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Poetry

Fall in Love with Yesika Salgado: Silver Lake’s Fat, Fly, Salvadoran Poet

[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]angoes fill Yesika Salgado’s poetry in the same way Jacaranda trees blossom throughout her hometown in Silver Lake. She is a poet and activist emerging as the Sentimental Boss Bitch many have come to know and adore for gaslighting toxic masculinity on Instagram with heartfelt poems and screenshots.

“White man on the dating app asks why I don’t date white men he likes curvy latinas always wanted to sleep with someone like me he says I’m the smart kind of ‘Mexican’ the kind with a job and no kids I probably have a temper he finds angry womens sexy,” she writes in a poem titled Survival Tactics.

Salgado is a two-time National Poetry Slam finalist and has been featured in various platforms including Latina Magazine, Univision, NPR, and TEDx. Her poetry captures personal experiences with love, empowerment, and body positivity all while using mangoes as her signature reference.

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Yesika Salgado

Both parents raised Yesika and her two sisters in a traditional Salvadoran household. She admits it was difficult to understand why her mother stayed in a relationship with her father, despite his alcoholism. “She’s a powerful woman but sometimes I think she doesn’t feel like she has the right to own her power,” Yesika says, “Now that I’m older and I have loved when it’s gone to shit, now I know what that is, and it’s not that easy.”

Yesika shares more views on love in her debut poetry collection titled, Corazón. The collection entails Yesika’s 5-year relationship and how she survived the heartbreak that marked its end.

'Break-ups also have their magic.'

“It’s crazy when you decide to love. You know, the one you think of and your stomach jumps. When you both know you want to touch each other but you’re not comfortable, and you’re like how do I do this?” She adds, “Break-ups also have their magic. Once you’re okay you’re reminded of how invincible you are. Like yeah this fool broke my heart, but I’m ready to do it again.”

While most of the storytelling comes from Yesika’s mother, it was her father who encouraged her to read and write. She later began stealing books from the library and classrooms to imitate the structure of famous poets such as Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath, and Sandra Cisneros. Yesika says, “I learned how to write poems by copying other writers. It was like riding a bike with training wheels until I could write my own.”

In 2008, Yesika visited Da Poetry Lounge in Fairfax for the first time. She performed regularly for six years and eventually earned a spot on the Hollywood Slam Team. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence to make the team the same year I learned how to love myself. When you’re performing its inviting people to go somewhere with you, but you can’t go there if you’re not willing to go there with yourself first,” she says.

By 2015, Yesika’s social media following skyrocketed after body positivity and women’s empowerment became the center of her focus. Large platforms highlighted her work, which granted recognition outside of California and gave her a chance to begin traveling. She says, “I’m always down to work with someone whose message reflects mine because we put each other on. I’m just really lucky that I’m from L.A. where my career has come at the hands of Latinas because other platforms are here.”

Next on Yesika’s list is a dating and relationship column scheduled to debut on Valentine’s Day through Remezcla. She also plans on releasing a third book during the Fall of 2019 titled Hermosa. Yesika says, “I’ve just been able to do a bunch of cool shit I never even thought of. That’s the exciting part about my career, because I’m not a traditional writer. I’m not someone that just limits myself to stanzas.”

You can purchase Yesika Salgado’s latest book Tesoro through Not a Cult Media or visit her website for more information. Below, an original poem by Yesika Salgado:

RELATED: ‘The Poet Laureate of the Struggle’: Why Matt Sedillo is Considered One of the Best Political Poets in America

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