Saturday, February 17, 2018

Luis Mena , Mestizo Artist by Antonio SolisGomez

In one of my jaunts I ran across Luis Mena’s sculpture of the woman pointing at the Convention Center, a tear coming down her face depicting obvious sadness that her Barrio Viejo was demolished under the guise of urban renewal.  It’s an exquisite piece, beautifully proportioned, showing movement and strong emotion.  I knew then that I should interview this marvelous artist and I began checking the internet for a way to get in touch with him. I saw photos of him, a man of light complexion with sandy brown hair, maybe he’s a gringo I thought. I managed to find an email address and that led to our first telephone conversation that quickly forced a smile in me when I heard his slow drawl, full of Spanish accent and a vocabulary that said barrio vato y que!

His house is on the corner of a large lot, surely at least an acre, in Barrio Anita, one of Tucson’s oldest barrios. In back of the main house three other small adobe buildings are situated that he tells me were, at one time, housing for the Mexican men that worked on the railroad and pointing out the misconception that Chinese workers laid the tracks which are but a stone’s throw from his property,  He’s restoring them and one of them is his studio that he offers to show me. Upon entering the studio one is greeted by an old wood floor that feels is if it is laying on dirt but the attention quickly shifts to a large and colorful oil painting in the back portion to the room.

Luis speaks slowly, extending the pronunciation of certain words in a very distinctive style.

Luis- That’s the Virgen de los Remedios.  The original small statue was hidden inside a maguey at the time Cortez was fleeing Tenochtitlan, he and his men hauling bags of gold and stashing the Virgen, where it lay undiscovered until twenty years later.


It’s a beautiful piece and attests to the fact that he is also a painter and has several murals scattered around Tucson.
Luis holding a drawing for one of his latests murals

Luis is a passionate man and not squeamish about expressing his feelings about a whole range of topics. He considers himself an indigenous person, his dad a full blooded Cora from Mexico, taught him that their names were slave names given by the Spanish. And those feelings found fertile ground in the racism and injustice that Chicanos have faced. He gets upset that Chicanos don’t know how to defend themselves

Luis- A good example is that television broadcaster that was told by the president to leave his conference and go back to Mexico. And he allowed himself to be escorted out without saying something like why don’t you go back to Germany or Scotland or wherever you come from!

 The Tohono O'Odham sculpture commemorating the site of the original Chuk Son Village (Tucson).

Antonio- Where did you study?

Luis- I attended the Fashion Institute of Design in Los Angeles. And I took some classes here at the university. But I already was an artist. When I was fourteen I exhibited at an exhibition with the sculptor Luis Jimenez.

Antonio- You learned on your own?

Luis- I had an uncle that taught me. He was a better artist than I was.

Antonio- What can you tell me about the piece you did for the Tohono O’Odom.

Luis- The TO’s are a beautiful people, very gentle and peaceful and I enjoyed working with them but I had a couple of challenges. When they first saw me all huero they weren’t so sure that I was the right person. But I told them that I was also an indigenous person but from Mexico. And then they wanted me to base my sculpture on a drawing by one of their members that had passed away. I told them that I couldn’t just infringe on another artist’s work but that I would try and honor his concept. When it was completed they loved it and they loved me too!

We leave his studio and walk to another of the small building that he's restoring. At the concrete stoop, he's embedded a round bas relief of Cortez that one must step on before entering the room, a reminder of how Luis feels about the Spanish invasion of Mexico.

Antonio- What's next for you Luis?

Luis- I'll be finishing the painting of the Virgen which is on commission and I hope to land a commission for another sculpture, that I can't talk about until it's finalized. It's not easy being an artist. High quality paints are expensive and I have to battle the prejudice and racism.  

Antonio. I hope you keep at it despite the challenges. I think your art is fabulous.

for donations or commissions

Friday, February 16, 2018

Twentieth Century Still-Life

This photograph of my mother must’ve been taken around 1954 or so. The two hoodlums with her are my younger brother Michael (aka “the Great Intruder”) and me. I guess I’m about six years old, but I can’t be sure. I was born in 1948; Michael in 1949 – so take your own guess.

My mother, Ermila "Emma" Ramos nee Sarmiento, was born in 1927. If I’m correct about the age of the photo, she would’ve been in her twenties when it was snapped, probably by my father.

The automobile in the background was a Plymouth from the early 1940s with a very dark blue paint job and, as I recall, an oversized steering wheel. The entire car was bigger than life. I fondly remember, or imagine, riding in the huge back seat, rolling around like a pea in a giant pod, feeling safe thinking that a tank had nothing on the Plymouth Two Door Deluxe Special Sedan. 

Check out the cool hood ornament, the classy windshield visor, and the ultra-modern antenna.  My father always tricked up his rides; made them all his.

The size, power, and general robustness of cars from the Forties and Fifties reflected the upfront optimism that the United States projected. Finally seen as a world power in 1954, primarily because of the success of the U.S. military in World War II, the U.S.A. promised a golden future of peace, prosperity, and plenty.

Not for everyone, of course. The promise came with strings attached. The general rule was that to share in the golden future, you had to be educated, at least middle-class, and white. There were exceptions, but when they posed in front of the family car, the three people in the picture didn’t know about the rule, much less the exceptions. We thought you just had to be hard-working.

So, what’s happening in this Twentieth Century still-life?

