This week in our series 'This Work Will Take Dancing," highlighting the writing of Latinx writers in the South, we expand our notions of resilience and resistance. Sometimes we protest in the streets, sometimes we resist simply by refusing despair, choosing instead to love and nurture the roots we come from, "el optimismo es también una forma de resistencia," writes Maria Vargas or sometimes we just have to "ride the mad currents of our love" as Maria Esquinca puts it in "Mexican Millennials," unsure of the future to come.

Read more from 'This Work Will Take Dancing' here.

Mexican Millennials
After Like This, Like That by Liz Wyckoff & Howl by Allen Ginsberg

We suck-hunch-suck ramen noodles for dinner. Don't answer
our mothers when they call us on the phone. Trap THC in the pits of our hair follicles. Build our parent's debt
out of concert tickets, fast-food, synthetic keyboards. Faintly know of 401Ks. Submit student visas, green card renewals, one N-400. We blacken the wide whiteness of a checkbox with an X.
Scrape against the walls that want us out. Walk
freely across bridges. Visit Juárez to drink cheap, dance cheap, eat cheap. Choke
a car with too many bodies as we drive through another militarized border.
Hug our palms with a big ass Michelada. Fill our mouths with regret. Dance to impress, dance to forget, unzip our spines. Beat our bones with music we like. Twist tongue to claim correctness. Answer the stoic, green, border patrol, man. Our brown friends go into a white room
for 20 minutes,
30 minutes,
an hour. Feed roses to our aching hearts. Miss real mexican food:
Elote en vaso. Burritos de barbacoa. Tripitas. Pack our fridge with craft beer, stale strawberries, one birthday cake bound to rot fuzz. Confess
twilight apologies after another 4am fight. Ride the mad currents of our love, a canoe swerving death and lightning like the aliens we are this country, long been in that country. Wake weary and greasy at 1 p.m. Shower mechanically in dirty tubs. Wipe our ass with stray napkins. Whack
our veins with coffee.Walk crazy eyed through our internal chasms of hope and anxiety, we angelheaded hipsters all batter bleak brain.


(porque el optimismo es también una forma de resistencia)

Mi madre escribe y envía jazmines

dormidos entre hojas de papelillo azul.

Yo, preocupada porque es tiempo de revolución,

quería saber sobre las guerrillas sandinistas

combatiendo en Masaya,

si tienen leche, bujías, jabón,

si han encontrado frijoles, pollo, pan,

sí mi hermano se reconcilió con su mujer,

cómo sigue la rodilla quebrada de papá

y a cuánto está el dólar en Managua.

Pero mi madre escribe sin mencionar

guerrillas, jabón, hermano, padre o pollo,

o las filas interminables por el racionamiento,

la escasez del agua o los estantes vacíos

de los supermercado llenos solamente

de cubos plásticos de Cuba

y aceite de girasol rancio de Bulgaria,

y con el eterno optimismo que heredó

de su abuela Máxima, quien se gastaba en lirios

los veinticinco pesos de su pensión,

me cuenta que ha escrito un poema

al rosado tembloroso de las buganvilias,

que una inmensa luna de agosto

se recuesta en su ventana

y que me envía su amor

en esos capullos envueltos en papelillo azul

del jazminero que mandó a sembrar

el día que yo nací.

Maria Vargas is a Nicaraguan poet, narrator, and translator. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a PhD in Latin American Literature. Her work has appeared in anthologies published in England, Argentina, Nicaragua, and the United States. She won a Hackney Literary Award for her poetry in English and in 2003, her book The Open Eyes of Silence (Los Ojos Abiertos del Silencio) won the Rafaela Contreras Poetry Prize for Central American women writers. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Maria Esquinca is an MFA candidate at the University of Miami, serving as a Michener Fellow. She is the 2018 winner of the American Academy of Poets Prize. Her other passion is journalism. She is a multimedia journalist and focuses her reporting on social justice issues. A fronteriza, she was born in Ciudad Juárez, and raised in El Paso.