphor sung but was never heard.
my dream laid blue in the face
with my fingerprints around its neck.

but the ball dissolved and he sat smiling

as the scenes played on
i saw myself as i shared a poem before a crowd listening intently
i read to revive a dream,
all worth that one girl
in the back that nods and whispers "ˇvaya!"
my dreams of
free flags flying in daddy's viejo san juan
a lover writing prophecies on my skin
brown women with triple x lipstick lips now spitting verses
all float from verse to ears

tattooed inside my cheek are words
formulating their purpose,
both asleep and awake.
knowing it would happen eventually,
langston sat and continued to smile,
inspired by the moon's
configuration upon my blanket
and my version of a dream
yet to be told



© Jessica Torres



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