Gabriel Ramirez


Gabriel Ramirez is a Queer Afro-Latinx poet and teaching artist. Gabriel has received fellowships from Palm Beach Poetry Festival, The Watering Hole, The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, CantoMundo and a participant in the Callaloo Writers Workshops. You can find his work in publications like Winter Tangerine, The Volta, Split This Rock, VINYL, as well as Bettering American Poetry Anthology (Bettering Books 2017), What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press 2019) and The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Press 2020). 

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To be Afro-Latinx is to be an amalgamation of ancestors who dreamt, danced, and sung songs about me all while fighting for their and our lives. Our ancestors protect and guide us. When we choose to face adversity nothing can keep us from emerging victorious.


               “Too many chains, need another chest”
               -       Nipsey Hussle

               One for each of my parents. Teachers and

homies too. Call this drip, memoriam.

               Twenty-four inches when I say they on

my heart. Gone but never plated.

               Pay my respects by paying for the real.

Chains for every obituary. Walk into a funeral

               home's stillness. Walk into a jewelry store's buzzing.

My ancestors keep me shining. Started with

               Pops’ chain. Herringbone. Broken claspe.

Dented. You see a flex, I see another

               coping mechanism. Retail therapy

or how I let you know who blesses me?

               Shopping for their promised cliche halos

wanting you to say grief looks good on me.

               What if their heaven is around my neck?

Mantle of a man. Sanctuary made from

               the least sanctified. I’m deep in my bag.

I’m mourning. I keep my dead on me.

Russell the Pit Bull on the Suspicion of his Joy

Strangers only see my teeth when I smile.
Only call me dangerous. Never ask
me my favorite food. Flower. Fire hydrant
to piss on. Place to nap. Spot to scratch. They
ask about my temper. If I bite them
with my gold teeth will their ignorant blood
up in value? Can they collage photos
from news clippings? Whose children I’ve ragdolled
into headlines? If I jump on people?
If I'm kept in a cage? If I'm allowed
in bed with my family? 

                            If I'm such
a good boy, why are they afraid of me?
Would there be more peace without me smiling?

Almost Every Day the Loc’d Light Skinned Poet and Model, Gabriel Ramirez, is
Told He Looks like the Loc’d Light Skinned Actor and Model, Luka Sabbat 

               After Ross Gay

People point at my gold rings
after pushing Abuela Ana’s
casket into her niche.

People point at my gold chain
inherited after Pops
was cremated. 

The herringbone washed
in Oshun’s water. Now it glows
like Pops face before the chemo. 

Does anyone stop Luka on the street or message him on Instagram and ask:
You ever convinced yourself people aren't dead while fixing their rosaries? 

Cuando Abuelo visits my dreams, he smiles, I'm small
dancing merengue in the sala with no one to mourn. 

Grief like an heirloom
settling into the history it must carry. 

I want to pose without someone seeing
the god I had to swallow searching
for another to offer as sacrifice. 

Chateau Marmont might be
the only place this resemblance
doesn’t follow me. 

What if I found Luka wiping his face?
Would I ask Luka, if you could change
anything about yourself, would it be how you grieve?


© The Acentos Review 2020