The most obvious observation is that no one is smiling. In fact, my mother looks downright pissed off, while Mike and I look tense and apprehensive.

One thought I had was that she had busted us for some major transgression such as trampling her garden, and was about to administer some good old-fashioned discipline, when my father decided he wanted to try out the new camera. He saved our asses, but clearly, my mother was not done with us yet.

Or, maybe we were bummed out because we’d been on a Sunday drive that we had to cut short because Dad needed to save gas to get to his construction job in Colorado Springs on Monday.

Or, we had our dinner and were chilling in the front yard when my mother got a call from the motel where she labored as a maid, or the restaurant where she was a waitress, and she had to go in to work on her day off because some one else was sick, or late, or otherwise missing.

But then, the photo could simply be one of those where the timing was off, and no one smiled, which often happens when members of the Ramos clan pose for pictures. For all I know, the next one on the roll of film shows everyone with big toothy grins, happy as two little kids and their mother  deserved to be on a fine Spring afternoon, in a small Colorado town on the banks of the Arkansas River. We were with Mom, and we had on clean clothes, and our hair was combed, and we didn’t have dried mocos on our faces and it felt good to be part of the family, in front of the family car.

Maybe we didn’t smile because we had to wait to take a picture instead of immediately driving over to Foster’s Drive-In for ice cream cones. Foster’s featured something called a Frosty, and my mother cracked up every time my father placed his order: “Give me a Foster, Frosty.” Mike and I laughed, too, but never as hard as my mother. She probably heard my old man make that order before we were born – did not matter. It was part of the deal they had with each other, part of the package. Make me laugh and I’ll love you forever. Mom and Dad kept their respective sides of the deal. For that, thank you.

Emma Ramos passed away on February 3, 2018. She was ninety years old. She lived a long and good life.



Manuel Ramos is the author of several novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction books and articles. His collection of short stories, The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories, was a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Book Award. My Bad: A Mile High Noir was published by Arte Público Press in 2016 and was a finalist for the Shamus Award in the Original Paperback category sponsored by the Private Eye Writers of America.  He is hard at work on his next Chicano Noir crime novel.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chicanonautica: Cleaning Up Phoenix with Marshal Enrique

As Joe Arpaio rises out of his political coffin run for the Senate, we should remember that not all Arizona law enforcers have been like him.

If you go back to the early days of Phoenix, the first City Marshal was Enrique “Henry” Garfais, a short brown guy from a California ranchero family. I hadn’t heard about him until I ran across the fascinating new book Dogged Pursuit: Tracking the life of Enrique Garfias, the First City Marshalof Phoenix, Arizona by Jeffery R. Richardson.

¡Guao! What a discovery!

Garfias, once called “the bravest man in Arizona,” was a lawman in the Arizona territory for over twenty years. When he wasn’t a marshal, he worked as a constable, and a translator. He also helped start the Spanish-language newspaper El Progreso. And he was a rancher.

His exploits were well documented in newspapers and court records--the book bristles with quotes, some of them Garfias’ own words. I can see how Richardson could spend twelve years researching this life that was the stuff of western fiction, with shoot-outs, chases, and detective work. He was also an advocate for the Spanish-speaking population, fought against racism and lynching, and sent prisoners out into the streets to pick up the litter.

Can we say pillar of the community?

We could certainly use more like him these days.

Garfias is like Bass Reeves, the black U.S. Marshal whose career was altered into the adventures of the Lone Ranger. I wouldn't be surprised if writers mined Garfias’ life for material. Reading Dogged Pursuit gave me Wild West déjà vu.

Garfias’ early days remind me of ancient TV’s Marshal Dillon from Gunsmoke, and the heroes of countless horse operas. It’s hard to separate the man from the archetype.

He also reminds me of the Arizona constable hero of Elmore Leonard’s Valdez is Coming, who was played by Burt Lancaster in the spaghetti western.

It's been a nearly a half a century, maybe it’s time for a remake with a Latino actor in the role?

I hope Dogged Pursuit inspires hope that Garfias will take his place in the pantheon of the Wild West, as it is being re-created for the 21st century. It would be great to read fiction, see graphic novels, movies and mini-series on which this great American hero can appear unwhitewashed, under his own name. It is about time we gave the vato his due.

Ernest Hogan lived for decades committing acts of Chicano sci-fi in the jurisdiction of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

American Library Association Award Winners 2018

The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

“La Princesa and the Pea,” illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book was written by Susan Middleton Elya and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Belpré Illustrator Honor Books

“All Around Us,” illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia, written by Xelena González and published by Cinco Puntos Press.

“Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos,” illustrated by John Parra, written by Monica Brown and published by NorthSouth Books, Inc., an imprint of NordSüd Verlag AG.


“Lucky Broken Girl,” written by Ruth Behar, is the Pura Belpré Author Award winner. The book is published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Belpré Author Honor Books

“The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora,” written by Pablo Cartaya and published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

“The First Rule of Punk,” written by Celia C. Pérez and published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Given to African American authors and illustrator for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood. 

“Piecing Me Together,” written by Renée Watson, is the King Author Award winner. The book is published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

King Author Honor Books

“Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” written by Derrick Barnes, published by Bolden, an Agate Imprint, a Denene Millner Book.

 “Long Way Down,” written by Jason Reynolds, published by Atheneum, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book.

