“Rainbow Shoes” by Eduardo Arocho, excerpted from Wherever I’m At: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry

Explosions of color, predominantly shades of pink, then blue, with white circles in a chain and a ribbon of blue, black and white with small stars in the foreground and geometry surrounding.
Kapow Impasto, Rebecca Taubman Schnitzer

I am the Tour Guide
I am the Docent
I walk with rainbow shoes
CONVERSE – thick-laces

             I haven’t gone anywhere – I haven’t left
             I’ve survived La División Street – Paseo Boricua is next
             Chicago – Our story defies your attempts to gentrify
             These steel Banderas – are Residentes Permanentes

                                       I walked here when we were within
                                       Shooting distance from each other
                                       I walk here now and we are within
                                       Loving distance from each other

                                                                                         I remember before I had
                                                                                         Rainbow shoes
                                                                                         On this corner
                                                                                         The BLUE-shoe gang
                                                                                         On that corner
                                                                                         The GREEN-shoe gang
                                                                                         On the next corner
                                                                                         The BROWN-shoe gang
                                                                                         Three blocks away
                                                                                         The RED-shoe gang
                                                                                         Six blocks away
                                                                                         The YELLOW-shoe gang

                    So many obstacles – colonial divisions
                    The wrong shoes might get you jumped
                    Or chased – Just to get to school a few blocks
                    Away – So I prayed for rainbow shoes

                              They came to me – A gift from The Three
                              Un tesoro de los santos
                              No son JORDANS – But I can jump

I’m not afraid anymore – we made it difficult to be erased
Murals in every corner – Our-story is safe
I walk in freedom now – yo ando feliz
Steel Banderas above me – and rainbow shoes on my feet


Wherever I’m At: An Anthology of Chicago PoetryEdited by Donald G. Evans and Robin Metz. Chicago: Chicago Literary Hall Of Fame, After Hours Press and Third World Press, 2022. Excerpt of one poem.

Copyright © 2022 by Chicago Literary Hall Of Fame, After Hours Press and Third World Press. Publishing June 13, 2022. All rights reserved.

Eduardo Arocho is a poet, author and professional tour guide. He is the author of six poetry chapbooks and his poems appear in Wherever I’m At, An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, After Hours Press, and Third World Press, 2022); We Are (Chicago Community Trust, 2016); Cantalogia I: El Amor (Palabra Pura Poets) (Pandora Lobo Estepario Press, 2013); El Movimiento De Los Reyes Hacia La Estrella Sola by Ramón López (2008); Diálogo Journal; CENTRO JOURNAL; Power Lines: Anthology (Tia Chucha Press, 2000); and Open Fist: Anthology of Young Illinois Poets (Tia Chucha Press, 1993). He is currently completing work on his forthcoming poetry manuscript, Nació Maestro.

Rebecca Taubman Schnitzer is a painter based in Dallas who mostly works with acrylics. Several of her paintings have appeared in ACM.