Vanessa Guillen Memorial
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Vanessa Guillen Mural, taqueria Del Sol
Vanessa Guillen Mural, Taco Keto
Vanessa Guillen Mural, Perfect Choice BBQ
Poem "Vanessa" by Leslie Contreras Schwartz, City of Houston Poet Laureate.
My head with its star-night crown
speaks to my hands, my strong legs,
my two capable arms.
I do not belong to this nightmare of 60 days,
wet mud beside a river. The crosshatch
of hate and a man’s hands and fury.
I belong to the sound of my black Nikes
hitting pavement, my 5’2” and my last bright smile.
How I ran headlong and strong. The sound of my little
Lupe laughing into my ear in our last phone call.
“I can handle it, baby. Don’t worry.”
Now my blood pumps and pounds the sound of your
name into ground,
throws rocks and bricks and grenades into the hands on
my wrist, my neck,
until you are dust.
Say it to the edge where the road cuts into sky,
where men mouth and teeth their bloody tongues
and are obliterated by unending evening’s horizon.
Say it to the face of your mother, your grandmothers,
all your mother’s mothers.
Say my name to all your brothers, your sons, your
I’ll be remembered for my 5’2” and last bright smile,
how I ran to joy headlong and strong. I wasn’t that
Mexican American young woman you think of that
My name was Vanessa, I ran cross country, track,
I was a soldier, I wore blue with a straight spine and my
Say it to my feet, the strong muscles in my God-given
I’m hanging right before there’s a chance any an or
boy can catch up.
I’m running as hard as I can to outrun all of ya’ll, the
ones who made me feel small, the ones who would not
see me, the knife or hammer or your own bare hands.
I’m running to the place where women can rest, where
named Vanessa no longer has to run.