 “The Hate U Give,” written by Angie Thomas, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


“Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the King Illustrator Award winner. The book is written by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly and Marjory Wentworth and published by Candlewick Press.

King Illustrator Honor Books

“Crown: An Ode to a Fresh Cut,” illustrated by Gordon C. James, written by Derrick Barnes and published by Bolden, an Agate Imprint, a Denene Millner Book.

“Before She Was Harriet: The Story of Harriet Tubman,” illustrated by James E. Ransome, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and published by Holiday House.  


Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award

“The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” written by David Barclay Moore, is the Steptoe Author Award winner. The book is published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

“Mama Africa! How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song,” illustrated by Charly Palmer, is the Steptoe Illustrator Award winner. The book is written by Kathryn Erskine and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC.


Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Eloise Greenfield is the winner of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

“Hello, Universe” written by Erin Entrada Kelly, is the 2018 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Newbery Honor Books

“Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” written by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James and published by Bolden, an Agate Imprint, a Denene Millner Book.

 “Long Way Down,” written by Jason Reynolds and published by Atheneum, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book.

“Piecing Me Together,” written by Renée Watson and published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

“Wolf in the Snow,” illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell is the 2018 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was published by Feiwel and Friends, an Imprint of Macmillan.

Caldecott Honor Books

“Big Cat, little cat,” illustrated and written by Elisha Cooper and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

“Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” illustrated by Gordon C. James, written by Derrick Barnes, and published by Bolden, an Agate Imprint, a Denene Millner Book.

“A Different Pond,” illustrated by Thi Bui, written by Bao Phi and published by Capstone Young Readers, a Capstone imprint.

 “Grand Canyon,” illustrated and written by Jason Chin, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

For a complete list of ALA awards and winners visit

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

and slowly read, and dream

On-line Floricanto For St. Valentine

Selected by the Moderators of the Facebook community Poets Responding.

Nit pick by Lia Eliades
What he knows and doesn’t by Odilia Galván Rodríguez
ESPERANDO ABRIL por Elizabeth Cazessús
Niño cabellos de fuego por Brian Schwarzschild
You Became the Seasons When You Left by Sonia Gutiérrez
Te convertiste en las estaciones cuando te fuiste por Sonia Gutiérrez
Sin Razón de Amar por Zheyla Henriksen
[a prayer to the seven directions of Love] by Jenuine Blu
love song to those who died: the AIDS years 37 years later by Sharon Elliott
Que Nunca por Edward Vidaurre
DEEP WATERS by Lara Gularte
I Know of No Other Way... by Victor Avila
Canción nacida del viento by Elle Wonders
Oda de Odiseo a la Sirena, por Daniel García Ordaz
Ode Of Odysseus To The Siren, (a translation by Daniel García Ordaz)
Son plácidos los versos por Gabriel González Núñez
En San Francisco por enriKetta luissi
The Son of an Elotero by Andrea Mauk
The Time Traveler by Eduardo Leon Guizar
this body by Jo Reyes-Boitel
Braille by Briana Muñoz

Nit pick
by Lia Eliades

As I unpick stitches
You hang laundry
And just like that
Twenty years have gone by
It’s the small things
Your transistor radio
all static and crackle
Punting on ponies
That come and go
The good curries you cook
The way you use twigs instead of q-tips
How you tend your little garden
And piss on the passion fruit vine
‘Not on my herbs,’ I plead
As I pick stitches
I want to tell him
how to hang the towels
Everyone knows
how to hang the towels
Except him
But I say nothing
And I pick stitches in the sun
And think about how he thinks
I think
That whatever he does is wrong
Nit picker
That is not me
But the towels will never dry like that
But I say nothing
It’s the small things
That can break twenty years
Or stitch them tightly together
‘Do you want me to make curry?’ he says
I lift my eyes and smile in the sun

What he knows
and doesn’t
by Odilia Galván Rodríguez

He knows
she’s lived
a lot of places
but doesn’t
know why

thinks he knows her
but understands
you can
never know
a person
is a world

as the four seasons
she’s subject to change
her ways and means
not predictable

she’s more storm
ones that don’t warn
come up fast
carrying electricity

their coppery redolence
with the smell
of earth

that is what
he does
he thinks of her

but comes across
the universe
a whirlwind
of deep want

almost hunger
for her
the way she

how it flowers
on her
usually serious

the cadence
of her voice
clear and sure
the sharpness
of her native wit

he misses
all those places
she’s been
live in her
not only
in her mind

por Elizabeth Cazessús

Amanezco y la diáfana luz entra por la ventana
La habitación tiene su propio toque de silencio
Respiramos juntos y a la distancia extasiados de besos
se conjuga el tiempo del cuerpo en pasado y presente.
No nos rendimos en esta comunión de imágenes
Volvemos, sin dar marcha atrás y con esa fuerza
destilamos palabras que le dan sentido al amanecer
Un alumbramiento contiene entero el mapa de la piel.

Niño cabellos de fuego
por Brian Schwarzschild


Entonces niño cabellos de fuego ¿qué mirada tienes tú?

¿Qué sueñan los niños de fuego como tú?

