by Julián Martinez
Julián Martinez (he/him) is from Waukegan, IL. He co-created and served as Creative Editor of DePaul University’s bilingual arts/news publication Pueblo at 14 East. His work has appeared in HAD, The Hellebore, Ample Remains, Juked, and elsewhere, including his family home town paper, La Cascada, in El Salto, Jalisco, Mexico. His essays on pop music received The Society of Professional Journalists’ 2021 Mark of Excellence. He is the son of Mexican and Cuban immigrants. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @martinezfjulian.
ode to unemployment
—after José Olivarez
ode to sitting on my ass. ode to no job response. ode
to getting government $ from home. ode to my stepdad’s
wheelchair. ode to my stepdad’s couch grunts, before
& after illness. ode to las chivas who i love like i love
rocky IV. ode to both as stepdad clicks between the two
tv channels & either makes me smile to be next to him.
ode to his chuckle as rocky clocks the russian. ode to
communism, which is not what rocky loves, but hey
i don’t wear my chivas jersey because they’re winners.
ode to wearing my stepdad’s neon green hoodie, still
caked with drywall at its corners. ode to radio sports
announcers as we drive to the clinic before it closes,
who talk to each other with more speed & words
than my stepdad & i ever have. ode to silence.
ode to seatbelts. ode to the scent of eucalyptus oil
on my stepdad’s legs and my hands. ode to the heat
they glow with, me rubbing his knees before we left,
him telling me to push harder though i didn’t want to
hurt him. ode to the clouds that cool us. ode to the
longest “¡gooooool!” ever heard. ode to my stepdad’s
sigh as the other team wins, which is ok with me since
i don’t wear a chivas jersey because they’re winners.