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Two new poems from Civic Poet, Claudia Castro Luna

Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna has penned two more poems this fall to add to the city’s growing collection.

Poem read for live interview on KUOW – September 2015 – the day my appointment as Civic Poet was made.

A Corner to Love

Maps of this city

number in the thousands

unique and folded

neatly inside each citizen’s

heart. We live in the city

and the city lives in us


On November 2, 2015 at El Centro de la Raza held a ceremony to honor Bessie Rodriguez, the mother of Santos Rodriguez, for whom the park on the west side of EL Centro’s building is named.

In 1973 Santos was a twelve year old living in Dallas when he and his brother were handcuffed and taken from their home to be questioned for the burglary of a gas station soda machine.  Santos was in the front seat of the patrol car where the officer showed him his gun loaded with only one bullet. The policeman demanded that Santos tell the truth or he would place the gun to his head. Santos denied any wrongdoing and the officer pulled the trigger twice. The first time nothing happened, but the second time, in front of his handcuffed brother, Santos was murdered. No evidence was found that the boys were involved in the theft.

Dallas has never acknowledged the murder of young Santos in any significant public way. But here in Seattle in 1985 El Centro de la Raza in collaboration with the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation department developed Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park located at 16th Ave S. and Lander St.

This November second a delegation from Dallas that included Santos’s mother flew to Seattle to visit the park, observe the memory of young Santos and open the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at El Centro de la Raza. Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza and Jesús Aguirre Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department presented remarks. I, as Civic Poet read Think of Santos.

November 2nd, 2015


Think of Santos 

— In memory of Santos Rodriguez


Since not anger, not prayers, nor protests

The clock can stop and prevent the bullet

Fired by a half man and his coward hand

And no brotherly love nor mother’s tears

Life into his lifeless body may inject

We who live yet must Santo’s life recall

His narrow shoulders, the milk of his teeth

Remember his tomorrows in each day

In children smiling on their way to school

Cherish and protect the things he didn’t get

When you say his name he lives inside you

Inside me live his truth, his hopes, his dread

So as the moon calls tides from her distant perch

So may one day soon Santos and Justice merge.



Claudia Castro Luna

Seattle’s Civic Poet