Ah pues te diré, los niños de fuego,

vivos y suaves / moldeados en jaspe /

los que llegan con la primavera /

antes que el hierro y las armas blandan

una vez y sólo una /

con una corona de flores y laurel /


You Became the Seasons When You Left
by Sonia Gutiérrez

You became the comforting chilly wind of fall,

snugging my skin but nowhere to be found

And I would catch you like a raincoat in December—

ill-prepared thirty days out of the month

(One must learn to keep an umbrella nearby)

Spring flowers—such morbid beauty—reminding me
your visit would be temporary like morning glory petals shut tight each fading night

You, plentiful like the sun’s scorching summer heat but missing most of the day

Perhaps, next year I will catch you in an iced cold glass of tea on a Havana beach

Te convertiste en las estaciones cuando te fuiste
por Sonia Gutiérrez

Te convertiste en el viento frío consolador del otoño,

acurrucándome la piel, pero sin encontrarte en ningún lugar

Y te atrapaba como una gabardina en diciembre— mal preparada treinta días del mes

(Uno debe aprender a traer un paraguas a la mano)

Las flores de la primavera—belleza tan mórbida—

recordándome que tu visita sería temporal como los pétalos de la gloria de la mañana cerrada herméticamente cada noche que desvanecía

Tú, abundante como el calor abrasador del sol de verano, pero desaparecido la mayor parte del día

Tal vez, en el año por venir, te atraparé

en un vaso de té helado en una playa de la Havana

Sin Razón de Amar
por Zheyla Henriksen


Desde la grande inmensidad
De nuestro espíritu
Me duele tu amor

Es limón exprimido
Jugo que se impregna
En la garganta

Al momento que estoy contigo
Y se queda el recuerdo
En los sentidos

Es ese gusto amargo querendón

Ese amor es hostia inalcanzable
Del niño que aún no ha pecado
Y que quiere comulgar
Sin haberse confesado

Mi encuentro contigo
Enciende la llama amortiguada
Que al verse nuestras almas
Comienza como un fénix
A crecer de las cenizas

Es pecado no consumado
Es dolor y canción


Acércate ya al cáliz
Al elixir de los dioses
Porque sé que inexorablemente
Eres mío sin tú saberlo

Reconócete en mí
Yo sé que lo haces
Pero el miedo te impide
Explorar lo ajeno


Quiéreme sin temor
Yo guardaré el recuerdo
Que en mis noches solitarias
Me cantaré en el sueño


Tu amor es como el rocío
Silencioso de la mañana
Me refresca cuando cae
Y al esfumarse quedo sedienta


Bendito este amor
Que me hace reconocer
Que esta alma se enreda
En penurias terrenales

Que me hace olvidar
Que hay un Dios

Es la prueba de fuego
Donde se mata el alma
Es el cuerpo reivindicándose

Ese amor está allí
Y yo soy el sediento
Que no puede mojarse
Los labios de tu agua

Es bendición y pecado
Es alma y cuerpo
Es crucifixión y redención

[a prayer to the seven directions of Love]
by Jenuine Blu

love song to those who died: the AIDS years 37 years later
by Sharon Elliott

there must be a great party
wherever it is you have gone
to put your feet up
cemetery disco
for a dance undone

we all came of age
in reckless times
that made safety
a guarantee
wasted on ignorance
sitting ducks
in the shooting gallery of
a forsaken arcade

we never saw your faces
missing in action
caught unaware
what was being sold distorted
no rainbow promises

we passed you by
lickety split
not stopping
to count the bodies
erased the blackboard
chalk dust
blown by a cruel wind

I forgot to revisit those days
their aching losses
unknown emptiness
that won’t be filled

anything you may have said or done
departed for a distant land
of sand dunes
rolling breakers
and slack tides

I miss you

Que Nunca
por Edward Vidaurre

Que nunca se cansen tus ojos de los míos. Ni tus labios de los míos. Ni tu piel sobre mi piel en otoño. Ni el nido de el cenzontle en tu árbol. Nunca pierdas el amor por el diseño de tu cara cuando seas vencida por el sueño. Ni por el ruido de mi garganta cuando duermo. Ni por la tortuga que no se apura. Nunca dejes que la sed te cause ansiedad. Ni que el calor de junio te borre la sonrisa. Nunca dejes caer mis palabras de amor al olvido. Ni mis besos al la oscuridad del mar inmenso. Ni dejes que las impresiones de mis dedos sobre tus caderas después de hacer el amor se desaparescan. Nunca dejes que las canas de tu pelo escondan el color rosa de tus mejillas cuando tengas pena. Que nunca te de pena. Nunca sufras por el amor. Ni por mi adios. Nunca dudes de mi amor en el libro de poemas que escribiré con la saliva de tu último beso.

by Lara Gularte

We stare at the great sea,
the moon, gold dust
on slate-black rippling waves.
For love vows
in a rite by water
we enter the surf.

Like two cosmic fish
we swim in uncharted depths,
taste the wild flavor of the sea,
and in a wet embrace
make silent promises.
O mariner man of mine,

together you and I
reach ocean bottom, and
discover oysters without pearls.
Barren of treasure
from this dead sea,

our breath used,
our lungs to bursting,
we pour ourselves back on shore,
our skin turning to scales.
Fish breath.
First published in Days Between Dancing by “The Poet’s Corner Press.”

I Know of No Other Way...
by Victor Avila

I know of no other way to love you
but with words and kisses
and I want to know of no other way.

For in those moments of solitude and silence
when despair and melancholy shadows
come to overwhelm me
I think of you.

