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Escaping The Past

Chicano poetry
There are a hundred avenues to escape the future, but not a single road to escape the past.

There are a hundred avenues
To escape the future
But not a single road to escape the past

Yet sometimes I still mourn the past
The sting
Of ink seeping into the bone
Careening through the bloodstream
Cleaving, widowing vacant pores

Feel the sunlight splashing down
Enlightening our shaven heads
Refracting authority
Signaling, taunting rival carnales

Hear Richie Valens through the static
Strumming lost odes
Consoling spirits
Healing, blessing open wounds

Smell the fuming, smoldering hash
Through slits in the forest tops
Elevating and bolstering dreams
Magnifying fears, reinforcing doubts

Taste the flank red meat
Charred like our history, our heritage
Shrouding blood and resolve
Masking the muscle within

See the names and numbers scrawled
Across walls and fences
Enclosing like prison yards
Reminding locals, warning outsiders
Stay away

There are a hundred avenues
To escape the future
But not a single road to escape the past

About the author

Brandon Loran Maxwell

Brandon Loran Maxwell is a writer, speaker, and prize winning essayist. His writings and commentary have appeared at The Hill, Salon, Townhall, The Washington Examiner, The Oregonian, FEE, and Latino Rebels Radio, among others. He regularly speaks on a variety of social topics, and has been cited at outlets such as The Los Angeles Times, Vox, and The Washington Post. His personal essay "Notes From An American Prisoner" was awarded a Writer's Digest prize in 2014, and his one-act play "Petal By Petal" about drug and alcohol addiction was performed at The Little Theater in 2009. He holds a B.S. in political science, and often writes about prison reform, immigration reform, pop culture, music, and Chicano culture.

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