Miguel Martin Perez


Miguel Martin Perez (he/him) is a queer Afro-Dominican poet from Harlem and the South Bronx. He is an MFA alum from the University of California in Riverside and currently resides in Los Angeles. His work appears or is forthcoming in Raleigh Review, Santa Fe Writers Project, Beyond Words, and Riddled with Arrows.

Instagram: @mperezpoetry

Uptown Boy

         stacked boxes into forts,

threw forks at flying cockroaches

         across an empty Harlem basement;

I imagined infernos for the blackhole boiler room,

         dreamt soundless bowler-hat strangers

weaving red-yarn diagrams 

         in the padlocked hallway.

Hide-and-seek with rats,

         scribbled through coloring books 

with six naked crayons,

         I passed afternoons scratching ochre grime 

from cinderblocks with rusted razors, 

         and digging in the dirt 

crevices of concrete with brittle brown sticks 

         for little white clovers: 

                                           gifts for my mother

                                           which lasted little more than a day

                                           before wilting, floating in tin cans

                                           filled with cloudy faucet-water.


We Wellspring

for the Bronx and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


There were candles lit in our tenements

during the blackout of ’03. Summer heat.

We spent the afternoons unscrewing hydrants

for our kids to frolic in their streets.


We melted in our sleep. Took comfort in memories

of winter nights, their busted boiler rooms 

and frozen radiators. There’s a sort of balance

to the many ways we suffer.


We pride ourselves in struggle. We survive,

take root along the cracks in the sidewalk.

The cameras should take note of all this life,

the rain we make when left without power.

© The Acentos Review 2021