The beauty of your breasts delight me
and my lonely hands seek you in the ravenous moonlight.
My desire for you cannot be quenched
or the infinity of its fire extinguished.
Your thighs are an amorous map
that I want to return to.
They are a harbor of my remembrances.

No, I know of no other way to love you.

And yes, I have loved others
but all of them are passengers on somber trains
traveling through the fog of loss and oblivion.
I do not see them.

In this part of our story
we become the glad echoes of each others eyes.
In this part of our story
you are asleep beside me but it is I who feel
that I am in the midst
of the most iridescent of dreams.

I know of no other way to love you.
And oh, how I love you-
for you are an anchor of phosphorus
that illuminates the darker places of my soul.
And your kisses of jade and amethyst
are what I remember when I leave you.

Sometimes in your presence,
when you are not looking, I temble
fearing that I love you too much.
And yes, fearing that the day might come
when I will lose you.

But for now,
my fever in its restlessness
knows tranquility.
I am consoled that you are in my arms
and in the shelter of my embrace, both quiet and still.

For I know of no other way to love you
but with words and kisses.

I know of no other way.

Canción nacida del viento
by Elle Wonders

Camíname a través de un campo de hierba alta
y traeremos de vuelta los días que perdimos.

Cántame cuando las palomas estén arrullando
y el sonido flotará a través de mis pensamientos.

Llévame a través de un crepúsculo de verano
y te mostraré las estrellas que brillan.

Recuérdame cómo bailan nuestros rayos de luna
e intentaremos nuevamente. Nos iremos esta noche.

Si me muestran el camino hacia el delta del río,
podemos detenernos en algún lugar del camino.

El viento llevará nuestras canciones de búsqueda
y marcaremos el lugar en nuestro mapa.

“Oda de Odiseo a la Sirena” 
 por Daniel García Ordaz

¿Dónde estás?
Ayer te busqué,
te hallé,
te perdí.
Hoy te buscaré otra vez.
Anoche te busque en mis brazos,
tan fuera de alcance como
la bicicleta de mi niñez—
hace mucho abandonada, jamás olvidada.
Te busqué en el eterno rugir
de tus caricias marinas
sobre las rocas
de mis memorias.
Remo y remo sin cesar
hasta que el latir en mi pecho
cae triste y silencioso,
débil sobre tu ancho mar.
Anoche escuché tu canto
en los vientos del verdor,
en los aires rumorosos sobre el abismo azul
suspiros que iluminaron mi paladar
con sabor a tí.
Extraño los murmullos
que dejaste como un eco dormilón
en el hueco de mi corazón.

Me dejaste como navegante sin estrella,
vagando hacia el horizonte gris,
extraviado, aislado, abandonado.
Ayer te busqué,
te hallé,
te perdí
Hoy te buscaré otra vez
aunque sigas enviando
tus olas de besos a dioses lejanos
chocando saludos
como holas de adiós.

Ode Of Odysseus To The Siren
(a translation by Daniel García Ordaz)

Where are you?
Yesterday I sought you,
I found you
I lost you.
Today I shall seek you again.
Last night I sought you in my arms
as far from my reach as
the bicycle of my childhood—
long ago abandoned, never forgotten.
I looked for you in the eternal roar
of your marine caresses
over the rocks
of my memories.
I row and row incessantly
Until the beating in my chest
Falls sad and silent,
Debilitated over your wide sea.
Last night I heard your song
in the winds of the green,
in the gossiping airs over the blue abyss
sighs that illuminated my palate
with flavor of you.
I miss the murmurs
that you left like a sleepy echo
in the hollow of my heart.
You left me as a starless navigator,
wandering toward the gray horizon,
lost, isolated, abandoned.
Yesterday I searched for you,
I found you,
I lost you
Today I shall look for you again
even as you keep sending
waves of kisses to distant gods,
greetings crashing
like waves of hello/goodbye.

By José Héctor Cadena

Éramos lobos devorándonos con sed de amor

Y aun así, sin saber amar

split between wanting to

exist in your afterthoughts as you

act out the movements that might remind you

of my blindness and your blindness of the past

no longer a mixture of

when weekends seemed longer

And people talk up weaving that we became

Oil-n-water, a treasure of unresolved potential-unknown


Son plácidos los versos
por Gabriel González Núñez

Esta noche son plácidos los versos que me vienen, porque a mi lado te tengo.
Y creo escuchar, en la estrechez de la cama que compartimos,
nuestros corazones palpitar al unísono.
Y así escucho a mi alma pronunciar tu nombre.
Y en mi alma resuena el timbre de tu sentir, el murmullo de tu alegría
De tu alegría que es vida en el valle del letargo.

En San Francisco
por enriKetta luissi

en esta noche de luna partida en dos
el círculo busca su simetría
su corazón completo

como yo te busco en esta ciudad de puentes heridos
en esta noche de luna partida en dos
ando los pasos de los muertos

¿cómo decirte que me han caído de golpe los años y
no me queda mas que este cosquilleo incómodo
por las mañanas?

en esta noche de luna partida en dos
el alma calcetines en la secadora

The Son of an Elotero
by Andrea Mauk

After all these years,
and much to my surprise,
you tell me you're
the son of an elotero.
Childhood memories dance in your eyes,
of the home you left behind.
Mom sweating over the grill,
smell of sweet-fired kernels
adrift on fall breezes,
dad packing his cart
with crema y mayonesa,
chile y queso. Never butter.

