Progressive Poetry

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

Just an Anchor (When My Eyes Meet Yours)

I found myself a rising Sophomore at Stanford University hearing talks of a Birthright Citizenship Act that would eliminate birthright to children born of undocumented immigrants. Here I was, being called an anchor baby… my friends… anchor babies, my cousins… anchor babies… but were we? After years of struggling to reconcile my parent’s notion of the American Dream and the harsh reality of a broken immigration system… I decided not to be defeated, I decided to move forward and here I stand like many others at an elite institution trying to give back to this place I call home.

As I lay in a crowded bed, next to my brothers and sisters
Looking out at the sky with wishful, hopeful eyes
You look down on me, a pest
You say I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
As I sit in a wooden desk, thinking how I could be so lucky
Looking toward the front of the lecture hall through eager, determined eyes
You look down on me, a nuisance
And tell me I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
But then one day
As you sit in a cold bench, wondering how this could have happened to you
When you look up through pleading, nervous eyes
At the person in the suit, your defender
As you lay on a hospital bed, in your own private room
When you look up through swollen, half closed eyes
At the person in the white coat, your healer
And your eyes meet my mine
Tell me again, that I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
Standing before you
Meeting your stare

by Aracely Mondragon, 9.2.10

Who do you think you are

Commuting on public transportation this summer was at times draining, not just because of the $4 a day, 5 days a week I was spending. As the days went by, I had yet to conquer the howls and cat calls of men as I walked down the street, the eyes glued to my thighs, the man who followed me off the bus and left me sprinting to the next bus. Through this poem, I was able to regain my power… I am a woman and will not be treated as a piece of meat.

Who do you think you are
Howling at me as I walk down the street
following close behind
as I face forward refusing you the pleasure of seeing fear in my eyes
Who do you think you are
Sitting next to me on the bus, eyes glued to me
scanning every inch of my body
as I cross my legs and hug my purse against my breasts, trying to keep you out
Who do you think you are
Waving at me as if we were family
grinning with menace in your chest
as I hold my hands close together, knowing you are no brother of mine
Who do you think you are
You don’t know me
I am the tall unbending tree
whose spirit you can not break
I am the pulsating temple
whose sanctified body you can not trespass on
I am the warm and nurturing womb
whose comfort you can not steal
I know who I am
Who do you think YOU are

by Aracely Mondragon, 8.5.11


I am born of Mexican immigrant parents.
I identify as a Chicana, Latina, feminist, first generation, an ally.
I love the beauty of words and the literature of the Spanish tongue
I believe in the power of advocacy and activism.
I work toward social justice and the celebration of difference.
I strive for never allowing frustration to lend itself to apathy.
I give everything of myself because I care.
I dream, I hope, I live.

“When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
— Audre Lorde

Stanford Class of 2013; Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity;

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2 thoughts on “Progressive Poetry

  1. RK says:

    Thank you for sharing these here, Aracely. Your words are moving.

  2. Moni says:

    These pieces are beautiful. Aracely, you’re in inspiration to many, myself included, and I have profound respect for the work that you do and the life you live as an advocate and activist :).

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