You speak of your mom's family,
indigenous features, Roman noses.
who won't back down.
Strong hands made for crafting metal.
Soft heart that hears music
in the flourish of hummingbird wings.
History held in the chisel of your cheek bones,
but as truth turns to legend,
some parts are imagined,
links lost to time and distance.

En el Yucatán, you say
the food is more Caribbean,
like mine,
but I say it's also ancient, Mayan,
Dutch, Lebanese, Unique.
Like habanero and sour orange,
things are always more mixed
than we'd like to admit, and
we always agree
to disagree.

In your state,
your father's relatives
shave kernels from cobs,
tender ears,
preserving husks,
as green as their eyes.
Beguiling rosy complexions
don't detract from
uchepa making skills.
Your cousins serve as proof
that your dad's lineage is a mystery.

The pig is prized, his lard lauded.
Your dad and his brothers have
a well-kept methodology
of fire and frying pan.
You explain how the chiles,
guajillos, chilacas and chiltepiquín,
fresh roasted, carefully ground
create depth of flavor.
Your carnitas and my pernil,
my habichuelas and your frijoles
are best shared with fresh tortillas
and homemade salsa.

He went away in a flight of fancy,
your elotero, viajero, distante,
back to the mountains of his youth,
left you to be the man of the family he created.
No thought that you would want one of your own.
Squandered his candy money on dreams.
Returned infrequently,
not noticing how you all had grown..

When I first met you,
you told of his distance,
your anger palpable,
mixed with distrust,
a cat-like skiddishness,
your sadness...

After all these years,
you have begun taking trips
to those green mountains of childhood,
the strumming of guitars,
your abuelos far-off voices
calling you home.
Forging deep connections,
uncovering a patchwork of identity
straddled between cultures,
woven with yarns
of here and there.

In the graying of your temples,
I feel calmness.
In the strength of your hands,
I feel warmth.
In the light of your eyes,
I see strains of love
rekindling with the idea
of your elotero man.

I worry that you, too, will become
a viajero, extranjero,
like your dad,
and I know that if and when you do,
I will still love you
and forever long
for the way
we always agree
to disagree.

The Time Traveler
by Eduardo Leon Guizar

It is evident that of the day, or of the night, light bends in your grace

Where worlds which brim fantastically on eyes pure as glass

Take, send away anchors of reality for this space

This distance transcends the concept of a soul’s place

It was never my immortal self, never rested inside nor near me

But found me in your unmatched palace of decadence and lace

Thatched in weaves of silk and strings of lip’s embrace

In waves stretching out upon the shore of a secret sea

And this portal I take, from the desert into the oasis

Of your unwavering beauty, removes the very abstract

that is time

this body
by Jo Reyes-Boitel

I carry my own story within me.


Beautiful stones
embedded under the muscles of my back.

A spine nestled within
that supports all of me

but asks that I hold my inheritance,
good or bad.

This body
made to take and take
what others would have me hold.

There are spider veins falling across my breasts

My legs are in earthquakes
varicose veins, deep and full,
riding through

and my bones miss each other at the joints
clipping at the ends of bone.

My ankles pop.

And my stomach quivers
and my hands will not close

and still here,
I offer more.


This life this life this life – held together by pins.

I walk slow.
I am holding what all that I have been asked to hold.


This is tiring.



I deny myself this body.
This body that carries me.

I am connected to this earth.
I am connected to this place.

Like the shape of a leaf’s shadow against my skin.
Like the shadow of clouds on the water below.
A birthmark. A legacy of what has survived.

I am connected to this earth.
I am connected to this place.

My feet planted here – though I was raised an exile.

I move like the ocean.
And yet this water is cradled in earth.

My people come from water.

Some generations living their whole lives swimming
toward land they will never witness.

Sometimes we spend so much time in water
we forget how to walk.

But the journey has been for generations.

I am connected to this earth.
I am connected to this place.

And I am learning to love this body.

This body that carries me.
It is a birthmark of survival.

I write myself into being.
I say this is me.
This is me.

by Briana Muñoz

I have become obsessed with his hands
I often sit and day dream about them

I have seen how they work against my skin
As he slowly slides them across my cheek
And looks at me like he’s never seen such a thing

I imagine his hands move the same way across
His leather-bound journals
Marking his pages with the same amount of passion
Descriptions of every disturbing thought that fill the nooks of his brain

With a pen in hand,
He turns my body into prose
Creates my anatomy into a Spenserian sonnet
He writes of my movements
But crumbles the pages and throws them away

I accept my words do no justice
Of explaining his existence

Meet the Poets
Nit pick by Lia Eliades
What he knows and doesn’t by Odilia Galván Rodríguez
ESPERANDO ABRIL por Elizabeth Cazessús
Niño cabellos de fuego por Brian Schwarzschild
You Became the Seasons When You Left by Sonia Gutiérrez
Te convertiste en las estaciones cuando te fuiste por Sonia Gutiérrez
Sin Razón de Amar por Zheyla Henriksen
[a prayer to the seven directions of Love] by Jenuine Blu
love song to those who died: the AIDS years 37 years later by Sharon Elliott
Que Nunca por Edward Vidaurre
DEEP WATERS by Lara Gularte
I Know of No Other Way... by Victor Avila
Canción nacida del viento by Elle Wonders
Ode Of Odysseus To The Siren, (a translation by Daniel García Ordaz)
Son plácidos los versos por Gabriel González Núñez
En San Francisco por enriKetta luissi
The Son of an Elotero by Andrea Mauk
The Time Traveler by Eduardo Leon Guizar
this body by Jo Reyes-Boitel
Braille by Briana Muñoz

Sharon Elliott has been a writer and poet activist over several decades beginning in the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, and four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador, especially in multicultural women’s issues. She is a Moderator of Poets Responding to SB1070, and has featured in poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has been published in several anthologies and her poem “Border Crossing” appears in the anthology entitled Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, Francisco X. Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodriguez, eds. She has read it in Los Angeles at AWP and La Pachanga 2016 book launch, in San Francisco, at the Féis Seattle (Scots gaelic language/culture workshop) Céiliedh in Port Townsend, WA and at Poetry Express in Berkeley. Her book, Jaguar Unfinished, was published by Prickly Pear Press, 2012.

Eduardo Leon Guizar. I'm college educated, single (never married) no kids, a nerd (cant hide it), tall? (6'3), I love to cook ridiculous meals, have absurd conversations, partake in adventure and what not, I'm a bit chubby but working on it everyday, I'm health conscious, don't smoke, will have the occasional drink (1 a week), and enjoy dancing. I write, I sing, hmm hmm, I have a weakness for chicken wings, though I fear I have said too much >.> also, love dogs and cats, I'm so so on kangaroos :/

jo reyes-boitel ~ poet and writer – third world latina mezcla - working class graphics designer - music researcher - libertada y realizada.

enriKetta luissi es poeta y autora de los libros de poesía: IIE, Dark Matter, Ostrich Sky, Disclosed, Re-Versed, y Emily.

Elizabeth Cazessús. Nacida En Tijuana, B.C. México. Es autora de once libros de poesía: Ritual ycanto, 1994, Veinte “Apuntes antes de Dormir, 1995; Mujer de Sal, 2000; Huella en el agua, IMAC 2001; Casa del sueño, 2006; Razones de la dama infiel, 2008 y 2012; Enediana, Ed. Giglico, 2010. Hijas de la Ira, Nódulo 2013; No es mentira este paraíso, 2009 y Desierto en Fuga, 2015. Colección de poesía, Cecut/Conaculta. Mujer que Vuela, Ediciones mañana Llovera, 2016; Hojarasca del Silencio. Cut Universidad/Fronterabierta

Brian Schwarzschild (Los Mochis, 1993) Radica en Tijuana. Es egresado de la Lic. en Lengua y Literatura de Hispanoamérica de la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales (UABC). Poeta y twittero. Ha publicado sus poemas en la revista Radiador No.2. y participado en el Encuentro Internacional de Poesía Caracol 2011 y Festival Binacional de Poesía Tijuana-San Diego (PoeTISA) 2013.

Zheyla Henriksen. Ecuatoriana. Reside en los EE.UU. Profesora jubilada. Obtuvo su doctorado en UC Davis. En 1967 obtiene en Ecuador el tercer lugar con el poema Fantasías en Los Primeros Juegos Florales Estudiantiles. Participa en el primer encuentro de poetisas ecuatorianas. Le entregan la Medalla al Mérito Cultural en Cuenca, Ecuador. Interviene en recitales poéticos y ponencias en Ecuador, Estados Unidos, Panamá, Canadá, Argentina, Cuba y España. Tiene tres libros publicados: Poemas dispersos, Caleidoscopio del recuerdo y Pedazos, los recuerdos y la tesis doctoral Tiempo sagrado y tiempo profano en Borges y Cortázar. La mayoría de sus ponencias han sido publicadas. Queda como una de los cinco o seis finalistas en el Concurso Internacional de Poesía Erótica en Gijón, España en 2004 y 2014. Participa con frecuencia en la Exhibición Internacional de Poemas Póster de Poetas Iberoamericanos Contemporáneos. Es miembro de Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol en Sacramento, EE.UU. y en el Círculo de Escritores. Dirige y baila en el Ballet Folklórico Ecuatoriano INTI-TULPA y participa en Jodette Belly Dance Academy presentándose en festivales culturales.

Gabriel González Núñez, uruguayo, vive en Brownsville, Texas. Es docente de la Universidad de Texas en el Valle del Río Grande, donde forma traductores e intérpretes. Ha publicado cuentos y microcuentos en las revistas La Marca Hispánica, Ventana Abierta, Círculo, Entre Líneas, Narrativas, Punto en Línea, Tiempos Oscuros, miNatura, El Narratorio y The Chachalaca Review. Fue galardonado con el Premio Platero 2012 en la categoría cuento. Recibió el segundo accésit del Premio Enrique Labrador Ruiz 2009 y mención de honor en el 36o Concurso Doctor Alberto Manini Ríos. También fue finalista del X Concurso Literario Gonzalo Rojas Pizarro. Asimismo, ha publicado poesía en la revista La Marca Hispánica y en la antología Boundless 2017. Lleva un blog literario en

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, poet, writer, editor, educator, and activist, is the author of six volumes of poetry, her latest, The Nature of Things, a collaboration with Texas photographer, Richard Loya, by Merced College Press 2016. Also, along with the late Francisco X. Alarcón, she edited the award-winning anthology, Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, University of Arizona Press, 2016. This poetry of witness anthology, the first of its kind, because it came about because of the on-line organizing work of Alarcón, Galván Rodriguez, and other poet-activists which began as a response to the proposal of SB 1070, the racial profiling law which was eventually passed by the Arizona State Legislature in 2010, and later that year, HB 2281which bans ethnic studies. With the advent of the Facebook page Poets Responding (to SB 1070) thousands of poems were submitted witnessing racism, xenophobia, and other social justice issues which culminated in the anthology.

Galván Rodríguez has worked as an editor for various print media such as Matrix Women's News Magazine, Community Mural's Magazine, and Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She is currently, the editor of Cloud Women’s Quarterly Journal online; facilitates creative writing workshops nationally, and is director of Poets Responding to SB 1070, and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of many people and encouraging people to take action. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, and literary journals on and offline.

As an activist, she worked for the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO, The East Bay Institute for Urban Arts, has served on numerous boards and commissions, and is currently active in Women’s organizations whose mission it is to educate around environmental justice issues and disseminate an indigenous world view regarding the earth and people’s custodial relationship to it. Odilia Galván Rodríguez has a long and rich history of working for social justice in solidarity with activists from all ethnic groups.

Edward Vidaurre is the 2018 McAllen,Texas Poet Laureate and author of four collections of poetry. Vidaurre has been published in several literary journals and anthologies. His collection of poems, Jazzhouse, is forthcoming from Prickly Pear Press in 2018 and a chapbook, Ramona and rumi is also forthcoming from Hercules Press in the Summer of 2018. Vidaurre is the Director of Operations in 2018 for the Valley International Poetry Festival, moderator for Poets Responding, and founder of Pasts, Poetry & Vino - a reading series in the Rio Grande Valley. He resides in McAllen, Texas with his wife and daughter.

Jenuine Blu is a maker of weird things, a ponderer of strange musings, and a midwife of truth. She considers the work of making access to creative expression to be a matter of justice and is a non-negotiable among practices necessary for sustainability of individuals and communities. She currently dwells, creates, and is herself in San Antonio, TX; she calls Los Angeles, home. Connect with her on social media at: @jenuineartworks

José Héctor Cadena es escritor, poeta-académico, y artista visual. Creció a lo largo de la frontera San Ysidro/ Tijuana. Recibió su licenciatura de la Universidad Estatal de San Diego y su maestría en bellas artes de la Universidad Estatal de San Francisco. Actualmente esta trabajando en su doctorado en estudios Americanos en la Universidad de Kansas. José Héctor Cadena is a writer, poet-scholar, and visual artist. He grew up along the San Ysidro/Tijuana border. His has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and Master of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco State University. He is currently a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at The University of Kansas.

Elle Wonders. Poetry is born from telling stories that aren’t linear and sharing experiences that defy the logic of language. It’s born when my truest words fly into a V formation and migrate down the flyway - traveling from my mind to my fingertips. Not all truths will make It – some die along the way and some will stray from the flock, but these are a few who survived the journey.
When I’m not writing poetry or working on my novel, I spend my time teaching, painting, reading, or exploring the world and its many cultures.

Victor Avila is an award-winning poet. His work has been widely anthologized. Recent work has appeared in the collection Poetry of Resistance. Victor also writes and illustrate the comic book series Hollywood Ghost Comix. He has taught in California public schools for almost thirty years.

Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Whittier, CA. home. She sells real estate, fights against gentrification, and teaches theatre there. She has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, writes and produces plays for children, and has completed two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry ishas been featured in Hunches de Poesia and in several issues of Mujeres de Maiz “‘Zine.” Her poetry is also published in Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice and Sonadores: We Came to Dream. She has also been a moderator of Diving Deeper, an online workshop for writers, and has written extensively about music, especially jazz, while working in the entertainment industry. She has a cookbook project on the back burner. When she is not writing, she loves to take road trips, sing in front if an audience, and spend time with her dogs and horse.

Daniel García Ordaz is the founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival and the author of You Know What I'm Sayin'? His new collection, Cenzontle/Mockingbird: Songs of Empowerment (Poetry*Drama) is forthcoming. García, who recently completed his MFA in Creative Writing from UT-Rio Grande Valley, is an English teacher at McAllen High School. His work appears is Poetry of Resistance, La Bloga, Juventud!, and several other anthologies and journals.

Sonia Gutiérrez’s bilingual poems have appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, Konch Magazine, and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Change. Her fiction has appeared in the London Journal of Fiction, Huizache, and AlternaCtive PublicaCtions. Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña, is her debut publication. She is a contributing editor for The Writer’s Response (Cengage Learning, 2016).

Currently, she is moderating Facebook’s Poets Responding, submitting Legacy / Herencia for publication, working on her manuscript, Sana Sana Colita de Rana, and completing her novel, Kissing Dreams from a Distance. Her bilingual poem “Super Pancho from the Land of Maíz” with artwork by Victor Ochoa and Spanglish translation by Francisco J. Bustos is forthcoming in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions. Her bilingual poem, “You Became the Seasons When You Left” / “Te convertiste en las estaciones cuando te fuiste,” appears in her manuscript, Sana Sana Colita de Rana.